Losing your identity papers is the traveler's obsession whether you are on a short or long trip. Already, without them, it's not easy to continue to explore the world ! But especially losing them brings a lot of administrative procedures (And frankly who likes that?).
Well, it had to happen to us ! (And during our first year of travel, we started in style !). But as we are positive people, we solved the problem and we saw the opportunity to share it all with you in case it happened to you (That was it or curl up in a corner).
In this article, we share, precautions and solutions if you come to lose your papers on a trip.
For those who have read our articles on Thailand, especially the one on Koh Samui, you must know the story, otherwise here is the link:
Read also : One week in Koh Samui
For the new ones, here is a brief summary : during our stay on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand, Nils lost his bag that contained all his papers : passport, credit card, identity card, French driver's license, card social security. Yep, just that !
Precautions before departure :
- Take a picture, and/or scan all your papers including birth certificate. Even if only an original is accepted, it will still provide proof thaht, well, you are you !
- Send these copies to your email and those of your loved ones.
- Save copies on your computer, mobile phone, an easily accessible place if you don't have internet.
- Photocopy your passport and keep that copy somewhere in your bag. The goal is not to put it in the same place as the passport.
Fortunately we took these precautions, so the steps were easy and fast since we had all the information available.
Precautions during the trip :
When traveling, it is the passport that is essential, so it's important to pay attention to it.
A big debate arises between leaving papers at the hotel or taking them with us. Clearly, for us, it depends on the situation. We listen to our instinct, if we have a good feeling with our accommodation and we know that we will not need it we leave them in the room.
Leave your papers at the hotel :
If like us, you do not want to lug lug them around, you can leave them in the room of your hotel. However, we don't let them hang around anywhere :
They go in the safe if there is one, if not in a pocket of the backpack locked by a padlock. You're going to tell me, it's a little futile because you can tear the bag, but the purpose of the padlock is to be able to prove that there was break-in.
If you go to visit tourist attractions or rent a vehicle, your papers will be requested so take them with you.
Take your papers with you :
If you prefer to always have your papers on you, one of the best solutions is the ventral bag. It slips under the clothes to prevent theft, and you always have it in range. We had opted for this option at first, but I was quickly annoyed to have something glued to the skin. I mostly used in Asia (especially in transport) but more since.
As for Nils, he lost his paper with all his papers, but the only time he held it in his hand after a swim.
Leave your passport to someone :
Often, especially for the rental of a vehicle, the passport of at least one person is requested in "surety". If the idea of leaving your precious document to someone you don't know is not pleasant, you will see that unfortunately, you will see that unfortunately, no other choice is offered to you, especially in Asia.
We didn't encounter problem leaving our passport when we rented scooters in Asia, but we always analyzed the place where we rent them. We can only advise you to do the same and trust your instincts !
I lost my papers, what to do ? :
If despite these precautions your papers have been lost or stolen here are the steps to follow :
The procedures :
First of all, if your credit card is part of the lost documents, you must first oppose it.
Don't leave more than 24 hours without doing this step.
Use social networks :
Nowadays, we can find a lot of things via social networks. Look for Facebook groups from where you are and post a message to the community for information. Before moving on to the next step, we bet on Koh Samui Facebook groups, but unfortunately without success.
Declaration of theft with the local police :
Once you are sure that your papers are lost, you must go to the local police to report the theft. It is unavoidable.
You are then given a written statement in the language of the country and you will probably be asked to have it translated to be able to redo your papers in the future, (From our side, we were translated to you free of charge. Embassy providing us with a French version of the statement).
Keep this declaration with you until you get the papers.
Go to the embassy :
Essential moment : find the embassy of your country and go there to explain the situation. Depending on the urgency of your situation, you will get an appointment fairly quickly. This was the case for us, since our visa ended in a week, they were quick to receive us. We were lucky to come across a very friendly staff (or they just felt sorry for us).
They will offer you several solutions :
The return to France :
It's a pass only valid for a return to France after verification of your identity.
Needless to say, we didn't want this solution. To stop the blow, we took the bet to buy our plane tickets for the next country where we had to go to prove that we had to continue our journey and we also play the card "We are poor ".
However, if you are not on a typical trip around the world, this option should be fine.
Emergency passport :
The emergency passport is a temporary solution, since it is only valid for one year. It contains fewer pages and is a green color. Some countries, like Indonesia, do not accept this type of passport. It will therefore be necessary to redo a "normal" as soon as possible.
It's this solution that Nils had, and even if it is very practical, a lot of people bug a little on especially in the airports where one often has the right to questions, etc.
Keep the declaration of loss of your papers provided by the Embassy. It can justify the emergency passport, especially when you leave the country where you lost your papers.
The process was very fast, we made an appointment and Nils came out with. Perhaps the urgency of the situation has worked in our favor. In any case, this situation is not systematic.
Practical Informations :
Price : 30€ tax stamps.
Where : Embassy of your country.
Documents required :
- Identity photo.
- Proof of continuation of the trip (ex: plane tickets).
- Tax stamps.
- Any piece that can prove your identity : birth certificate, photocopy of the old passport, identity card, etc.
Redo a passport :
This is a solution that requires more time, so it depends on your visa, but also if there is an embassy of your country in your current location.
On our side, we decided to redo the passport in a French country like New Caledonia to simplify the steps and continue the adventure !
Here we hope that you will not need this article, but in case we want it to help you if you have the same problem as you !
Feel free to share your experience or ask us questions, we will try to help you !