The Four Things You Must Not Lose While Traveling

Stuff happens and losing something while traveling isn’t the end of the world  but if you can avoid extra problems, do so. And that’s where these tips come in: what not to lose and how to make it right if you do.

You start by making copies of all important documents and keeping them apart from the originals in a secure location (and make copies for a trusted for or family member back home).

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1. Don’t Lose Your ID

For most of us, our ID (usually a driver’s license in the U.S.) is our ticket through security. But say it goes missing – then what?

  • If it’s gone (and not just misplaced), call your state’s motor vehicle department; reporting your loss may help if any identity theft problems arise
  • Get to the airport at least a half hour earlier than normal or a full hour to be on the safe side
  • Present yourself at security and explain what happened (and show them any other documents with your name on them if available)
  • You will be undergo questioning
  • You may undergo a more rigorous security screening

That’s it, except – be polite. The TSA screener didn’t lose your license, you did.

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2. Don’t Lose Your Passport

If you lose your passport just before a trip:

  • First, report your loss – and the excellent U.S. State Department’s website tells you exactly how to do it (see the Passport section at Travel.State.Gov)
  • Then, contact the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment to visit the closest official passport agency (and do not delay)
  • Bring the completed lost/stolen form from the site along with the completed application for a new passport, and bring money since you will pay a fee

If you lose your passport while you’re on your trip:

  • Report the loss to local authorities
  • Go to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the country you’re visiting (and here is a list)
  • Bring a passport photo if possible; it’ll save you time

3. Don’t Lose Your Mobile Device

Many of us put so many important documents in our smartphones that it’s not much of a stretch to think of it as we would a wallet, so guard it just as carefully. Keep it on your person, always. Don’t set it down on the table at that nice café because you may forget to pick it up again when it’s time to leave.

If your smartphone has special safeguards or tracking capabilities, the time to familiarize yourself with all this is before your trip. But if you do lose it or it gets stolen, report it to authorities – a paper trail may come in useful for insurance purposes.

4. Don’t Lose Your Valuables

The best way to do this is by not bringing any on your trip. If they turn up missing from your checked-baggage, you will learn that most airlines specifically preclude covering valuables. If you must bring say, expensive jewelry – wear it or keep it very close to you.

More from Rick Seaney:

4 Things Travelers Should Never Lose


Updated: May 5, 2016