3 Step guide to replacing a lost passport

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3 Step quick guide to replacing a lost passport

A lost passport, or worse – a stolen passport, is every traveller’s worst nightmare! But with this quick-and-easy, three step guide to replacing a lost passport, you’ll always be prepared!


Picture this – it’s the day before you’re due to fly home and you’re turning your room upside down trying to find your passport.

Have I checked every pocket? Has it fallen behind the drawers? What if it fell out of my pocket in the cab last night? Or left it at the airport when I arrived? No – it has to be here, it can’t just walk off by itself right?!  

Sadly my friends, a lost passport is much more common than you think!

Around 80 emergency passports are issued every day to just British nationals around the world. That’s over 29,000 issued on average per year due to loss or theft of a passport whilst travelling!

So at least you’re not alone if this happens to you!

My personal experience with a lost passport

My first experience with a lost passport was whilst travelling to Kenya for a holiday as a child.

Back in the early nineties, children didn’t have their own passports, you were literally just a name at the back of your mother’s passport – how mental is it that?

So, my mum is holding onto our passport after coming through customs, strolling through Nairobi Airport without a care in the world – her beach bag wide open.

Needless to say, she was an easy target and our passport was taken out of her bag without us even noticing. 

Fast forward two weeks later (the night before we’re due to fly home!), everyone is packing their bags and our passport is nowhere to be found.

Unfortunately for us, because we hadn’t found out about the passport until the end of the trip, we ended up staying in Nairobi where the nearest British embassy was for a few extra days waiting for a new passport to be issued.

It came at a considerable extra cost as the ‘rents had to fork out for additional accommodation in Nairobi and new flights to get home.

Although a bit of a dampener on an overall fantastic holiday, the lasting memory of it was: “how cool was it to go on safari?” but also: “remember the nightmare of losing that passport?”.

However, this doesn’t have to be you – so read on friends!

On safari in Africa as a jeep stops near a strolling elephant in the bush

Quick three Step guide to replacing a lost passport

1) Report the loss or theft to the Police

As soon as you realise that your passport is missing, report it to the local authorities.

Chances are you won’t get your passport back but if you file a report, you’ll have a paper trail just in case your insurance company wants proof when you make a claim or if the passport is found and handed in.

Woman reporting to a police officer at a police station

2) Get in touch with your travel insurance provider

If you have travel insurance, get in touch with them and explain what has happened as soon as you can.

Some policies require you to report the loss or theft of a passport within a certain timeframe.

In some cases claiming a lost passport might not be worth the insurance hike so just double check your policy before you do claim. 

Travel insurance paperwork up close with a pen and boarding passes in the background

3) Find your country’s nearest Embassy

The final step is to locate your nearest embassy and seek an emergency replacement passport.

Take any other form of ID, photocopies of your passport and a copy of your police report with you. This will help the embassy process your documentation more quickly.

But be aware an emergency passport will only be valid for enough time to get you home. You’ll need to order a new passport at least a month before your next overseas trip after you’ve returned home. 

This process costs £100 and usually takes two to three working days, so you may or may not have to rearrange travel plans or book new flights home.

But double check if this is covered by your travel insurance before rearranging any travel bookings.

Man wearing a blue suit and tie handing a new blue passport to a person at a British embassy

Top tips to preventing the loss or theft of your passport

1) keep your passport zipped in a pocket inside your bag

Never keep you passport in an outer pocket. Always keep it zipped up within an inside pocket that is more difficult for slippery hands to reach.

It’s so tempting to keep your bag open, especially in transit when you’re getting things in and out of your bag and emptying it to go through airport security.

But always, always keep your bags zipped up.

If you’d prefer an easier and safer way to store your passport I would recommend a Stash Band.

Stash Bandz are basically stealthy money belts you wear around your waist with zipped pockets to keep valuables in. But they’re made of spandex so are far more comfortable than a standard money belt and a have a smooth appearance which makes it less obvious you’re wearing one!

This is also a great storage idea if you don’t have pockets or want to take a bag out with you when you’re at home as well!

A man's hands taking out his passport and boarding passes from a green side saddle bag

2) Never leave your bags unattended

It may seem like I’m pointing out the obvious here! But there are many occasions whilst you’re in transit where your bags are with you or within sight and theft still happens.

I’ll never forget the time my backpack was stolen on a train coming home from Wales.

I had been in Snowdonia National Park for the weekend to climb Snowdon for sunrise, so as you can imagine I was quite tired on the train ride home in the afternoon and fell asleep.

When I woke up shortly afterwards, my backpack was gone. Someone had reached over me whilst I slept and taken the backpack from the luggage rack right above my head.

I didn’t plan on falling asleep on the train so you could argue it was my fault. But as with any theft, the fault is always with the person who thinks they can take things that aren’t theirs.

Unfortunately for them, there was nothing of value that was worth anything to sell in the bag. However, it still contained about £500 worth of old hiking gear and clothes I’d bought over the years, which of course has cost a lot to replace since!

Bitter? Me? Nah! 😂

Ever since this incident I have used these bluetooth luggage trackers and swear by them! All you do is pop the tracker into your bag or suitcase and you can track its location from an app on your phone.

You can invest in more expensive ones but you can get a pack of four trackers from amazon for only £15. Then you can use them for multiple bags.

But it’s not just keeping track of luggage, you can also use these trackers for your keys, your purse and even your pets!

Suitcase and backpack on the floor at the airport in front of a window with a plane in the backgroun

3) Be aware of your surroundings, especially when in crowds

It’s easy to be distracted in a new place so make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and be wary of anyone getting too close in crowded spaces such as public transport and popular tourist spots.

Someone's hand taking out a wallet out of someone's red backpack

4) Keep your passport in your hotel room safe

If you’re staying in a hotel during your trip, store your passport and any other belongings in your hotel room safe. It’s much safer than keeping a passport on you or in your day bag.

If you need ID (for buying alcohol for example), carry your driver’s license or carry a photocopy of your passport instead.

Wallet and watch inside a hotel safe upclose


Have you ever lost your passport? Or had your passport stolen? Let me know about your experience in the comments below.

Quick FYI guys – this post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support on this three step quick guide to replacing a lost passport post!

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