A stolen passport shouldn’t normally ruin a vacation, as experienced travel advisors know. There are a variety of ways of preventing the loss of a passport and the headaches and cost such a loss can cost travelers.
Loss of a passport, is not only a headache, but it can have the unexpected consequences of interruptions in the trip to obtain replacements and get back on track. Incidents of travelers taking passports on shore excursions and then having it stolen, are not uncommon. Tourists are specifically targeted to get their passports. Figuring out what to do in a foreign country is a nightmare, interrupting your trip by taking several days to get resolved.
Additionally, getting back on a cruise ship without your passport has been reported as difficult. Some cruise lines will order you off the ship, especially if you don’t have a second form of ID. Still others have alternative ways for their guests to be identified when getting back on a ship. Be sure to find out your cruise line’s policy when leaving the ship. Resolution of such a situation can cost travelers out of pocket expenses for accommodation, taxis to embassy and cost to join the trip again or get home.
So are these cruise lines simply being difficult or are they obliged to leave you behind. Cruise ships are required to comply with all Immigration authorities, Maritime Law and International Law where passports are required for all travelers, for all voyages, regardless of guests’ nationality and ports of call and countries visited.
Precautions You Can Take
Here are a few tips travelers should consider to prevent the loss of a passport and keep documents safe while traveling anywhere in the world. Remember, loss of a passport can happen in your home country while traveling just as easily as at home.
- Keep your passport on your person at all times if you take it ashore or on a tour in a cross-body bag that has a safety pin closing the compartment the passport is in, as well as on the top zipper of the bag. There are many anti theft style backpacks and bags that are useful as well. Better still, a travel belt is even better, simply because you is less likely to take it off.
- If on a cruise, find out if you actually need to take your passport ashore, if they just need a driver’s license or ship card to get back on, consider leaving your passport in the cabin safe.
- If you choose to keep it in a bag, never take that bag off your person while touring, even when eating at a cafe or other restaurant. Pickpockets live for travelers putting their bags down for “just a second.When going ashore, or on a tour, keep copies of your passport in your luggage, with a contact back at home, and in your email account, so they can be accessed easily anywhere, at any time, to speed up the replacement process overseas. Additionally, you can take a photo with your smart phone of your passports.
- In addition to preventing the loss of a passport, the same sort of rules apply to credit cards. Alert your credit card company that you are traveling and where. Take copies of the card front and back so you have information on who to call if lost or stolen. Consider taking an extra card that you leave in a safe at the hotel or ship.
It does not take a lot to prevent the loss of a passport or other documents, and being prepared for the worst can make recovery much easier. Additionally, making sure you have the contact info for your travel agent so he/she can help from home to get you back on track.