Traveling Thursday – Passport copies

Having a passport lost or stolen happens more than anyone would care to admit.

Even if you’re sure there is no way you could possibly lose your passport, do me a favor and make several high quality copies of the photo page. These copies can make your life much easier in case an emergency arises.

Now, find two trusted family members or friends and give them each a copy. Ask them to place them wherever they keep their own vital documents. Let them know that while you hope to never have to ask, there may come a time when your passport is lost or stolen and you’ll need them to fax this copy to an American consulate or embassy.

You should also travel with at least one, if not two, copies of the photo page. I generally keep one copy folded in a ziploc baggie inside my toiletry case. It’s always there. I never have to think to add it when I pack. I keep another copy with my daily planner along with copies of my other travel documents. While the actual passport goes into the hotel safe, I usually keep this copy with me at all times.

So now that you’ve taken my advice, you don’t have to go into an absolute panic if something happens to your passport while you’re traveling. You simply get yourself to the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy and show them a copy of your photo page. There will still be loads of paperwork to fill out, but now you’ve got the information you’ll need to complete the forms.

If you realize that your copies are lost, stolen, or ruined, you just need to get in touch with your trusted loved one and ask him or her to fax a copy to the embassy.

For more information on what to do if your passport is lost or stolen while traveling abroad, visit the State Department’s site.

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