“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

What to Do If Your Passport Has Gotten Lost or Stolen

What a nightmare!

Well, maybe not a total catastrophe, if you keep in mind these rules from Eagle Creek to replace your lost or stolen passport and get home safely.

Look really hard. Let’s start with one that might save you from going through the rest. Check all your bags, money belt/security wallet, that pocket you didn’t peek in, the bag you never looked under, and any drawers in your room (also under the furniture).

Contact the police. It isn’t required, but they may be able to help recover your documents. Maybe some kind soul found them and turned them in. Check with the concierge and reception desk, too.

Take a new photo. You’ll need to take new ones before arriving at most consulates. A single photo is all that’s required by the U.S. Department of State, but a few extras don’t hurt , just in case.

Find your consulate. And make sure it’s a normal business day in the country that you’re visiting. Consulates normally won’t be able to issue a passport on holidays or weekends You’ll also need a U.S.-issued identification like a driver’s license, along with your travel itinerary, and proof of birth in the U.S.

Be prepared to wait. U.S. consulates work very hard to make sure U.S. citizens aren’t stuck without a passport for very long, but it isn’t instantaneous. If you have a flight to catch, maybe they can expedite the process, but you’ll probably need to change your flight.

Replace when you return home. Right away. Check the replacement’s expiration date, but don’t dawdle. You don’t want to end up trying to book your next trip with an expired document.