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My Passport Was Stolen and Here’s What I Learned

Recently, as I was packing to return home on a trip from Madrid, I had the unfortunate realization that my passport was stolen. It ended up meaning one extra day in Europe and some extra unplanned errands, and I learned a few things that I think other travelers may find helpful. Hopefully, if your passport is ever misplaced or stolen, this will help keep your holiday on track. Also, don’t forget you will have support from the Sage Travel emergency hotline for travel adjustments for any arrangements booked through us.
When your passport is lost/stolen:
  1. Try to find it: make sure it is really gone before taking the next steps.
  2. If you are leaving that day, call the airline or go to the airport to inform them that you will miss your flight. If you don’t inform them you will not make your flight, you will be a “NO SHOW”. That means your reservation is cancelled and you may have to pay a very high last-minute price to re-book! The $1000 flight (round-trip) from Madrid I booked was $2700 (one-way) the day before!
  3. If needed, determine if there is a flight you might be able to do that same day. If you try to make a flight the same day, everything you do from here forward will have a time constraint adding stress. I would strongly recommend to consider pushing back your flight to the following day so you have 24 hours to do all the next steps. 
  4. Visit the embassy. The US embassy security was extensive. I could not bring in my phone or bags. The people were very nice. 
  5. Personal Information: I had my driver’s license, credit card, and my passport number. It made it pretty easy, so try to have this information separate from your documents just in case this happens.
  6. Payment: You will need to pay them in cash or credit card. Mine was $145. 
  7. The passport photo machine was not wheelchair accessible. Transferring onto a small stool without handrails was challenging, so perhaps have someone with you or ask for assistance if needed.
  8. Time to expect: The whole ordeal from the time I arrived to the time I departed took 2 hours.
  9. Re-book airfare: I had to go to the airport to get another flight booked. During my first visit, they didn’t mark me as having given notification so I was labeled a no-show. When I went back to the airport, the staff recognized me as the guy in a wheelchair that was there at 5 am.
  10. Book a hotel: If required to stay another day and you’ve booked with Sage Traveling, you will have access to our emergency line and we will take care of this for you–so don’t forget to keep this number handy.
  11. Modify your future travel plans: If you have more stops on your trip, your hotel, tour, transfer, and train reservations may need to be modified due to your delay. We can also handle this for you.
  12. Emergency Passport. When you finally get to the airport with your emergency temporary passport, be prepared for a lot of questions. Tell them when and where it was lost/stolen. 
Key Learnings:
  • Email yourself a copy of your passport. Printing a copy of your passport is even better because you can’t take your phone into the embassy. 
  • Keep your wallet (drivers license, credit card, and cash) separate from your passport.
  • Bring extra medication so that you’ll be able cover a few extra days should your return get delayed.
  • Stay calm when it happens. You’ve already read this article and know that there is a solution!
  • If needed, inform the airline that you’ll miss your flight, before it takes off


Book your trip through Sage Traveling  and we can help with any hotel, tour, and transportation adjustments while you work on requesting your new passport.
Travel Wisely,
John Sage, Founder and President of Sage Traveling

Phone: US: 1-888-645-7920, UK: +44 20 3540 6155



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