What to do if you lose your passport right before your trip
So you've been planning for months, in some cases years. You've done your shopping, got your Covid test, and your ready to leave the next morning... but suddenly you realize you can't find your passport. You look everywhere. You retrace your steps. You call the testing center. You even go back and re-walk your steps. Still nothing. Panic sets in until slowly you accept that you're not going to be on that flight tomorrow.
This is exactly what happened to me three days ago, right before my big trip to Jordan to start my Secrets of Egypt & The Nile trip.
At first I didn't really believe it was gone gone. I'd JUST had it for my Covid test the day before. Yet as the hours ticked by and that little blue book was not in any of the places I was sure it could be, panic turned to anger and disappointment, and eventually to a quiet resolve. It was gone and I was going to miss my first planned flight of my life. UGH!
This is not a feeling I wish on anyone, but it happens... and if I've learned anything during Covid it's that you can't get worked up over something you can't change or control.
What you can do is create a new plan and just do what needs doin'. After a hot cup of tea and some deep breaths, I created a plan.
The most important thing was to figure out how to get a new passport. We have all heard horror stories of people waiting months and months to get their passports. Thankfully there IS a process to get an emergency passport and I acted just at the right time.
"Emergency passports are issued only in real emergencies, and evidence of the need for immediate, emergency travel should be submitted with applications. Emergency passports are normally limited in validity and cannot be extended. Furthermore, you must appear at the Embassy or Consulate in person, during business hours, to apply. The application process and fee are the same as if you were applying for a regular passport."
Thankfully, the US Embassy is a whopping 5 minutes away from my house; not that you are allowed to just show up. Plus, Germany being Germany, it is also closed on the weekend so I knew I would have to wait until Monday, but that also gave me plenty of time to learn exactly what must be done... and it's a bit complicated.
First and foremost, you have to qualify/ call for an appointment. You must be able to PROVE that your need is a "life or death emergency" or that you have urgent travel. Documentation is key. The US Embassy in Berlin had a pretty easy to follow set of instructions including what numbers can be called at what times / days.
Thankfully, I got someone very agreeable who walked me thru the forms I needed to fill out online and print, and was able to make an appointment for the coming Monday morning. Much of this was made easier because I have a photo of my passport saved and all of my other documentation is properly stored and easy to get. It's all ready to go.
Part of the "documentation" procedure is also being able to prove that your travel is imminent and necessary. With my AmaWaterways cruise documents, along with my updated air travel, I have what I need.
As I sit here and write this, I'm hoping to get my passport within the predicted time of my appointment / 24 hours. At which point, I still have to retake my Covid PCR test, but I'm pretty confident to make my newly scheduled flight for Thursday. Fingers crossed.
Several of my friends on Facebook all seem to agree that the moment I have the new passport in hand the old one will turn up. That very well may happen, but at least I have a plan and set it in motion.
What I truly wish for and hope for... is that lost one shows up like a miracle. Watch this space to find out if it does. There is still one small tiny glimmer of hope... and I haven't completely given up!