Your wallet and identification are GONE, and you have a plane to catch. What are you going to do?
My cousin came to visit for a week, and was due to fly home yesterday afternoon. Before we left for an early lunch, Peter discovered that his wallet was missing — the last time we’d seen it was in a restaurant the day before. After looking, re-checking, re-looking, calling AND visiting the restaurant, we knew the wallet was gone.
Replacing your credit cards and driver’s license is always a hassle — but if you are about to get on a plane, can you still travel? We weren’t sure . . . I didn’t know whether I’d have a house guest for another week while we waited for a replacement driver’s license to get here.
After making some calls, we discovered — if you are a American citizen traveling domestically within the United States, the answer is YES — if the TSA is able to confirm your identity.
Peter’s ticket was with Alaska Airlines, and they printed a boarding pass and checked his bag with only his confirmation code and his ability to answer several questions — but they would not guarantee that TSA would let him fly. We weren’t sure if we would have to go right back to the ticketing counter and cancel his flight.
If TSA cannot confirm your identity, you will not be allowed through security.
When we got to security, the TSA officer called her supervisor. Peter was passed through security after answering a series of questions and providing a magazine that was sent to his home address.
Things that the TSA asked us for yesterday:
- Copy of driver’s license and/or passport
- Prescription medications
- Mail with your home address on it
- an expired form of ID with home address
Getting through security took us an extra thirty minutes, so if this happens to you, plan for security to be much longer than normal. Depending on how busy the security checkpoint is, our wait could have been longer. Anticipate this. Be calm. Be polite. Be patient. Realize that they do not have to let you through, so this is not the time to turn into an entitled ass.
This is a great reminder for all of us to be sure to have copies of identification with us when we travel. I always keep a copy of my passport when I travel abroad — but I have to admit, I don’t do it here in the USA. Effective immediately, I’ll add copies of my driver’s license and passport to the list of things I travel with domestically.
If you are overseas, you will not be able to travel until you get your passport replaced. You’ll visit the local American embassy or consulate, and work through the process to get a new passport. When you read the following list of required documents, it’s easy to see that a copy of your passport should be number one on your list of things to pack.
“The following list identifies a number of documents/items you should take with you to the embassy/consulate. Even if you are unable to present all of the documents, the consular staff will do their best to assist you to replace your passport quickly. Please provide:
- A Passport Photo (one photo is required; get it in advance to speed the process of replacing your passport)
- Identification (driver’s license, expired passport etc.)
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, photocopy of your missing passport)
- Travel Itinerary (airline/train tickets)
- Police Report, if available
- DS-11 Application for Passport (may be completed at time of application)
- DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport (may be completed at time of application)” — from the US Department of State — link here for complete information.
For citizens of the United Kingdom, here is information for getting an emergency passport replacement.
Last year, I went through replacing my lost passport. I was not traveling, but at home when I discovered my passport was missing — about ten days before my cruise on the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean. I was a panicked mess. The cruise was paid for — and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go. I had a very good experience with the service Rush My Passport; while it was expensive, that passport expediting service did exactly what they advertised. I followed their instructions, FedExed the required forms and materials to them, and I had my replacement passport within the advertised time. I hope NEVER to have to do it again, but it did work.
Peter’s lost wallet is a great opportunity for all of us to improve our travel habits. Be sure to store your passport in a secure place at home. When traveling, bring copies of your driver’s license and passport with you, keeping them separate from your main identification. It’s always smart to keep some cash and one credit card separate as well — because you know, you never know when it will be you.
I grew up in Mississippi and New Orleans, have lived in both Seattle and Manhattan, and finally moved back to Texas in 1990’s.
I have a darling teenage daughter who heads off to university in the fall of 2017. I have been divorced and am now widowed. Finally, I am a colon cancer survivor.
I am now writing and traveling full time — what a wonderful thing!
This website is a forum for many things. I want to talk about life, in all of its rich, wonderful and terrifying forms. I want to share my travels, my thoughts on life, and my experiences as a woman and a mom. I want to talk about the nature of reality and the meaning of life, and to celebrate being alive.
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