Rummaging through your carryon at the airport and finding your passport missing is not a pleasant feeling. You have already checked your luggage and it’s time to go through the airport security. You are trapped, no matter which way you go.
The run-of-the-mill reaction is panic. But that will lead to nothing but a missed flight and intense regret.
Forgetting your travel documents is unfortunate, but it’s not a lost cause. You still have a chance to save your international trip.
The most essential travel documents for any national or international flight are your passport, flight tickets, identification documents, travel insurance, and medication certificates. We’ll show you just what to do when you’re helplessly trembling at the airport with any of these five essential documents missing.
Let’s start, shall we?
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1. Passport and Visa
The worst thing to forget at an airport. You have to go through innumerable inconveniences to board the flight. Let’s see what steps you should follow.
- Explain your conundrum to the airline representative at the counter. Always say you have misplaced your passport and you can’t find it now. If you say with certainty that you have left it at home, they might just ask you to go back home and get it. By then, your flight would be long gone. Honesty is the best policy, but only to a certain point.
- Be ready with an alternate form of identification. Any official document with your name and address should work.
- It would be helpful if you are traveling with family. Your family members should have their IDs, and you can show a family picture to prove you’re indeed part of the family.
- Once your identity is confirmed, the airline representative can issue a special boarding pass with a note that you don’t have an ID.
- Now you’ll encounter TSA agents. They’ll take you to a secluded room for questioning. You’ll need to verify your identity with personal information. Be cooperative to expedite the process.
- If the agent confirms your identity as well, you will be allowed to board the flight after additional screening.
- If you are flying abroad to a country that doesn’t allow any leeway with passports, you need to contact your embassy immediately. They will guide you with further steps to replace your passport.
2. Plane Tickets
Another sticky situation, but not as bad as losing your passport. You can get onboard even after forgetting your flight tickets through one of the following ways:
- Since tickets are electronic these days, your e-ticket should suffice. Even a copy of the ticket receipt works. No need to bring a physical flight ticket.
- Certain airlines and airports in countries like India, Nigeria, and the Philippines mandate flyers to carry a paper copy of their e-ticket. In such cases, rush to a nearby internet cafe and get a printout. Problem solved.
- You can visit the airport ticket offices outside that can supply a printout as well.
- If an instant printout is not an available option, you might have to pay a re-ticketing fee ($50 – $100).
These documents can prove useful when you lose your passport. And certain countries with strict age limits for specific activities also require these identification documents.
You are required to carry a physical copy of at least one of these documents.
If you don’t:
- Get a printout as soon as possible
- As long as you have a digital copy of your IDs, you should be safe
- If you neither have a physical nor a digital copy of your ID, you’ll have to go through the same steps as losing your passport would entail at the airport.
4. Travel Insurance Policy
This is not an essential travel document for the airport. But for you, it is just as essential as your passport or tickets. Why?
Given your situation, trip cancellation is possible. Trip cancellation insurance purchased before your trip can compensate you financially if a fully pre-booked trip must be canceled for a covered reason.
If you already have travel insurance, but you forgot to bring along your copy of the insurance policy, you could be in a difficult position. But if you purchase from a trusted insurance marketplace like Insubuy, there is no need for concern.
Insubuy’s e-policy system ensures that you have access to your policy online through your “MyAccount” portal.
Plus, Insubuy’s trustworthy advisory and support team can answer any questions you may have regarding your policy, no matter where you are. If you purchase travel insurance from Insubuy, you can expect responsive and prompt customer service.
5. Medical Permit
This is both time and country-specific.
Some countries require you to carry certain medication certificates before entering. Like the yellow fever vaccine certificate in Liberia and Uganda, or the meningococcal immunization certificate for entering Saudi Arabia.
Also, if you are taking along certain prescription drugs for health reasons, you will need a medical permit to do so.
Not having a certificate could mean denial of entry, or rejection of medicines.
In such cases:
- An existing digital copy of the permit or certificate can come in handy
- Otherwise, visit the website, or call the clinic you received the prescription or vaccine from, and proceed according to their guidelines.
This could be a particularly challenging barrier to overcome. If you can’t provide a necessary medical certificate or prescription, you might have to jump through several hoops before you gain entry. Stay hopeful and don’t give up.
Tips to Avoid Such Mishaps
Forgetting travel documents is an honest mistake that can happen to anyone. You ought to know some ways to avoid such inconveniences.
These tips can ensure that you don’t forget your travel documents next time. And even if you do, the consequences won’t be as dire.
- Make a checklist of essential travel documents. Before you leave home, check the list to ensure you’re carrying everything you need.
- Put all your essential documents in one place. If you scatter them in your carryon, you have a greater chance of losing them while rummaging around for something else.
- Always make digital copies of all your essential documents. That way, even if the physical copy goes missing or is stolen, you won’t be in as much trouble.
- Arrive at the airport at least two hours before the departure time. The flight won’t wait for you because you are still stuck with TSA agents proving your identity.
- Don’t try to create a ruckus or bribe your way onto a plane. Being uncooperative and unlawful will only make things difficult for you.
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Take A Deep Breath and Calm Down
As we have shown, there are multiple ways to handle forgetting to bring your travel documents. But you won’t be able to use any of them without a cool head. So, take a breather and relax. And if nothing works and you are forced to return home, accept it and learn your lesson. If this happens once, chances are you won’t forget your travel documents ever again.
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