Do not lose your passport in a foreign country!
Even if you have a copy of your passport, you can get stuck in another country for some time. It never happened to me, but there were quite a few situations when my husband and people from my travel groups misplaced their passports. They experienced a lot of stress but were fortunate to get their passports back. Here are a few such “lucky” passport stories.
A few years ago, I went on a group tour of Greece. It was in March – the best time of year to visit this country. Wherever our group went, we saw spring flowers. The trip started in Athens. After three days in the capital of Greece, we boarded the tour bus to travel around the country.
In the middle of this journey, one of our fellow tourists discovered that he left his passport and all money in the room safe. Everyone was alarmed and started checking if somebody else forgot some valuables or documents in Athens’ hotel.
The tour guide called the hotel. Fortunately, the room was still unoccupied. The hotel maintenance worker managed to open the safe and found an envelope with cash, traveler’s checks, and passport. The front desk clerk told our guide that these valuables would be waiting for our return to the hotel (we were scheduled to spend the last night in Greece at the same hotel).
We all could hear the sigh of relief from our absent-minded friend. Since our food and sightseeing were included in the cost of our tour, he managed to survive the rest of the trip without asking anyone for a loan.
Hong Kong story
On another trip – this time to Hong Kong – one man left the wallet on the table in the room before boarding the bus to the airport for an early flight back home. This man, Teddy, went for a walk, right after the early breakfast. Teddy decided not to walk the streets around the hotel with the wallet in his pocket (he was wary of pickpockets). He left the wallet in the room but did not tell his wife about it.
When everybody in the group was on the bus and ready to leave, our guide asked through the microphone: do you have your passports? Do you have your wallets with you? Did you leave anything in the room? Everybody made sure they had their passports and wallets.
The streets around our hotel were packed with vehicles, and it took the bus about twenty minutes in the morning traffic to get to the highway leading to the airport. Suddenly Teddy jumped from the seat and announced that he left his wallet in the room.
The tour guide decided not to go back to the hotel through the heavy traffic. He called the hotel, asked the manager to find the wallet and send it to the airport on another bus that was leaving for the airport in an hour. Lucky for Teddy, our plane was delayed, and he got his wallet back from the second bus driver. I asked Teddy how much he was charged for this favor. He replied that the driver of the second bus did not ask for any money, but to show his appreciation Teddy gave him twenty dollars.
Another passport story with a happy end, this time close to home (if you can call Alaska being close to Florida). We took an Alaskan cruise and then continued our trip by car. At the end of this journey, we had to take a boat from Valdez to return to Anchorage for the flight home.
Suddenly, my husband discovered that he left all our money and documents hidden under the nightstand in the hotel room. The flight home was the next day and looked like there was no way to get the wallet back.
We begged the boat captain to call our hotel from the сaptain’s bridge. He tried to do it a few times. Finally, he was able to contact the hotel manager. The maid went to our room and got our money and documents from under the nightstand. The hotel sent everything by the overnight mail to the central post office in Anchorage.
Next day, after the sleepless night, we started to visit the post office every hour, checking if our precious envelope had arrived. We were lucky to get it two hours before our flight.
It was late evening, time to find a hotel. We began to stop at each lodging house, checking the prices and how the rooms looked. Finally, we found a more or less decent hotel, which we could afford.
We checked in. The hotel clerk asked us to leave our passports with him until the checkout. We did not feel comfortable to leave the passports with him but hoped that he will keep them in a safe place.
In the morning, we came down to have breakfast at the hotel, and we saw our passports lying on the counter exactly where we left them. We were horrified at the thought that our passports could fall into the hands of any person, grabbed them from the counter and stashed away. When we were checking out, no one mentioned our passports – not the morning clerk, not us.