Start out by making copies of all of the important documentation and then keeping those copies separate from the originals and in a secure location. Further, you can, just to be extra-safe, make additional copies and leave those with someone you trust back home.
1. Your ID
Generally, for the most part, it’s our ID, be that a driver’s license if we’re travelling nationally, or a passport when flying internationally, that provides us with a ticket to get through airport security. But, what if it was to go missing?
If it does depart without you, and it’s not merely misplaced, and if it is your driver’s license that’s gone astray (we discuss passport matters just below), you can get in touch with your local motor vehicle department. At least this way, if identity theft was to occur, reporting the loss will likely prove to be beneficial.
If you find that you still have time to get to the airport well in advance of departure and you’re booked on a local flight, then do so. Go directly to airport security and explain to them what’s gone on – what’s gone wrong. Take along any other documentation that has your name and show this to the security people.
You’ll be subjected to a level of security screening so as to prove your identity beyond any doubt.
2. Your Passport
So you’ve lost your passport and you’re just about to go on a long-haul (or short-haul, for that matter, if you have no other form of official ID to hand).
First, you should report the loss to your nearest South African High Commission as soon as possible. Inevitably, you’ll need to renew your passport, but if necessary, you can make an application for emergency travel documents which will suffice until you have your passport renewed.
If you are to lose your passport while you’re out of the country, here’s what to do:
- Report the occurrence to the local authorities in the country of current residence.
- Visit the nearest S.A. embassy or consulate and inform them about the loss.
- Bring along a passport photo, as this will save time.
3. Your Mobile Device
Because many of us use our smartphones as a way to store a bunch of important documents, in some respects, a smartphone can be viewed in a similar way to a wallet, so it is, for obvious reasons, well worth taking extra precautions in safeguarding a phone (or other mobile device). Always keep it with you when travelling.
If your smartphone comes with tracking capabilities or special safeguards, if you’re not already familiar with those functions, you should familiarise before you go on your trip. However, if it does get lost, or it is stolen, make sure you report the loss/ theft to the authorities. If you have some paperwork related to the purchase of the phone, that could prove useful for insurance purposes.
4. Your Valuables
You can avoid losing any valuables or having them stolen by avoiding taking them on your trip. If they were to go missing from checked-baggage, you’ll find that the majority of airlines preclude the cover of valuables. If you do have to bring some expensive item of jewellery, you should either wear it or keep it close to your person all the time.