That Time I Lost My Passport
Now this is a story all about how
my life got flipped turned upside down I lost my passport at Palma de Mallorca airport and had possibly the worst 24 hours of my life when it comes to travel.
After getting the holiday blues so soon after Amsterdam earlier in the year Aston, Tamzin and I decided we would book a sunny, relaxing holiday in Mallorca. All inclusive drinks, hours sunbathing by the pool and moments away from the night life in Magaluf – perfect right?
To make things easier for us (as we live near completely different airports) it made sense to book from our own airports. Me being me, I decided to book a late flight the night before in order to save around £100 compared to flying on Friday morning.
The plan was either to stay at Palma de Mallorca airport overnight until the girls arrived, or get a cheap hotel nearby. Getting a hotel would have definitely been the better option, but after a very large unexpected bill came out of my account the week before the holiday, I couldn’t really justify the cost for a few hours.
I’d stayed overnight in an airport before so I wasn’t too worried.
When I finally arrived in Palma it was around 12:30 am and I was knackered. The queue for passport control was non-existent and I managed to find some benches in the baggage claim area that was perfect for a kip if I needed one.
It didn’t take long for me to get moved on by security as they said I couldn’t sit there all night, so I went to the arrivals area outside where there were some not-so-comfy benches. This meant no chance of sleeping, as I wouldn’t have been able to hold onto my bags, damn!
After about three hours of sitting in the same spot, I started to get really tired and my phone was running low on battery. I thought it would probably be better to go to the hotel we were staying at and sit in reception as it would be 100x comfier and probably be able to charge my phone. I jumped in one the taxis on a meter outside and paid around €44 for what seemed like the longest journey ever.
I got to the hotel and they were SO LOVELY. The guy on reception didn’t want me to not get any sleep so he let me into the room early for no charge – I couldn’t actually believe how nice he was and after a long night, sleeping in a bed was exactly what I needed!
All he needed from me to be able to let me into the room was my booking reference and my passport. I opened my bag and pulled out my passport holder and saw it was empty.
I pulled everything apart in the reception but couldn’t find it anywhere.
In the end, the receptionist let me go up to my room and told me I’d need to speak to someone in the morning before 8 am, so I could check in properly. Bear in mind it was 4 am at this time, I gladly accepted this offer and went upstairs for a few hours sleep.
The next morning I came downstairs and explained my situation. My passport was still lost and I needed to check in my room officially. The receptionist was so friendly and gave me advice on what to do. I called the airport lost and found, airport security and the taxi company I had used and he spoke to them all in Spanish for me as I couldn’t understand everything they were saying.
Unfortunately, no one had handed in my passport overnight.
The only thing I could do now was get in touch with the British consulate, so I filled out an online application form and booked the next available appointment – Monday at 12:00 pm. SIX HOURS BEFORE MY FLIGHT HOME.
Que more panic.
I had no idea if I’d be able to get a passport in time, but it was the only option I had.
I tried calling the lost and found again over the weekend but I don’t actually think they were open as I never got an answer, so when Monday came around I got on a bus near the hotel and made my way into Palma city centre for my Consulate appointment.
Luckily I left with plenty of time as I really struggled to find the building. I must have asked around 8 different people, who all sent me in a different direction. After 45 MINUTES of walking around looking for it, I found the building just a 3-minute walk away from my bus stop.
The consulate office was also really friendly and they made the process super easy. There was even a photo-booth there so I could take a new passport photo, something I was also worried about not being able to do in Palma when I didn’t know my way around.
I had to show my boarding pass to prove I was leaving the country, then sign the forms I had filled out online. I actually thought it was going to be so much more difficult than that, but around 35 minutes later I had my emergency passport, just in time to head to the airport.
I really don’t know which point I lost my passport at as it could have been at passport control, bench number one, bench number two or even in the taxi. I didn’t let my bag out of my sight the entire time I was there so I don’t think anyone stole it, but when I called the Spanish police to report it missing they didn’t care anyway…
LESSON WELL AND TRULY LEARNT.
What to do if you’ve lost your passport
- If you know the area you lost it in, speak to the lost and found, security or the travel operator. They may have had it handed in.
- Call the local police (hopefully they’re more useful than the Spanish police) and tell them someone may be travelling with your passport.
- Book an appointment at the local British Consulate or Embassy. Don’t make the mistake I did and leave it until the day after to book as they’re not open weekends.
- Make sure you have £100 left over to pay for an emergency passport.
- Print out your hotel reservation and travel itinerary as you’ll need then for your appointment.
Things I wish people had told me
- Go into town and find the Consulate/Embassy on one of the days before your appointment so you don’t risk getting lost beforehand.
- Take into consideration the conversion rate and pay by card to avoid two lots of charges.
- There will be a photo booth there so you don’t have to worry about finding one beforehand.
So, I’m on a temporary travel ban while I wait for my new passport to arrive… great.