Here’s a guide to getting emergency help while traveling abroad whether dealing with a lost passport or medical emergency.
Traveling to a foreign country is one of the best experiences a person can have. Travel is a chance to broaden your horizons, learn more about the world around you, experience new cultures, and otherwise have the time of your life. For Americans in particular, traveling to other countries is getting simpler and safer all the time. The US State Department works hard to help ensure that travelers have all the right resources that they need when abroad, and that includes emergency resources.
Losing your passport or having it stolen in a foreign country can be an extremely frightening experience. Likewise, if you get into an accident, have a medical emergency, or find yourself in trouble with the local police, you may not know where to turn.
In frightening situations like these, rest assured that the US State Department has your back. If you find yourself in need of emergency support or advice while traveling abroad, visit the US Passports and International Travel website. This website has all sorts of resources to help you determine the appropriate course of action for a variety of circumstances. In case of emergency, be sure to write down the phone number for this service and keep it with your travel documents. If calling from the US, call 1-888-407-4747. If calling from outside the U.S. dial 1-202-501-4444.
The following guidelines can also help you figure out what to do in specific situations:
If your passport is lost or stolen – A lost passport is a big deal. Without a new passport, you won’t be able to return to the United States, and if you don’t report your passport missing, the person who finds it may be able to use it to travel with your identity. Report lost passports as soon as possible to your nearest US Embassy or Consulate. You should be able to ask the front desk at your hotel where your closest US Embassy is or be able to look up the embassy’s phone number on this website.
If you have a medical emergency while abroad – You can use this website to find a doctor or hospital while traveling abroad. It’s also important to check your health insurance before going on any big trip to see what your coverage is like in the place you’re visiting.
If you get arrested while traveling abroad – One of the most important tasks of the US State Department is protecting the rights of US citizens who are imprisoned overseas. If you only get one phone call when arrested in a foreign country, it shouldn’t be to your parents or your spouse back home. It should be to your local embassy. The US Embassy is your key to making sure your rights are protected and that you are treated humanely wherever you are around the world.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.