Gone – my iPod, camera, passport, wallet with my license, cash, every credit card, really, any card with my name on it was gone. I was in Madrid, Spain for a trade show, with nothing to link me to my actual identity, I had a mere sixteen hours until I had to catch my flight and, hopefully maintain my identity, credit rating, etc.

Long story short, at the trade show, I put my bag behind the booth for just three minutes while typing an email on my Blackberry. When I went back, it was gone.

If you are unprepared like I was, follow my example as it seemed to work pretty well. However, if you are reading this, you already know better than to be unprepared.

While crying, I took inventory of what I did still have: my Blackberry. If you have every read the book Hatchet that is what my blackberry meant to me.

Next, inventory of my credit cards. A nearby booth had computers with internet, so I got phone numbers for each credit card company and I started cancelling them. While online, I got the address and phone number for the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and my hotel (fax number too!). I called the U.S. Embassy’s emergency number to find out what I should do.

Next call – my parents. Three years ago I had given them a photocopy of my passport so I hoped and prayed that they still had it and could fax it to my hotel.

In case my parents didn’t come through, I emailed my employer. When you are employed they always photocopy your driver’s license.

I went straight to my hotel and immediately got a new room since the thief had my hotel room key.

The front desk pointed me to the police station (the embassy asks you what measures you took to find/report your lost passport). My friend who lives in Madrid accompanied me (unfair advantage, I will admit). It only took an hour, but would have taken double the amount of time without her as my translator.

We arrive at the embassy when it opened at 8 a.m., and get in the line for American citizens. When you get in, you take a number, fill out three forms, and take a picture (which costs 4 Euros). Although they didn’t ask for an ID, they did take the faxed photocopy of my passport when offered (shout out and thanks to my mom & dad!).

I now had a temporary passport which would be valid for 3 months after 1.5 hours and $100 dollars, which my gracious friend provided (another note: keep cash separate from your passport). They do accept Euros, Dollars and credit cards, but lucky for me the credit card network was down. PS: Don’t expect sympathy from anyone at the embassy.

What you should do before leaving:
  • Before leaving: Leave photocopies of your passport and the front and back of my credit card with someone you trust. It could be beneficial to leave a copy in your office as well.
  • Memorize your Social Security Number and passport number.
  • Create a document with phone numbers to:
    • The keepers of your photocopies
    • Your credit cards companies
    • The U.S. embassy for wherever you are traveling. Email yourself the document and keep one hard copy – separate from your wallet.
  • Take no more than two credit cards with you.
  • Whether traveling for work or pleasure, back up your computer!
What to do in the country you are visiting:
  • Keep your passport and extra cash in your hotel safe. Don’t keep it all on you.
  • Keep your valuables/credit cards in multiple places.
  • Keep bags and valuables visible at all times.

3 Replies to “Stranded in Madrid With Nothing But My Health

  1. Collecting nativity set is a hobby to many of the people across the globe.There are many motives why they feel interest to collect such thing at their own home.Different religious conference reveal the fact.They may learn this here now to write papers on the moral behind of this collecting nativity sets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *