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  • Writer's pictureChristine Hardenberger

What to Do When You Accidentally Wash Your Passport...

It's been a very long couple of days...

I made one of the biggest "oopsies" of my travel career. On Saturday, I was traveling home from Jamaica when I spilled an entire can of soda all over my backpack so, when I got home, I decide to wash it.

I ran it through the cycle and it came out nice and clean!  I was very happy.

Two days later I was scrolling through TikTok and a creator was talking about how he constantly misplaces his passport.  

"Ha!" I thought.  "I always know where my passport is!"

Had I been looking in the mirror I could have watched all the color drain from my face like in a cartoon.

I knew where my passport was. In the hidden pocket of my backpack where I keep it for safety. 

The pocket where I forgot about it when I ran the backpack through the wash.I flew off the couch hoping against hope that I was wrong only to discover my mangled passport in the hidden pocket.

Oh, did I mention that we are leaving for Europe in two weeks.

After I got done shaking (I was literally shaking),  it was time to jump into "fix-it mode!"

Here's what you need to do if you ever find yourself in need of a last-minute passport:

#1 First things first, make an appointment at the closest passport agency ASAP. You must be within two weeks of travel (and they will make you prove it) so book an appointment as soon as you are able.  Here's the link.

#2 Fill out the forms. You have to fill out an application as though you're getting a passport for the first time. The website will guide you. Follow the instructions and print out the form.

#3 Round up your docs. You're going to need a bunch. You need your birth certificate, government-issued photo ID, printed application, and printed proof of travel, at the very least. Be sure to carefully review all the documents you'll need so you don't get caught short. 

(If you don't have an official copy of your birth certificate, order that now.  Trust me.  You don't want to realize you don't have it when you need it.  Ask me how I know.)

#4 Lastly, get those passport photos snapped. You'll need to bring these with you as well. I recommend having it done at your local CVS or Walgreens rather than trying to do it yourself.  The requirements are stringent.

Take all your goodies and head to your appointment. In most cases, you'll get your passport the same day!

Oh, and, yes, you're going to pay a pretty penny for this. My bank account is crying.

Now, that you have your bright, shiny, undamaged passport, let's find you someplace great to go!

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