Tuesday, 17 January 2017

AMERICAN ADVENTURE | WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR PASSPORT DAYS BEFORE TRAVELLING


I survived my very first American adventure! I say first because already I want to go again. On this ten day excursion I travelled to New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Arizona and Los Angeles. For each place I am going to dedicate a single post. The first obviously being New York, which will be posted next, and this very special post is about all the drama that surrounded this holiday from the very get-go. 

Some background for you all. My sister and I booked this deal online to go to New York, Las Vegas and LA with hotels and flights all included for £799. Originally, we planned to go in June for my birthday but with Donald Trump’s impending inauguration we wanted to see The White House while Obama was still in it. It’s pretty easy to get to Washington DC from New York so we booked the trip for early January instead literally days before the Obamas were set to leave. 

We were set to fly out on Friday 6th January at 9am from Birmingham Airport to Newark Airport in New York. Everything got completely fucked on its head when my sister couldn’t locate her passport a few days before. Needless to say, the house got turned upside down and there were a lot of tears and stress involved because, even though I had my passport, everything, all the hotels etc. were in my sister’s name. So although I could travel it was possible that I would have nowhere to stay. 

The top priority was finding my sister’s passport and horribly that wasn’t on the cards. We spent a solid two days searching high and low for it and of course failing that we took to Google. We searched online and saw that you could book appointments if you stated a reason i.e. lost/stolen/renew passport etc. Instead of booking an appointment (cost £100) which could be a waste of money considering she didn't have her passport she went anyway after checking the slots were still free. Checking online continuously that the time stayed available she and my mother set off for Durham with the aim of getting there at 2pm. If you have lost/misplaced your passport and you book an appointment it automatically places you on 7 Day Fast Tracking which wasn't fast enough.  

She went there with all the necessary paperwork and IDs as well as her travel bookings and passport photos. Unfortunately, although they agreed to process her passport it was immediately sent for 7 day fast tracking, as mentioned. In some situations they will give it to you after four hours if it is an emergency. They do not consider a leisure holiday an emergency so if this ever happens to you please think of a good, believable emergency if you need to get your passport on time. Things like a death or illness are probably best, I am sure proof of that would help too, you know if it's not fabricated. 

The best they could do with our time-sensitive situation is suggest to keep calling the office to get a tracking number and then contact the courier directly to hopefully get them to deliver it the same day as they tracked it. They may charge you for this service. My sister got her passport on the Friday, without paying extra, which in all fairness was pretty quick considering her appointment was just Wednesday afternoon. On top of this because we were going to the States she needed to reapply for her Esta Visa so it would show up on the new passport. 

So what happened? My sister called the travel agency etc. to try and get them to change the bookings of hotels into my name so I would have somewhere to stay if she couldn’t make it. That worked for New York and Los Angeles but not Las Vegas. She then sent me the itinerary of the flights and our train tickets to Washington DC for the Saturday. I had no choice but to go without her on the Friday and I have to admit I was really nervous. I have never travelled anywhere by myself before and truly didn’t know what to expect and was certain something would go wrong. 

Honestly, in hindsight I feel silly as everything went smoothly. For anyone travelling alone I would suggest that if you’re not confident then just be cautious. The first time you venture out by yourself you will probably be nervous but honestly you will adapt very quickly. I left early to get to the airport and even though I had my boarding pass and whizzed through security I was relaxed while I waited for my gate number to show up. I had all my documents, my money, everything. I had checked how to get to my airport. Made sure I had more than enough money to last me in case my sister didn’t come at all and of course I made sure my passport was safe and secure throughout my entire trip.

The first two days I was alone in both New York and Washington DC and though it is not extraordinary and most people don’t think twice about it. I am really proud that I managed to navigate two cities by myself. I found that travelling alone was actually enjoyable and feel much more competent and confident in my abilities. I highly recommend it and hope to purposefully travel alone somewhere soon (any suggestions welcome?). 

The best advice I can give in regards to passports is check at least a week before that you have it and it’s within its expiry date before you travel. The worst thing you can do is leave it too late and other advice is don’t give up. If you call and one person is unhelpful keep calling all you need is one good person that wants to help and you’ll be surprised what they can do. 

I wish I could say the drama ended there, but although my sister booked a later flight and joined me just the next night in New York when we went to get our domestic flight to McCarran Airport in Las Vegas my sister’s pre-booked ticket with United Airlines didn’t show up. She flew with Aer Lingus to New York because they were cheaper and although she had called United and the travel agency to ensure that everything would still be in place for her despite missing her first flight it wasn’t. It seemed that because she had missed the first flight United had voided/cancelled the rest of her trip without warning. 

We were waiting at the Additional Services desk for over an hour to try and fix it and the advisor just kept repeating that there was nothing she could do. After literally begging her she let us use the phone to call United Airlines as neither of us had roaming data we were on hold for ages, and I mean ages, when she finally got through to an attendant the phone fucking died and we were back to square one. Fortunately another woman came to help us and she called again after I pleaded with her to just please call and see what they say. Thank God she did because it seemed we got a good person who fixed everything and reinstated her ticket. She was put on standby for the flight to Las Vegas but managed to get on. I was so thankful and grateful to everyone at that moment because it would have sucked for her to have to go home after all this. Could you imagine? What a waste. 

The moral of the story is losing your passport is fucking expensive, she had to pay for the new passport (currently £103 for 7 Day Fast Track and £128 for 4 hour emergency service) and had to drive to Durham which is approx 3 hours away from us plus book a last minute flight to New York and pay for another visa (about £$14). Not to mention the endless phone calls and undue amount of stress. Thank you so much for reading, if you are undergoing a similar passport situation then trust me I feel for you and I hope you have the time to sort something out. Thank you so much to everyone who still read and commented on my posts even though I have been off the scene for a while, I appreciate it a lot and look forward to returning the favour, lots of love. Hope you are all well, I am definitely ready to get back to blogging. Thanks again. Take care.

Do you have any travel horror stories?

Love 
Kiran

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23 comments

  1. Sorry for the dilemma with your sister's passport. I'm glad you managed well alone.
    I've always thought it'd be great to travel alone; not so sure now.

    Funmi x
    www.funmialabi.co.uk

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  2. Oh dear, I hope I didn't put you off! Definitely try it, you'll probably enjoy it more than you think. Thank you for reading and being the first to comment xxx

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  3. That must have been an awful experience, but I'm glad you resolved it at the end. Can't wait to read upcoming posts.
    Nina
    Nina's Style Blog

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  4. Oh wow what a stressful experience!

    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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  5. Omg that must have been so annoying! I work at the airport and see people loose their passports all the time, it's a situation that would stress anyone out. At least you kinda got it sorted. x

    LAURA ­| Laura Thinks About

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  6. OMGsshhh
    thanks for a blog post on this, poor you eyy but at least it was an experience you got to learn from
    Winnie
    xxx
    New Blog Post: http://itsjustwinnie.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/what-will-you-wear-aisle-style-dresses.html
    Instagram: @itsjustwinnie1

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  7. Can't wait to see the New York post, I have always wanted to go there!

    TheNormcoreRebel

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  8. this sounds extremely stressful! x

    www.sonias-style.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. I am very disappointed to know that you have lost your passport. A stressful situation.
    Expedia Coupons

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  10. interesting postr .ň
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  11. I'm sorry about your sister and her passport. That sounds like a nightmare indeed but hey you got through it eventually which is really a sigh of relief. Reading through this as it builds up one paragraph to the next was like reading a thriller. This should remind me to keep my passport in a safe place.

    annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com | Bloglovin' | Instagram

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  12. Wow I can imagine how stressful that must of been, I don't really travel much simply because I'm scared of heights or water so leaving UK is a no go lol Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Happy New Year to you and your family!! Dominica from www.its-dominica.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. Oh no, this sounds so stressful and upsetting! Glad it worked out

    http://www.myclusterofthoughts.com/

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  14. I am so sorry you had to go through this mess, I always check for my passport weeks before travelling to make sure everything is ready (I am a control freak) but I am glad everything worked out for you and your sister! x

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

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  15. Oh my god what a nightmare! I'm so glad you managed to get it sorted, but the stress and extra cost really isn't what you need! The only travel nightmare I can think of is when my sister ended up in hospital in France and then when she was finally discharged our car wouldn't start!
    Amy xx
    www.callmeamy.co.uk

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  16. I've never had such a horror story, but I have assumed my passport was in date when it was infact going to expire in 2 weeks. I've also heard of people being turned away at the airport because their passport expired. It must have been hard for your Sister to miss out on the first two days, hope the rest of your trip went well :) xx

    Velvet Blush

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  17. I had a feeling it'd be an expensive mistake to make! I'm SO looking forward to all of your American travel diaries by the way, especially New York as it's still right at the top of my travel wishlist :)

    aglassofice.com
    x

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  18. this mustve been so stressful!

    http://claresloves.blogspot.com/

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  19. Oh my goodness, what a drama! I really admire the both of you for persevering in the face of so much adversity. I might have just given up! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

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  20. Oh my goodness, what an absolute nightmare for you both. I can't even imagine the panic you must have been feeling! I'm so glad you managed to have a good time despite of it and that you enjoyed travelling solo. Can't wait to see the posts!

    Elle
    www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

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  21. Yikes! What an ordeal!!! But I am so glad you got to see the White House before it got all weird there...lol! Well done for getting around by yourself there for a while...I don't think I could ever manage it xxx
    Sal | UmmBaby Beauty

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  22. Sorry for the dilemma with your sister's passport, it sounded like a horrible nightmare! I am glad you enjoyed travelling on your own! Can't wait to see what you got up to though...

    xo, Yasmin
    http://www.iamyasmin.ca

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