Home Tips and Tricks What To Do If You Lose Your Driver’s License While Traveling

What To Do If You Lose Your Driver’s License While Traveling

by SharonKurheg

It’s not something you really want to think about, but it can happen. You take out your wallet, which has your credit cards and driver’s license and leave it at the restaurant. Or you got pickpocketed and your entire wallet is gone. Or you didn’t notice when your driver’s license fell onto the floor as you took something else out of your wallet.

Assuming you don’t carry your passport with you everywhere like you do your driver’s license, it’s sometimes possible to board a plane in the U.S. without your I.D. (here’s how it may be done). Renting a car without your driver’s license with you might be a little trickier. And getting into your hotel, buying certain items, etc. might have issues, as well, if you don’t have your driver’s license. But both might work out OK with the instructions below.

First thing’s first: file a police report

After you’ve searched everywhere, if you’re convinced that your driver’s license was stolen and not just lost, file a police report ASAP. Having proof that you’ve reported it to the authorities can help make it easier when places ask you for your I.D. and you don’t have it. The police report makes it “official” that your driver’s license was stolen and you don’t have it anymore.

Contact your local DMV

The DMV in most, if not all states, allow you to do many things online…including getting a temporary replacement driver’s license. They should allow you to print (or at least download a PDF of) a temporary license or registration instantly.

How doing that will help

With the police report and a temporary license in hand/on phone, it’s good evidence that you usually DO have a driver’s license and yours is just…gone. That could potentially be enough to check in to your hotel (here’s why they ask for ID) or even if you get stopped by police.

Some states allow you to have a digital driver’s license, either in Apple Wallet or some other secure mobile wallet-type app. It’s probably a good idea to take advantage of that (if you have the option to carry BOTH a digital ID and a hard copy, that’s even better, in terms of loss or theft. Hopefully if one’s gone, you’d still have the other). If your state isn’t yet participating in that sort of program, it can’t hurt to make a copy of the front and back of your driver’s license and keep it in a secure, encrypted, password-protected photo app (I use a free program called KeepSafe and have copies of both my and Joe’s driver’s licenses, passports and COVID vaccine cards in it).

Feature photo: Public domain

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