Losing one's driver license while traveling may leave you out of luck, however. In order to get a duplicate license, you'll need to visit your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in person, where the personnel will verify your identity before issuing a replacement. Most states' DMV websites require bringing along acceptable proof of identity. Unfortunately, if your primary means of identification (driver's license and passport) have been stolen, you will need to find other supporting documents such as an original birth certificate and Social Security card to find sufficient alternative documentation to prove your identity to the DMV.
Having your passport is an absolute necessity when outside your home country. If you lose your passport or other identification documents while traveling internationally, get in touch with the nearest embassy or consulate immediately. If you have copies of your documents, that will expedite the replacement process. Domestically, report your lost or stolen passport by phone or using a State Department form that is available on the Internet.
Losing my laptop was just as frustrating in this event. I basically “live” on my laptop. At any one time I probably have 20 draft articles for BCA stored on it, plus hundreds of research files, emails, spreadsheets, etc. Luckily when I get home from trips I habitually back up the files onto a separate hard drive. When I took that hard drive to the Apple store, the folks there were able to transfer all of the files onto the new laptop. It is recommended that you remove sensitive data from your laptop before traveling. Protecting your laptop and other communication devices with passwords is of course a prudent step if they carry sensitive information.
A quick review of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System files revealed one business aviation trip in which an FBO lineman off-loaded all the bags from the aircraft and put them in the passengers' vehicles. Unfortunately, the pilots' bags were among them. The good news is that the crew bags were later discovered and returned. The bad news is that the flight crews had subsequently operated an aircraft without their documents.
In the end, my wife was assisted by a stranger who quickly turned into a friend. In true Irish fashion, they speculated as to whether they were related during their trip up to Dublin to catch the flight home. I, too, benefited from the kindness of strangers, namely customer service representatives, and managed to get home days later by deadheading on one of our company's aircraft on a ferry flight to an airport relatively close to home and then having a friend fetch me and finally deposit me at my front door. The financial damage of the stolen credit cards was kept to a minimum thanks to the aggressive security screening by the credit card companies themselves and by my prompt reporting of their disappearance.
The consequences of the identity theft could have been worse, and yes, my experience has made me more attentive to the need for identity theft protection. Websites for vendors that provide identity theft protection contain further advice on how to protect oneself from this growing crime. Criminals have become resourceful in their ways to gain access to our identity information.
In the meantime, if anyone has sugges–tions as to how a husband can redeem himself after stranding his wife in a foreign country late at night without any means of support, please send them my way. You've got my name and know where to find me. Thanks. BCA