Tell them to look after their passports, warns the British Embassy.
The British Embassy in Madrid is warning Easter visitors to Spain to take good care of their passports, after more than 6000 were lost or stolen in the country last year.
A lost or stolen passport means spending precious holiday time and money to get an Emergency Travel Document or ETD in order to return home.
The Embassy urges travellers to watch a new Foreign Office video “Enjoy your holiday” on YouTube, in which British tourists who have suffered a lost or stolen passport reveal the true costs in terms of time, money and frustration in dealing with the issue.
Replacing a passport whilst abroad requires a visit to the nearest British Consulate – which may be several hours away – to obtain an Emergency Travel Document that costs the euro equivalent of 95 pounds.
“Your passport is valuable”, says Will Middleton, Consular Regional Director for Spain. “If you do need to carry it, keep it in a money belt under your clothes rather than in a handbag or rucksack, and never leave passports in a car.
“Avoid carrying all your passports together. A single bag theft can leave a family of four facing a bill of nearly 400 pounds for emergency travel documents.”
Taking just four months from last year, Consulates in Spain assisted 568 British nationals from London and the South East whose passports were lost or stolen.
Figures in other regions include the South West 149, West Midlands 96, East Midlands 101, North West 209, North East 98, Yorkshire & the Humber 88, Scotland 139, Wales 72 and Northern Ireland 27.
Bag theft is the biggest cause of stolen passports in Spain (39%), followed by thefts from cars (20%), pick-pocketing (15%) and apartment or villa break-ins (14%).
Travellers can get further advice and information on Spain via the British Embassy’s social media channels.