Accidentally leaving your passport in the washing machine has been revealed as one of the top reasons why Brits are being forced to shell out millions on emergency documents to get them home after a holiday, although crime is a factor, too.
According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), there has been a huge surge in the number of holidaymakers who are having to purchase emergency travel documents when abroad.
The documents are issued when passports are lost, stolen or damaged, but the FCO have reported a 300 per cent increase in the number of ‘avoidable’ cases in the last year alone.
The FCO is now urging people to save themselves both time and money by looking after their passport while on holiday this summer.
Will Middleton, consular director for southern Europe, said: “Our staff deal with people every day who require ETDs for a range of reasons.
“Some are victims of crime, but we also hear of passports being damaged carelessly, like becoming damaged after being hidden in the freezer.
“These are situations that could have been avoided and end up costing holidaymakers valuable time and money.
“We strongly advise people to look after their passport, keep it safe and check its validity well in advance of travel.
“Simple steps such as locking your passport in a safe if you have access to one and carrying a photocopy with you can help prevent problems later on.”
Obtaining an ETD can take several days and can cost up to £200, depending on local circumstances.
You may need to obtain a police report, get passport photos, and get to and from your nearest British Consulate or Embassy.
You may also have to replace any visas you need for your journey.