Losing or having your passport stolen when abroad is a disaster. Almost all money transactions require identification. Almost all travel requires identification. Any interaction with law enforcement requires identification. And, the only legitimate identification for an American citizen traveling abroad is a U.S. Passport.
Luckily, replacing a passport abroad is not as difficult as one might think. U.S. Embassies are extremely helpful and very efficient with respect to assisting United States citizens.
First 3 things to do when you lose your passport
Once you have retraced your steps in an effort to find a lost passport, and you are certain it is gone:
1) Get online
Before doing anything else, find the location and address of the U.S. Embassy in the country you are visiting. In addition to the address, write down the phone number of the embassy as well. If you do not have access to a computer, find the closest police station and tell them you need to contact the U.S. Embassy.
Make absolutely certain that the size of the photos are 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm); that distance from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head takes up 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm); that the photo paper is matte or glossy quality; that you are looking directly at the camera; that the background is plain or off-white; and that the photo is in color. Do not have anything on your head (unless you use head wear for religious purposes); have anything in your ears with the exception of an aid, or over your eyes except non-glare prescription glasses.
3) Go to the embassy immediately
Even if you have no money, the embassy can help you. Simply explain your situation to the guard outside and the embassy staff will take care of everything else.
Do not waste too much time looking for a lost or stolen passport. Even an emergency passport can take up to five days to arrive. Every hour you spend looking for a lost or stolen passport delays the arrival of a replacement passport.
If you request an emergency passport and then find your original, call the embassy and notify the staff immediately. Under no circumstances should you dispose of or destroy a passport.