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Travel nightmare maybe not

Being the victim of a theft while traveling is certainly an inconvenience, but it does not need to be a disaster. As you make your plans to travel decide which credit and identification cards you will need. Take only those items and leave your other cards at home. Make a photocopy or scan the front of your medical insurance and credit cards. Be sure to record the customer service telephone numbers in case you need to contact them later. Save the copies to a safe location you can access if the originals are stolen. Once at your destination, consider keeping some form of identification and a credit card locked in your motel room safe as a back-up.

A major concern for travelers who have suffered a theft is how they will board an airplane without identification. From the TSA is the following: Adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight. The TSA understands passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, due to lost items or inadvertently leaving them at home. Not having an ID, does not necessarily mean a passenger won't be allowed to fly. If passengers are willing to provide additional information, the TSA has other means of substantiating someone's identity, like using publicly available databases. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening so they are encouraged to arrive at the airport one to two hours earlier than they otherwise would have planned. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by TSA may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or onto an airplane. (, 4 October 2012)

Immediately upon discovering your items missing report the theft to the police. Provide a description of the items taken. Follow up after the initial report if you obtain additional information or believe someone is using your credit cards.

Use the customer service number to cancel your stolen credit and debit cards. Follow the instruction provided by the service representative. You may also be able to arrange to have a new credit card sent to you by overnight express.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation can provide a replacement drivers license or identification card. Both require a written request. On your request, you are required to include the following information: full name; date of birth; driver license number or social security number; a brief explanation of what happened to your driver license and why you can't make it back to North Dakota; your out of state mailing address; and a contact phone number. You will need to provide your signature and it must be handwritten. Typed/Electronic signatures are not acceptable.

The request may be either faxed or mailed. The ND DOT fax number is (701) 328-2435. If you fax in the request, you will need to include credit card information for the $8 fee. The following information from the credit card is required for processing: credit card number; expiration date; 3-digit verification code (found on the back of the card); billing zip code. If you mail in the request, include a check or money order made payable to Drivers License Division. The address is: Drivers License Division; 608 East Boulevard Avenue; Bismarck, ND 58505-0750.

FedEx Delivery is available for an extra fee. If you wish to have your license delivered overnight, indicate by writing "Please Overnight" on your request. NDDOT will FedEx your card separately for the delivery fee. No PO Boxes allowed for FedEx delivery. FedEx delivery requests must be received no later than 1:30 pm (CDT) to make it out in that day's outgoing FedEx. Approximate cost for a week day delivery is $13 - $17. Approximate cost for a Saturday delivery is $27 - $30.

Think smart as you prepare to travel by limiting what you plan to take with. Have copies of your health insurance and credit cards in case they are lost. Keep your copies and back-up credit card and identification card in a safe place. Immediately report your loss to the police. Contact the credit card company to cancel or place a hold on the card. Contact the local TSA office to learn the procedures required to fly without an ID. Be aware of your surroundings to avoid being a victim. Planning ahead can help keep an unfortunate situation from turning into a disaster.