Uh oh. You don't have your driver's license and you need it to board a flight?
Before freaking out (though you most likely are already in freaked out mode if you found this article!), know that you WILL see your destination or home again!
You won't be the first traveler going through airport security with no I.D. It's easy to misplace or lose your driver's license in the rush of going through security and getting to your gate. You may not realize your license is gone until you get to your destination. Or you changed your wallet or purse before leaving home and didn't get the driver's license moved over. Or sadly, your purse may get stolen, which happened to a couple of friends of mine, while they were traveling.
Here are some pre-trip precautionary steps to take:
- Snap a photo of your driver's license and keep it in your phone or a password-protected document you'll be able to access. Do the same for your passport.
- Leave a copy of your driver's license and passport at home where a family member or friend can get it to you if needed.
- Have another photo id with you or anything with your address printed on it (you'll see why below). Have this in a different location from your driver's license (your luggage perhaps) in case your purse gets stolen.
- Know your Trusted Traveler number (Global Entry/TSA Precheck) if you have this.
- Request a U.S. Passport card from the U.S. State Department as a backup photo I.D.
While it may be too late for your current trip's woes, get add these to your travel checklist for upcoming travels.
So how do you get through airport security without your driver's license? This advice was given to me by a TSA agent in Orlando (my home airport) and applies to travel within the United States:
- Get to airport security about 20 minutes earlier than you normally would.
- Have ready a prescription bottle with your name on it, or any Costco/Sam’s Club/or other card with your photo. Any mail or magazines that have your address is also good. Why? These items are typically not the items forged by terrorists, so they offer a more credible verification of who you say your are.
- Have your Trusted Traveler number available, if you have one.
- If you have none of this, don't freak out again! There is a form you will fill out when you get to Security and they’ll look you up.
Hopefully your stress level goes down now that you know you'll be able to board your flight. Your biggest stress is now knowing you'll have to go to the DMV to get a replacement driver's license. Ugh!
If you've been in this situation and have had success with other proof of ID as you went through airport security, or you have tips that work for countries other than the U.S., do share in the comments below!