You’re on vacation and having a great time with friends and family. You reach for your wallet to pay for the souvenir in your hand and realize your wallet is stolen.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself in this situation:
Try not to Panic:
I won’t not tell you not to panic, however, when panic strikes, breathe! It works and you will start thinking clearly.
Cancel your Credit Cards:
If you have a mobile phone that allows international calls, you want to call your bank or credit card companies immediately and inform them your wallet has been stolen and your card(s) was in it. This way, you can easily contest any charges that may be made after your wallet was stolen. You can also request your bank to send you a new card via express courier.
If you don’t have a mobile phone and you don’t have any money to use for international calls, determine which of the following is nearest your location: your hotel, a tourist assistance center or your country’s embassy or consulate office. You can ask for a free long distance call from any of these facilities to take care of your bank and call your family for a financial assistance.
What about filing a complaint at the police station? Cancel your credit cards first. Keep in mind, the police may not be able to do much other than take your statement and file a report. Some people suggest you skip going to the police all together unless you are required by your insurance company or credit card company to file a report.
Don’t bring all your cash and credit cards with you when going out, leave the majority of your money in a safe at the hotel. Carry some cash in your pocket when you are out, so that if your wallet is stolen, you still have some money with you to keep you going.
It is also a good idea to ask your hotel’s concierge about the location of your embassy and available tourist assistance centers. Ask the concierge to write the address down and keep it with you at all times, just make sure to put it anywhere else but inside your wallet.
Lastly before you leave home, photocopy your credit cards, your passport and driver’s license and take one copy with you and leave one with friends or relatives. This way if your wallet is stolen you can recover the numbers of the cards and the bank phone numbers and quickly inform the issuer of the credit card.
Lastly, consider traveling with a money belt and keeping your cards in the belt (worn under your clothing) for security. For men, look for pants, shirts, and jackets with zipper pockets or hidden pockets which, while not fool proof, might just deter pick pockets. Ladies, consider traveling without purses hung on your shoulders which are tempting for grab and run. A few precautions will allow you to enjoy your vacation with confidence.
What travel safety tips do you follow? List them in the comments below.