People travel for many reason, both for business and for pleasure, every single day. Most people are able to travel without incident, but for a few, a simple trip becomes a huge hassle. What we’re speaking about, of course, is losing your wallet while traveling overseas. Losing your wallet anywhere is a big deal, but losing it in another country gives you a strict time limit for recovering it before you fly back home.
Always Travel Prepared
The best thing you can do when you travel is travel prepared. One way you can prepare is by making colour copies of your important documents and cards. ATM card, credit card, passport, IDs, all should be copied. Keep a copy with you but not in your wallet. Keep another copy at home, and if possible, email a copy to yourself or a friend so you have digital access. It’s much easier to replace your documents if you have high-quality copies.
Safeguard These Copies
The last thing you want is to not lose your wallet and instead lose the photocopies of your card information. That information is just as dangerous as the card itself, if a little less convenient to use. Don’t keep it in an obvious place in your luggage, because you never know who has access to your bags when you can’t see them. Find a small hiding place to keep your copies. In a shoe or sewn into clothing, hidden in secret pockets or inside electronics you keep on you at all times, and other such places make good hiding spots.
Prune Your Wallet
Before you travel, take anything out of your wallet that you won’t need. This includes any of those rewards cards for local businesses, extra forms of ID you should carry separately, or secondary credit cards or ATM cards. Take only the bare minimum of what you need so you don’t have to worry about losing everything important.
Carry a Decoy
This one is more applicable if you’re traveling in a dangerous location and you worry about being mugged, but it also worked for any travel. Carry a wallet with a few dollars in it and if you have one, an expired credit card. This way you have something to produce if a thief attempts to mug you, and you can escape without harm and with your primary wallet intact.
Know Your Bank Policies
Especially important if you lose your credit card or ATM card, you’ll want to know your banking policies. Figure out how you can contact them if the worst happens. If they have local branches, even better. If not, look into their contact numbers and hours. Find out what needs to be canceled, what needs to be replaced, and how long it will take. Know your account and card numbers, and be ready to file a police report if required.
Locate a Consulate
Whatever your home country is, there’s probably a consulate or embassy nearby. Find out their location and hours of operation. This is primarily where you’d go if you lose your passport, but they can often direct you to the proper authorities to help with other lost items.
Have Another Cash Resource
One simple thing to do is to carry your cash, or at least some of your cash, in a separate location from your wallet. If you don’t like carrying cash, Western Union has a presence in nearly any location you could travel. They’re always an option for friends and family to send emergency money. If you have your credit card company’s contact number, you can often call them for a cash advance. It might cost you, but it will get you out of a tough situation.
Contact Your Bank
This one is obvious, but if you lose a credit card, you should immediately call the contact number for the credit company and let them know. While it can be a huge hassle to deal without the card in the case that you find it, if it’s truly stolen you won’t want to deal with someone else using it. Having your card numbers and expiration date from a photocopy helps this process immensely. The sooner you cancel the card, the less likely it is for anyone to make fraudulent purchases using it.
With these few simple tips and things to keep in mind, it’s easier to travel with less stress. It also becomes much easier to deal with the loss of these important items if you have backups and contact numbers.