You’re having the time of your life traveling across a foreign, exciting country. You’re usually so careful, but this time you let your guard down and set your bag on a table or chair while you go to the counter of a cafe or resto to inquire about something. When you go back to your table, you see it: your possessions are gone! You can’t believe it at first, but then the horror of the situation begins to strike you. And it just so happened that inside that bag were all your important possessions: your passport, other important forms of identification, cash, credit cards, gadgets, jewelry, etc. Except for a couple of bucks you have in your pocket, you’ve lost everything that’s important to you.
What a nightmare, right? And you might think it’s something that won’t happen to you but you couldn’t be more wrong. When you’re traveling, especially in a foreign country, anything can happen. And the above scenario happens far more often than you’d think. If you intend to travel in the next few months, the worst thing you can do is to not prepare for the worst-case scenario: losing your possessions. When you get lost in a foreign country, you can always find your way again by asking the locals. But losing your belongings is an entirely different ballgame. Aside from the loss you’d have to suffer, there is the tedious and difficult process of replacing your passport and other forms of identification. While you’d want to prevent such a nightmarish situation from happening, sometimes it still happens despite your best efforts. When that happens, the following are some measures you can take:
1. Don’t give in to that feeling of panic.
We all know that feeling: our mind goes blank, our heartbeat begins to race, and it feels like bile is rising up our throats. Panic has set in. When you’ve lost your belongings, time is of the essence and you don’t want to waste it being stuck in a kind of helpless stupor or totally giving in to that panicked feeling. Panic will only cloud your judgment, and in this instance, you’d want to act fast in your attempt to recover your belongings.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you’re in a foreign country, you’d do well to enlist the help of a few locals who speak English to help you in making the necessary phone calls or in talking to the local police force. The staff at your hotel can help you out in this. Even your fellow travelers, if they know the language and the locality, can be of assistance.
3. File a report with the local police.
This is an important step, as filing a report can help you out when you’re replacing your passport, credit cards, and other IDs. It can also be useful when you’re filing an insurance claim regarding lost gadgets or jewelry.
4. Go online.
In the event that you’ve lost your phone, you can log online using a public Internet terminal in order to contact the nearest embassy and your bank, retrieve your personal information that you’ve stored online, and request the assistance of your friends and family back home.
5. Replace what needs to be replaced.
This includes your passport, IDs, and credit cards. In the case of the latter, you wouldn’t want the person who’s gotten hold of your cards to use them at your expense. Call your bank immediately and have them block or cancel the cards. You can also ask for replacements. Do the same for your passport and other forms of identification too by contacting the nearest embassy.
6. Preparation is key.
You know how they say, “Prevention is better than cure”? It’s such a cliche, but that holds true in this situation. The best thing that you can do is to expect the worst in any situation and prepare accordingly. For instance, you can prevent your IDs and money from being stolen or getting lost by keeping it in a secure money belt you can wear around your waist. Another thing you can do is to invest in a GPS tracker. This device will come in handy when you’ve lost your backpack and you have no idea where it is. By just accessing a linked app, you can track the whereabouts of your belongings in real time, which can then help you recover it more quickly.