Sometimes bad things happen, even when you do everything right. Those of us who have been robbed while traveling know there are few things more disconcerting than having your valuables, credit cards, passport, or money stolen when you’re in a place that’s not familiar to you. Here are some tips for dealing with this type of emergency while traveling.
Being robbed when on the road can be really scary. Get yourself to a safe place and take a few minutes to breathe and calm down before you swing into action mode.
Take Inventory of Yourself and Your Belongings
After you’ve calmed down, take inventory of your body and your belongings. Were you physically hurt during the robbery? Seek medical care. What was stolen? Knowing exactly what was taken (electronics, jewelry, credit cards, cash, passport, etc.) will determine your next steps.
Cancel Your Credit Cards and Call Your Bank
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget this step. Call your credit card companies and banks to make sure that your credit cards are closed and accounts frozen before the robber can get to them.
According to Statistic Brain, almost 23% of credit card fraud in 2016 was due to cards being lost or stolen.
Change Your Passwords
If your smartphone, tablet, or laptop was stolen, be sure to go in and change passwords for any financial sites you’ve logged into on those devices. The codes to access some mobile devices can be changed remotely by calling your phone company or using someone else’s device.
File a Police Report
Once you’ve protected your financials, head to the nearest police station and file a report. The process will be different depending on which country you’re in. This may be time-consuming, but it’s an important step, especially if you will be filing a claim with your travel insurance company or if your passport was stolen.
Visit Your Consulate
If your passport was stolen, it’s essential that you find and visit your nearest consulate. Not only will you be able to replace your passport, agents can also help you contact family (especially helpful if you now find yourself without money), find appropriate medical care, or locate legal representation.
If you’re a US traveler, you can find a comprehensive list of US consulates and embassies here.
Call Your Travel Insurance Company
This is why we purchase travel insurance, right? The next call you should make is to your travel insurance company. The representative will talk you through the steps you need to take to report the robbery and begin the process of being reimbursed for your losses.
Think if you know anyone in the area who could loan you money while you get everything sorted out. If you find yourself alone without money or credit cards, one of the fastest and easiest ways to get cash is through Western Union.
If you’re a US traveler, the Department of State (DOS) can assist you if you need money transferred or wired. If you have no other means to get money, you may be able to get a temporary loan through the DOS or a US Embassy or Consulate.
Once you have everything sorted out, you’ll be exhausted (trust me!). Call a friend, take a nap, or plan something fun (and inexpensive) to do to take your mind off the events of the day.
Have you ever been robbed while traveling? What did you do? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Let us know about your experience in the comments section.