It is an unfortunate fact that many global travelers will encounter a hiccup on their trip; in most cases these are easily overcome issues. Occasionally though and thankfully rarely full on disaster can strike and trust us, it’s not the kind of day you are looking for.
What are we talking about here? You guessed it, lost or stolen travel documents, everything from passports and visas, wallets containing credit cards, keys, check books and airline tickets, even cell phones. Seriously you do not want to be losing any of those bad boys.
Yet it happens, everyday somebody somewhere will misplace a valuable item and end up regretting it. So what can go wrong, picture these distressing scenarios:
Losing Travel Documents – How it Can All Go Wrong
The cab drops you at the airport, your wallet though is still in the back seat, the cab drives off.
You are sitting having a morning coffee in a bar and leave to meet your partner, sadly your cell phone stays behind.
On returning to your hotel room you discover it is not quite as you left it and your travel documents are long gone.
A pain in the backside but not quite as dreadful, your bankcard stops working on account of tripping security filters back home. You have to make an expensive international call to sort it all out.
You are arrested in a case of mistaken identity and thrown in jail never to be seen again. Actually lets not go there…
So the Worst Happens, we Lose our Travel Documents. What do we do? Who do we Call?
So there we have it, a multitude of nightmare scenarios that can seriously strip the gloss from the adventure trip that you had been looking forward to for months. If any of these scenarios sound familiar take some respite in the knowledge that help is at hand and things are never quite as bad as they seem.
Firstly if you lose an item establish that it is actually lost and not stolen. If simply misplaced, for example if you leave a hotel key on a restaurant table there is a good chance that it will have been collected and held safely.
This is not the time to be shy or embarrassed about asking the manager, ask anyone and everyone. The same is true for more obviously valuable items such as cell phones and wallets.
Not everyone is dishonest, I remember when I was young and reckless and I left a wallet on a car roof, the contents spilling into the road.
To my good fortune a passing lady collected each item, every bankcard and coin and handed them to the bank where to my surprise I was contacted a day later. So there are good decent people in the world and all is not necessarily lost. The lesson here is that it is well worth retracing steps and covering every possibility until it is apparent that your lost item really is gone for good.
Do Not be Afraid to Ask for Help – Your Hotel or Local People Can Often Assist
If an item such as a passport vanishes and is nowhere to be found then you need to call your embassy or consular. This is not as daunting as it sounds, chances are your hotel will be able to direct you or even make arrangements on your behalf.
For lost or faulty bankcards the obvious option is to call home, however in some cases your bank will have local branches where they can assist. Again your hotel could assist in making bank appointments. They may also be able to help with any language translations.
What ever the severity of the loss, do not panic, this is easier said than done especially when you see the prospect of a trip lying in ruins. However with a cool head on calm shoulders the situation may not be as bleak as it looks.
Tackle each job to complete without rushing and deal with people patiently and politely and they will be more willing to help you. In many cases replacement visas and banking funds can be with you within days or less and you can be back on the road.
In extreme circumstances the embassy or consular will be able to act on your behalf and make special arrangements for funds or clearance to leave.
So lost or stolen items do not mean doom and gloom, of course any loss will take the edge of a trip or vacation but it is possible to recover from what seems initially to be a fatal blow if matters are handled smoothly and calmly.
The best advice of course is to be proactive, always check your pockets, look behind you in the cab or on the table you just left. This reduced the chances of leaving items behind. For security always use a hotel safe if there is one and only carry a limited amount of cash on your person.
These small but essential steps for the wayward traveler can help minimize the risk of loss and theft leaving you to concentrate on enjoying your trip and exploring which is what it is all about.