If losing items were an Olympic sport, I’d be getting gold!
I’ve been there – you’re on your holidays, you go to grab your wallet and shit, it’s not there.
Losing something (like your phone or wallet) is a pain in the arse when it happens close to home, let alone when you’re far away on your holidays.
Since I manage to lose something nearly every single trip – much to the annoyance of the Mr – I thought I would throw together some tips that I’ve learned over the years on what to do when this happens.
1) Don’t panic.
I usually feel pretty stupid, embarrassed and annoyed when this happens, Really though, how helpful are these emotions? These emotions aren’t helpful if they build up or become overwhelming and can end up ruining an otherwise lovely day, as well as stressing out your travel buddy. Take some deep breaths and tell yourself something positive or motivational (like ‘I can sort this’).
2) Retrace your steps.
When and where did you last use it or see it? If this is somewhere like a shop or restaurant, are you able to go back there and ask (or call them up)? This is usually your best chance at getting your stuff back and works for me the majority of the time. I’ve even left a mobile on the London underground and managed to get it back this way.
3) Report it to the Police.
So you’ve had no luck finding it, or you suspect it’s stolen. Reporting your lost or stolen items to the police is essential if you intend on making any insurance claims. To make an insurance claim, you are also usually required to report the theft or loss to the police within a specific time frame (usually 24 hours). In fact, after reporting my lost purse to the Italian police, they called me back having found it a couple of weeks later! Good things do happen!
4) Cancel any debit or credit cards.
It doesn’t take much effort to call up and cancel debit or credit cards. By doing this you’re covering yourself in case your card is picked up and used fraudulently. Do this ASAP.
5) What if you’re stuck for money?
Are you travelling with anyone willing to lend you any money? If not, one option is to organise a bank transfer by asking a friend or family member back home to send you some money using Western Union (westernunion.com). Although Western Union will charge you to send money abroad, it can be ready for you to pick up within minutes from a local business (usually shops, post offices and banks). The nearest embassy can also assist with getting in touch with family or friends.
For starters, only include the essentials in your purse or wallet – unlike myself who had lost a purse abroad with two debit cards, a credit card, driving licence, a day’s spending money and Boots advantage card (a store loyalty card). Totally unnecessary! All you really need is one debit or credit card and your daily spending money.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your view), I’m just moving out of the stage in life where I am often being ID’d for booze. If I’m honest, I’ve never once needed to show my ID or driving licence anywhere other than the UK or USA (even with my baby face)… and I’ve been travelling abroad and buying alcohol since I was 17.
They say preparation is key. If you’re taking cards, identification or any other type of documentation out with you, it’s a good idea to keep a record of these. This could be screenshots, photo’s or photocopies of your travel insurance documents, passport and bank details etc. Even better if you can save these on to a data backup service so you can access the information on any device instantly. Dropbox (add link ? referral) is the most well known and if you sign up for free you’ll get 2GB of storage. I mainly use Sync because it gives you 5GB for free, plus Sync offers better security for your information and passwords.
If you’re into gadgets and gizmos, check out this teeny tiny device called Tile Mate. It’s a mini Bluetooth tracker about the size of a large coin. You can either stick it on a mobile phone, place inside your wallet, attach it to luggage or whatever you like. Bluetooth trackers will only be able to locate your item when you’re within a certain distance from it (generally around 100ft). The good thing about buying a Tile Mate tracker is that it will a) tell you where you last had it in range and b) you join a Tile community so that when someone else who has joined gets close to it, you will be notified of its location.
Wireless tracker review? – how have I not had these in my life! Might be missing a trick here.