SafetyTravel Planning

You’ve been robbed – now what? (pt 2, cash)

By September 16, 2015 No Comments

See Pt 1 of this series for what to do if you’ve been robbed.

Gotta check that last box...

Gotta check that last box…

Now that you’re in a safe place, got the proper medical treatment (if necessary), filed all the police paperwork (or not), cancelled all the cards that might be floating around out there… you might be wondering what to do to get your vacation back on track.
Questions you will have. Answers you will find.

Questions you will have. Answers you will find.

Classic questions include:

  • How do I pay for food?
  • How do I pay for my hotel?
  • How do I book my next ticket (train, flight etc)?
  • How do I get another passport so I can go home? * This question may vary in importance depending on how you feel about your host country now that you’ve been robbed.

Travel Insurance

Again – travel insurance (I use AIG TravelGuard) may be the best thing going for you in this situation. Someone from their 24/7 assistance center will start sorting out the process of getting a new passport as well as getting cash wired over to you from a friend, rebooking flights in case the debacle is causing you to miss your flight, etc.

Pre-trip prep can save your ass

Homework - Math

Do your homework first via flickr/mnedermeijer

Even if you did get travel insurance, a large part of how this will play out depends on how much prep you did prior to your trip:

  • Do you have a copy of your passport photo and signature page?
  • Do you have a Crib Sheet with the overseas collect phone numbers for all the credit cards and debit cards you’re carrying?
  • If not, or if it was stolen as well, do you have a flash drive back at the hotel with the cc numbers and a scanned copy of your passport? (I use Veracrypt to encrypt these docs – just in case)
  • If not, does someone back home have the numbers and a copy of your passport?
  • Did you let the bank know you’d be traveling overseas?

So let’s look at your options for getting cash / paying for things

Debit card:

  • There is little to no chance of getting a replacement before the end of your trip. If you’ll be traveling long-term, some issuers will forward the card to your hostel/hotel/hut, etc.
  • Unless you can find another member of your bank in your location, you’ll have to find another method to get cash (more below).

Credit card:

Rainbow of credit cards

So many cards via flickr/FrankieLeon

  • Still have to pay for the hotel? According to Chase, the issuer will allow the charge to go through from the hotel if you ask them to.
    • If you booked your hotel using a card, the hotel should have it on file and hopefully will allow you to pay using the same card.
      • Most hotels require you to produce the card you registered with upon check-in, they may wave it, though this is hotel dependent.
    • Airbnb : If you have a non-cancelled cc on file with Airbnb, you can continue to make reservations.
    • Backup card:
      • Leave a backup card with a friend back home, they can pass the details to you to complete your bookings.
      • Encrypt a copy of your credit cards (to include a spare) on your travel flash drive.
    • Call in a favor: Have a friend pay for the hotel with their own card and use your remaining cash to get around town.


  • If you kept part of your cash stash locked up back at the hotel, you should have food money to get by for a few days until you can get more.
  • Have a lifeline send cash via Western Union (see below).
  • Traveler’s Checks (see below).
  • Read my article on cash overseas for more options.


Some hostels/hotels, etc will allow you to pay via PayPal. If you have an account, go for it. Most hotels want a cc on file in case of damages, not sure how this would play out overseas.

Google Wallet:

Plenty of travel sites accept Google Wallet payments. However; the Google Wallet site indicates this feature is currently only available through US hotel partners.

Traveler’s Cheques:

As we talked about in Cash Overseas I don’t know anyone who travels with these anymore; however, according to AMEX, if these are stolen, you can take the stubs into a bank to have replacements issued or, ideally the bank would be able to cash these as well.

Western Union:

A friend or family member back home can wire you money almost anywhere in the world (500,000 W-U agents worldwide). For an instant transaction via a credit card, the service fee is ~6.8%. You can receive the funds in cash, to a mobile wallet, bank account, or pre-paid card.

Everything in the wallet can be replaced and if you’ve planned your cash options ahead of time, you’ll be back on track in a flash. Make sure your backup options are ready, don’t carry all your cash in one pocket, leave the valuables in the hotel and being robbed should be but a speed bump in an otherwise awesome trip. You may have lost a day or two, but if you plan appropriately, it won’t ruin the entire trip.

Click here to read Part 3, getting that passport renewed

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