You did your best to blend in, to avoid shady bars and dodgy alleyways. Sometimes it’s inevitable, you will be robbed. So what do you do and how do you get your vacation back on track?
- Get to a safe place. Make sure you are out of danger. If necessary get to a hospital.
- WTF?!?! You have my permission to freak out for 30 seconds. Go ahead, panic… Feel better? Good, now pull yourself together for Pete’s sake. Let’s fix this and get back to your awesome trip.
- Police report? Getting a police report can be clutch. Your card issuer may need this as proof of illegitimate charges to your card. A police report will also help you get through the passport replacement process quicker at the local embassy or consulate; however, if you’re in a time crunch for your flight home and the police report will cause you to miss your flight – then maybe better to just get started on renewing the passport (see #5).
- Canceling the cards: Pull out your cheat sheet, flash drive with your travel documents or paper photocopies of your credit cards. Somewhere you should have the collect numbers for the credit cards you now need to cancel. Get to work canceling your cards, we’ll figure out your cash situation in part two of this series.
- Lost passport: If your passport was stolen you should have a backup – photocopy of the signature and photo page, or scanned copy on the flash drive. (We’ll go more in-depth on this in part three)
TravelGuard offers 24/7 assistance that will start helping you cancel your stolen credit cards, while you sort things out on the ground. They’ll also help with a new passport and getting cash transferred from a lifeline back home. I’ve used their concierge service on more than one occasion to rebook flights and track down luggage. Trust me, it’s like having a big ol’, warm safety blanket knowing that someone is out there taking care of the crisis while you get back to making the most of your vacation.
So now that you’re safe and thinking clearly, let’s break down the canceling process
- Call the issuer to cancel the card immediately.
- Liability – Your bank may be able to reverse or waive your responsibility for any charges made before you cancelled the card. Check with your bank.
- Call the issuer immediately to cancel the card.
- Replacement time overseas will be at least one week, probably more depending on your location. If you’re traveling less than that, best to have the replacement card shipped back home.
As long as you have the stubs stored separately from the checks themselves, you can have the checks re-issued, or the stubs themselves cashed out.
As with a lot of things we talk about; it’s good to have done a bit of homework in advance. Knowing what the local laws are and what the likelihood of being robbed is always a good start. Having the local embassy number on-hand is clutch as well. As I write this, I’m in Tahiti, where the U.S. maintains a consulate I can call or physically walk in to. However, the consulate is not manned 24/7; if there’s an after-hours emergency, the contact number is in Fiji. Good to know.
Being robbed can ruin a trip and sully your opinion of a country. The number one thing is to stay alive and un-injured, then get to safety. If all they want is your wallet, give it to them and run like hell. Everything in the wallet can be replaced. You my friend, cannot. In part two we replace the contents of your wallet.