This is a cautionary tale (oooohhhhh) that I’d like to share with you so that you can protect yourself in easy to execute ways in the event that you get robbed. (aaaahhhhhh) Let’s face it, people do get robbed when traveling, it happens. (Boooo Hiss Hiss)
I have a friend who was in Spain on vacation a few years ago and had went to a café and draped her purse over the back of the chair she was sitting in. When she left the cafe, she forgot about her purse. When she realized her mistake and went back to retrieve it, her purse was gone. Unfortunately, all of her identification (passport, drivers license, etc…) and her money was in her purse.
Resulting actions and consequences:
She went to the police and filed a report, but unfortunately, that did not help her.
She was in a foreign country without any identification or any currency. When she contacted her embassy, she found out that they only handled these requests on certain days at certain times.
Luckily, she had a friend that helped her by providing a place to stay while she waited.
Then she discovered that to get a passport reissued, would cost $133.00 USD of which she had Zero dollars to her name and no way to get the money except to have someone wire it to her from the US.
The embassy, you know the one that everyone tells you will help you out if you are on foreign soil and have a problem, did not care, nor offered to help her with money for the passport, lodging, food, nothing. As I recall, they were very unapologetic about it as well.
It took her over a week to deal with this situation. This incident had totally messed up her vacation. She was only to spend a couple of days in Spain and move on to Italy for a cherished retreat she had been looking forward to attending all year.
Watching this ordeal unfold, keeping in touch with her efforts on social media was, for me, a big eye opening experience and really got me thinking.
What would happen to me if I was in a foreign country and my purse was stolen? I might not have been so lucky to have a friend in the area that could put me up for a week while I wait on paperwork. What about airplane rides back home? That could really be a huge nightmare.
As a lessons learned from this experience and the one I previously posted 2 weeks ago about not leaving all your eggs in one basket, (just to be redundant) I highly recommend that you don’t leave all your eggs in one basket and spread the wealth around among all of your possessions. Put at least enough cash away in a separate place that will cover a passport replacement fee. If you are not fortunate enough to have a friend in the area and are not a member of the couch surfing community, you should also try to have a couple of nights hotel/hostel costs also tucked away, just in case.
You should take pictures of your passport, driver’s license and your credit cards (front and back) and email it to yourself. If your phone is stolen along with everything else, you will be able to get that information back easily at a public library or internet café.
Also as another precaution, plan ahead to have the number and address of the local Embassy of your country handy in your luggage. Remember not only to ask how but more importantly, WHEN they perform passport replacement requests, it may not be every day all day. As well as the timeline that it takes to get the replacement, so you can make arrangements.
I’d love to hear other similar stories while traveling and and tips and tricks when you had been robbed.
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