It’s something that every traveller dreads. The loss or theft of valuables can instantly cast a cloud of gloom over your trip and threaten to spoil even the most wonderful vacation.
Despite our very natural concerns, it’s an unusual experience and there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself against the risk.
Just because you’re relaxed and on holiday doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the winds. Maintain the common sense approach you have at home: don’t flash your cash … don’t carry all your wealth with you every time you go out … and take reasonable care of credit and debit cards, making sure they never leave your sight and playing it extra-safe at ATMs by shielding your PIN number and being extra-aware of people milling around you.
These days it’s a good idea to give your card provider a quick call in advance of travel so your card isn’t blocked the first time you use it abroad.
Cards are fantastic, convenient and a great way to manage your foreign expenditure, particularly when you may be travelling to a number of countries, but it’s always good to have some cash on hand … and canny travellers know that small notes are extra-useful on arrival, for airport snacks and drinks, taxis and tips.
Before you go on holiday check out your travel insurance and be aware of what it covers in terms of lost or stolen property or money. You’ll want to take those details with you but it’s also useful to leave a copy with a friend or family at home. If the worst happens you know you can call them for the information … and some sympathy. Same goes with photocopies of passports, driver’s license, and emergency numbers to report lost or stolen Credit and Debit cards - even Travellers’ Cheques reference numbers. If you have a photocopy of all that precious information in the hotel safe plus a backup back at home, you’ll find it easier to cope with an emergency!
As any experienced rep will tell you, crowded cities and top tourist sights are much beloved by pick-pockets. Invest in a money belt which you can discreetly wear under your clothes and be aware of the risks and, as you soak up the ambience, remember to keep a watchful eye on money, bags, cameras, phones and jewellery. Split your cash up with others in your party.
If the worst does happen, don’t fret on your own. Your rep or your hotel will help you contact the local police (you may need a written police record to claim insurance later) and, if you lose a passport, they’ll steer you to the closest embassy or consulate … where staff won’t make a drama out of your crisis.
We know that losing your vacation valuables is dreadful but don’t let it entirely spoil your hard-earned holiday. Take the right steps to put things right as quickly as possible and be determined to make the very best of the rest of your vacation.
If you want to be better prepared to avert disaster check out this handy visual guide to keeping your money safe abroad from Sainsbury’s Bank. You can also download a PDF guide here about ‘Keeping your money safe abroad,’ from Sainsbury’s Bank.