Unfortunately while traveling for a long period of time, something is bound to go wrong. A missed flight, a creepy hostel, leaving something in the last city, pickpockets, or in our case getting robbed.
We got robbed in our hostel on September 22, 2015 when we left the bedroom to cook our dinner in the kitchen right outside the door. The thief walked right by us with our belongings, and the minute it took us to realize our stuff was missing, he was out the door and gone.
Getting robbed while traveling is one of the worst feeling and most frustrating things to happen. While you might just want to sit and cry, there are a few things you must immediately do to prevent further problems.
#1: Do not PANIC!
Getting robbed while traveling does suck a whole lot. You can lose your valuables, important documents, priceless objects or all your trip photos in a split second. But, time is off the essence, and you need to act fast to minimize the impact of the theft. Panic will not help in this moment.
It might feel like the end of the world, but it is not. We were robbed of nearly $7,000 worth of stuff and a months worth of traveling photos in September 2015, but we are still here with this amazing blog.
#2: Cancel your credit cards
If you wallet was one of the items robbed or stolen, the first thing you must do is call and cancel your credit cards. Even if it costs a few dollars to make the call internationally, it is worth it. Within a few hours of our credit card being stolen they attempted to make a $3000+ purchase. However, I had already cancelled the card, so it did not go through and it was one more headache diverted.
The phone numbers to call and report the credit card stolen are printed on the cards themselves. This is not so helpful if they get stolen, so keep those numbers in a separate place like a travel notebook.
#3: File a police report
In the case of pickpockets or robberies, there is often little the police can actually do to help, but it is still extremely important to file a police report. The police said passports and wallets are often thrown in the trash, so if someone spots it before the landfill, they can be easily returned to you.
Other than that, if you have the IMEI or serial number of your electronics, it can help in the finding of the stolen items if they are sold to a legitimate shop.
But, you will need this police report to get a new passport or file a traveler’s insurance claim, so this is a must do. Do not wait to get this done, as it can also help in case any credit card charges arise, or if you need to cancel or change reservations.
#4: Find your nearest consulate
If you are in the middle of a trip when your passport gets stolen, you will need the help of your nearest consulate or embassy. Many countries embassies are only open for regular services in the morning, and a lost/stolen passport is not often considered an emergency service. Depending on your country of citizenship, a replacement passport can take some time and drastically impact the rest of your travel plans.
For example: the United States can issue an emergency passport ready in 3 hours. Ecuador was able to issue a new regular passport in 24 hours. Luckily for us, our next flight was 2 days after we were robbed.
#5: Keep going (if possible)
While getting robbed can be a terrible feeling and an unfortunate experience, it is important to not let it completely ruin your trip as a whole. Do everything possible to keep your trip going.
Not only does it keep your mind off of what just happened, but you also have the opportunity to retake photos if you lost your camera or phone.
This option is not always within your control: passport, visa, and monetary issues because of the theft are in the hands of others. The best thing you can do is keep photocopies of you passport and all visas in a separate place than the originals. Also, keep a secondary credit/debit card and cash with it.
If you have your own tips or contingency plans in case of theft or robbery while traveling, please let us know in the comments below.