IT MAY SOUND LIKE A TRAVELERS WORST NIGHTMARE, BUT YOU CAN MINIMIZE THE IMPACT OF GETTING MUGGED OR ROBBED ON THE ROAD WITH THESE FOUR SMART STRATEGIES.
Getting robbed while traveling sounds like every tourist’s worst nightmare, but you can minimize the damage to your property—and your good time—by knowing how to respond in the unfortunate event that you become a victim. You can protect your valuables by wearing a money belt, hidden pocket, or bra stash, but if thieves still manage to get their hands on your money or property while you’re on vacation, take these four smart steps.
1. Don’t panic (really!) Being a robbery victim can be a traumatizing experience, but it’s important to collect yourself quickly and stay as calm as possible. If you find yourself facing a mugging, don’t ever try to fight back. Give up your belongings and do what you can to keep yourself safe. No iPod or dSLR camera is worth putting your life in danger. If you were victimized by a pickpocket, or someone who stole your belongings while you weren’t looking, begin by taking inventory of what’s missing. If you make a master list of all your valuable belongings before you leave, this will be easy. You’ll need to know what is missing when talking with police.
2. Contact the authorities immediately The odds of locating stolen money or merchandise during a vacation in a foreign country may be slim, but you should still file a police report and keep copies. Even if you don’t get your stuff back, the report may be necessary for any insurance or warranty claims. Depending on the magnitude of the theft, you may also want to consider contacting your embassy. This is especially true if your passport was taken, since the embassy can assist you with replacing the passport. Make sure to bring a copy of your passport and extra passport photos. This will help you get a new passport within a few hours.
3. Prevent additional damage Stolen property is one thing, but you don’t want a robber adding insult to injury by draining your bank account or maxing out your credit cards. Do your best to prevent additional harm beyond the theft itself by calling your banks to cancel or replace any credit or debit cards that were stolen. Make these calls as soon as possible, because it won’t take long for thieves to begin making purchases with your cards. If your laptop or smartphone was stolen, change the passwords to your most commonly used websites – especially sites where you conduct online banking or make frequent purchases.
4. Contact your insurance provider You have travel insurance, right? (If not, don’t even think about departing for your next international getaway without signing up for plan!) Let your provider know about the robbery right away and provide whatever information they request, such as a list of items that were taken and a copy of the police report. Getting reimbursement could take a while, but at least you can take some comfort in the knowledge that you’ll eventually be able to replace those lost valuables.
The best way to recover from travel theft is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Do you have any must-try tips for staying safe on the road?
Scott Shetler is a freelance journalist and frequent traveler who enjoys national parks, urban nightlife, and everything in between. He blogs about his adventures at http://quirkytravelguy.com.
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