“SH*T! MY STUFF IS GONE”
Step 1: Breathe
You’re in full survival mode right now and your adrenaline is racing. You’re going to want to yell, cry or panic.
The best way to cope with theft is just breathe. Give yourself a minute to come back down to earth. No matter how rare, expensive or sentimental your stuff is, it’s still just stuff. No one has died.
Step 2: Find out what happened
Once you’ve calmed down you can retrace your steps, ask around and figure out the most likely cause. And double check your stuff is stolen, not just lost!
If you suspect the thief is someone you know, don’t make blind accusations. Take more time to think it through rationally and get some sort of proof.
Step 3: Get into action
List everything that’s missing and make an action plan to resolve each one.
Hopefully you won’t have to write a list as long as this one:
- Phone: Hope you have a nice thief. Text them with something along the lines of “This phone has been lost, $X reward offered if returned to [address]. No questions asked or police.” in the local language. // Use Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager to track, block or wipe. // Give friends & family an alternative way to contact you. Facebook, a friends number etc.
- Laptop: Use Find My Mac or Android Device Manager to track, block or wipe. // Change passwords in the very unlikely event they guess your password or hack into your account.
- All devices with internet & phone access: Ask to use someone’s device. // Go to an Internet cafe. // Or in the worst case scenario, travel to somewhere you can get back online.
- Credit/ debit cards: Call your bank immediately. Cancel the cards and ask about your options to get emergency cash abroad.
- Passport: Go to the embassy. If you don’t need one urgently see your options online.
- Cash: Grieve and move on.
- Camera: Grieve the photos you’ve lost and ask others for a copy of theirs.
- eReader: Suck it up & buy a book.
- Bag: Find a shop that can replace it, or invest in a beautiful bin bag alternative. (Note: you can’t check in a bin bag as flight luggage, sorry).
- Clothes: Re buy, borrow or survive without.
- Car keys: Contact the nearest auto lock smith.
- Car: Go straight to the nearest police station.
Now you have everything listed look at your insurance policy and excess. Decide if you want to make a claim and if you’re going to need a police report.
Step 4: Breathe, again
Theft sucks. It’s stressful, expensive and exhausting. But you’ve handled it in the best way, made an action plan and carried it out.
There’s nothing more for you to do but move on, enjoy your trip, and let this become just another travel tale.
EXPECT TO BE ROBBED
Step 1: Make a survival kit
Print everything you could possibly need. Passport copy, flight details, itinerary, insurance details, banking contact details, tour, hotel company information etc.
This hard copy survival kit will be your best friend if your phone is stolen or falls into a toilet.
Store it in a secret place, separated from your other possessions as best you can.
Bonus survival kit points: store an emergency credit/debit card here too.
Step 2: Have a backup plan
A cheap iPod touch brought only for music turns to gold when your phone is gone.
A trusty old Nokia phone can sit unused in your backpack for years, but save the day when you really need it.
And multiple backup banking cards become little lifesavers when foreign ATMs simply don’t like your usual card.
My favorite gadget swap? If your DSLR is out of action, binoculars and a phone camera take surprisingly good shots!
Step 3: Be aware of the target on your forehead
Tourists are easy pickings for thieves, so be a little bit more cautious than you would be at home.
Keep your possessions hidden, and store your valuables in the least accessible places.
And if you’re going to a particularly poor area, tone down the flashiness. For your sake and theirs.
PREVENT THEFT HAPPENING
Not every theft can be prevented, but many can. These are some of the best tools you can use to stop thieves!
The Beach Trick
The Zip Pull Trick
If don’t already have a fabulous & ethical key chain lying around, try these ones. Fair Trade and handmade by Hmong hill tribes in Northern Thailand ❤
Click below for more info
The Lock Trick
Ready to secure your backpack, hostel locker or luggage.
Top tip: use a combination lock so you don’t have to worry about loosing the key 🔑
Ethically handmade in Portugal using PETA approved vegan leather. Sustainably harvested by stripping cork trees, rather than cutting them down 💚🌳
Instead go for a pocket sized travel camera. Easy to stash, and still takes great photos.
Like the Canon PowerShot (SX720 HS) and it’s ridiculous 40x Optical Zoom.
Whatever you call them, they leave you hands free & pickpocket proof!
This one is made from recycled fishing netting, and a portion of proceeds support impoverished women and children in Cambodia ❤
DON’T HATE THE THIEF
I had my bag stolen in Barcelona, Spain and it was devastating. Passport, purse, cash, cards, ID, laptop, DSLR, kindle, sentimental notes in the purse, all gone. Even my dog’s passport!
This doesn’t mean that Spain is a bad country, Barcelona is a bad city, Spanish people are bad or even that the person who took my bag is bad.
I have no idea what their circumstances are. Sure, there are cold hearted psychopaths out there. But there are far more good people. And sometimes good people find themselves in bad situations.
Travel is a privilege. 10.7% of the global population are surviving on $1.90 a day. My ability to travel means I have far more financial freedom than the majority of people. And that’s really important to remember.
That bag could mean a lot more to them than it does to me.
Want to be a more responsible traveler?
Tiny changes can make a huge difference
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