I wish a read this article before I started traveling and living abroad.
Once my wallet got stolen with my keys, cash and all of my debit cards, I didn't know what to do. You see, I was in a foreign country, an hour away from my hostel. Thankfully I had my phone and data with me so it was pretty easy to figure that out. I also had some extra cash with me. However, things like that can happen to anybody.
Let me share with you what to do if you lost your money or passport (or both) in a foreign country. When something like that happens out of the blue, it is extremely stressful. Nevertheless, when you know what to do, it makes it a lot easier to deal with and go back home to your home country or enjoy the rest of your holidays.
By the way, this could easily happen when you are just visiting a different state. The USA is big and being stuck at the airport without any money isn’t fun at all. So even if you are going for a quick visit to a different state, these tips could still help you go stress-free.
I will include precaution tips as well because obviously, the best-case scenario is that it didn’t happen at all. However, we are all human and we all make mistakes so if you find yourself in a bad situation, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everything can be sorted out especially with a little bit of help from your friends.
What to Do if Your Wallet Got Stolen?
Let’s say you are on a tram or on the metro, you get off and realize that your wallet got stolen. In some countries, you can actually call the public transport company and leave your information. This way, if they find your belongings, they will contact you or your place of staying. This actually happened to me in Prague that my wallet got stolen on the tram. I contacted the “lost and found” place immediately and they wrote down my information. They told me to call them the very next day. When I did call them, they said that they didn’t find anything. However, they contacted me a week later with the great news.
Just look up “Lost and Found” numbers in the country you are visiting and contact them. Most people are nice and understanding and bring your belongings back or at least leave it on the bus and the bus driver collects it.
You can also visit the police station or contact the student information center if you study there. Do not give up, your wallet might still be found by nice people.
What to Do if You Lost Your Payments Cards?
Losing a credit or debit card is never fun, especially in a foreign country. First things first, you will probably want to contact your bank and block the cards immediately. Some banks even allow you to temporarily block your cards through the Internet banking system. Once you do, you will most probably need some cash to get home from wherever you are.
What to Do if Your Payment Cards Got Declined?
Quite recently a really close person to me flew into the US and found out that both of his debits were not working. It was during Thanksgiving so most places were closed. You know, when you have only one card, you could be worried. However, what are the chances that both of your cards will get declined? However, they did. If you ever got into a situation like that, I would just like you to know that people can send you cash via Western Union. All you have to do once you go to one of their locations, you can find them here, by the way, is to show your ID, tell them the sender’s tracking number (they will find that out once they do the transfer) and pick up the money.
What if I Do Not Have Any Money for an Uber?
Ask your friend or family member to tell you via the call their credit or debit card so that you could use an Uber. That is as simple as that. Uber or Lyft doesn’t accept cash in the states. Also, using a taxi is pretty expensive. Worst case scenario you could try talking to nice people at the airport and ask to join their car ride if they are going a similar route.
What to Do if I Lost My Passport in Another Country
If you lost your passport in a foreign country, you will need to contact an embassy to obtain a new emergency or full validity passport. The emergency passport can be obtained within 24 hours. You may also be expected to pay a fee. Your friends or family can pay that in case you lost your money too. Ideally, you will have photocopies of both sides of your passport and a different kind of ID. For example, your driver’s license.
- Find and contact the nearest embassy or consulate.
- File a police report in case of theft (some countries allow you to do that online)
- New passport photo
- Travel itinerary (airplane, bus or train ticket)
- Evidence of citizenship (a photocopy of your missing passport or birth certificate)
- Money for a fee
5 “I Told You So” Tips to Do Before Your Trip
As you can see, having two credit cards doesn’t protect you from both cards’ decline. I have a couple of other tips for you
- Bring extra cash just in case your payment cards get declined
- Keep your cash and payment cards separately (ideally, have two different payment cards)
- Keep your passport, ID, and passport print copies from both sides in different places
- Charge your phone and keep it in a different spot than your money
- Have a photocopy of your passport with you (both sides)
- Save your travel tickets. This would help you at the embassy.
- Bring another type of identification with you (e.g. driver’s license) and keep it in a separate place. This would help you be identified for the emergency passport at the embassy.
- Be prepared to pay a fee for your lost passport. Full validity passport