One of the most nerve wracking things that can happen to you during a supposedly blissful travel is losing your wallet. It’s bad enough to lose most of the money you have, it’s even worse if all of your IDs and credit cards are in there. While this isn’t a situation anyone would want to be in at any point in time, it’s still better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Here are a few things you should do:
BEFORE your trip
- Take a snapshot of all of your IDs, passport, and cards, and then email them to yourself. This is so, in the event of loss, you have backups of identification and other documents.
- Invest in a decoy wallet and place a small amount of cash and expired cards in it. This decoy can be in your trouser pocket or in the front pocket of your bag, while your real wallet can be kept somewhere hidden (either in your person or in your bag).
IF or WHEN you lose your wallet
- File a police report. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling domestic or international, your first step should always be to inform the proper authorities. This is especially important in validating your information to avoid hassles like a thief trying to use your passport illegally, or claiming what your travel insurance covers. It’ll also help if you can show them the snapshots of your identification and passport that you mailed to yourself.
- Remember that once you report that your passport is missing, it will be permanently cancelled. This means that you’ll have to apply for a new one.
- Take note that you won’t be able to cross international borders without a valid passport. Depending on the circumstance, you may be able to secure an emergency passport through the embassy
- If you’re within Australia, you can contact the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS).
- Call your insurer as soon as possible to lodge any insurance claims. Remember that most policies state that claims should be filed promptly. Better to file it within the first 24 hours of loss to be on the safe side.
- Cancel or freeze your credit, debit, and ATM cards. Remember that if you report the loss before someone fraudulently uses your debit card, you have zero liability. With your credit card, reporting the loss before it is used fraudulently will limit your liability.
- Call the services you’ve used recently. If you booked a car park space in Melbourne or a hotel room in Sydney, you’d want to call them to check if you’ve left your wallet there.
- Take inventory of whatever else was in your wallet. Was your medical insurance card in there? Did you have any membership cards to the gym, library, or other services? While it’s going to be pretty difficult for anyone to make claims on your behalf, you’d be surprised at how many people attempt to do so. If anything, it may just help you catch a thief if you wallet was indeed stolen. It’s also better to tidy up any loose ends. You wouldn’t want a headache over membership and health cards.