Picture this: You’ve decided to grab a coffee at a quaint little café on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Paris. You start doing your normal rituals as you would every time you settle in for a quick pick-me-up. Firstly, you place your order, then you make your way over to the little table in the corner and plop your handbag on the floor next to your chair. Throughout your caffeine break you talk to numerous people; the waiter, the girl who complimented your blouse and the young boy who lost his mum. Nothing at all seems out of the ordinary, until it’s time to leave. You reach down for your bag and your heart sinks – it’s gone! Your passport, credit cards, and extra cash have all disappeared in an instant. Before the natural impulse to panic sets in (and before you start a game of café cluedo) remember, even the most experienced and confident travellers have been the victims of lost or stolen luggage. While it may seem like it, this is not a worst-case scenario. There are some ways to safely get yourself back together and make it home safe and sound.
This is easier said than done as your first reaction in this type of situation is always going to be to freak out. However, over-panicking is not conducive to achieving the desired end result – which is getting your belongings back, right? Acting scared or flustered is a dead giveaway to potential attackers, because to them, you are disorientated and agreeable to any kind of help a person may present. Once you’ve had your initial outburst, count to three, relax, and avoid drawing any extra attention to yourself.
Ask For Help
Losing your luggage in a country where English is not the first language is scary, and as much as we’d like to think that everyone we encounter is helpful and understanding, most of the time, this is not the case. So who do you ask for help? A good start would be a shopkeeper who speaks your language, otherwise your hotel staff or the local tourist office.
File a Police Report and Contact Your Embassy
Filing a police report may assist in the return of your luggage, but a call to your embassy will allow you to replace your passport within a matter days. While you may have to pay a renewal fee, as long as it gets you home trouble free, it’s worth every penny.
Cancel Your Credit Cards ASAP
The last thing you want is someone’s sticky fingers racking up bills on your credit cards. If you believe that there is no chance in finding them, you must cancel them as soon as possible. Most banks have a 24/7 hotline that will let you terminate the card before too much damage is done. Check before you leave what your bank can do for you in case of an emergency.
There you have it! Before you leave, make sure you take plenty of copies of your insurance, flights, itinerary and contact numbers to avoid losing all your details at once. One more careful reminder is to keep your cards and your cash separate, and if you must use a credit card, opt for a pre-paid Travel Money Oz money card that allows you to use credit card facilities with your own money. Safe traveling!