On my last trip, somewhere between my London hotel room and the Lisbon airport, my wallet went missing.
And, boy, was is a big mess!
Thank goodness that I had a system for backup that “saved” me! Today, I am going to share that system with you.
Here are 7 things to do, each and every time you leave on a trip.
1: Cash Stash
I always stash $400 in US bills deep in my bag. Note that I carry-on my bag, always – you should never put valuables in checked luggage. Cash is handy in case the ATM machine eats my debit card or – like last week – my wallet is lost. And if the cash stash is not needed? No problem – it’s only USD so I lose nothing in exchange fees. I can simply use it to buy groceries when I return home to an empty frig.
2: Emergency numbers
You know those customer service numbers on the back of your credit cards? Write them down and take them with you.
If you lose your card and need to call the bank, you’ll want to have these numbers handy.
3: Know your phone
Sorry if this seems obvious, but some folks don’t plan to use their phone on vacation. If you’re one of those, it’s still important to learn how to make an international call from your destination. Because if you have an emergency – like a lost wallet – you’ll need to reach your banks ASAP. And despite all those cute red photo booths in London, a working pay phone is an rarity these days.
4: Copy your passport
Photocopy your passport before you leave. You can take a photo with your phone but there’s nothing like a hardcopy picture of your passport to take to the embassy in the event your original is lost or stolen.
And don’t be like a client of mine who followed this good advice, but then packed the copy in her checked luggage. When she lost her passport in the airport, and her luggage was already checked onto the plane, her photocopy couldn’t really rescue her.
5: AMEX to the rescue
I love my AMEX for a lot of reasons, one of which is their support to travelers in need. At the airport, I simply called up AMEX and a customer service agent located the Western Union office closest to me (in the Lisbon airport fortunately). I had cash in an hour.
6: Travel insurance
Many people get travel insurance in case they get sick or their flight is canceled, but coverage of theft and loss – whether it’s my wallet or your golf clubs in the trunk of your car – is one of TravelGuard’s many policy perks.
7: Be organized
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So create best practices for your traveling self:
- always put your cash, credit cards, and passport in the same compartment of your bag – each time – no exception.
- make sure this compartment is a zipped secure place, tucked deeply in your luggage (not an outside compartment that can be easily pickpocketed)
- on transit days, consider a travel outfit that has zippered pockets so you can keep your money and passport on your body during your entire transit. You’ll avoid digging into your bags every time you want a latte or need to tip a driver.
Steinbeck says: Trips take people. People don’t take trips.
Your trip will certainly “take you”.
Some days it will be magical.
But on days that are challenging, these safeguards should help get you back up and running with minimal delay!
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What are YOUR personal “Best Practices”? Email me here to share.