Planning a trip and making an itinerary is always nice, but what to do if you're robbed abroad? Being stranded in a foreign place without financial resources or your most prized belongings can make most of us feel vulnerable.
Although there are some things that might keep you safer, whenever you leave your house, you're a potential victim for a robber. The only difference is, that staying in your own city will make taking back control easier than when traveling abroad.
Here are the steps you should take when you're robbed abroad that will help you deal with this ordeal. We'll tell you everything there is to know about what to do if you're robbed abroad, so let's see how we can overcome this trauma!
1. What to do if you're robbed abroad? - Don't panic
Keeping a clear head even when dealing with an assault is the best thing you could do in a situation like this. Pick pocketing is extremely common in capitals or places that attract large numbers of tourists.
Knowing how to react when you're robbed abroad will make the difference between getting your belongings stolen, or being hurt besides losing your possessions.
Start by assessing if you are physical okay. Your personal safety is at risk when going through a theft, so instead of starting to run after the robber, take a minute to check if he hasn't harmed you in any way.
Most robbers will only take your wallet and chances are you won't be aware of the missing belonging until you'll want to buy something. Other thieves will come from behind you and take your bag or purse.
Unfortunately, even if you try to find the person, he'll be long gone or lost in a mass of people, so it's very unlikely that you'll get him. Keep in mind that going yourself after your possessions is never recommended.
Learning what to do if you're robbed abroad and imagining different scenarios will reduce the panic that usually sets in once we're becoming aware that we've been assaulted.
2. Rely on strangers
Being shocked is normal, so don't be surprised if you freeze for a moment. Enter the first coffee shop or store you see and tell people about the incident. If you're travelling alone, "what to do if you're robbed abroad?" seems like a scarier question than if you have your friends to rely on.
Keep calm and you'll soon find out that people are willing and actually want to help you, in whatever way they can.
Ask for a glass of water and sit down for a couple of minutes to let your brain process the trauma. Phone the police to report the incident and find out how you can get to your embassy.
Carrying your passport, credit cards and money in your wallet can make you feel at a loss when you realize that without them, problems will keep on coming.
Knowing what to do if you're robbed abroad will minimize the stress that follows this ordeal. Compose yourself and even ask a stranger to escort you to the police if you're not sure which way to go, or don't feel safe enough to walk alone.
3. Go to your embassy and to the police
What to do if you're robbed abroad and lost your passport? This unfortunately will increase your problems. Travelling without a passport can't be done, so you'll need the embassy to set your forms in order for you to be able to continue your trip, or to return home.
Embassies will come to your rescue, so don't think that it will be a big hassle that won't do you no good. Check your embassy's schedule and working hours and if it's open, make sure to wait in the right line.
Here's what to do if you're robbed abroad : make a second stop to the police station. Sometimes the police will come exactly where you were robbed, in order to give them a detailed description of the robber. They'll assess the place in which the theft has taken place. Other times, they'll ask you to come to the station and make a declaration.
Reporting the incident will increase the chances of catching the thieve. Also, in case someone will try to use your passport, the police will be notified and you won't get in other troubles by getting confused with someone else.
What to do if you're robbed when traveling?
Thieves can steal your belongings when you're in line at the airport, or walking on the street. If you've just arrived to your destination and realized you can't get past the security without your passport, report the incident immediately.
Someone will come to take your statement and help you get past the incident.
4. Cancel credit cards and phone service
There are a number of ways for a robber to use your credit cards and leave your bank account empty, so go to the closest bank and cancel all your credit cards immediately.
In case several hours have passed until you've gone to the bank and the robber has made payments, by reporting the incident to the bank, you'll be able to refute the charges and even getting them removed.
If your cellphone has been stolen as well, close that one too. There's no need to risk additional charges that might lower your bank account even more.
Get a hold of a family member of friend from back home and ask them to lend you some money. Western Union is a fast money transfer that will allow you to pick up the money even without a credit card.
What to do if you're robbed abroad and have nobody to help you
In case you can't rely on anyone to help you out, your embassy will fly you home as soon as possible. The downside is that they'll make you to refund the price of the plane ticket, which can be pretty expensive.
Tips for preventing a robbery
- Travel with a passport copy, not the original
Usually your hotel will provide you with a safe deposit box in which you can deposit your most prized possessions, like money, credit cards and jewelry.
Always make a copy of your passport and take it with you when you visit places. Leave the original secured at your hotel. In case something happens, you'll still have the original documents.
- Don't take expensive jewelry
Travelling with expensive and flashy jewelry is not recommended. It will only attract attention and due to wearing it around your neck and wrists, it can even pose a treat to your personal safety.
- Keep your belongings close to your body
Whenever you look around or shop, make it a habit of always being aware of where you've placed your wallet and phone. Either wear a jacket with inside pockets, or put your purse across your chest, so it will be harder for robbers to just snatch it away from you.
- Take 2 credit cards when you travel
Just because you've got robbed, this doesn't also have to end your vacation. The secret is travelling with two credit cards. One to take with you, and another one to leave in your safe deposit at the hotel. This will save you the trouble of asking for a wire transfer or even putting a stop to your holiday.
- Assess your surroundings
No matter what you do, you'll find yourself surrounded by mass of people. This happens especially in capitals, where tourists are walking around looking for monuments and shopping on busy streets. Enjoy your holiday, but also keep an eye on your purse and if you feel that's something's not right, enter a shop or supermarket.
- Stay away from secluded places
Sometimes the best pictures we'll take outside of the cities we visit. Rural areas have a certain appeal, so if you're brave enough to go visit them, keep in mind that you may pose yourself at a greater risk of being mugged. Still, if you want to go, travel with a companion and take only the necessary things with you.
Learning what to do if you're robbed abroad will help you assess the situation logically and deal with the consequences without also risking to have to cancel your vacation along with your credit cards!