LAST WEEK I SHARED SOME TIPS ABOUT WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BAG AND HOW TO ENSURE YOU CAN CLAIM ON YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE (YOU CAN READ IT HERE). This week it is all about the lessons learnt.
Always be aware of your surroundings
My bag was swiped from right under my arm as I stood on a corner of a street in Times Square taking a picture. With my attention focused on my camera I was an easy target; even with four of my friends standing nearby. It acted as a harsh reminder that even in groups you need to be mindful of who is around you, especially in popular tourist spots where pickpocketers are prowling. Not to scare you at all, just keep it in mind.
Which leads me to…always have a bag with a strap
Living in Australia I’m fortunate to have relatively safe cities to wander; I don’t think twice about ducking into town only carrying my purse and phone. Which isn’t good considering I have a habit of putting things down and then forgetting them. Clutch bags, as cute and fashionable as they can be, are not the most practical of bags to carry as you wander new locations . Keep your hands free, without the risk of losing your belongings, by investing in a small bag with a strap.
Always have back up access to funds
In my particular situation I was travelling with friends so I was lucky enough to be able to access my money by transferring my savings into one of their bank accounts. If they were’t there I don’t know what I would have done because I didn’t have a back up plan to access my cash. There are a couple of options available to travellers, the most popular being the Cash Passport. I’ve personally never used a Cash Passport, the multi-currency travel card which you can load your own savings onto, but I have heard it is really easy to use and you don’t get charged international ATM or eftpos fees. The selling point of the Cash Passport is it comes with second back up card. As an after thought, why not order a second debit card from your bank to have as a back up at home and overseas.
A second phone comes in handy
Being a bit a of an internet and social media addict I always travel internationally with two mobile phones. Mainly so I can place my Australian SIM into an old handset to receive calls if need be and to purchase an in-country SIM to place in my current handset to have access to the internet 24/7 – see addicted. Unfortunately when my bag went, along with my phone, it was three hours after landing in New York and as such MIA phone still had my Australian SIM. The silver lining: I still had a handset to place a SIM in/access WIFI and ultimately (and most importantly) contactable when out and about. Losing my phone also drove home the importance of having your phone pin locked – thankfully mine was!
Never carry your passport with you or more cash than you are prepared to lose
You know how people tell you only carry what you are prepared to lose, well I’ve never believed it more. Passports should stay locked up in your suitcase or room safe and never carry too much cash.
In the end, as long as you are unhurt, there is nothing lost that can’t be replaced.