What to Do If You Lose Your Valuables While Traveling Abroad and Tips on Keeping Them Safe

Can you believe that people lose their children while in-transit? A little less than one percent of people have admitted to losing a child while in-transit, who fortunately all found their kids.

Travelers lose many things overseas including wedding rings, sunglasses, swimwear, shoes, watchers, and keys. Taking a trip requires a lot of thought, effort and steps, and it’s easy to forget something, such as grabbing your keys or watch before leaving a hotel room. Losing something while traveling also is a bit more stressful than losing something at home. If you lose something while at home, there’s a chance it will pop up one day in your house, your car or office. If you’ve misplaced something in a foreign country and don’t find it, chances are it’s gone for good. We lose things because of forgetfulness, dropping things while in transit, and theft.

Here are the 5 most common items that people lose while traveling with tips on how to keep them safe and what to do when they’re lost.

Passport. Your passport is the most important item while traveling overseas. You need it to enter foreign countries, and to return home. Losing it can make returning home difficult, and also will interfere with your vacation if you plan on traveling to different countries. According to the BBC, tens of thousands of U.K. passports are lost each year.

Tips. Have it on you only on days you are exiting and entering a country. If you’re visiting a different country during a vacation (for example, spending a day in France while vacationing in England), you need to have it with you. Otherwise, keep it in a passport case in a secure place, preferably a safe in your hotel.

If you lose it. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The U.S. Statement has a Q&A page about what to do when a passport is lost. Make two photocopies of your passport, one for you to bring with you, and one to leave with a friend or family member. A copy will contain a lot of the information you need to get a replacement.

Cell phone. Just the thought of losing your cell phone probably makes you shudder. How could you enjoy a vacation or business trip without updating your Instagram, or playing Pokemon Go? More importantly, our phones contain sensitive information such as emails and bank account. According to the Los Angeles Times, 4.5 million cell phones were lost or stolen in the U.S. in 2013.

Tips. If you have an iPhone, and an iPad or Apple laptop, install an app such as Find iPhone on your devices. If your phone contains important information, access to your banking, for example, be sure it’s password protected.

If you lose it. Contact your service provider to let them know you’ve lost your phone. Buying a cell phone overseas is tricky, because your plan is going to be based in the country where you buy it, which means your usage back home incur charges for overseas use.

Medications. It could be an over-the-counter allergy pill or an important prescription, losing or forgetting a prescription in a foreign country can be complicated because countries have different laws regarding prescriptions.

Tips. It’s recommended that you bring your medicine in its prescription container, so that authorities can see what it is. With that in mind, bring only what you’ll need while traveling – leave the rest at home in case you do lose it. Ask your doctor for a prescription to fill and a letter explaining why you need the medication; this might help you replace the prescription if you lose it.

If you lose it. Contact your insurance company. Depending on the country you’re in, they may be able to contact a pharmacy for you. It may be necessary for you to see a doctor in the country you’re traveling to before you can get the prescription filled. If so, your insurance company may be able to arrange this for you.

Wallet or purse. It’s tough to be a victim of pickpocketing. Losing the actual wallet or purse isn’t such a concern as what’s in it — cash, credit cards, and your driver’s license. According a one 2013 report, nearly 30% of travelers will lose their purse or wallet on their trip.

Tips. Leave behind whatever you won’t need at your hotel room. If you have more than one credit card, bring one with you, and bring only the cash you’ll need for each day. Keep everything that you don’t need somewhere safe in an envelope. Before traveling, let your bank know in advance where you’re going overseas. Find out their policies in case you lose your ATM card. Make arrangements with a friend or family member who can wire you money in case of an emergency.

Another issue is theft. Criminals target purses in such public areas such as restaurant tables. Wallets are another target — one thing you want to be sure of is that you keep your wallet in your front pocket, which makes it much more difficult for a pickpocket to take compared to a back pocket. Women should keep purses in front of their body when walking, especially when in a crowded area.

If you lose it. Aren’t you glad you kept your passport back at the hotel? At least you can get home. As for your credit cards, you’ll have to call all the companies and cancel cards to prevent unauthorized charges. It’s important to call your bank and let them know you’ve lost your ATM card. Your bank may be able to wire you money or even send a new ATM card overnight.

Laptops. This one is especially important for work-related travel. According to a 2012 study, there are about 12,000 laptops lost in airports every week. More important than the value of the laptop is sensitive personal information and intellectual property. Losing your laptop, puts your data at risk.

Tips. When going through the TSA line, put your laptop and valuables in the bins first and use the last bin for your shoes. As you won’t forget to pick-up your shoes, you’ll easily remember to pick-up your valuables.

In addition to a password protector, put a label with contact information on your laptop in case a good Samaritan finds it. Before you travel, back up all of your files, photos and materials so that they can be accessed when you purchase a new laptop. Store the information on a cloud or external hard drive. You can also purchase laptop tracking software ahead of time to retrieve your laptop in case you lose it or it gets stolen.   

If you lose it. Change all of your passwords for your personal and business accounts that you access online: email, credit cards, bank accounts, websites, airlines, etc. If your laptop was stolen, then request a police report.

In order to keep your valuables safe, you want to have a general list of things you need, have duplicate items when possible, and take a few seconds to make sure you have everything before leaving a hotel room and while traveling from place to place. Insurance is another important step. You can protect your property when moving overseas with Clements’ international personal property coverage, which offers insurance for items that are damaged while traveling, or during a move.

Clements also provides an international moving checklist of everything you need from filling out important application for visas and permits to finding out international moving and shipping companies.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or e-mail request@clements.com to discuss your needs.

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