Losing your wallet or passport, especially while traveling on vacation is a headache that often takes a while to ease, but no matter where you are—San Diego or the Serengeti—you can minimize the impact by taking the following simple steps.
Be prepared for the worst before you go on vacation. A few things to keep in mind:
Once you have determined that you’ve lost your wallet or that it’s been stolen, the first thing you should do is notify your bank and credit card companies. Most companies have a 24-hour toll free number and international number that you can call collect. If you don’t have the numbers saved on your phone or written down somewhere, go to the company’s website to get it.
When you’re on the phone with your bank or credit card, ask about what options they might be able to offer you immediately. Some will be able to extend you an emergency cash advance, rush a new card to you or tell you where their nearest branch is for additional assistance.
Save yourself the hassle of explaining why you didn’t file a police report by filing a police report. Be sure to get a copy of the report. You’ll need the police file number when reporting the incident to other agencies.
You might want to contact the credit bureaus if your credit information or Social Security card was in your wallet. Thieves can use this information to obtain new credit cards in your name, which could damage your credit score in the process. The primary credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) can place restrictions on your credit record so that if anyone attempts to apply for credit using your information, the creditor will contact you first to verify.
If you’re like me, half of your life is in your wallet. So take a minute to list all the items that you might have to replace once you get home like medical cards, store memberships, and work badges.
According to the State department, all U.S. citizens will have to replace their passport before returning home to the U.S. Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate for assistance.
Losing your wallet can take a lot of out of you, so once you’ve taken care of matters just try to relax and enjoy what’s left of your vacation.