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How to Survive a Lost or Stolen Wallet on Holiday

Italy's Tremiti Islands

Italy's Tremiti Islands (photo: David Lee)

[T]here are some things you don't mind losing on holiday – your cares and inhibitions to name but two. But losing your wallet can be a serious drag.

When your pockets are empty, a foreign country that just a moment before seemed like a magical playground can suddenly become a place of fear and foreboding.

Thankfully, there are several ways of ensuring that your cash-strapped state doesn't last for too long.

Think Ahead

Should you run into problems, things will go a lot more smoothly if you've taken a few precautions beforehand.

Keep photocopies or scans of your various credit or debit cards and jot down contact numbers for your bank and the local embassy, then stow all this info away somewhere safe (i.e., not in the wallet that's just gone missing).

The modern option is to store these records in a secure, cloud-based account with a company like Dropbox.

With all these details at your fingertips, you'll be able to leap into action quickly should the disaster scenario occur.

Travelers Checks

Harking on the same theme, if you choose to use travelers checks, remember to hold onto the receipt and write down the checks' serial numbers.

On the receipt you'll find an emergency number which you can phone in the event that the checks somehow go walkabout. Once you've supplied all your info, you'll usually be issued with replacements within a day or so.

Credit Cards

Losing that vital bit of plastic can put a major dent in those holiday vibes.

But again, so long as you have your card issuer's emergency number to hand, it needn't be the end of the world, and they should be able to get a new card issued to you within one to three days.

Keep in mind, for security reasons, many card companies will only mail a replacement card to your mailing address on record. If you do not have someone collecting your mail, or who can forward it to you while you're away, you may be stuck without it until you return home.

For this reason, it's important to carry multiple cards, and keep at least one as a back-up in a location other than your wallet.

Having Money Sent From Home

If you've had your wallet stolen and you need a little cash to tide you over, in most cases it's easy for someone at home to deposit or transfer some money into your bank account which you can then withdraw.

Alternatively, if you've lost your debit card along with your wallet but you happen to be traveling with a trustworthy companion, then the money could be transferred into their account instead.

Then again, if, for some reason, no one can access their home bank accounts, you might want to arrange for some money to be sent abroad through an international transfer. Money transfer companies like Azimo specialize in transferring money online and offer this at reasonable rates.

Other options are transferring your money through online bank accounts or even through the Post Office.

There's no getting away from the fact that losing your wallet is a major downer, but as long as you've taken a few steps to be prepared for the worst, there's no reason why it should be a fatal blow to a fun holiday.


This post was published in partnership with Azimo.

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AJ Aerni

Sunday 14th of December 2014

Another great tip: don't leave your ATM card in the ATM machine after you pull money in a foreign country. Get and count your money, collect your receipt, and grab your card before leaving the machine. Luckily, USAA (only 1% international fees) overnighted me a new card to where I was staying in Chiang Mai, Thailand which allowed me to not lose any downtime from traveling. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Christina and I look forward to meeting other travel bloggers out on the road. Be well. And namaste.


Saturday 13th of December 2014

I can't tell you how much I fear this scenario ... thanks for the actionable tips!


Saturday 13th of December 2014

Wow, a great stuff on the things keep in mind specially travelling for holidays. will recommond to my friend and family this fantastic site/blog


Sunday 30th of November 2014

Luckily I haven't been in a situation yet. These are great bits of advice from what I've seen from others it has happened too.

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