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How can we prepare for the worst while traveling? We can follow all sorts of advice, do all the right things, and still be victims of a pickpocket or mugger. We are also human and may at times misplace our wallets and purses, never to be seen again. These situations suck, but they happen every day. If we don’t prepare for them, they can turn what was supposed to be an incredible adventure into a torturous nightmare.
Thankfully, you can prepare for these awful situations while traveling. Don’t get me wrong, it will still suck, but at least you will be able to enjoy the rest of your trip (and make it home!) if something bad does happen.
What is the Worst That Can Happen While Traveling?
Speaking of something terrible happening, we should clarify what that means. What does it mean to prepare for the worst while traveling? What is the worst that can happen?
The worst things that can happen are things that can prevent you from enjoying your trip and even prevent you from getting home. Have you heard of Murphy’s law? If something can go wrong, it will. Lack of preparation for these eventualities will make the outcomes even worse.
There’s a lot that could go wrong. For example, you could lose your passport, get all of your money stolen, or, in the worst case, be the victim of a violent crime and have nobody who even knows something is wrong. These are some of the worst things that can happen while traveling, and it’s better to prepare for them as much as you can.
Follow These Steps To Prepare for the Worst While Traveling:
We can’t stop bad things from happening. The best we can do is prepare ourselves to have the best possible outcome if something terrible does happen. Here are things that I do, especially when traveling alone, that will help me if something goes wrong during my trip.
Make Passport Copies
Make two full-color copies of your passport. Leave one at home with someone you trust and keep the other in your luggage away from your actual passport.
If your passport gets lost or stolen, having a copy for the embassy will help you get a replacement. Keeping one safe with a relative at home will help in the worst-case scenarios (fire, highway robbery, etc.). We hope nothing like this ever happens, but it is much better to be prepared with backup documents in case it does.
Multiple Money Locations
Keep money and credit cards in separate locations, both on you and in your room.
Have money available in more than one pocket, and keep a spare bill in your shoe or something. Also, have cash in your purse or wallet. If you are mugged, the robber will probably be happy with just the bag and won’t consider that you have extra money elsewhere.
Don’t keep all of your money and cards on you if you have a secure room. I usually lock some of my money and an emergency credit card in the safe in my room. I also hide a few bills in my dirty laundry (someone has to be hardcore to go through that). Maybe I over-prepare, but I tend to have two or three hidden stashes of money – just in case.
Multiple Bank Accounts
The first international trip I ever took was to London. I stepped off the plane, excited to start my adventure, and went to buy a coffee. The coffee shop declined my bank card.
I had saved up for this trip! I had the money in my account! This must be some sort of mistake!
I logged onto my bank account, and to my surprise, it was negative $500. My identity had been stolen. They took all the money out of my account and then some. At first, I panicked, I was embarking on my first international trip, and I had no money!
But then I remembered my other bank! I have two banks with multiple unlinked accounts. Thankfully I decided to bring both cards “just in case.” The second bank was untouched by the ID theft.
I sighed a heavy relief, knowing that my trip was safe, and then I called the first bank and got a lock on my account. I told them what had happened and that I was out of the country. They were very helpful in resolving the situation. They also offered to advance me money before the investigation for my trip, but since I had the other bank, I declined (Surprisingly, Bank of America is quite good in cases of identity theft).
The point here is that identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. Theives can max out credit cards and drain bank accounts. It’s always best to have a backup source of cash.
Keep in Touch
Most of my travel is solo. Although it is very liberating, there is also that fear in the back of my head. What if something happens to me? How will my friends and family even know to start looking?
To ease my mind, I made a deal with my sister. I will find an area with wifi and post to Facebook at least once per day. If I’m going on a train or plane for more than 24 hours, I let her know and post as soon as I get to my destination. This system not only lets my family know that I am safe but it gives them a way to share in my adventure. It also gives them my last known whereabouts if they suddenly stop hearing from me.
If you’re planning on traveling via car, there’s a whole host of things that can go wrong. Ensure you get proper vehicle maintenance done before you go and plan for any other road trip disasters that might occur. You should also book your hotels in advance unless you want to end up sleeping in the car.
Ideally, your travel plans go off without a hitch. You will have a great time and make some spectacular memories. Truthfully it doesn’t always work out that way. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and you will never go wrong.
I know it sucks to think about when you are excited about a trip. However, planning ahead will ensure that the worst things that happen aren’t as bad as they could be.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.