How can we prepare for the worst while traveling? We can follow all sorts of advice, do all the right things, and still be a victim 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 everyday. If we aren’t prepared for them, they can turn what was supposed to be a wonderful 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 get home!) if something bad does happen.
What is the Worst?
Speaking of something bad happening, I guess I should clarify what that means. What does it mean to prepare for the worst while traveling? What is the worst that can happen?
Well, let me tell you. Have you heard of Murphy’s law? If something can go wrong, it will. If you aren’t prepared for it, it will be even worse. The worst things that can happen are things that can prevent you from enjoying your trip, and even prevent you from getting home. Things like that would be horrible. I’m talking about losing your passport, getting all of your money stolen, and not having anyone know if something happens to you. These are some of the worst things that can happen while traveling, and it’s better to be prepared for them.
Follow these steps to prepare for the worst while traveling:
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.
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 money in your purse. If you are mugged, the robber will probably be happy with just the purse, 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 really hard core to go through that). Maybe I over-prepare, but I tend to have two or three hidden stashes of money – just in case.
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. My bank card was declined. What?? 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 un-linked 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 happened and that I was out of the country. They were very helpful in resolving the situation. They also offered to advance me money prior to 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. They 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 that has wifi and post to Facebook at least one time per day. If I’m going on a train or plane for more than 24 hours, I let her know in advance, and post as soon as I get to my destination. This 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.
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, but have you thought about how you would prepare for the worst while traveling? Let us know in the comments!
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.