What to do When You Lose Your Wallet Abroad

Traveling abroad is an exciting experience. Your days are filled with fun and exploration as you learn and see new things. However, traveling does not insulate you from unfortunate accidents, such as losing important items like your wallet or purse. In fact, losing a purse or wallet is a common experience among travelers. Fortunately, there are things you can do beforehand that will help mitigate the damage a lost wallet can cause. There are also steps you should take afterwards to help you get out of this conundrum relatively unscathed.

Make Copies

Before you even leave your country, make sure you get your most important documents photocopied. This includes all forms of identification you will be taking with you, from your passport to your drivers license. Make sure to photocopy the two pages in your passport that have your photo, information, and signature. For the license, don’t forget to copy both sides and make multiple copies. When finished, store these copies in a place separate from the originals.

You should also make copies of your credit cards. With copies of your credit cards, you can essentially still use your them to make purchases online. Keep in mind that you should really cancel your credit cards immediately if you believe they have been stolen, in which case your photocopies will be useless.

Head to the Consulate

The consulate is there to help you in emergencies such as these and can be found in most locations where you will be traveling. Once there, the consulate will work to get you back to the United States, which will include getting you a temporary passport or other document to get you home. This is where your photocopies will come in handy. They will make the consulate’s job easier and speed up the turn around time on your case. Without the photocopies, the consulate will have to do some extra leg work to help verify your identification. In most cases, this can be done on the consulate’s computer where they have access to every passport photo taken in the past ten years.

Get Money From Friends

If your wallet or purse was stolen, chances are you are not only missing identification but cash and credit cards as well. Get on the horn to your closest people or to someone who owes you money and have them send money to your location. This will help ease much of the pressure you are feeling if your money and cards were with the wallet.

Keep Everything Separate

One preemptive thing you can do to protect your documents and money is to keep them separate. Don’t put all of your document eggs in one basket. Have many baskets. For example, you can have all of your documents in one wallet or purse and your money in another.

You can also split them up among each other. For instance, keep your credit cards separate from your cash money. This way you still have funds if one of them gets lost or stolen. The same holds true for your documents. You can keep them separate not only from your money but also from each other.

Keep an Emergency Stash at Home


Before you leave, set aside some extra cash and give it to a trusted friend or family member. If you lose your wallet and financial resources, simply contact someone that can help, and you should have your emergency funds in almost no time at all.

You can’t prevent unfortunate accidents when you travel, but you can certainly prepare for them. Losing a wallet is a common occurrence when traveling abroad so don’t be surprised if it happens to you. That being said, if you take a few certain steps before and after you lose your wallet, you can help ensure that your recovery from this unfortunate incident happens smoothly and quickly.

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