Our recent trip to Fuerteventura wasn’t all beaches and sunshine!
Sadly, half way through our two week trip I had my bag stolen, containing my phone, Alex’s phone, and my wallet. Luckily, no passports were involved (they were safely in our villa!), and I was only carrying 20euros cash in the wallet, BUT all my cards were in there along with my driving license and EHIC card too.
However, as much as it has been a massive pain in the arse, it’s taught me some lessons that may serve me later in life, ya never know…
Don’t be an idiot with your bag
My mum always told me to wear my handbag across my body when out in busy streets or at night (especially if you have had a few drinks!!) as it’s the best way to keep it safe. Well mum I should have listened to you because instead, I had my bag resting casually on one shoulder (see pic) because I thought it looked cooler, and now look where it’s got me.
^ Amazing horoscope trousers by Weekday at ASOS*
Only take necessities out with you
I am so glad I didn’t have my passport in my bag, as that would have made the situation 10 times more stressful. I did, however, have all my cards (my personal banking AND business banking ones) inside my wallet that got stolen with the bag, which have been a huge pain to replace!
In future, I will be getting cash out and only taking exactly what I need with me on nights out and walking around in other countries.
Back up your phone!
THANK THE LORD my phone did an automatic iCloud backup the night before it got stolen. This means that all my photos, videos, apps and everything from the first week of our holiday and before were safe and backed up.
When I came home and found my old spare phone (yes, I realise I am very lucky to have a spare phone in this situation, no matter how cracked the screen is, I am very fortunate!), this meant I could load up my backup and it’s like nothing ever happened!
Honestly I cannot recommend setting your phone to backup to iCloud automatically enough. It does it overnight when your phone is on charge and it saves a whole load of heartache. Sadly, Alex has never done this and he has lost a lot of memories that were on his phone :(
Know your logins for Find My iPhone
On that note, make sure you know your iCloud email address and password off by heart! This means that as soon as you’ve noticed your phone is missing, you can log onto Find My iPhone on a friend’s phone or another device, and start tracking your lost phone.
We did this almost straight away and followed the phone to a weird shady bar in a quiet side of town. Of course we looked around and asked people, but as you’d probably expect, no one came forward and there’s a limit of what you can do in this situation. But we did keep screenshots of the locations in case the police asked to see them.
The other thing Find My iPhone does is allow you to remote lock and/or erase your phone, meaning no one can get into it or access what was on it. You can also set it to display a message to the person who is in possession of the phone, and give them a number to call if they want to return it (we set it to our friend Danny’s number, as in fact did get a butt-dial at one point!).
Whilst these things didn’t help us to find the phones in the end, at least we were able to wipe them and make sure no one could get into them.
^ Me being happy and laughing BEFORE losing the bag -.-
Police abroad will probably be no help at all
On the Monday, we headed down to the Tourism Office to see what they could do to help us. They called the local police stations for us and said there hadn’t been anything handed in, but told us to go to the police station to file a report and get a crime number (necessary for insurance).
However, as is often the case when you go abroad, the police spoke no English whatsoever, and with our limited knowledge of Spanish, it didn’t work out so well.
I’m just saying, don’t expect them to be very useful. If you’re able to find someone local who is bilingual and can help translate that could be helpful though!
Check your home and travel insurance
When you buy travel insurance, you usually choose a ‘Single Item Limit’, ie. the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay out for a single item if your personal luggage goes missing or gets stolen. Similarly with your Home Insurance if you have cover for items taken outside the home, you usually have a Single Item Limit.
But no matter how high this is, you should also check the small print in your policy – they often put in a clause specifically about mobile phones (supposedly because people must lose them all the time!). So for me, even though my Travel Insurance Single Item Limit was £200, they would only pay out £100 for mobile phones, and even though my Home Insurance Single Item Limit was up to £1,000, they would only pay out £300. Bear in mind excesses are usually between £150 and £300 anyway!
It may have been worth claiming had I had a load of cash in my wallet too, but in the end we decided it wasn’t worth it.
^ Said bag is this beautiful brown tassel one from Boohoo*
Two-factor Authentication is great until you lose your phone…
As a website designer and tech-lover, I’m a huge fan of Two-Factor Authentication (i.e. adding an extra layer of security to your social media and online accounts by requiring a code that is texted to your phone as well as a password, or even using an app on your phone to unlock things on your desktop).
HOWEVER, when you lose your phone and have to go a week without one whilst abroad, trying to cancel your stolen cards and make banking payments, or log in to your online accounts from a desktop to contact people, Two-Factor becomes a MASSIVE PAIN.
You are basically screwed until you can get a replacement SIM, and I do not have a solution for this.
Try not to let it ruin your holiday
With this happening mid-way through our trip with a week to go ’til we could get back to the UK to sort our lives out, you basically just have to come to terms with it and get on with your life.
Yes, it can be stressful, but it’s important to still enjoy yourself while you’re away, otherwise you won’t have just lost a phone and wallet, but a fun (and possibly expensive) experience as well.
Have you ever lost your phone/wallet? Either abroad or otherwise?
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