No matter how savvy a traveler you may be logging many thousands of miles around the world, just a brief moment of attention deficit can cause you great loss.
I had this gut-wrenching experience recently when my indispensable shoulder bag containing my purse, travel documents, money belt, cell phone, credit cards, driver’s license, contact lenses, toiletries and other essential items was stolen, as I was about to fly out of Dusseldorf Airport. It prompted me to examine what I had done wrong, so others can learn from my mistakes.
1. Be awake and wary. This is not always easy to do when you get up at 4 am and are checking in at the airport at 6:45 am. However, thieves are watching for opportunities when travelers are not alert. This is also true when you arrive in Europe early in the morning and are jet-lagged.
2. Be very aware of your surroundings. We allowed ourselves to be herded over to check-in machines that were hidden behind pillars, thus blocking us from any witnesses who might have observed the theft and making us easier victims.
3. Keep shoulder bags and briefcases in your hands at all times. By briefly turning my back to the luggage cart with the suitcases and my all-important shoulder bag on top in order to focus on the check-in machine, I gave a sneaky, quiet thief his opportunity.
4. Wear your money belt. It seems like obvious advice, but Security had made me remove mine several times in the past and put it through the X-ray machine with the other carry-on luggage. This did not seem safe, so I began hiding it in my shoulder bag before entering Security. I now wear the money belt all the time again and keep the credit cards inside it.
5. Keep your passport and flight information in your hands. I was fortunate to have been holding my passport in my hand at the time, having just removed it from the bag. However, when we were sitting at the gate waiting to board, we overheard other passengers talking about several people whose passports had been the stolen the same week and were not able to travel yet. In that sense, I was lucky.
We were also told that European cities holding large conventions are likely to have bands of roaming thieves who have traveled there specifically to take advantage of the out of town participants. Dusseldorf was hosting a major medical convention during our stay.
No one wants to experience the financial loss, as well as the hassle of having to replace credit cards and personal identification documents. Have you ever been robbed while traveling? What have you done to protect yourself on subsequent trips?
Help My Bag Is Missing! Contributed by guest blogger Judy Bongiorno of Bon Voyage Travel
- Eva Jordan-Johnson Owner/Travel Consultant Jordan Travel Enterprise P.O. box 37 Oakland Florida 34760
- 407 924-2760 http://jordantravelenterprise.com