Being Prepared for Vacation Emergencies Part II: Lost or Stolen Items

Developing a plan that will help you avoid becoming a victim of petty crime should be an important part of your travel preparations. Although most Caribbean vacationers enjoy fun in the sun, thinking through a game-plan in case your valuables are lost or stolen they will ensure you'll have pleasant memories to take home.

While traveling, you will most likely be carrying articles of some importance and value that are necessary for your trip, such as passports, identification, cash or other forms of payment, and other items that if misplaced or stolen, could pose some inconvenience during your trip. There are measures you can take to prevent the theft of your valuables. And if your important items do go missing, you can do something about that, too.

Steps Toward Prevention

In the Caribbean, pick-pocketing and petty theft are the most common types of crimes that involve tourists. But by following some simple words of advice, you can avoid becoming a statistic by making it more difficult for thieves to abscond with your valuables. Consider the following travel tips to keep your possessions safe while visiting the Caribbean.

First, do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself by flashing large amounts of cash or prioritize jewelry while on your Caribbean vacation. If you can help it, try to travel with as little cash as possible to prevent your money from being stolen or becoming lost without a trace. Credit cards and travelers' checks are often better options while vacationing overseas because these forms of payment can be tracked and easily cancelled if necessary. If your credit cards or travelers' checks are lost or stolen during your vacation, contact your financial institution immediately. You should be able to cancel your missing or stolen credit card and track any purchases made after it was lost.

Do not leave important possessions unattended during your vacation. If your hotel room has a safe, use it to stow valuables. Also, if you decide to go for a swim on one of your island's beautiful beaches or are visiting public places including restaurants or casinos, do not leave items such as wallets, purses, or other valuable personal belongings unattended because they can easily be picked up without anyone even noticing. Always be aware of your surroundings, and know where your personal items, including passports, identification, money and jewelry, are at all times. Thieves are less likely to prey on vacationers who look like they are aware of what is going on around them.

The Loss or Theft of Important Documents

Travelers not only have to worry about the loss or theft of items that are monetarily valuable, but they also should consider what to do in case such important documents as passports, visas, and identification or driver's licenses are lost. These items are necessary to carry with you while traveling, but if they are lost or stolen while on vacation, you could face unexpected frustration on your trip. Even if you take preventive measures to keep your documents from being stolen, there is still the possibility you could misplace them.

If your passport or driver's license is lost or stolen while visiting the Caribbean, contact the local police as soon as possible. Also, get in touch with the closest embassy or delegate to your home country. Once you realize that your passport, visa or ID is missing, it is important to notify the proper authority as quickly as possible to protect yourself from becoming a possible victim of identity fraud. Notifying the permissions is the first step to follow when your passport or other important documentation is lost. Then, you must apply for a replacement. You may not be able to receive a new passport immediately while in the Caribbean, so you may want to carry several other forms of identification with you just in case.

Although you are not likely to be robbed while vacationing in the Caribbean, it is always best to be prepared for the unexpected rather than being caught off guard. To learn more about traveling safely in the Caribbean, visit Caribbean-Guide Crime for detailed information and useful safety tips.