I would like to say that I have been fairly lucky on my travels over the past ten years. I have yet to be robbed, kidnapped, or have a major crisis. My friend on the other hand, hasn’t been so lucky. About a month ago, she had called me up saying “Let’s go on a trip.” Right away, I said Nicaragua. This was going to be her first backpacking trip and the first time she wasn’t going to be in an all-inclusive resort. Our other friend was flying down to Nicaragua to meet us later that night, so we ended up staying one day in Managua.
Managua is a city that everyone avoids and with good reason. It is poverty ridden, dirty, dangerous, and in general, not the greatest city. Before we left the hotel, I had taken our passports and some emergency cash out of our purses and locked them in the room. We left the hostel, went to ATM, decided to hit up the supermarket, and then our plan was to get back to the hostel before dark. Just after leaving the supermarket, we were crossing the street when I noticed my friends purse was hanging behind her. No sooner than I told her to put her purse in front of her, a teenaged thug came running up and grabbed her purse. After a short tug-of-war the purse straps snapped and the thief ran away.
So what should you do when you get robbed?
1. Don’t chase the thieves. It’s not worth getting yourself injured or killed over a camera and a couple hundred bucks.
2. Get back to your hotel to call and cancel all debit/credit cards, cellphones, and contact your travel insurance if need be. (It is hard to call collect in a lot of countries, so it’s a good idea to have a Skype account.)
3. File a police report. 99% of the time, you won’t get your stuff back, but you will need a police report if you plan on claiming any of the stolen items against your insurance.
4. If your passport was stolen, then contact your embassy.
5. If you walk away from it unscathed, go on and enjoy the rest of your trip.
Have you been mugged or robbed when travelling?