I definitely have a new number one when it comes to my list of worst travel experiences ever. Earlier this year, someone grabbed my backpack in a restaurant with my passport, many of my bank cards, electronics and a variety of other smaller items.
If only I had known at the moment I took the picture below that it would be 3 weeks before I made it back to the USA.You poor naive fool, you have no idea what you're about to go through!
I had been in London for a few days already and was meeting up with a friend that I hadn't seen in quite some time; I was so engrossed in our conversation that I didn't even realize until it was too late. I think I was in a state of shock, just looking at the spot where my bag was supposed to be and feeling helpless in a country that I was not a citizen of.
To make matters worse, this lunch was just supposed to be a quick stop on my way to the airport, so not only was I without my stuff, I also had to deal with the possibility of missing a flight. Here's 5 things I found most useful when faced with this situation:
#1: Scan every important document
#2: Spread the love... or at least the docs
#3: Know where to go (and who to contact)
#4: Always file a police report, and check ALL your insurance policies
#5: Be nice and don't beat yourself up about it
This was quite an expensive ordeal for me when all was said and done. In order to get some of my documents replaced, I ended up having to take a trip to Barbados and then wait until everything was ready. Yes, I know, there's far worse places to have to take a detour to, especially in March, but it was over 2 weeks before everything was processed and I finally made it back to the USA.
If nothing else, I got to experience flying on the Upper Deck of the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 and even managed to get a photo in the cockpit after landing in Barbados!
One final tip: Last minute tickets can be expensive but I managed to get around that by booking award tickets for a fraction of the cost of a paid ticket. You frequently have more options than you realize in these situations to cut some of your expenses.
I sincerely hope none of you find yourself in a similar situation, but if you do, I hope this helps.