Imagine you’re out all day having a great time exploring another country only to come back to the flat you’re renting to find your things are missing. It can’t be right, right? You only ever hear of these stories in online articles and in movies, it couldn’t happen to you, or so I thought. I was very naive until this very thing happened during one of my summer trips with some friends. The ordeal itself was a nightmare and felt like a personal violation so I wanted to shed light on the matter and help YOU get through this hell and enjoy the rest of your trip.
1. Make sure the apartment is secured!
This is quite simple, if you noticed things missing then the logical next step is to make sure whomever is still not in the same place as you. Take a look around, secure the doors and windows and make sure the surrounding area is safe. If you’re so inclined look for any forced break-in.
2. LOCATE YOUR PASSPORT!
LOCATE YOUR PASSPORT! It’s so important I wanted to stress it twice! Regardless of whatever else is taken this is the key to getting home. Trust me I would gladly have them take my DSLR if that meant leaving my passport, if this is gone the nightmare is just beginning. Locate and secure, pronto.
3. Take account of all missing items.
Go through all your stuff and make a list of what items are gone or missing. Try looking for them in the place you’re staying. It sucks having to go through your stuff and find your things missing, a true breach of your privacy. Make a list both mentally and on paper of any and all things gone missing. Just remember that material things can be replace, most important here is safety of everyone.
4. Contact the local authorities.
As soon as you finish the above steps call the local authorities (the US state department created an easy PDF list of international numbers here). In my case they showed up within ten minutes, unheard of in the states. Let them know what happened, how the scene was found and any other pertinent information you have on hand so they can do a proper report. Next they will ask you to come down and fill out a statement which you should promptly while everything is still fresh. Most police stations abroad have English translators on hand or staffed during certain hours to help the process go smoothly.
5. Contact the host and/or management party.
You should contact the party in which you booked your lodging and informed them of all that has happened. For me that meant calling AirBnB (customer service: 1-855-424-7262) at 2AM Barcelona local time. You’ll need to open a case and submit any and all paperwork filed with the police to them so they can assist you in getting re-payment for your lost possessions. Beyond the paperwork this was clutch on the organization I booked through because they helped me retrieve 2/3rd value of everything that was taken that night. Obviously it wasn’t enough but it was enough to set my mind at ease.
6. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
I mean it. There is no reason to cry over spilled milk. Things like this happen and sometimes they happen to you, or me. Just follow the steps I put forth and get things rolling onto the good times. I think overall with the whole process I was really angry for all of about 10 minutes, scout’s honor. For some of my companions it was their first time out of the country so I hope this doesn’t leave a sour taste in their mouth. But when you’re traveling at home or abroad these things can happen so make the best of the situation!