What To Do If You Get Robbed Overseas


How Not to Get Robbed Overseas!

Getting robbed while overseas is not fun, like I found out in Lisbon Portugal! However, knowing what to do next can help save your trip from becoming a total disaster.

Over the last 18 years of travelling extensively, I’ve been extremely lucky. My husband has had his fair share of experiences from picked pockets to lost and stolen wallets! After each incident, we review how it happened and try to learn from the experience and our mistakes. It is wise to know what to do and what not to do, during and after a robbery. If you are being mugged, and especially if your muggers have weapons, just give them what they want. Your life is more important than your money.

Be Observant 

Some thing worth remembering when travelling overseas – Pay atttention to what the locals do with their belongs. Do they hold their bags or do the carry their bags on their back? Do they leave their belongs on tables or do they always put their things away? A traveller without observation is a bird without wings” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

Petty Theft

In Lisbon, I, unfortunately lent my heavy backpack against my leg while I waited for the owner of the Air Bnb apartment to arrive and let me in. A ‘phony’ tourist approached me for directions to a nearby castle. While, he distracted me, another man grabbed my backpack and ran off in the opposite direction. I instantly felt sick knowing I had just had my Surface Pro Tablet stolen with my most recent travel photos, unpublished blogs plus various other devices which I use on a daily basic. Fortunately, my passport was in my handbag with my wallet and I had done a back up of my travel photographs on an external drive 3 days prior. Although, I lost my unpublished blogs and 3 days of photographs, I, now have a better understanding of the importance of regular backups and cloud storage!

Report the Robbery at the Police Station

Once I calmed down and stopped berating herself for falling for a scam, I headed to the Lisbon Police Station to report the robbery. The policeman took down the details and explained that petty theft is riff in Europe, mainly due to lack of border control. Anticipating that there might be a language barrier at the Police Station, before I left the apartment, I wrote down what items were stolen including the brand, model and replacement costs. Having a list at hand sped up the police report process and allowed me to get on with the joy of exploring Lisbon. Portugal is a wonderful country and Lisbon is a great city so don’t be put off by my misadventure.

policia Lisbon
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File a Report with Police

If your belongings are lost or stolen whilst travelling, you will need to obtain an official police report from a police station in the region where the incident took place. Without this official documentation your claim will most likely not be valid. Immediately cancel your credit and debit cards and order new ones. Replacing a lost card can take a while, from 24 hours to ten days, depending on the country and issuer.

Making An Insurance Claim 

The hardest part of making your claim is proving how much cash was stolen and what goods you had taken. Policies typically have a limit on how much you can claim, you will probably need to provide proof of cash or foreign currency exchange receipts. While your insurance will generally cover stolen items, if you’ll be on the road for some time and can’t wait until you get home for a crucial piece of technology, check your policy first then go ahead and replace it. What is covered depends greatly on your policy, make sure you read the fine print and details to know exactly what’s covered and what is not. Seek the advice of your travel insurance provider for more details. 

More Useful Travel Tips

When it comes to proof of ownership, take a photo of the item, preferably with you in it, get close up photos of serial numbers and keep copies of receipts for proof of purchase. Store the photos on a device at home (or in the cloud) not on the camera or phone your taking away with you.


police report
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What to do if you lose or have your passport stolen

Losing your passport means you are essentially stranded in a country that’s not your own, as you won’t be able to get past immigration at the airport.
It is an Australian Law requirement that you must report the loss or theft of your passport to the Australian Government as soon as possible. This will help to prevent criminal misuse of the document and protect your identity against passport fraud. Your passport will be immediately and permanently cancelled. It cannot be reinstated and must not be used for travel should you find it later.

Report Incident to Police

STEP 1: Head to the nearest police station and lodge a report. The police may provide you with a declaration of theft or loss which can be useful if you intend to lodge an insurance claim. This applies in both Australia and overseas.

STEP 2: Contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible to report the loss of your passport.

If you are in Australia, you can report a loss or theft online or by calling the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232. If overseas, you can report online or at an Australian diplomatic or consular mission.

See the Smartraveller website for more information.

What to Keep in Mind

The length of time taken to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport may vary, as will the time to seek replacement visas. Before you travel, always have copies or scans of the bio page of your passport to assist in this process. Be aware that passports are attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always consider the implications of any lost or stolen personal documents.

asking for help
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Need Additional Help!

If you find yourself in difficulty overseas, there are a number of resources you can draw on for help.

1. Your travel insurer

Travel insurance companies often have 24-hour assistance centres that you can contact from anywhere in the world. If you become ill overseas, are involved in a medical emergency, or if your valuables are lost or stolen, you should first contact your insurance provider.

2. Family and friends

If you have no travel insurance and find yourself in a non-emergency situation, you should seek assistance and advice from family and friends.

3. Tour operator or transport provider

If you are in difficulty as a result of delays or cancellations in travel activity or transport, you should first contact your travel agent, the tour operator or the transport provider. Alternatively, your travel insurance policy may cover you for financial losses due to such unforeseen circumstances.

4. Local emergency services

In circumstances requiring emergency assistance from police, fire or ambulance, you should contact local authorities. It is wise to know the contact numbers of emergency services for each country you plan to visit.

5. Consular services

If you find yourself in difficulty overseas and have exhausted other avenues of assistance such as those listed above, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may be able to provide you with some practical advice and assistance.

The Consular Services Charter online outlines the consular services and assistance that are provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through embassies and consulates. There will, however, be circumstances in which the Consultar’s ability to provide consular support will be limited.

Contact details for Australian diplomatic missions overseas are available on the Department’s website and in each country’s travel advice.

The 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra can also be contacted for assistance from anywhere in the world on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 if in Australia.

Need Help – Visit the Smartraveller website for more information.

The Australian Government provides 24-hour consular assistance.

+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas

1300 555 135 from within Australia

+61 421 269 080 for SMS

Travel insurance
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Why Get Travel Insurance?

Travellers without travel insurance are personally liable for covering any medical and associated costs they incur. The Australian Government won’t pay for your medical treatment overseas or medical evacuation to Australia or a third country.

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Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Agreements with 11 countries that covers the cost of medically necessary care when Australians visit certain countries and visitors from these countries visit Australia. From 1 November 2017 there are changes to some of the benefits visitors to Australia can get under these agreements. Read more on the Department of Health website.

To be covered under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, you’ll need to meet the agreement conditions.

Reciprocal Health Care Countries with Australia

Read the agreement conditions for the RHCA country you are travelling to, from the list below:






New Zealand


Republic of Ireland



United Kingdom

Check the latest travel warnings from DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). You will not be covered if you travel against the government’s advice. Visit SmartTraveller Website for up to date travel advice.

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Travel Planning Resources

Packing Checklist

Subscribe to the Progressive Traveller community and receive my FREE printable travel packing checklists. Learn how to pack efficiently and maximise your luggage space for your next trip abroad. (checklist available at the end of this section)

Book Your Flight

eDreams AU is my favourite airline search engine for booking both my domestic and international flights. Also check out my pro tips on how to find the best and cheapest flights in my Go Travel eBook.

Rent A Car

RentalCars.com is where you will find the right car in the right place at the right price. It’s the best car rental site for comparing prices and offers.

Book Accommodation

My go-to-online accommodation search engine is Booking.com. With over 830,000 hotels, apartments, villas, resorts, guest houses and B&Bs, you will be spoilt for choice. They offer great rates, *free cancellation, no reservation fees and best prices are guaranteed. Through the booking site you have access to customer reviews, special offers and great deals. Plus, each accommodation is shown by location and photos, so you know exactly what to expect.

Save $35 with this Airbnb coupon code and learn the best way to find cheap Airbnb accommodation around the world. Check my Go Travel eBook for more accommodation pro tips.

Protect You and Your Belongings

If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! Protect yourself and your belongings with my preferred consumer insurer, World Nomads. They provide an extensive range of options to suit your type of travel and they are giving my readers a 5% discount code when they enter Go Travel. Head to World Nomads, and enter the promo code GOTRAVEL for an exclusive discount!*  

Please note: 

  • For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, World Nomads cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.


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