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How to Avoid Getting Robbed While Traveling

Robbery or mugging is a common form of violent crime all over the world. Unfortunately, any traveler can fall victim. This guide explains, in a rational and honest way, how to avoid getting robbed while traveling. We can’t reduce the risk to zero but we can lower it substantially by taking some simple precautions and being prepared. I’ll also outline what to do if you do get robbed. 

While planning your trip, you may have come across some terrifying robbery stories from fellow travelers and maybe even friends and family. Maybe you, yourself were robbed and you’re trying to regain the confidence to travel again. After all, a robbery can ruin your whole trip and even leave a lasting psychological effect like PTSD and paranoia. At the very least, it costs you money. This guide is for you.

In this guide, I focus mainly on violent robberies and muggings. For info on avoiding non-violent theft, check out my guide: How to Avoid Pickpockets While Traveling.

Table of Contents

a robber shaking someone down
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How to Avoid Getting Robbed While Traveling

You can greatly reduce your likelihood of falling victim of a robbery by taking a few simple precautions. The general goal here is to lower your exposure to robbers as well as reduce your risk of being targeted by a robber. These criminals generally operate in specific areas and look for easy targets that have something of value that they can take. 

1. Do Your Research

Knowledge is power. By properly researching your destination, you can avoid high-risk areas. This greatly lowers your chances of getting robbed.

Before arriving in a new city or country, check for any travel advisories. These can tell you of any dangerous areas or common crimes in any particular country. You can read travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State here.

For another point of view, check other countries’ travel advisories as well. Here is Canada’s list of travel advisories.

These can provide you with a lot of useful security information that is specific to your travel destination. While reading these, you should keep in mind that the information is sometimes inaccurate or exaggerated for political reasons or other motivations.

For more safety information, you can also do a quick Google search to read reports from other travelers who have visited the region lately. For example, you could do a search for “is (city or country) safe” or “common crimes in (city or country)”. You can also lookup crime statistics from the country’s government.

2. Know Where You Are and Where You’re Going

Safety in many cities varies greatly by neighborhood. You could wander a few blocks too far outside of a safe touristy area and find yourself in a dangerous part of town. This is particularly easy to do at night.

To avoid wandering into the wrong neighborhood, try to have an idea of where you’re going. Look at your map before leaving your room and plan yourself a safe route in your head. If you need help, ask the receptionist at your hotel how to safely get to wherever it is that you want to go.

If you don’t have a local SIM card, download maps that you can use offline before leaving your hotel. I always use for this. With the app, you can download the map of your destination while you have internet then you use the app to navigate using only GPS. Google Maps has an offline map feature as well. You can also simply take a screenshot of the map of your destination. 

When you’re unsure about safety, try to stick to large roads and touristy areas. Robbers are less likely to operate in these areas because there are people around. Touristy areas also tend to have a large police presence. This deters robbers.

Rio de Janeiro
I was paranoid about getting robbed in Rio de Janeiro. I was extremely cautious about the where I went.

3. Be Discreet and Avoid Flashing Valuables in Public

Chances are, you’re going to be carrying quite a few valuables while you traveling. For example, you’ll probably take a camera, phone, tablet, watch, cash, laptop, and even jewelry. Robbers target people who have something worth taking. Oftentimes they even wait around for a profitable looking target to rob.

While out sightseeing and wandering around, try to keep all of your valuable items concealed the best you can. Store anything of value in your backpack and pockets. Only take them out when you need them.

This is particularly important for cameras and photography equipment. Thieves love these items because they can’t be tracked like phones and computers. They also hold their value well. It’s best not to walk around with your camera hanging around your neck. Keep it in your backpack and only take it out when you want to take a photo. When you’re done, stash it away again.

A guy carrying his wallet sticking out of his pants
Don’t carry your wallet like this guy

Cash is another obvious target for thieves. Avoid carrying large bundles of bills. Instead, carry enough for the day in your wallet or pocket and leave the rest in your money belt or locked away back at your hotel. Better yet, use a credit card. If a robber watches you pull out your money and sees that you only have a few bills, they may decide that it’s not worth the risk to rob you.

4. Avoid Appearing Lost or Distracted

Fumbling with a large paper map and appearing lost makes you a target for robbers. They know that you’re disoriented and distracted. While out and about, you want to look like you know where you are and where you’re going. Basically, you want to look confident.

To avoid getting lost, check the map before you leave your hotel so you know where you’re going. If you get lost and need to check your map or phone, find a safe place to do it. For example, you can go into a shop, restaurant, mall, or other business. You could also stand near a security guard while checking.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for directions. It’s better than wandering around an unfamiliar area looking lost. Just look for an approachable looking person and ask. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help. Of course, this only works if you are able to communicate with the locals where you’re traveling. Sometimes the language barrier makes asking for directions a challenge.

5. Don’t Walk Around Drunk or Intoxicated

For most of us, travel involves drinking. When you go out to a bar or club, you need to plan how you’re going to get back to your hotel at the end of the night. You don’t want to be wandering around on the street at 2 am trying to find your way. This is prime time to get robbed.

Drunk people make for easy targets for robbers. They know that you’re not thinking clearly and you can’t fight back or escape as easily as you can when you’re sober. Robbers can tell when you’re drunk. Sometimes, they even wait outside of bars or clubs for a potential drunk target.

If you’re going out in a group, you still need to know how to get back by yourself. Oftentimes groups end up splitting up as the night goes on. Maybe some people call it a night early and you’re left alone.

While out drinking, I recommend you carry your hotel’s address written down on a piece of paper. That way, you can hand it to a taxi or Uber driver when you need to get back.

I made the mistake of walking around while drunk while visiting Tijuana. I had a few too many drinks at a bar and ended up getting my phone pickpocketed on my way back to my hotel. Luckily, I was able to get it back.

6. Don’t Trust Anyone You Meet on the Street

Not all robberies start out violent. You may be approached by a friendly individual on the street. This could be a man, woman, or even a child. They may start by asking you about your trip. Maybe they offer to show you around or take you to their favorite bar for a drink. Once they lure you away to a deserted area, either they or their accomplices rob you.

The best way to avoid this type of robbery is to never trust anyone you meet on the street. If someone approaches you, assume that they are either trying to scam you, rob you, or sell you something. It’s fine to chat for a bit, but you should never follow them anywhere they want to go.

Occasionally, a genuinely friendly person may try to talk to you but that is incredibly rare. I’ll usually give someone the benefit of the doubt and chat for a minute. Once I determine that they are up to no good, I’ll get out of there.

To read about a positive experience I had meeting a criminal, check out my story, Scams in Ethiopia: My Afternoon with a Con Man.

7. Keep an Eye on Your Belongings at All Times

Not all theft is violent. Many robberies are crimes of opportunity. If a thief sees an unattended bag that is easy to steal, they may just take it.

One common place that thieves work is on long distance buses or trains. While you’re sleeping or taking a bathroom break, a thief can grab your bag or rummage through it for valuables.

travel backpacks and phones sitting on a table
Always keep your luggage and other belongings within view.

The best way to prevent this is to keep your belongings on you at all times. When you get off the bus for a lunch break, don’t leave anything of value behind. When you go to sleep, tie a rope or strap from your bag to your leg. If someone tries to take it, you’ll wake up. Alternatively, use your bag as a pillow.

8. Stay in Well-Lit and Populated Areas During the Night

Muggers and robbers like to work under the cover of darkness where they can’t be seen. Avoid walking through dark or deserted areas at night. Particularly if you are unfamiliar with the neighborhood. This reduces your chance of getting robbed considerably.

If you need to wait for a taxi or Uber, do so under a streetlight or inside of a business. If you’re walking home from a bar or club, try to stick to main roads, even if you have to walk out of your way.

9. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Always maintain situational awareness when you’re out and about. Continue scanning the area around you for anything strange or unexpected. To avoid distraction, don’t wear headphones or check your phone frequently. Focus on your surroundings.

10. If You Spot a Potential Robber, Move to Safety

Maybe you see a group of rough looking guys hanging around a dark street. Maybe a shady looking guy begins walking toward you. Whatever the case, you should move to safety if you feel threatened. Keep a distance between yourself and any potential mugger. It’s not worth taking the risk by walking by or hanging around potentially dangerous people.

Moving to safety usually involves finding a well-lit area with a bunch of people around. It could involve taking an alternate route to your destination. Maybe it just means crossing the street and walking on the other side. You could also step into a shop, bank, or restaurant. 

11. Travel in a Group

There is safety in numbers. You’re much less likely to get robbed while traveling in a group. A single individual is a much easier target for robbers. This is one of the main reasons that people choose group tours over solo travel.

Of course, there are ways to take advantage of the safety of group travel without taking a group trip. For example, you can meet people at your destination to go sightseeing with in high risk areas. You can also take day tours to visit places that you aren’t comfortable visiting yourself. This way, you get all of the benefits of solo travel and the safety of occasional group travel.

For example, while visiting my favorite African city, Nairobi, I wanted to see one of Africa’s largest slums, Kibera. I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking around the area alone. A couple of friends from the hostel and I went and spent an interesting afternoon exploring the area. I felt safe because there were three of us.

A group tour
There is safety in numbers.

In some particularly dangerous regions, you may need to hire private security to accompany you. This is really only a concern for a hardcore traveler who is visiting a war zone or area where kidnapping and terrorism is a major risk.

If you need to pass through a risky area and you’re by yourself, wait for a group of people and follow them through. I learned this trick while living in Tijuana. I was walking from the border to downtown one evening (a risky walk), when an old man asked me to walk with him. He told me that he was robbed the previous week by a group of kids with knives. Now he always waits for someone to walk with. There is safety in numbers.

12. Limit Your Use of Your Phone

For most travelers, your phone is the most valuable item you’ll carry, both in terms of money value and utility. You use your phone for navigation, communication, photography, and entertainment. It is expensive to replace and is a target for thieves.

Your phone is also a major source of distraction. Robbers love this. While you’re posting your newest photo to Instagram and planning a Tinder date, robbers are watching you and planning their crime.

Try not to use your phone in unfamiliar or sketchy areas. Wait until you’re back at your hotel to update your friends. If you need to respond to a message, step into a shop, restaurant, or other business so you’re off the street. If you want to take a picture, do so quickly and discreetly. Leave it locked up in your hotel safe or hostel locker if you don’t need it. It’s one less thing to worry about losing while you’re out and about.

You could also consider buying a cheap travel phone and leaving your good phone at home. These days, you can buy a functional smartphone for $50. Maybe you even have an old phone sitting in a drawer at home. If you get robbed, you’ll feel a lot better about losing a $50 phone than a $1200 phone.

13. Lock Your Hotel Room Up Tight at All Times

While it is rare to get robbed in your hotel or hostel, it does happen. Particularly in budget accommodation in rough areas. The best way to avoid this terrifying crime is to keep the room locked up tight at all times.

Close all of your windows. Use any locking mechanism they have to keep them shut. Use the deadbolt and chain lock on your room’s door. If you’re particularly afraid of someone coming in, consider putting a chair or piece of furniture in front of the door. Choose a hotel or hostel with 24-hour security if you’re traveling in a dangerous city. 

Of course, you should also lock up your room before leaving as well. It’s much more likely that someone comes in to steal your things while you’re out. Unfortunately, hotel staff are often the thieves in this case.

To prevent theft, lock up all of your valuables in the hotel safe or locker before leaving the room. These aren’t all that secure but they are better than nothing.

If you don’t trust hotel lockers, consider packing an anti theft backpack or portable safe. These bags store flat and can be locked to fixtures like furniture or plumbing pipes. They are slash proof and allow you to use your own lock. 

14. Look People In The Eyes and Say Hello

This is basically a psychological trick. If you notice someone sketchy approaching you, stare right into their eyes. If they’re close enough, consider saying a quick hello in the local language. This shows them that you aren’t distracted and that you are aware of their presence. It also shows that you have seen their face.

Many robbers use the element of surprise to commit their crimes. They’ll approach you while you’re distracted and disoriented. If you’re looking right at them, they can’t surprise you.

Of course, this won’t stop a violent mugger. It may, however, make a desperate criminal stop to reconsider their actions before robbing you. It’s worth a try if you notice a potential robber approaching.

15. If You Feel Uncomfortable Where You Are, Get Out of There

Have you ever been overcome with a sudden feeling of dread as if something bad was about to happen? Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut feeling and get out of there. Follow your intuition. Maybe your subconscious picked up on a danger that your consciousness didn’t.

cash sticking out of a pocket

How to Cut Your Losses and Avoid Injury if you do Get Robbed While Traveling

Sometimes you can do everything right and still get robbed. Maybe you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe the robber was really desperate. In this case, you want to cut your losses the best you can and avoid violence at all cost.

Only Carry What You Need When You’re Out and About

While out sightseeing or wandering around town, only carry what you absolutely need. That probably means enough cash for the day, your camera, and maybe your phone.

Leave your valuables like your passport, cash, credit and debit cards, laptop, etc. locked up in your hotel or hostel. They are safer there than with you out on the street. Most hotels and hostels offer a safe or locker for guests to lock up valuables.

For example, there is no reason to carry hundreds of dollars and your expensive camera with you when you’re just going down the block to grab lunch. It’s an unnecessary risk. Just carry enough what you need.

Use a Money Belt

This is basically a hidden pocket that you wear around your waist, under your pants. Here, you can hide your cash, credit and debit cards, passport, keys, other important documents, and even your phone. A money belt reduces your loss if you do get robbed as long as the robber doesn’t notice you’re wearing it.

I use the Eagle Creek Silk Undercover money belt. I’ve used the same one for the past 8 years and am really happy with the quality and durability of it. Check out my full review here for more info.

Tip: Consider carrying a decoy wallet with your money belt. Fill it with a few dollars and some expired credit cards to make it look real. Muggers will think it’s all you have and leave. If you tell them that you have nothing, they may go searching and find your money belt with your valuables. Alternatively, you could carry a money clip. 

Have Copies and Back-Ups of All of Your Important Travel Documents

If your wallet or money belt gets robbed, chances are you’ll lose your passport, cards, and other important travel documents. In this case, having copies can make the process of getting replacements much smoother. Particularly a new passport.

I recommend you copy and scan the following documents. Save the scanned copies to the cloud and email them to yourself. That way, you can access them even if everything gets stolen.

  • Passport- in color
  • Visas
  • Yellow fever vaccine certificate- if you need one
  • Passport photo
  • Drivers license or ID card
  • Birth certificate- optional but could come in handy

Assume Everything That You Pack Will Be Stolen

While packing for your trip, never bring anything with you that you absolutely can’t lose. This mostly means irreplaceable items. For example, maybe you have a family heirloom piece of jewelry or something with sentimental value. Leave these items at home.

Another item that can’t be replaced is cash. Travel insurance won’t cover cash because there is no way to prove that it was stolen. It may be convenient to carry a few thousand dollars to some remote destinations. If the money is stolen, you won’t get it back. Don’t pack more than you can afford to lose.

my travel backpack
Don’t pack anything you can’t afford to lose.

You should also consider leaving anything too valuable at home. While travel insurance can help you recover the cost of some stolen items, it shouldn’t be relied upon. While packing, assume that you’ll lose everything that you put in into your backpack. If you can’t stand the thought of losing it, leave it at home.

Run Away if the Circumstances Allow for It

In some cases, your safest option may be to run away. Maybe you’re near a crowded area or a shop that you could run into. Maybe the robber is standing at a distance.

While making this decision, remember that running away will probably anger the robber. If they catch you, the situation could turn violent. Consider your chances of escape and the possible consequences of getting caught before making a run for it.

Give the Robber What They Want and Don’t Fight Back

To get the robbery over with as quickly as possible and to avoid injury, you should do as the robber says and hand over whatever it is that they are asking for. You’ll feel weak and powerless, but at least you’ll walk away with your life. This is the safest reaction to getting robbed while traveling.

Most robbers just want money or valuables. They’ll probably ask for your wallet and phone. If you hand them over, chances are they’ll leave you alone without harming you. Try to hand over your belongings in a way that allows you to maintain as much distance as possible between you and the robber. That may mean throwing them.

This response can also save you money and stress in the long run. Even if you fight and win, you could still sustain an injury and have to deal with medical bills. If you fight and injure the robber, you could end up in jail. You never know how a foreign legal system will treat you. You usually have fewer rights as a visitor in a foreign country.

Fighting should only be used as a last resort. It’s not worth risking your life over your wallet or phone. Even the most hardcore self-defense experts agree with this. The reason is that a fight is never a sure thing. Even if the robber is half your size, you never know if he has a weapon or friends hanging around nearby.

Call your Credit Card Company and Bank if Your Cards Were Robbed

Before leaving home, put the phone number on the back of your credit and debit cards into your contacts. Consider writing them down as well in case your phone gets stolen. Call the credit and debit card companies and have them cancel the cards that were stolen. Do this immediately after the robbery.

Canceling your debit cards is particularly important because these don’t offer the same purchase protections that credit cards offer. If a robber is able to use your debit card somehow, you’re probably not going to get that money back. Credit cards offer better security but you still need to call and cancel them.

Set Up Tracking on Your Phone and Computer

Before leaving home, be sure to set up ‘find my iPhone’ if you’re an Apple user or ‘find my device’ if you’re an Android user. These programs may help you or the police track down the location of your stolen electronic devices.

Document Everything That You’re Traveling With

This will come in handy if you need to file a claim for stolen items with your travel insurance company. Make sure you keep the receipts for all of your valuables. It’s a good idea to scan the receipts and email them to yourself or store them in the cloud. You want receipts for all electronics, jewelry, expensive clothing, etc.

You should also take photos of all of your valuable travel gear before you leave home. Photograph the serial number and the entire item to show the condition. Store these photos in the cloud and email them to yourself as well.

If you have your documents properly backed up, you can easily access them even if everything gets stolen. You’ll be able to file a claim with your insurance company much more easily as well.

File a Police Report

police officers walking

Realistically, the police probably won’t be able to get your stuff back after you’re robbed. It’s unlikely that the robbers will be caught and even if they are, your stuff is probably long gone. Having said that, it is still important to file a police report for the following reasons:

  • Your travel insurance company will require a police report when you file a claim- They won’t just take your word for it that your belongings were stolen.
  • Your belongings may be recovered- This is a long shot, but it is possible that the police catch the robber and get your stuff back.
  • Filing a police report helps others avoid getting robbed- Robbery is a serious crime in every jurisdiction. Police will come down hard if they see that robberies are becoming common in a particular area of their city. They’ll only be able to do this if you notify them and file a report. You can help both citizens and fellow travelers from having the same bad experience this way.

Have Travel Insurance

With good travel insurance, you can recover most of what was lost if you do get robbed while traveling. Contact your travel insurance provider and file a claim for what was stolen as soon as possible after the robbery to get the process started.

Before filing the claim, you’ll want to gather all of your documentation to make the process as smooth as possible. This will also improve your chances of getting your money back. You’ll probably need:

  • A police report
  • Receipts for anything that was stolen
  • Photos of your stolen items

Insurance companies like to find a way to avoid paying out. Make sure you have your ducks in a row before filing a claim. The more proof you have, the better.

Most travel insurance providers will reimburse you for everything that was stolen except for cash. They can’t cover cash because it is impossible to prove that it was stolen.

Of course, there is a maximum coverage limit for electronics and gear. Make sure you choose the right policy to cover everything that you want to have insured while traveling.

A general travel insurance policy works fine for most travelers. Usually, phones, laptops, and cameras are covered from theft. If you carry high value items, like professional photography equipment for example, you’ll need a specialty policy.

Tip: Some credit cards offer purchase protection if you purchased the stolen items with that card. This is worth considering when purchasing gear for your trip. 

Look for Your Stolen Goods

Robbers eventually have to sell the items that they stole. It’s a longshot but you may be able to find your stuff if you keep an eye out. Places to look include:

  • Online marketplaces- Check Craigslist, Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, eBay, or the local equivalent.
  • Pawnshops- Pawnbrokers are supposed to verify items that items weren’t stolen but sometimes they don’t care. Look for pawn shops near where you were robbed.
  • Local markets- This will work better in developing countries. Look for markets near the place you were robbed.

Wipe The Data From Your Stolen Electronic Devices

If the robber took your phone, computer, or tablet, you may be able to remotely remove the data. This way, the criminal can’t steal your identity or take more from you if they manage to unlock your device.

Make sure you know how to do this before you leave for your trip. To enable this function, you may have to change some settings. The ‘find my device’ program usually offers this function.

If you are unable to wipe the data from your devices, you should change all of your important passwords. This way, if someone is able to unlock your device, they can’t log into your online banking, social media accounts, etc. 

A Note About Fighting Back and Self Defense During a Robbery

There are a couple of situations that you may find yourself in where fighting back is worth considering. This is the absolute last resort if cooperating with the robber isn’t resolving the situation.

If the robber is demanding that you get into a vehicle or follow them to another location, you need to do whatever you can to get away. This includes fighting. Your life may depend on it.

In this case, the robber is trying to take you to a second crime scene where they can continue the crime. This will be a hidden location away from the eyes of the public. This could be a kidnapping, rape, or murder situation. Crime statistics show that your chances of survival decrease considerably if you are taken to a second crime scene.

Another scenario where you may need to fight is if the robber begins attacking you. For example, if they start throwing punches or attempt to attack with a knife, you need to fight back. After all, it’s your only option at that point.

Consider Carrying a Non-Lethal Self Defense Weapon

These can come in handy if you end up having to fight. Keep in mind that self defense weapons may or may not be legal where you’re traveling. Check the local laws before your trip to make sure that you don’t end up getting fined or denied entry. Some popular self-defense options include:

Tactical Flashlight

These ultrabright flashlights work by temporarily blinding the mugger with up to 1000 lumens of brightness. This can give you the few seconds that you need to get away.

The great thing about tactical flashlights is that they are legal everywhere and don’t cause any lasting damage to the attacker. After all, it’s just a flashlight. You can store them in your carry-on luggage as well.

Flashlights also come in handy often while traveling. You were probably going to pack one anyway. Even if you don’t get robbed, you’ll get some use out of it to find your way to the bathroom at night.

Pepper Spray or Mace

Spray this into the eyes of your attacker to cause them debilitating pain and temporary blindness. This allows you the time you need to get away. Pepper spray does not cause permanent damage and can be used from several feet away.

Pepper spray is illegal in many parts of the world. You also can’t fly with it in a carry-on bag. It’s also a mess to use. If you’re downwind from your attacker, you could end up spraying yourself. Be sure to test your peppers spray and learn to use it before your trip.

Stun Gun

These disable the mugger by passing high voltage electricity through their nervous system. The electric shock causes the muscles to tense quickly and uncontrollably. The sound alone can be enough to stop a potential robber.

The main drawback to using a stun gun is the fact that you must physically touch the attacker with it. That means you have to be close. They must also be kept charged up so they operate when you need them to.

It’s also important to remember that stun guns are illegal in many countries. Do your research before you pack one. You don’t want to break the law in a foreign country.

I kept a stun gun in the office of the bar I used to manage. I experienced quite a few bar fights but luckily never had to use it.

Remember that some of the above items aren’t legal in every country. Do your research before you travel. You don’t want to end up getting fined or denied entry for carrying an illegal item into a country. I recommend you avoid carrying a weapon, with the exception of a bright flashlight.

What to do After Getting Robbed While Traveling

Getting robbed can really put a damper on your trip. Particularly if you were injured. This section outlines what you should do directly after getting robbed to get your trip back on track as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Take Care of Yourself First

Getting robbed is a traumatizing experience. You need to take care of yourself. Directly after the crime, you may not be thinking properly. The first thing you want to do is to get somewhere safe. That probably means going back to your hotel or hostel to regroup.

If the robbery got violent and you were injured, you’ll want to make your way to a clinic or hospital to get yourself checked out. Look for a nearby business and go inside and ask the worker to call emergency services. If the injury isn’t too serious, you can call for a taxi to take you to a hospital.

When you have the chance, give your friends or family a call to tell them about your experience. Talking to someone familiar can help you calm down put your mind at ease.

Step 2: Asses the Situation and Make a Plan

Take some time to consider your situation and plan your best course of action. What you do next depends on the severity of the crime that you experienced and what was stolen. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a lot to do in order to get your trip back on track.

If the robber took everything and you were injured, your trip may be over. If you lost a few hundred dollars and weren’t injured, you can carry on. You may need to reorganize your trip a bit. For example, maybe you have to extend your stay wherever you currently are while you recover mentally and deal with paperwork.

Step 4: Sort Out Your Accommodation and Money Situation

Make sure you have enough money to support yourself while you recover from the robbery. If your wallet or money belt was stolen with all of your cash and cards, you may need to ask a friend or family member to send you some money. Western Union works pretty much everywhere on earth.

You should also make sure you have a place to stay. This could simply mean extending your stay at your hostel or hotel. If you’re staying with a host, ask them if you can stay a few more days. If you need to find a new place to stay, go ahead and sort it out at this time. You don’t want to end up without accommodation.

If you need to reschedule a flight or make any changes to your itinerary, you should also take care of it at this time as well.

Step 3: Go to Your Country’s Embassy or Consulate if Your Passport Was Robbed or You Need Help

You’ll need to get a replacement passport or a temporary passport to continue your trip or return home. This process varies by country. Sometimes countries will just give you a new passport and some will require that you return to your home country to get a new passport.


If the situation is bad and you have no way of accessing your money, your embassy may be able to help you out. Most countries will fly you home if you have no other option. You must pay them back when you return. This won’t be cheap. Try to sort out your flight and money situation by yourself first.

Step 4: Go to the Police and File a Report

You want to do this as soon after the robbery as possible. If you were injured and went to the hospital, you may have already spoken with the police while you were there. Your embassy may also help you deal with the police if they think it is necessary.

If you can, try to take a trusted local with you to the police station. They can help you navigate the process of obtaining a police report. They can also help you overcome the language barrier. You’ll probably get better treatment as well. 

If you don’t know anyone in the country, try asking at your hotel. Maybe the receptionist an employee will offer to accompany you in exchange for lunch or a bit of money. 

Step 5: File a Claim With Your Traveler’s Insurance Company

If you have travel insurance, this is the time to use it. Gather all of the necessary support documentation outlined in the previous section and file a claim. Hopefully, you’ll recover some of your losses.

Step 6: Move On With Your Trip

It doesn’t do you any good to dwell your circumstances or feel sorry for yourself. Try your best to get everything done that you need to do as quickly as possible so you can move on. If you keep playing the robbery through your head, you’ll just get depressed and feel worse than you already do.

If it helps, consider changing your plans. Join a group tour so you’re not alone. Choose a different destination that’s safer or easier to travel. Meet up with a friend abroad. Whatever helps. It can take some time to recover from a traumatic robbery. Try not to let it ruin your whole trip. You’re there to enjoy yourself, after all.

Final Thoughts

Getting robbed while traveling is a terrifying and costly experience. It is such a violation to have someone take something from you forcefully. It can make you feel weak and powerless. Worst case, you can suffer serious physical injuries if the encounter became violent.

Robbery is one common crime that you want to take seriously and try your hardest to avoid. Hopefully, the tips outlined in this guide help you stay safe and avoid muggers while traveling.

Have you been robbed while traveling? Share your experience in the comments below to help other travelers avoid the same situation!

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