The cab drove off with my purse — what would you do?

The fear of losing your credit cards and IDs is one of the most common travel phobias. But that fear became a reality for Carol Gail on a trip to Paris, when she left her change purse with her driver’s license, two credit cards, and some money in a cab on the way from the airport to her hotel.

She realized almost immediately what had happened and tried to catch the cab but it had pulled away.

Gail had arranged for the cab in advance online through a service called Taxi Leader, but her multiple attempts to reach them went unanswered. She even went to the police, reasoning that the company would call back when the police made the inquiry.

No such luck.

Her story underscores the importance of being extra vigilant with credit cards and identity documents when you’re traveling, but with jet lag and the disruption to routine that goes with travel, what happened to Gail could happen to any of us.

It’s important to keep copies of travel documents and credit card company contact information in a separate, secure location. Some credit card companies simplify contacting them with smartphone apps. And you can keep photos of credit cards and documents on your phone.

You can also use your phone camera to snap a picture of your cab’s identification number while in route, just in case you need it later. All very helpful as long as you don’t also lose your phone. So as they say in IT, redundancy is important.

We recommended that Gail post her story to our forum at Elliott.org, which is monitored by our advocates and travel industry experts who may be able to respond with suggestions.

Too bad she didn’t lose her purse in the Seattle airport, where, thanks to an innovative partnership on which we reported back in July of 2016, her odds of recovering her wallet would have been much better. We have a few tips on how to recover items that are misplaced when you travel, even when all hope is lost.

In the meantime, here are some questions for you: Did she overlook anything? What would you do in the same situation? What steps would you take to secure your belongings?

Once, on a visit to Turkey, my European friends made fun of “the nervous American” because I was using a document wallet that hung around my neck under my shirt. I pointed out to them that should they lose their documents, they were on more familiar turf, and home was just a short train ride away.

On the other hand, if I’d lost my documents, it would have been a major hassle and put a big damper on my vacation. Just as it did for Carol Gail.

Should we advocate for Carol Gail?

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