Lost credit and debit cards abroad. How do I get new ones?
July 27, 2014 1:35 AM   Subscribe

Backpacking Europe and lost my wallet, which held my debit and credit cards. I still have a backup stash, my US passport, and a friend who will lend me money. In about three weeks I plan on traveling alone. Canceled all my cards, now I need new ones. My card issuers can send by mail at varying speeds. What do I do?

My credit card company can overnight the card to an overseas address, but says it may take longer due to customs. They usually send to hotel addresses. My bank can send it overseas, saying it will take 3-7 business days. Since I am not staying in a single city for more than 4 days, I am at a loss.

Things I've considered:
- Have them sent to a US embassy or consulate. I would choose one that is far ahead in the trip, but I have doubts that they would provide this service, let alone agree to it over the phone. I will call tomorrow when it's open.

- Prebook a hostel and hopefully schedule it so that it arrives in time. I would have to ask the hostel via phone so I don't know how feasible or reliable this is.

- Buy a temporary mailbox in another country, or find a mail holding service. I don't know if such a service even exists but it's a thought.

Countries I will most likely be in over the next few weeks: Greece, Italy, France.

Does anyone have any ideas? How can I get new cards while still preserving the transient spirit of the trip?
posted by alligatorman to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Do you really need all your cards for the rest of the trip? Can't you pick one, preferably a credit card, and live with cash withdrawal charges? That way you just have to stay an extra day in one location if the card takes longer to arrive and have the others sent to your home address.

If you believe you really need all your cards is there anybody at your home address? Get them sent there and in a week, when they've all arrived, you get somebody to overnight them to you? That costs money but if you need all your cards and can't map out the next week or so of your trip more fully that's the next best option. Not sure how you'd reserve accommodation though without a credit card
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:44 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

The French postal service offers Poste Restante for a small amount.
posted by biffa at 3:54 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had mail sent to hostels before without a problem. It's not an unusual request for them. Just pick a hostel with decent reviews (via hostelworld or whatever) for some assurance that the staff aren't completely incompetent.
posted by horizons at 6:56 AM on July 27, 2014

American Express does this, maybe even for non cardholders?
posted by PinkMoose at 8:16 AM on July 27, 2014

If it were me, I'd consider adjusting my travel schedule so I could stay in one place for a week or more while it gets sorted out. If you haven't done that before while traveling, it's really a different experience. You get a feel for the place that you don't get while you're rushing to see all the local landmarks. Sometimes just going to the same cafe every day for a week and writing, etc can be the best part of your trip.

Just a change of perspective on your situation... Think of it as an opportunity to really get well acquainted with a locale.
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

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