Wednesday, November 29, 2023


How to deal with losing your wallet while on the road

Losing your wallet while on the road during an RV trip. It was not something I had thought much about. Until it happened!

The day started normally enough. It was near the start of Week 2 in my long, long RV trip.  I stopped for gas, got back in the truck and motored away toward my next destination.

I stopped for fuel again about 125 miles down the road. That’s when panic set in.

I reached into my purse for the smaller change purse that contained my credit cards and driver’s license and it was not there!

I searched everywhere in the truck. The small leather pouch was nowhere to be found.  Somehow it either fell out at the last stop or my pocket was picked at the previous stop.

Some factors were in my favor. Nonetheless, I spent the next few hours in automated phone hell trying to get everything sorted out.

However, I discovered that I could have made things easier on myself, had I prepped in advance… just in case.

It could have been worse

What was most in my favor in this unfortunate situation was that I did not lose my ENTIRE wallet. That really would have been a nightmare to deal with, including AAA, health insurance, my Mexican residence card, several credit cards and debit cards, and more.

Thankfully, I had put my business and personal credit cards along with my driver’s license, and about $20 cash, in a small leather pouch for times when I did not want to carry a purse.

I was lucky. I did not lose much cash and I still had my ATM debit cards in another place, so I had access to money.

The biggest heartbreak was my brand-new lifetime National Parks pass, which was also in the pouch. I had only used it once.

This is something I will replace, as it is an incredible bargain. If you are a senior, $80 for the lifetime pass gets you half-price camping spots at federal campgrounds as well as free admission to all national parks for everyone in your vehicle!

Dealing with the aftermath of losing your wallet while on the road

Turns out it was a wise thing to not always carry around all the cards you won’t need on a particular journey. Or all of your cash in one place.

Therefore, I highly advise travelers to edit the content of the wallet they carry day-to-day to the bare minimum.

Credit card companies are easy to deal with and will put an immediate stop to card activity. As I had past billing statements in my RV, I had the numbers to call. But if I hadn’t, it would have been that much more difficult (see tips below). Credit card companies will also express mail you replacements.

We checked, and whoever had found my cards had not used them. I arranged for new cards to be sent to my friend’s house in Colorado, where I would be the following week.

The DMV on Friday afternoon proved far more difficult. Getting through to a party who could help with my dilemma proved impossible.

As much as I didn’t want to, I drove on without a driver’s license, vowing to deal with it as soon as I reached my next destination.

The following Tuesday things at the DMV had calmed down. I quickly got through to a live person and the problem was solved.

While the DMV will not mail out a duplicate license for security reasons (at least in California), you can get a paper certificate that will be a suitable stand-in until you can get back to your home state to get the license replaced.

Tips for dealing with and preventing a lost wallet while on the road

My experience with losing my wallet while on the road could have been much, much worse had I not implemented most of these tips. However, it could have gone smoother had I implemented all of them.

In fact, had I double-checked for my wallet before pulling out of that gas station, perhaps none of this would have been necessary.

  • As stated above, NEVER put ALL of your cards, IDs, and cash in one place. Only carry with you what you need.
  • Keep a list of credit card and card account numbers, and the numbers to call should they ever be lost. Keep this in your RV separate from your wallet.
  • Keep a photocopy of your driver’s license in your RV. Or have a photo of it on your phone.
  • Check to make sure your wallet is still with you before hitting the road after paying for things like fuel, food, tickets, etc.
  • Keep your wallet in a place where pickpockets cannot get to it, and stay aware of your surroundings, especially in large crowds or when interacting with strangers.


Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicard is the author 8 published books on topics as diverse as US Citizenship to Cannabis Cooking. Cheri grew up in a circus family and has been RVing on and off her entire life.



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Neal Davis (@guest_243627)
4 months ago

Thank you, Cheri! Great advice! Timely too!

Clint (@guest_243267)
4 months ago

What I do is put all my auto pay accounts on one credit card and leave the credit card home when I travel. It never gets used for anything but auto pay. That way it never gets hacked using it in public. I have about 15 autopay accounts. Saves a lot of headache contacting all those accounts to give them a new credit card.

Ray (@guest_242848)
4 months ago

Good advice to follow. Theft is rampant. Just keep that in mind every time you stop and try not to present the opportunity. Hide your belongings and be prepared to replace them. Rolled up windows offer no protection what-so-ever. Be aware of your surroundings.

Roy Christensen (@guest_242759)
5 months ago

I would also recommend that you have more than one credit card. I have experienced a situation where the bank made an error and my credit card was not accepted. It is a good idea to keep them separate from each other. A credit card is safer to use than a debit card. The laws protect your liability if a credit card is stolen, but not a debit card (AFAIK).

Cheri Sicard (@guest_242765)
5 months ago

I did not know that about credit versus debit cards.. Thanks for sharing.

Diane Mc (@guest_242716)
5 months ago

Have phone apps for my credit cards. They make it easy to report lost/stolen card & get replacement without calling. At home makes it easy. If traveling & not in one place long enough to get replacement you can at least report it and then call when convenient to get a new one. I’m thinking they don’t let you use a different address unless you call & speak to someone. Also, their phone number for reporting is in the app.

Rich (@guest_242697)
5 months ago

The same thing happened to us on a trip to Florida many years ago. We made a 15-minute stop at a Flying J for fuel in Dade City, FL before continuing south. 30-minutes later I received a phone call from my office back home asking If I had my wallet. I thought…what a silly question, of course I do, but then I looked down at the spot on the drink caddy where I kept it while driving and saw that it was gone! OMG! Where was it and how did my office know it was gone?

Long story short, it turned out that I had left my wallet on top of the gas pump at the FJ. Another person found it and my business card inside, called my office, spoke to our receptionist who, in turned, called me to verify. I made direct contact with the good samaritan and set up a meet back the way we had come. We met him and retrieved my intact wallet. He initially refused a monetary reward but relented when I insisted.


Rich (@guest_242698)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rich

We lost about 90-minutes of time but realized two things…how close we came to a real trip-ending disaster and there were, indeed, honest people in the world. But we were also lucky…

– This happened on a weekday when my office was still open
– My receptionist realized what had happened and called me
– The good samaritan agreed to meet and wait for us while we boogied back north.

Going forward…

– I never, ever carried my wallet out of the MH again when stopping for fuel. Instead, I just took the credit card and FJ discount card, both of which went back into my pocket after swiping and, with my wife watching, went back into my wallet before we pulled away from the pumps.
– When we returned home we applied for a second CC which we kept in the MH safe. This was our ‘Emergency Card’ only to be used if either of our wallets were lost or stolen.
– I made photocopies of our cards, our driver’s licenses and other important cards and kept those copies in a 3-ring binder in the MH.

Today, we’re off the road and selling the MH but we still have that card in our home safe and it’s still our ace-in-the-hole.

Last edited 5 months ago by Rich
Bob P (@guest_242689)
5 months ago

I will add to your list, ladies have a habit of putting their purse in the child seat of shopping carts when shopping. My late DW did the same thing, even made it more inviting, the purse was open. While she was looking at something in Walmart someone lifted her wallet out of the purse and was gone. It took over 3 months to replace everything, some lost photos couldn’t be replaced. Ladies keep your purse closed, fasten it to the cart child seat with the seat belt, buy an alarm that sounds if someone tries stealing it. Every time I’m in Walmart I see at least one woman’s purse just lying loose in the child seat and the woman has her back to the cart completely unaware of the danger. THINK ABOUT IT!

Cheri Sicard (@guest_242727)
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

That’s awful! You can’t be too careful.

Don N (@guest_242730)
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Ladies, also, keep your purse zipped and tie the strap around a part of the cart in a double knot to make it harder for the thief to take it off the cart when you are distracted.

Tom (@guest_242751)
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Agreed the open purse in the shopping cart. I’ve mention it to a few that I saw and they treated me like I just stole the purse. No good deed go unpunished I guess.

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