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Dude, where’s my wallet?

There is nothing quite like reaching into your bag for your wallet in the middle of Hong Kong’s Times Square and coming away with nothing. Trust me, I know, because it happened to me on the second night of QUT Business School’s advertising and public relations study tour.  We had just departed the Bauhinia Harbour Cruise boat where we’d been treated to a buffet dinner and a stunning view of Hong Kong’s “Symphony of Lights” laser show. Somewhere in between playing the odds game over some fishy—literally—buffet dinner options and dancing the Macarena, my wallet had fallen out of my bag. The boat was hours behind us, and it was 10pm. Business hours were well and truly closed, and I had no idea who to call.

After multiple attempts I eventually connected with Bruce, our tour guide from earlier in the day who was able to contact the cruise company directly. The next morning he informed me that I would not know if my wallet had been rescued until that evening when the cruise company office reopened.  Hours of anticipating Bruce’s follow up phone call had my brain in overdrive thinking of lots of handy dandy measures that would have really saved my bacon in this situation. Here is a list of my top five tips—I have taken one for the team so you do not have to.

Pro Tip #1: Have more than one bank card

I kind of pulled this one off. I had brought my QANTAS Cash Card with me with lots of lovely Hong Kong dollars loaded onto it, and my usual bank credit card as a just-in-case back up. That is where my ingenuity came to a grinding holt.

  • What I should have done: Kept my QANTAS cash card in my wallet, and my credit card securely squirrelled away in my suitcase
  • What I actually did: Kept both my cards in my wallet. Awesome.

Pro Tip #2: Keep some backup cash

Similar to tip one—rather than carrying all of your foreign currency in your wallet be sure to keep some on standby in case of an emergency like mine.

Pro Tip #3: Consider the anatomy of your bag

My bag has holes in it.

Tess' bagTess' handbag

I thought these holes were too small to have anything large and important like my wallet escape out of them. While this isn’t what happened, it is now painfully clear that anything is possible when travelling. If you have any niggling doubts about the security of your bag, take another bag.

Pro Tip #4: Roll call

Every now and then when you are out and about be sure to take a quick stock check of the contents of your bag. If I had been more active about this, I would have realised my wallet was missing much sooner than I did.

  • What I should have done: Checked under my seat and the table before leaving the boat.
  • What I actually did: Waited until three MTR stops away from the dock to even glance into my bag.

Pro Tip #5: If all of the above fall through, call your bank

  • Pro: Cancelling your credit cards ensures the security of your money.
  • Con: Listening to your bank’s “please hold” music will drive you slowly to tears—this part just felt like cruel and unusual punishment. It was not enough that I was in a foreign country on the second day of a two week venture without my wallet, but on top of that I was being subjected to ‘Barcelona Night’ by Ottmar Liebert—ouch.

All tips aside, this tale ended in a huge plot twist in that my wallet was safely recovered and returned to me. With this amazing news in mind, I  want to take the opportunity to give a shout out to the fantastic staff of Bauhinia Harbour Cruise and our tour guide, Bruce. To have my wallet in my hands with every last cent still in place felt nothing short of a miracle, all thanks to the professionalism, honesty and amazing kindness of the staff. I cannot say thank you enough—and definitely could not in the offices of Bauhinia. It was an emotional reunion between girl and wallet.

Photo credit: travel essentials flat lay header image from


Bachelor of Business (Advertising) / Bachelor of Psychology

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