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‘A baboon stole my phone!’ – 7 weird ways travellers have lost their gadgets

Going on holiday soon? If so, the chances are that you’ll be packing a few valuable gadgets into your hand luggage. Aside from your phone, these might include an MP3 player, tablet, e-reader, perhaps a laptop, and even a fancy camera. Each one is essential, naturally. It’s unsurprising, then, that a study carried out by Eurostar found that the average 25-34-year old packs a whopping six gadgets with them for just a one-week holiday. Imagine if they were taking a gap year?


Of course we want to take our gadgets with us, they help us to capture and remember our time away; allow us to stay in touch with those far away and even share the experiences with those unable to come. However, a large proportion of us return home with a gadget that’s been ruined in some way. The truth is, taking electronics on holiday can prove very risky, as these holidaymakers can demonstrate.

The tide came in

“When I was backpacking, a group of us went snorkelling off some tiny atoll in the South Pacific. We couldn’t take our bags, of course, but were assured they’d be safe if we left them on the sand – no one would come near. I left my camera, reluctantly, but trusted the guide. Upon return I saw that he’d been right, no one had come bear our bags, because the tide had come in and washed over all of our possessions. My camera was ruined, as was a friend’s phone. In hindsight, I can’t believe we didn’t think about that!” Liz, blogger.

Dropped right in it

“Some friends and I had climbed all the way up a waterfall in Koh Samui (Thailand) and rather than dive in straight away, I wanted to take some arty photos which I could post to Instagram. Yeah, you guessed it, I dropped my phone in the water.” Rahul, PR.


Re-covered gadgets

“This is pretty gross, so sorry in advance. I stayed in a hostel in Australia where a spate of thefts had taken place. One day, my phone and purse went missing. I thought that was the end of it, but a few days later, a fellow traveller was in the ladies’ when the sanitary bin started to ring. A furore ensued and my boyfriend, intrepid as ever, upended the bin, spilling the contents (sorry, see what I mean?) and inside was my phone, purse and some other people’s belongings. It would seem the thief got caught short. I didn’t use either of them again.” Kate, nurse.
Long drop
“Faced with a grotty toilet in India, I opted to bend over it rather than sit - completely forgetting my phone was in my back pocket. You can guess what happened next.” Matt, IT consultant.

Stolen gadgets in Seattle

“I travelled alone to Seattle and had an MP3 player with me for the flight. At the airport, I picked up my rucksack and transferred some of the bulk – including the iPod – from my hand luggage to the bag. Little did I know I’d have to then place my rucksack on another conveyor belt to pass through security. Security! I did this and waited with my fellow passengers at arrivals. My bag never reappeared. I can only assume the gadget was seen and stolen. Thank god I had insurance, I was left with nothing at all, not even a toothbrush!” Richard, illustrator.

Baboons on the line

“I went to a safari zoo in Mallorca, where a train ride took you around the park. The driver threw food at the baboons, who came bounding over and onto the train. It was pretty scary, and some people were screaming. I saw a baboon in the carriage ahead take a camera and a phone from a couple, as it had been searching through the lady’s bag. I don’t know if she ever got them back.” David, engineer.

Not the brightest idea

Using his phone as a flashlight while staying in a Colombian hostel seemed like a great idea to Ryan. It didn’t disturb anyone else at night and meant his iPhone was close by and secure. Everything was going well until one night he dropped the phone on a concrete floor, smashing the screen and ruining the touchscreen. “I didn’t even have a protective cover for my phone. So, logically when it would fall out of my hand to hit a concrete floor, there was little chance of it NOT getting broken”. Ryan, travel blogger.

The elephant selfie

Lastly, we have to mention this story from last year, which was reported by the BBC. While on holiday in Thailand, feeding elephants in Koh Phangan, Christian Le Blanc’s Go Pro camera was seized by one of the creatures – the whole thing was filmed and it’s known as ‘elphie’. The elephant then dropped the camera – fortunately not far enough for it to break, but it could have been worse.


How to avoid losing or breaking your gadget

The above are fairly extreme and/or unlucky examples of where your phone, tablet or camera might get ruined, but they can happen. If you are going to take gadgets, keep them close at all times or leave in the hotel safe. In hostels, sleep with your bag or gadgets down the side of the bed against the wall or under your pillow, if possible – that way, thieves shouldn’t be able to reach them.

We would always recommend not taking your most valuable gadgets on holiday or at least out for the day if you’re doing something extreme. Pack a cheaper camera – disposable ones might seem passé, but it doesn’t matter if they get trodden on by a herd of elephants – or take an old phone.

Back up any data and files before you leave, too. Save photos already on the SD card and ensure all your phone contacts are stored elsewhere, too. That way, all you really need to do is replace the physical gadget, you haven’t lost months’ worth of pictures or that novel.

Insurance is vital too. We never know what’s going to befall us on holiday, but at least your gadgets – and you – should be covered if anything odd does occur. That way, your holiday shouldn’t be marred by the accident/tide/theft.

We offer a gadget add-on to our travel insurance policies, for extra peace of mind. To find out more, call us on 0203 829 6764 or send us a message.

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