As you’re strolling through pretty cobblestone streets, you come upon a quaint café and decide to stop by for a while. You feast your eyes and taste-buds on some delectable torte and soul-stirring cappuccino, and when the time comes to leave, you reach for your wallet to pay.
Oh, it’s not in your back pocket? You check your other trouser pockets, jacket pockets – it’s not there! You probably put it in your bag while you were paying for train tickets. You fish around in your bag with that growing sense of dread – it’s not there!
Stop sweating already; this isn’t for real! However, if you have a trip coming up soon, you don’t want this nightmare to manifest into reality. Having your wallet and/or bag stolen can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. You not only lose cash, but a whole lot of stuff like your debit and credit cards, important contacts, your mobile phone, and more!
Don’t let a lack of preparedness be the reason for your much-awaited trip turning awry. Accidents and incidents happen, but there’s a lot you can do to avoid them. Here are 13 ways you can carry your money securely while you’re traveling!
Carry a Mix of Payment Methods
Carrying different payment methods helps you get by without having to deal in cash all the time. This essentially means you don’t have to carry a lot of cash around, so in the event of theft，you don’t end up losing a lot of money. Sure, your credit and debit cards will also be stolen, but if you act quick and block them, you’ll only lose the cash you had in your wallet.
Traveler’s checks and prepaid cards also prove useful as currency. These payment types are more secure than cash as they can be replaced within 24 hours if stolen or lost.
Divide Your Money
Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. If you store all your money, cards, and important items in one wallet, you are setting yourself up for trouble. In the event of theft, you’ll end up losing everything at one go!
To be on the safer side, use the multi-stash method: divide your cash, cards, and other payment methods and carry them separately. Consider carrying some stuff in your wallet and the rest in a bag. You might want to hide some funds on your body as discussed further in this post! If you have access to a hotel safe, you can leave the bulk of your cash in there when you’re out touring the city.
Don’t Flash Your Cash
Always be aware of your surroundings when you’re traveling and especially when you’re making purchases. Beggars, even young children, can be on the lookout for unsuspecting tourists, and if you put all your cash on display, they might pick you as their next target!
Never take out all your cash from your wallet or bag. Group same denominations together and organize your cash such that you’re able to see the bill value just by skimming through the top of your wallet. This will help you take out the exact amount and value of bills you need to make purchases, keeping the rest of your cash hidden.
Keep Small Bills Accessible
Avoid putting all your cash on display by stashing away the big bills and keeping only small bills accessible. This way, if someone is watching you closely, they’ll assume you only have a small sum on you. This will, likely, cause them to lose interest in you!
On the plus side, you’ll be better off with small bills when you’re touring the city and market areas. Local vendors seldom have change for larger bills and you can negotiate better when you’re prepared with loose change. For bigger purchases, use other payment modes, or consider going back after you withdraw the sum.
Use a Dummy Wallet
A dummy wallet is a pre-prepared wallet that houses small bills, some useless cards, and a handful of old receipts. You can carry this dummy wallet in your back pocket all the time knowing that the bulk of your cash and important stuff are safely hidden from pickpockets. And in case you get mugged, you can hand over the dummy wallet to your attackers without actually losing anything of value!
A dummy wallet can also keep you from overspending. Just keep topping it up with small bills every day for purchases.
Hide Money on Your Body
You can hide money on your body in a number of ways. A common way to hide bills is to place them in your socks. If you wear socks that don’t go beyond your ankles, place bills such that they remain under your foot.
Another great option is to hide money in your underwear. Place bills in a small plastic pouch and slide it inside a snug-fitting underwear. This may cause some discomfort, so you may want to use a plastic pouch placed in a lightweight fabric bag. Women can keep cash safe by sliding fabric or plastic pouches down bra cups or by using a bra stash that loops over the center of bras.
Sew Hidden Pockets
If you have the time, consider sewing on a pocket on the inside of your pant or coat. You can also secure a pocket to a clothing item by attaching Velcro strips- use one strip on the pocket and the other strip on the inside of the clothing. Note that a hidden pocket that is behind an existing pocket can easily be discovered if you are patted down. Avoid the risk by attaching a hidden pocket in an unconventional spot like the trouser leg.
For a quick fix, just cut a small slit in the inner side of the waistband of your pants or skirts. Now you can shove a small roll of bills into the slit and carry your cash around securely! Do remember to remove the bills before you launder your clothes.
Use a Money Belt
Money belts come in a range of styles and you’ll have to look around for one that fits and suits you well. That being said, all money belts are great for keeping your money secure while traveling as they stay out of sight and are thus harder for pickpockets to access. You can also fit in a couple of other things depending on the size of the money belt.
While money belts are an inexpensive way to keep your belongings safe, they can make you sweaty and uncomfortable when you wear them for an extended period of time. To maximize comfort, look for money belts that can wick away moisture. Refrain from overloading your money belt and do wear loose clothes over it so its contours aren’t visible to thieves.
Opt for a Neck Wallet
A neck wallet is a small wallet with a strap that you can wear over your neck and under one arm. Wearing it just around the neck might not be very safe as the wallet can then be ripped off easily. The best way to wear a neck wallet is under your shirt, with the wallet in the front so you can access it conveniently.
As with money belts, don’t over-fill your neck wallet or else it will become bulky and uncomfortable to carry around. A bulging neck wallet can also make it obvious to pickpockets that you’re carrying one!
Try Leg or Wrist Wallets
As the names suggest, leg and wrist wallets are designed to be worn on legs and wrists, keeping your valuables safe from pickpockets. Leg wallets can be worn around the thighs or calves, but they can make you sweaty in humid weather. Do look for wallets in lightweight fabrics to prevent discomfort. Women might like to use garter wallets that can house cash and some valuables.
While leg wallets can remain hidden under your trousers, wrist wallets are less subtle and can easily catch the eye of thieves. However, they’re great for holding your cash, cards, and phone if you want to roam hands-free!
Go for Tough Anti-Theft Bags
Some bags are just built tougher than others! With features like locking zippers and cut-proof, steel cable-reinforced straps, there’s no way your valuables will fall into the hands of thieves easily.
Moreover, anti-theft bags come with flexible wire mesh on the outside so as to prevent pickpockets from cutting through it to access your cash and other important stuff. These bags usually have hidden compartments behind layers of fabric, making it difficult for thieves to tamper with. Compartments also allow you to keep your stuff organized.
Choose RFID-Blocking Technology
Thieves can steal your money without even touching your cash! With advancements in technology, digital pickpockets can steal your credit and debit card details effortlessly from 6 inches away. Called digital skimming, this practice enables thieves to pick up wireless signals transmitted by cards with inbuilt radio frequency identification or RFID.
anti-theft bags and wallets with RFID-blocking material. This added layer of protection gives you a better chance of keeping your identity and money safe!
The easiest way to prevent theft is to be mindful of your possessions so you’re not easy prey. Remember to always keep your eyes on your bag or wallet if you have to lay them out on a table. If you sit down to eat or rest, keep your bag on your lap or between your feet to prevent any unfortunate incidents. If you must place your bag on the ground, put a chair leg through the straps so it can’t be stolen without drawing attention. If you might doze off in a public area, secure your bag to your body or a sturdy post with a lock.
Additionally, be aware of common scams so you don’t get tricked by swindlers. The world is a wonderful place filled with good people, but do think twice when someone offers to help you with your luggage or clicking pictures! Also bear in mind that scammers often make elaborate plans and work in groups, so don’t let your guard down ever.
You’ve certainly known the sinking feeling that comes every time you reach for your wallet and don’t find it where you expect it to be! Chances are, the panic has always been momentary and that you’ve never lost your wallet or had it stolen before. Of course, you don’t want that to happen to you ever, least of all during your trip abroad!
While you can’t completely proof yourself against untoward incidents and mishaps, you can definitely be prepared for the worst. Needless to say, taking steps to ensure that you don’t land in trouble is a far better option than dealing with the fact that you’ve lost everything, including your passport, save a couple of dollars!
With the information provided here, you now know 13 ways to keep your money secure while you’re traveling. So don’t worry about your upcoming vacation; just be prepared and you’re sure to have the time of your life and a holiday to remember!
Hackers and thieves can steal your identity or use your personal information to make purchases without your verification. To prevent this from happening, always choose