‘You’re so brave, but I couldn’t travel like you do’ is something I hear a lot from women. Bright women who want to travel adventurously but limit themselves to package holidays, because they are ‘safe’. Unsurprisingly, personal safety and the security of cash, cards and personal items are some of the most frequently mentioned worries. This makes me sad, because there are easy steps you can take to keep yourself and your possessions safe when you travel.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Your Cash Safe When You’re Traveling?
Of course, carrying cash around is a risk and it makes much more sense to carry at least 2 credit cards and a debit card (ideally in separate wallets) instead. But there are some times when you’re going to need cash when traveling. ATMs sometimes don’t work and you can’t always pay by debit card in stores, markets or on public transport. So you will need a cash stash but it’s best to spread it around to reduce risk of loss if you are mugged.
4 Safe Ways to Carry Your Cash When Traveling
The Cup-Sized Wallet
Ladies – one of the best ways to stash your paper money is to tuck it into your bra! Just remember that when you need to make a purchase, you’ll need somewhere private to get at your cash, like a public toilet or changing room. You do not want anyone else to know what you’re packing in your bra!!
The Money Belt
I’ve used a money belt for years and ALWAYS recommend them. There are two basic types and I like to travel with both:
- One that looks like a normal trouser belt, where you can hide a small wad of notes, a room key and little else. Buy one with a plastic buckle, so you don’t have to take your belt off at airport x-ray machines
- A slim fabric money wallet that fastens around the waist and is large enough to hold cash, cards, passport and important travel documents. Buy one with a moisture-wicking panel so that it’s comfortable to wear against your skin, even in hot temperatures (cheap ones get VERY sweaty!) I also recommend getting a travel wallet with RFID Block protection built into the belt’s fabric, so that it protects everything inside
The Travel Security Wallet
Everyone needs a ‘fake’ or ‘burner’ travel wallet. It’s one you won’t be too sad to lose if you get mugged, because it doesn’t have all of your cash and cards in it.
I fill a cheap wallet with a nominal value in notes and add a few plastic cards. I NEVER use expired cards or ones with my name on them though, as I don’t want any potential mugger to get my name or any personal details.
Important: Use your fake wallet for purchases when you’re out and about, replenishing it in private from your real wallet. Muggers will often watch you making purchases and they need to believe the fake wallet is your real one!
The Fake Safe
Sometimes you might need to carry a larger amount of cash around, so it’s good to have somewhere to hide it. I’ve found this useful when traveling to a new country or between locations on a multi-centre trip. I use an opaque empty vitamin bottle with a wide neck that makes it easy to insert and remove cash. It’s a quick, cheap and easy way to hide your cash until you can move it to a hotel safe.
4 More Ways To Protect Your Cash When Traveling
- Take care when using ATMs and NEVER use ones in a dark or secluded area. Try to use the ones inside a bank and stand close to the screen to hide your PIN as you enter it
- Tell your bank you’ll be traveling so they can spot any unusual activity
- Limit the number of cash withdrawals you make – consider carrying enough cash with you for 3-5 days
- Use a card to make payments wherever possible
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