How To Keep Money Safe During Travels


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Hey, guys! I’m raring to share another useful savvy traveler post with all of you. This time, it’s all about how to keep your money safe while traveling!

It may seem like a trivial topic, especially for those who go on a lot of trips but manage not to lose their cash in the process. I will confess to never having gone through that experience while on a journey – at least not yet! However, I’ve unfortunately come across some people who have, and it’s always a heartbreaking thing to hear about. When this happens, it definitely complicates travel plans and finances.

Not knowing how to travel with cash safely could also sour (or worse, traumatize!) anyone to the entire idea of going on adventurous journeys. There will always be a potential for theft or misplaced valuables anywhere in the world, but forewarned is still forearmed. With that in mind, here are several practical tips I learned from others (and from experience) on how to keep your money safe at all times while you are traveling.

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Learn The Current Exchange Rate

This is one of the first valuable lessons I learned when I first started traveling overseas. There are so many dishonest local money changers all over the world looking to make a quick buck from clueless tourists. They can tell right off the bat when a foreigner is badly in need of local currency; thus they find ways to jack up their exchange rates – sometimes to nearly double of what it’s supposed to really be!

To avoid this, look up current exchange rates in the places you will visit before you even board a plane or cruise. Frequently, airports announce foreign exchange rates and also have service kiosks specifically to exchange local currency for dollars. Those are far more trustworthy than roadside or other seedy money changing places.

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Get A “Placebo” Wallet

My mom taught me this particular money safekeeping trick back when I was in junior high. At the time, there was a series of petty thefts resulting in several students losing their wallets during gym class. It turned out that someone was methodically going through lockers that were easy enough to jimmy open with a paperclip (someone caught the culprit red-handed – yes, it was another student!).

Before the thief was caught, however, I practiced caution by putting a dummy wallet in my backpack and placing some slips of paper inside it instead of my allowance. I kept the real money on my person so it won’t end up getting stolen. Up to this day, it’s a practice I’ve followed even during travels. If a pickpocket decides to take that wallet, they would be in for a surprise to find some board game currency and a couple of expired subway passes in it instead of real cash or credit cards!

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Carry Only Enough Money For The Day

Money safety also involves knowing just the right amount of money to carry on your person. For this, it’s advisable to have an itinerary in advance, along with a budget you would need for the day. This practice works wonderfully well in several ways for me. First, I am less tempted to splurge on souvenirs and unplanned expenses because I only have enough cash set aside for the day’s plans. Secondly, if I do end up losing money, it gives me peace of mind to know I have enough left over for the rest of my stay and that I didn’t end up losing everything in one fell swoop.

Additional hot tip: if your hotel or inn has a safety vault, don’t hesitate to use it to keep your extra cash or valuables.

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Keep Money In Non-Obvious Places

Remember my little anecdote about bringing my pocket money with me to gym class? I also have my mom to thank for sewing small secret pockets in the insides of my gym socks (they didn’t bulge, don’t worry – my allowance wasn’t that big!). I have made a habit of still doing that when I travel, though I use other accessories aside from secret pockets these days. Apart from hidden compartments in my jackets, pants, and headgear, I also have a waterproof packet that ties to my wrist or goes around my neck when I go swimming at the beach. It’s where I place my credit and debit cards, plus cash that I need for the day, so they’re always with me.

Additional hot tip: try to blend in! Nothing shouts “tourist!” more than a large belt bag or fanny pack, several tote bags carrying souvenirs, and other obvious touristy looks.

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Try Paying In Cash Whenever and Wherever You Can

It might sound odd, but you can actually keep your money safe by paying with cash! Of course, some credit card purchases and payments would be unavoidable, such as for hotel reservations and airfare. However, paying in cash can protect you from identity theft and potential fraud which happens more often with credit or debit cards and ATMs that have skimmers. If you do need to make ATM transactions, make sure it is inside a trusted bank or establishment that will lessen the chances of getting your credit information stolen.

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The Verdict?

Knowing how to travel safely with cash is a must in this day and age. There are so many ways to protect your money or credit information from getting stolen. Precaution is always an excellent first step, so think about making photocopies of your visa, passport, and credit and debit information in case you lose any of those valuable documents. And always inform your bank if you are planning to make big purchases using your credit or debit card anywhere in the world. That way, you won’t get flagged for unexpected expenses because of suspected theft.

Do you have any personal experience or advice on how to keep money safe during travel? We would love to learn about them, so please feel free to leave a comment below!
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