It’s always a fun adventure to travel to a new country, and the last thing you want to worry about when you travel is keeping your money and valuables safe. Yet when you have tons of swindlers circling around tourism-driven cities, and many different people handling your luggage, keeping your money and valuables safe really should be at the top of your priority list when you travel. Here are some essential tips for keeping money and valuables safe during your next trip.
Carry only the essentials.
It may be common sense, but it’s worth mentioning—be sure to carry only the essentials with you when you travel. Usually, that means carrying only a credit card, ATM card, an ID, and some cash (though needs will vary by country, of course). This will make it much easier to store those valuables that you do need to protect, and it simply reduces the number of things that could potentially be stolen.
Use a credit card primarily.
When possible, it’s best to use a credit card when traveling abroad. The reason? Credit cards are more likely to have zero-liability policies, meaning you are not liable for purchases made when your card is lost or stolen. Just be sure to keep the contact information for your credit card company on hand in case of an emergency.
Divide your money up.
Here’s an easy tip that could prove invaluable in case of an emergency—divide your money up and store it in different places on your person. This helps prevent a thief from wiping you out completely, and it gives you something to fall back on in case something does get stolen.
Try wearable storage.
There are a ton of different wearable storage pieces available on the market today. Find one that works for you and use it every time you’re out and about (and possibly even when you’re sleeping, if necessary). Some examples:
- Neck pouches
- Money belts
- Bra stashes
- Underwear with built-in pockets
- Undershirts with built-in pockets
Just keep in mind here that it’s still best to divide your money up, even if you’re sporting wearable storage. Reaching under your shirt or to your waist to pay for something still, advertise where you are keeping your money!
Consider a portable vault.
Did you know that there is such thing as a safe that you can take with you when you travel? Portable vaults (like this one, for example) make it possible to protect money, travel documents, electronics, handguns, and more when traveling abroad. Many are compact enough to fit inside even a briefcase or backpack. So if you’re someone who tends to rely on the built-in safes in hotel rooms, a portable vault is a good option to consider.
Avoid risky situations.
As this article points out, the world can be a place of danger and chaos, so it’s always best to play it on the safe side when abroad. This applies not only to protecting money and valuables but also to protecting yourself, your legal status, your health, and more. In terms of protecting your money and valuables when abroad, it’s important to be able to identify risky situations as they arise. Here are some examples of common tourist scams which will put your valuables in danger of getting stolen:
- You spot a wallet lying on the ground. Because people have a tendency to check where their own wallet is when they spot one lying on the ground, swindlers often leave wallets out in public places to see where tourists are keeping their own wallets. Then, stealing the wallet is as simple as reaching into a back pocket or handbag.
- Someone spills something on your jacket. A stranger might bump into you and “accidentally” spill something on your jacket and then offer to clean it. This stranger, however, may very well be a thief who is looking for an opportunity to go through your pockets.
- A street vendor offers to make you a bracelet. A street vendor might approach you and offer to make you a bracelet, taking your wrist and making the bracelet on you. The vendor might then pressure you to for payment, or he or she might be acting as a distraction while pickpockets try to steal your wallet.
- A woman throws her baby at you. It sounds crazy, but it’s a tactic that swindlers use to distract you—especially in Rome. A woman throws a “baby” (usually a doll) into your arms, and while you are distracted catching the baby, her accomplices go through your pockets or bag.
- You join a crowd watching a street performer. Sometimes street performers are working in cahoots with thieves who are dressed as tourists. The street performer distracts you while the thieves slyly go through your pockets or bag.
Maurine Anderson originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now enjoying life out west in Salt Lake City. She is a professional writer and blogger who in her free time loves to create new cake recipes, travel, and practice her hand at photography. She tends to geek out over linguistics, cats, and all things Scandinavia. Check out more of her writing at MaurineDashney.com and find her on Instagram @maurinedashney.