Essential Tips for Protecting Money and Valuables during Travel

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We are all one step closer to traveling again post Covid-19 travel restrictions which means we are counting down the days to our next vacation. 

After being quarantined for one year we all deserve a change of scenery, sun beaming on our skin, endless cocktails while relaxing on the beach.

While you may be excited about planning your long-awaited vacation, it’s always crucial that you plan wisely, take plenty of precautions and understand the best places to hide money while traveling.

It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to Mexico or Italy nothing can ruin your trip faster than being pickpocketed, credit cards are stolen, or someone stealing your camera that was sitting right beside you. 

I will provide you with some simple tips to keep your money and valuables safe when traveling.

Keeping your money, valuables, and passport safe should be your main priority when traveling.

Here are some of my best tips I use to hide money and keep my valuables safe when I travel.


How To Keep Your Money and Valuables Safe While Traveling

1. 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).

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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.

2. Only Use Credit Cards

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.

Also, be aware of foreign transaction fees because most credit card providers charge a fee of 2% to 3% to convert the currency.

I personally use the Delta American Express card and which also allows me to accumulate travel points.

3. Write Down Your Account Numbers 

Let’s say you didn’t take any of my advice and your credit cards are stolen you need to report the cards stolen ASAP.

The sooner the better! 

How can you report your cards stolen if you have had the account numbers or the customer service number in order to report them stolen?

I suggest writing the number down multiple times and place them in different places and I also suggest taking a photo of the front and back of each card you are traveling with.

Once you arrive at your destination you might place a copy in the hotel safe, leave a copy folded in a piece of clothing, or give a copy to a friend.

4. 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.

5. Places to Hide Money

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).

Below are some examples of wearable storage:

  • 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 is still advertising where you are keeping your money!

6. 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 and great places to hide money

7. Avoid Risky Situations

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 protect 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 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.

8. Do Not Go To an ATM Machine Alone

ATMs that are secluded or are not visible from the street make you a prime candidate for robbery so I suggest using ATM machines that are located in the lobby of your hotel.  

If you have rented a car the safest thing to do is use the drive-up ATM machine.

Keep your engine running and lock your doors, and remember to always have another person with you when withdrawing money from the ATM. 

9. Do Not Wear Valuable Jewelry When Traveling

Store your jewelry and passports in the hotel safe. Never leave your jewelry out in your hotel room, even inside your luggage.

Conceal, don’t reveal. Especially if you’re in a more dangerous or unknown area, take steps to conceal any expensive jewelry from strangers.

Also, don’t advertise the presence of expensive jewelry by sharing it on social media. There’s no need to make yourself a target.

If all possible just leave your expensive jewelry at home.  

Do Your Homework Before Traveling Abroad

Before you set off for your trip, do your research about the place you’re planning to visit.

Find out what’s the exchange rate, customs restrictions, and visa requirements. 

Also, research their public transportation system, which neighborhoods you should avoid, safety precautions to take, local emergency contacts to save on your phone, etc.

Look up their local customs and traditions so you can carry yourself accordingly.  Show as much respect to the local culture as possible when traveling to another country. 

Trust Your Instincts and Streetsmarts

When you’re traveling alone, it’s crucial to stay cautious and read situations in an instant. If something feels off, walk away from that place or person immediately. 

When you travel solo, you and your needs are all that matter so always trust your gut.

You’ve every right to change hotels, get out of a cab, fly to a different city, or walk away from someone or someplace if you feel like something is off.

Avoid walking with your head buried in your phone as this is a green light for criminals no matter the destination.

High-tech devices are not only appealing to petty thieves but also draw attention to your traveler status. Foreign women, especially, are perceived as easy targets. Keep your phone and cash out of sight.

Always carry a photocopy of your identification with you at all times in case the police stop you. Keep the real deal locked up in a safe back at your hotel.

Let your bank know when you are traveling so they don’t cut off your funds and keep an eye on your account when you return for any suspicious activity.

Avoid carrying around a lot of cash and withdraw small amounts of pesos from ATMs and avoid withdrawing money at night.

Below are a few safety precautions no matter the destination:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Don’t open your room door unless you know/trust the person
  • Under no circumstances disclose where you are staying to a stranger
  • If you are invited to a party/event, always imply that you will bring someone along and let a friend, or even the receptionist at your accommodation, know your whereabouts. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t go
  • Avoid traveling at night or wandering around in poorly lit areas and beach locations
  • If you’re traveling alone and don’t feel confident exploring a place, join a tour. Aside from the safety aspect, it’s a great way to meet fellow travelers

Research the neighborhood you are staying in, and ask the locals where the no-go areas are.

As much as the cheap places per night are great for your bank account, make security your priority when choosing your accommodation.

Conclusion of How To Keep Your Money Safe on Vacation

The way you carry yourself and your money on vacation will determine if you will be at risk for criminal activity. 

Thieves look for tourists who will let their guards down and they are ready to sweep in and rob you of your cash, credit cards, and electronics.

Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

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What are some places to hide money while on vacation? I am always updating articles and I would love to hear your thoughts on how to stay safe while traveling so leave me a comment on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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  1. I use wearable storage in areas beyond the eye and I don’t carry any cash. I appreciate your post I picked up a few new tips.

  2. I always use the divide method and l am always looking for odd behavior. I never take the bait with the scammers. Last time someone tried the gold ring scam in Paris, I threw the ring on the path of traffic. He couldn’t say anything since it wasn’t his like he said :-).

  3. You are so right about not keeping money in one place. I love your post. This is such useful advice especially the tricks you mentioned that pickpockets may use. Thanks for sharing

  4. These are some great tips for keeping our money safe while traveling. I know several people who have lost money on vacation from not protecting their money.

  5. Great tips. I’m usually that carefree girl walking down the street thinking I’m invincible. But after hearing some horror stories and reading your post, I know I need to be more vigilant now.

  6. I try to keep a little cash handy but otherwise, I use one card when we travel. If I lose it, I can easily cancel. I also leave all valuables home except the kids tablets and my camera.

  7. These are great tips! I have used them all. I always purge my purse of all non-essentials before taking a trip. And even while I am on vacation I do not carry all of my money on me at all times. I know some have concern for leaving their belonging in their room but should anything happen, I always want to have more money I can easily access.

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