If you’re going on vacation, chances are you will be carrying more cash than you normally would back home. Here are some things you can do to help keep your money safe:
- Never keep everything all in one place. This is important for two reasons: First, it prevents you from hauling out a wad of cash for all to see when you are paying for something. Second, if you lose or get robbed of your wallet, all is not lost and you will have backup cash and cards to keep you going. Some people even recommend carrying a dummy wallet with a few dollars in it to give to a thief if you get held up.
- Keep your money on you and as close to your body as you can. Backpacks and purses can easily opened or snatched while under a table or on your shoulder. While money belts can be a good idea, you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you are a tourist carrying a large amount of cash. It’s best to keep a modest amount of cash in a regular wallet or money clip in your front pocket (not your back pocket), and then replenish from a money belt or leg wallet in private as you need.
- Carry lower denominations to pay for smaller items to avoid flashing large bills and keep them organized in your wallet for easy access. Crumpled money that is not placed properly could easily fall out when you go to pay for something and it also creates bulk. It’s also good idea to clean out your wallet before you leave. You only want to bring the essentials. Things like loyalty cards and old receipts should be left at home. The last thing you want is for potential thieves to see a thick wallet!
- Leaving extra money and backup cards in a hotel safe can be an option. However, keep in mind that the hotel staff will always be able to access it in case the key gets lost or the password gets forgotten.
- Be aware of your surroundings. It goes without saying that you should exercise a high degree of caution when using an ATM, riding public transit, or visiting touristy areas. However, pickpockets have many ways to get you to reveal the location of your wallet, let down your guard, and divert your attention while they grab it. They often work in teams, so be suspicious of anyone – including children, elders, or attractive women – invading your personal space, bumping into you, or creating a scene.
Prepare for the worst
If something does happen, you want to make sure you have a plan. Like we mentioned in the first bullet point, have backup cards and cash available. Email yourself a list of phone numbers and card numbers for your bank and credit card company so you can report them lost or stolen right away. If your stuff was stolen, make sure to file a police report so you have a record of the incident to show the bank and credit card and insurance companies if you need.