Here are Smart, Safe Ways to Carry Cash When Traveling

Here are Smart, Safe Ways to Carry Cash When TravelingCarrying cash while on vacation shouldn’t be taken lightly. You need to consider safety and convenience.
It’s a bit of a balancing act. You can’t make it easy for thieves, but it’s unrealistic to have to reach deep down in your under garment to pay for something in a crowded location.
Christine Sarkis, of SmarterTravel.com offers these 10 tips on the best ways to carry money while traveling:
Divide Money
Divvy up your travel cash and credit cards by placing into multiple safe spots. Common sense dictates that if all your money is in one place, you’re making it a lot easier for the thief. And your vacation or business trip can be ruined in an instant. If something happens, you should have enough cash to get back to the hotel or find a police station.
Favor On-Body Storage
Some options for under-clothing cash compartments include bra stashes, and built-in pockets on long johns, underwear, and undershirts. Keep in mind, you can’t reach into these places while shopping or at a restaurant, so also keep a wallet in the usual place. If you are seen getting cash from these hidden spots, a thief can easily mark you as a vulnerable tourist.
Keep Small Bills Handy
Dividing money is a good start, but it’s also wise to divide up denominations and keep smaller bills easily accessible. “That way, you won’t pull out the local equivalent of a $100-dollar bill while attempting to buy a 30-cent souvenir,” Sarkis writes. Hide the larger bills in those clever under-clothing pouches.
Book In Advance
If you’re heading to any local attractions, see if you can book your tickets online or over the phone. This eliminates the need to pay for entry when you get to the attraction, saving you from carrying around too much cash. For attraction suggestions, click here. The majority of suggestions made can be prebooked.
Carry an Anti-Theft Bag
Those travel carrying bags, purses and backpacks may look nice, but are they theft-proof? Make sure they have features such as cut-proof, steel-cable-reinforced shoulder straps; slash-proof fabric; and locking zippers. These features slow down thieves and deter pickpockets. Anti-theft bags are available online from Pacsafe, Travelon, Magellan’s, and other retailers.
Trim Your Wallet
Before you leave, take the time to go through your wallet and take out everything except the necessities, including a universal credit card and a backup, an identification card, an insurance card. Carrying around too many credit cards isn’t a good idea anywhere. But when you’re in a foreign city, it’s much more difficult and time-consuming to replace stolen credit cards or documents, or contacting the card companies about the theft.
Use a Dummy Wallet
If you’re traveling in crowded places with a reputation for pickpocketings or muggings, consider carrying a cheap wallet to keep in your pocket or bag. Put small bills in the fake wallet with sample credit cards like those you get in offers in the mail. “A dummy wallet can stop pickpockets before they get to your real wallet,” Sarkis writes. “And in the scary and unlikely case of an actual mugging, it also gives you something to throw and run, buying you time to escape with your safety and your actual wallet.”
Buy a Travel Wallet
Also consider a wallet that you use only for travel. There’s one simple reason for this: If you normally have a wallet jam-packed with cards, the slots are likely stretched out when you minimize the contents for travel. By having a travel wallet, your cards will have snug pockets that they can’t slip out of accidentally. Plus, you won’t have to unpack and repack your day-to-day wallet each time you travel.
Adapt to the Local Money Culture
In much of Europe and parts of Asia, automation is common and chip-and-PIN credit-card technology is standard. So having a compatible credit card will come in handy, especially if you find yourself at sparsely lit or populate late-night locations, such as gas stations or train stations. Remember that in some countries the U.S. dollars is an official or unofficial secondary currency, so keep U.S. currency at the ready.
Use Money Alternatives
In high-traffic locations, such as metro stations and bus lines, it’s easier to forgo cash or credit-card transactions and rely instead on a multi-use ticket or other cash alternative. If you’re in a city where the public-transportation system offers multi-use cards (for example, London’s Oyster card or San Francisco’s Clipper card) or where you can buy multiple tickets at once, such as a “carnet” on the Paris metro, which gets you 10 single-ride tickets for one discounted price, then take advantage.

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