“You’re so brave, but I couldn’t travel as you do”. It’s a familiar cry I hear from other women. Bright women who want to travel adventurously but limit themselves to package holidays, because they are a “safe” option. It’s no surprise that personal safety and the security of cash, cards and personal items are some of the most frequently mentioned worries. “How do you keep your cash safe when travelling?” is a common question.

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Clever ways to secure your cash when travelling

This post shares some simple steps you can take to keep yourself and your possessions safe when you travel.

What’s the Best Way to Keep Your Cash Safe When You’re Travelling?

Carrying cash around is a risk. It’s much better to take at least two credit cards and a debit card (ideally in separate wallets) instead. But there are some times when you’re going to need cash when travelling.

Safety tips for your cash when traveling. Image of cautious person entering PIN at ATM, before withdrawing cash

5 Safe Ways to Carry Your Cash When Travelling

Sometimes, ATMs don’t work. It’s also true that you can’t always pay by card in stores, markets or on public transport, especially in remote “off the beaten track” places. You will need a cash stash but spread it around to reduce risk of loss in case a mugger attacks you.

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The Cup-Sized Wallet

Ladies – one of the best ways to stash your paper money is to tuck it into your bra! Just remember that when you need to buy something, you’ll need somewhere private to get at your cash. A public toilet or changing room is ideal. You don’t want anyone else to know about the money you’re packing in your bra!!

Be kind to the people you’ll be handing your cash over to. Think about wrapping the notes in tissue, so they stay fresh!

The Money Belt

I’ve used a money belt for years and ALWAYS recommend them. There are two basic types, and I like to travel with both:

  • One that looks like a regular trouser belt, where you can hide a small wad of notes, a room key and little else. Buy this type of money belt with a plastic buckle, so you don’t have to take your belt off at airport x-ray machines
  • A slim fabric money wallet that fastens around the waist and is large enough to hold cash, cards, passport and essential travel documents. Buy one with a moisture-wicking panel so that it’s comfortable to wear against your skin, even in hot temperatures (cheap ones get VERY sweaty!) I also recommend getting a travel wallet with RFID Block protection built into the belt’s fabric, so that it protects everything inside

The Travel Security Wallet

Everyone needs a “fake” or “burner” travel wallet. It’s one you won’t be too sad to lose if you get mugged because it doesn’t contain all your cash and cards.

Fill a cheap wallet with a nominal value in notes and add a few plastic cards. I NEVER use expired cards or ones showing my name, as I wouldn’t want any potential mugger to get my name or personal details.

Use your fake wallet for purchases when you’re out and about, replenishing it in private from your real wallet. Muggers will often watch you making purchases, and they need to believe the fake wallet is your real one!

Coralie – Grey Globetrotters

The Fake Safe

If you need to carry more cash around, it’s good to have somewhere to hide it. I’ve found this useful when travelling to a new country or between locations on a multi-centre trip.

An opaque empty vitamin bottle with a wide neck is easy to insert and remove cash. It’s a quick, cheap and easy way to hide your money until you can move it to a hotel safe.

A simple fake safe won’t keep your cash safe from bag thieves, but pick-pockets are not looking for vitamins!

The Infinity Travel Scarf

Infinity travel scarves have a secret compartment where you can stash lightweight valuables when you’re on the move. They are perfect for travel.

Hidden pocket infinity travel scarves have a secure, well-hidden pocket sewn inside, plenty big enough for your phone, passport and wallet. I love these scarves because the pocket is double stitched, the zipper is ultra-secure, and it’s well hidden from pick-pockets too.

More Ways To Protect Yourself and Your Cash When Travelling

Take Care When Using ATMs

  • NEVER use ATMs in a dark or secluded area. Choose ATMs inside a bank and stand close to the screen to hide your PIN as you enter it
  • Be alert to your surroundings. If you feel at all uncomfortable, don’t use the ATM
  • Guard your PIN! Watch out for people who might be trying to see the numbers you tap in. Stand as close as possible to the ATM to prevent other people from seeing your information
  • Put your card and cash away promptly, and don’t count the notes in public
  • Watch out for ATMs that look like someone has tampered with them. If in doubt, find another ATM

Find more guidance on keeping your plastic cards safe, from the experts at Mastercard

Tell Your Bank You’ll Be Travelling

Banks automatically monitor accounts for unusual transactions. When you share your travel plans with your bank, they update their records to protect you from fraud. It also reduces the chance of you suffering the embarrassment of your bank declining transactions while you’re away from home!

Limit The Number of Cash Withdrawals You Make

Take out enough cash to tide you over for three to five days when you visit an ATM. Pay with plastic wherever you can.

Don’t Flash The Cash

It might be OK to flash a massive wad of notes around when you’re settling a tab at home. It’s foolish and unsafe to do the same when you’re travelling. Be discreet with your folding money and only take the amount you need from your wallet.

Take care of your cash when traveling - Grey Globetrotters Midlife Travel Blog

Key Takeaways

  • Spread your cash around
  • Pay by card wherever possible
  • Don’t flash the cash
  • It’s not hard to secure your cash when travelling. Remember to be more careful than in your home environment

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is your essential protection in case of illness, injury, theft, or cancellation on your trip. I’ve had to claim against my travel insurance several times and can report that it’s so much easier and less stressful when your insurance company has top-notch customer service.  Having shopped around at first, I now only use World Nomads for their great value and excellent service. Older family members (aged 70+) swear by Insure My Trip.

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

Check out my resources page to find the best companies to use when you travel! It’s like my little black book – packed with companies I’ve used to save money when I travel.  I think it will be helpful for you too!

Further Reading

Top tips about how to keep yourself and your possessions safe when travelling during the menopause.

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How to keep your cash safe when traveling | Euro notes of different denominations spilling out from a wallet

What do you do to keep your cash safe when travelling? Is your favourite tried and tested trick here? Do let me know in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you.

About Author

Coralie is a Brit living in North Yorkshire. When she's not writing, she's either out exploring, planning a new trip, tasting street food or relaxing with a cold G&T. With 40+ years of adventurous travel to almost 40 countries (so far), she knows there's still much to see and remains an adventure-seeker at heart. Follow her on social media and keep up with her adventures and awesome travel tips.

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