Everybody gets a little nervous when going abroad. It’s natural to do so as we head into the unknown in most cases. One of things we worry most about is money…so what is the best way to carry money while traveling?
In this article, I will tell you the best way to carry money while traveling. I will tell you what tactics to employ and what you can buy to help you.
I will also provide you with general principles to follow to help improve your chances of an incident free vacation.
Follow these tactics and you could save yourself major headaches further down the line.
Use the table of contents to skip down the page if you are in a hurry.
Best way to carry money while traveling
- Money belts
- Hiding money in secret internal pockets
- Leg belts
- Bras and underwear
- Waist clips
- Hiding money in socks and shoes
- Hiding money in waistbands
Money belts have been around for hundreds of years…the basic defense against pickpockets. The idea is simple, put your money in a pocket that sits underneath your clothes. This makes it difficult to access for pick pockets and difficult to identify under loose clothing.
They are simple and cheap to buy which makes them great. It does however make them access to them awkward sometimes. Obviously, there are ways around that.
- Keep some coffee money easily accessible so you are not always having to access the money belt
- Plan ahead so only carry what you will need for the day…unless your hotel seems so unsafe that carrying all your money is the safest option
- Make sure they are hidden from view but access doesn’t involve having to remove clothes
When people talk about money belts, they are normally referring to the ones around your waist. They do come in various forms.
The thigh money belt is generally accepted as the safest one to use but it is the most difficult to access. They are perfect for those who will rarely access them during the day but need to carry their money or documents safely.
Other belts include arm money belts which aren’t so popular as well as neck belts. These hang around your neck like a necklace but they are very vulnerable to a theft.
Hiding money in secret internal pockets
These work fantastically well due to their random nature. They work by stitching a pocket…a pre-made bought version or one of your making, into the inside of your clothing.
You may need basic level sewing skills but there is always somebody who can do that for you.
They work fantastically well and are the best way to carry money while traveling.
Bras and underwear
Hiding money in bras is not limited to traveling scenarios. Many women do that on a daily basis. It is a simple and cheap solution. Importantly, it works.
It may not be a great solution if you are carrying lots of notes but slipping a bank card or two should not pose any issues.
Most men will have to take the underwear option. This is a basic and primitive method that simply involves putting money in your underwear and moving it around until you find a comfortable position. It is not ideal…for obvious reason!
The better way or should I say hygienic way is to put the money in a plastic bag and then do it. However, traveling to a hot climate will cause sweating issues.
Only choose this option if you have little alternative.
This is probably not the most discrete solution as you can see the clip over your trouser waist. However, we need to recognize that the best way to carry money while traveling is to ensure it meets your needs.
Sometimes you may need a covert way of carrying cash while traveling. Sometimes you need it very accessible as you are going for a night out or a day trip to the market.
This solution works as the money notes in the waist clip is pressed against your torso. You can feel it when it is there therefore providing some reassurance. It provides easy accessibility and convenience without having to rummage through layers of clothing.
It is great for what it was intended for, but it is not ideal for carrying larger amounts of money. You are better off getting a money belt for that purpose.
Hiding money in socks and shoes
Again, this solution to carrying money is perfect for small amounts that you may carry for a coffee or a drink or two. Not a great solution for larger amounts of money.
It works well for travelers as it is convenient and secure. It simply involves slipping money under your heel inside the shoe, or under the cushioning.
One of the places that creates most anxiety for travelers is the beach. There are products available, especially for the beach that allow you to secure cards and money inside the actual frame of the shoe. It is clever and discrete.
Hiding money inside the sock is a well-used method. Probably not the most comfortable method but it is discrete and secure, especially if you put the money under your heel.
It is not going to be the most comfortable method and you will face sweat issues as well as odor issues for your money.
In terms of daily convenience, there are better ways to secure small amounts of money. However, as a traveler, it is always worth hiding emergency money inside your shoe…just in case you may need it.
Hiding money in luggage is a possibility here too. Hiding money in shoes makes it hard for a thief to find and it is not the most obvious place either.
Hiding money in waistbands
This method is fantastic in a couple of ways. Firstly, it is very secure as you cannot be pick-pocketed. Secondly, you can adapt pretty much any trouser waist to carry money.
The method simply involves cutting a small hole in the inside of your trouser waist. Simply roll the money up and slide it in. You can cut several holes to make accessing it easier.
This is a very safe method of carrying cash while traveling. You can but traveling clothes that incorporate these methods but you can achieve the same result yourself in clothes you already own.
General safety tips when traveling with money
Let’s be honest, tourists are easy prey for thieves. It is difficult sometimes to comprehend the increase in risk when we go through our normal day to day lives with little incident.
There are things you can do to reduce the risk of you being a victim of crime.
- Split your valuables
- Keep small notes and change accessible
- Keep a dummy wallet
- Keep copies of your documents
- Use pockets with secured openings
- Never put money in luggage
Split your valuables
Firstly, split your valuables. This applies to things on your body and things around luggage you may be carrying. The idea is simple…divide and conquer.
By spreading the items around, if you do get pick pocketed or mugged, you have not lost everything. You have simply lost part of your valuables and in most cases that is not enough to ruin your whole vacation.
Keep small notes and change accessible
You do not need to have all your money and valuables accessible at all times. The safest thing you can do is keep a separate pocket or wallet for small amounts of money. This is what you use on a daily basis.
It therefore saves you from constantly having to go to and disclose your main stash.
Keep a dummy wallet
It always makes good sense that you keep a dummy wallet in the event of a mugging or theft. You simply have to assume you will be a victim. The idea is simple, get an old wallet or purse and put a few small notes in there with some expired bank cards.
Any criminal will assume they have the main source of money and leave. Instead of you losing your main wallet containing most your money, you lose very little. It also gives you time to raise the alarm or exit the area.
Keep copies of your documents
Should the worst happen and you lose all your money and documents, you have a long and stressful few days ahead of you. Instead of enjoying your vacation, you’ll be on the phone trying to replace them.
Simply having copies of documents can save you a lot of time and trouble. They containing all the details you need and some places may accept copies if they know that you have been a victim of crime.
Use pockets with secured openings
You can take steps to make life difficult for pick pockets. One of these is to only use pockets with secured openings like zips or Velcro.
Storing things, especially valuables in open pockets is inviting trouble.
This will not deter the most skilled pick pockets. However, they need more time to complete their task if it is a secured pocket and it may put them off altogether depending on the circumstances.
Never put money in luggage
This should be avoided at all costs. It is possible to open and close luggage without you knowing. You only have to look at the number of reported thefts once luggage has been check-in in to see that there is an issue.
Often, your luggage may have been searched for money and you have assumed it was an airport theft.
The best advice is to carry your money with you on the aircraft, but split it around your body and things.
It is always best to have a plan of action of what you will carry, when and how much.
The best way to carry money while traveling is using your common sense. Take precautions and assess your risk.
If you start on the basis that you will be a victim, work backwards and remove that risk. Think about where you will store money and how.
Think of how you want to carry your money and how much you are likely to use. Think of scenarios you may end up in and what you would do.
Remember to take on board the general precautions I gave you.
The general rule of thumb is not to carry more money than you are prepared to lose.
Do you have any tips on how to hide money on your body or the best way to carry passport and money when traveling? Let us know if you do, we would love to hear from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I protect money when traveling?
You can take on board the advice given on this page. Seriously, take the contents of this page on board and implement them when you do travel. This is not a last minute subject, you need to be mentally prepared and have a plan in place what you will do and when.
Do not leave it until the last minute.
Protecting your money is key when you are traveling. It is the resource that allows you to live in a strange environment. It gives you the flexibility to do things and experience things. Protecting your money is vital.
How do you manage money when traveling?
When I am traveling, I have a budget in mind for most days. I roughly know my daily living expenses plus a little bit more. I don’t carry more cash than I need to.
I also make it habit to use my credit card as often as I can. I therefore reduce the risk of needing to carry that much cash.
Credit cards offer insurance on your purchases. They also have the advantage of not being linked to your check account. Therefore, if your card was compromised, it can be dealt with more ease as no money has actually left your account.
Obviously, clear your balance every month to avoid incurring charges and interest.
How do you travel with money?
The simple answer is with very little. I tend to carry the bare minimum. I use ATM machines roughly once a week when abroad and I withdraw about a weeks’ worth of money.
The ATM’s are normally at bank branches that are covered by security. I am very aware of phishing devices that skim card data. If you can’t get to a bank branch, take a good look at the machine first to see it there is anything unusual about it.
Most my purchases are made on credit cards. They offer me more security and reduce my risk od carrying cash.
How much cash should you bring on a trip?
That is a very subjective question and entirely depends on where you go and what you plan to do.
Before I travel anywhere, I tend to have done my research. I look up travel blogs to see what other people experienced and the cost of living. This tends to give me a good idea of how much that trip will cost.
Obviously, it is not 100% accurate but it is a good starting point.
If you are planning any ‘experience’ activities, check them out online first to gage the cost and see if you can book them online. This prevents you having to carry the money to pay for them.