Let’s face it, some of these pickpockets are like magicians. If you head off on holiday without a plan, you are asking for trouble. Today’s post will look at how to hide valuables while traveling.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of getting your valuables taken.
How to hide valuables while traveling
There are essentially four areas that you need to look at;
- How to hide money on your person
- Leaving valuables in your hotel room
- Valuables in luggage
- Hiding valuables at the beach
Today’s post WILL help you to reduce the chances of being a victim of crime. I will detail what you need to do to reduce the risk and develop a plan to stay safe. These tips will help you.
This may involve things you can do for free or items you can buy. Essentially, you can do most things for free with some basic skills.
As well as following these tips, you still have to stay sharp and assess the risks around you. Remember, tourists are seen as easy targets for a number of reasons;
- Likely to be carrying cash…sometimes in foreign currency which might be worth more
- May not speak the language
- Don’t know where to go for help
- Unfamiliar environments leaving them confused
- Assuming that people have good intentions
There are a number of places that you can safely store your money and valuables on your person, some more creative than others but all effective tactics.
Before you we do this, lets look at some principles to improve your general chances;
- You need to split your valuables around your body. If you are the victim of crime, you haven’t lost everything
- Always have a dummy wallet. This may be an old wallet containing a couple of dollars with some old expired bank cards. If you are robbed, the criminal will assume you have handed over your real wallet. They don’t tend to go through it at the time, just a cursory look
- Never leave things in pockets that don’t have a closure like a zip or Velcro. These are still vulnerable places but without them, its not even a challenge for a pickpocket
How to hide money on your person
If you do have a large amount of money that you do not trust to keep at your hotel or lodgings, the best solution may be to keep it on your person.
The ideal solution is always to leave some in a separate location. This way you are splitting the risk.
Here are some of the best ways on how to hide valuables while travelling.
- Money belt
- Socks and shoes
- Bras and underwear
- Secret internal pockets
There are several types of money belts that are available on the market. The preferred one is the one that is fastened on to your waist. This then sits beneath your clothing and you cannot see it under clothing, especially if your clothes are loose fitting.
There are other money belts too. You can buy actual belts that have a zip running along the inside. This can be undone and money placed inside it. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a real belt holding your trousers up.
Out of all the solutions, this is the most functional and probably the best method of hiding your money while traveling.
Socks and shoes
This is a method that is commonly used but if you have a lot of notes or have bank cards, it is probably not ideal. If it is just a few notes, this works perfectly.
You have two options, placing the money inside your sock or within the shoe.
You have the option of sliding the money down your sock if you are wearing long ones. If it is shorter socks, then place the money underneath your heel. This may feel a little uncomfortable initially but you get used to it.
The only issue with this is the sweat from your feet…you get the picture.
The better solution is to use your shoe. Ideally, the internal lining can be removed and the money placed under there. You should barely notice the difference after a while.
It is secure and even if you remove your shoes, it is not obvious that there is money in them.
Bras and underwear
Perhaps one the most favored places to hide money is in a bra…on holiday or not. It is quite common for this to happen and not unusual at all. It ticks all the boxes…discreet and secure.
Hiding money in underwear is one of my least favored options. You have to wrap it is a plastic bag and place it in the most comfortable position you can find. If you are travelling in a hot climate, I think you can imagine some of the potential issues.
This is a favorite among experienced travelers and great because you can do this yourself using clothes you already own. You don’t need to go out and buy ‘special’ traveler trousers.
Simply cut a hole into your shorts or trousers…and push in the rolled-up money. It is discreet and very secure. Again, a mugger would not suspect you have money there.
The only real issue is accessibility. If you want to spend that money during the day, you need to find somewhere discrete to remove it…which is not always possible.
It is secure and cheap to do. Especially good if you want to hide money in your clothing in your hotel or hostel.
Secret internal pockets
This is another solution that you can do yourself. Although you can buy these, you can just as easily make them yourself. These are essentially simple ‘extra’ pockets that can only be accessed from the inside of your clothes…normally trousers.
Secret internal pockets are secure and very discrete. It may cause issue if you need to access money from there regularly, but they are extremely safe.
Leaving valuables in your hotel room
You would think that your hotel room is safe…and in most cases it is. However, things do happen so I take the view of prevention rather than having to deal with the aftermath.
Often, people wrongly assume that the hotel safe is ‘safe’. It isn’t. Plenty of people have access to the code and possibly even a master key. This makes it a risk as people will store their valuables in there.
The ideal solution lies in being a little creative. Consider doing some of the following. Remember that the divide and conquer rule applies here. Split your valuables as this improves the chance of retaining some in the event of a theft.
- Taping an envelope containing your money to the underside of a heavy piece of furniture or the bottom drawer
- Safe tins…household items that are actually money safes. They normally unscrew open and are very deceptive and almost impossible to distinguish
- Putting your money in a waterproof bag and dropping it into the toilet cistern
- Using the shower curtain pole to slide money into…just make sure you can get it back out
- Make use of the furniture…unzip a cushion or seat and hide it in there
- If your bed has been made, place the money underneath the mattress. It is unlikely that they will look under a ‘made’ bed
- Use a screwdriver to open the back of a TV or telephone, hide your valuables and close it up
Valuables in luggage
The simple solution to this issue is don’t do it. NEVER put money in your luggage. It is asking for trouble. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that it is safe once it is checked in.
People have access to your luggage and all to often, you can open luggage and close it without leaving a trace. Most luggage is vulnerable and it has been documented over the years the amount of theft that takes place.
The simple solution is not to put yourself at risk. Carry your money on your person using the tips above.
Valuable items such as iPad’s or laptops should always be placed in you carry on luggage.
Hiding valuables at the beach
This is one of the highest risk areas whilst travelling. These days we may have iPad’s, cellphones whilst at the beach and all can cost a pretty penny. Importantly, losing them can be a major inconvenience.
Where do you leave things whilst enjoying the water? If you are travelling alone, this is a major risk area…and quite honestly, thieves will be looking at you. They know you will leave your valuables unattended at some point. Even if they don’t…opportunist thieves will.
Things you can buy to protect valuables on a beach
- Beach vault
- Locking bag
- Beach waterproof cases
- Diversion containers
- SlotFlop sandals
This simple yet ingenious invention is perfect for the beach. Simply screw the vault into the sand to secure it and place your items within it. Screw the lid on and place sand over it. Voila…you have a hidden safe where your personal items are safe and hidden away from thieves.
If you are planning on leaving your bag filled with your personal items unattended, you are taking a risk. It takes no time at all for a thief to swipe a bag and disappear.
The only real solution to this is a lockable bag. A bag where you can secure the bag to a fixed item like a deck chair. These bags have an integrated chain that locks back onto the bag. You can therefore feed it around or through a fixed item.
Examples include the Kyss bag or the Korin Clickpack. The Korin Clickpack is perfect for scenarios like this. Not only does it have a secure cord, it also has an integrated TSA lock, therefore not only secured to a fixed item but your contents are also locked in there.
Beach waterproof cases
These cases are functional and work on a beach because they are waterproof. Not only do they protect your valuables, they allow you to hook them around a part of your body conveniently, so you always have them. Have a look at the Aquapac case, originally designed for taking pictures underwater but perfect for other things.
This is a simple yet practical solution designed for the beach. I touched on the home versions earlier which are perfect for a hotel room. The idea is simple, you hide the items in bottles or containers that look like a normal container, such as a sun lotion bottle. Unless a thief knew specifically what it was, they would not know where your valuables were.
These really are quite clever. What looks like a simple pair of sandals, is actually a wallet. You can store things in the SlotFlop sandals without it being obvious. The clever part is that it flows with the natural shape of the sandal.
There you have it, how to hide valuables while traveling. We have looked at hiding things on your person, in hotel rooms, your luggage and on the beach.
That should cover off most people’s vacations. Remember, most this is common sense advice. There is nothing here that is complicated or hard to do. Most of this advice is easily applied and can save your vacation from disaster.
Generally, don’t assume that everybody around you is ‘nice’ and ‘friendly’. Thieves come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most are opportunistic so if you make it easy for them, they most probably will take the chance.
So, my final words…use your head, be discrete and importantly, split your valuables so you dot risk losing everything in one go.View the full range of travel safety products at Amazon
Frequently asked questions
How can I keep my money safe while traveling?
Follow these tips to keep your money safe on vacation;
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards – Credit cards offer more protection through the insurance and also in the event of fraud, money is not leaving your account directly
- Credit card only rule – try to use them everywhere. The less cash you need to carry, the better. They are easier to hide about your person too
- Choose ATM’s carefully – Ones that are attached to banks tend to be safer as they are unlikely to have phishing devices attached to them
- Check your statements – If you are using cards, check there are no unaccounted transactions on there. If there are, contact your bank immediately
- Divide and conquer – Do not keep all your valuables together. Split them around your body or bags so that if you are a victim of crime, you’re not losing everything
How do you travel with money?
Carefully is the honest answer. Take precautions to protect your money. Split it around your body or bags, only carry what you need, have a dummy wallet and ultimately, use your common sense.
Are hotel safes safe?
In most cases they are especially at a reputable chain. However, you have to assume that there may be a rogue member of staff. Therefore, take precautions. Don’t simply assume the hotel safe is safe. Split and hide your valuables within the room and carry some of your valuables too, especially credit cards and documents.