A big part of travel is the experiences that we have along the journey. Some of those experience we cannot wait to be a part of, while some others we would definitely prefer to avoid. One experience that is better avoid is being robbed of your cash while travelling.
Unfortunately, there are times that theft is unavoidable. However, there are some steps that you can take to help minimise the chances of theft happening to you and spoiling your holiday. It comes down to having a back-up plan if the worst happens and trying to minimise the impact of any theft.
Please note that the information provided below is based on my own personal observations and experience. You are entirely responsible for making your own decisions about your own valuables.
Prepare A Backup Plan
How you plan for theft is going to be different for everyone. But there are a few different options that you can plan in advance as a back-up. To some degree is going to depend on which country you normally live in and what options are available to you. But the most important aspect is to have a plan in place, even if nothing does happen. At least you have a plan in place.
I will go into how you can minimise your losses if you are a victim of theft in a moment. However, first I will give you a few ideas on how to recover from theft
- Organise with one or more family members a way for them to get money for you if the worst should happen.
- Purchase a travel money card that you can preload with money, which you will keep in a separate location to other valuable.
- Have a travel money card available that you can transfer additional funds from your bank account.
- If you have multiple credit cards or travel money cards, keep them in separate locations in your bags, to minimise your potential loss.
When you are travelling there are two different ways you need to prepare for carrying cash. There are the days that you are in transit when you are carrying everything with you. Alongside the days that you are exploring a city where you might be carrying a minimal amount of stuff with you. Each of these days needs a different place for how to carry and store any cash that you are travelling with.
Cash on Travel Days
The days when you are in transit between cities or countries will see you needing to carry all of your cash with you. These are the times that you are most at risk of losing your cash if something should happen. Mostly because it is all kept in one place.
When I am travelling I do my best to split the money up between bags and locations that are on my person. I do this to try and limit the chance of one bag being lost or stolen and losing all of my money. Depending on the amount of money you are carrying there are a number of ways you can split it up.
- I usually keep a small amount of money in a wallet in my pocket. Maybe $20-$50 at most.
- I also have a small wallet that attached to my belt by a belt loop. I keep another $50 + credit card/money card in this. Mine is different but similar to this one on Amazon. (affiliate link, I may receive a commission if you make a purchase)
- If I have any additional money to what I have in these two places I split it between other bags I will be personally carrying at all times. I do my best to conceal this money in these bags and place a small lock on them as I can, which is more for a deterrent than an actual way to stop theft.
- I may at times place a small amount of cash into my checked luggage, as a final fall back, but never very much.
Another thing to keep in mind is to also keep any credit cards and cash cards in multiple locations like your cash.
Cash on City Days
How you store and carry your cash around when exploring a city should be different to when you are travelling. Carrying all of the cash with you around each day should be a last resort.
When I am exploring a city I carry not more than double what I would expect to spend. Which often is less than $50, but I do also carry either a credit card or travel money card as a backup. I often will generally carry some cash and a travel money card in my wallet, and the same belt pouch as mentioned above inside the waistband of my shorts.
The first option for storing additional cash and cards is a safe in the hotel room. While these are far from the most secure option they are definitely a step above carrying it around with you in your bag or pocket.
My personal preference though is to see if the hotel has a safety deposit box available. These generally offer dual key access, where you get given a key and the hotel has the second key. Both keys are required to open the box and seem to be a little more secure. One thing to keep in mind is that some hotels might ask for a refundable security deposit for the key. Additionally, if you lose the key you will also be up for the cost of a locksmith to open the lock and replace it and the key.
Finally, you might like to keep a small amount of money as a back in a zippered pocket in your shorts or potentially even in your shoe. Just keep in mind what your plans are for the day, especially if they involve an activity like swimming where you might take your shoes off. Which can be another good point if you are heading for the beach, always ensure someone is watching your belongings. It doesn’t help much to keep everything split up if everything gets stolen.
Start By Knowing The Risks
The best way to avoid any issues is to know what issues may present themselves. Which can be seconded by having a plan in place should the worst happen. I hope that the above information is helpful and makes you think through the way you carry and store cash when you are travelling. Ideally it would be nice if you do make the effort to be prepared but in fact, never need any of it.