Safety while travelling abroad poses quite a few challenges. You need to keep your eyes open so as to avoid theft of both your physical possessions and money as well as the theft of your identity. There are many opportunistic crooks out there who take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable in foreign places.
Through my experience of travelling both locally and internationally, I have developed a few handy tips to travel safely with money. Below I will discuss these tips to travel safely with money in more detail.
Key tips to travel safely with money
- Let your Bank know when you go away
Should you be planning to go away, I find that it is helpful to let your bank and/or credit card institutions know. This is beneficial to them because should you use your card in a foreign country the banks may pick it up and suspect it to be fraud. They will probably freeze your accounts to prevent any transactions. This is the last thing you want whilst travelling internationally and having no access to your funds. This is a handy tip to travel safely with money. By letting your banks know, they will be prepared for unusual transactions.
- Travel financially light
Don’t travel with all your bank and credit cards. Keep a minimum amount of cash on you and only take one or two cards. There can be opportunistic thieves out there in foreign countries that prey on foreign visitors by pickpocketing. This can happen so quickly, and if you have a wallet full of cards it could become a nightmare to cancel them all and it may leave you cashless while in a foreign land. An alternative may be to only carry one or two cards at a time and leave the rest at the place where you will be staying. At least you are covered if one goes missing. Equally so, leave all forms of identification such as your driver’s license, in safe locations. Use this tip to travel safely with money when holidaying overseas.
- Split your cash
While travelling it is recommended that you don’t carry all your physical cash in one place, ie your wallet. Rather split it into different wallets or bags so that you don’t lose it all should your wallet get stolen. If you are staying in a hotel, leave majority of the money in a safe, or hide it in various locations around your room, therefore only carrying the amount you will need for that day. Another tip to travel safely with money, is to hide a small bill in your shoe or sock in case you get pickpocketed while out for the day and you need emergency cash to call a cab or phone for help. Unfortunately the world is full of opportunistic thugs, thus being prepared for any event is imperative.
- Get a fanny pack (as ‘uncool’ as that may be)
When we have things in our coat or pants pockets we will not always feel if something is being stolen especially if you are in a large crowd with little room to move around and people are touching you. This is when you will not know the difference between being pickpocketed and being generally bumped. By getting a fanny pack, which is a little bag that you clip around your waste and it sits below your stomach, you will always be aware if someone touches it. It also provides you with more space than a wallet and it allows easy access when you want to get money out. You can even cover it by pulling your shirt over it. There are a variety of different types, some are flat and actually wrap around your back to sit comfortably underneath your shirt. They are sometimes referred to as money belts. Obviously if you need to get money out and you are using a money belt as opposed to a fanny pack, you may have to go to a restroom to get money out because it is positioned underneath your shirt. This is a handy tip to travel safely with your money.
- Only use your credit card
If you were to use your debit card and be a victim of fraud, the thieves would have access to your full account. This could be devastating. With a credit card at least you have protection guarantees against fraud for a credit card. This may protect in the event that your credit card was stolen and purchases were made.
To sum it all up
These are but a few tips to travel safely with money that I have experienced to work. Always be prepared, always have a backup plan in the event that you fall victim to fraud. Be smart about your money and never keep all your eggs in one basket.