Travelling abroad can be a deeply personal and exhilarating adventure. Whether for work or pleasure, seeing the world can provide new and exciting experience, but it can also be risky.
Each day, approximately 400,000 pickpocketing incidents occur globally, and all tourists should be aware of regional scams designed to steal their cash. 33% of all travel insurance claims are for lost or stolen property; taking steps to secure your cash and valuables can help to make your travelling experience a positive one.
Before you head off on your next journey, take note of these tips for protecting your valuables:
1. Consider a money clip
Traditional wallets are an easy target for pickpockets; they’re bulky, and it’s easy to identify which of your pockets you’re holding cash in. By comparison, money clips have a slim profile and can be harder for thieves to detect; consider a money clip over a wallet to keep your cash as safe as possible when sightseeing.
Money clips were popularized in the 1900s, mainly among men, and quickly became somewhat of a status symbol—often made of luxury leather and customized for the owner. There any many affordable money clip options available now, and they’re an easy way to store your money without adding bulk to your profile.
Money clips have the additional benefit of allowing you to see your notes at a glance, which can be especially useful in foreign countries where you may not be familiar with the local currency. Digging through your wallet for the right money could help would-be thieves to identify you as a tourist; minimizing the amount of time that you have your cash out in the open could help to avoid drawing unwanted attention.
2. Split up your cash
While it may be tempting to use your credit card as a primary method of payment overseas, keep in mind that tipping is customary in many countries. Cash tips are generally the preferred method, as they allow the service provider to take home their tips that day. Depending on the country that you’re travelling to, there may not be electronic payment methods available, so it’s a good idea to carry a small amount of cash, even if you prefer to use cards.
While out and about, never keep all your cash in one place. The bulk of your cash should be safe in your hotel room, while you should only keep a small amount on your person day to day. Try to carry just enough for the activities that you have planned, plus a small buffer for spur-of-the-moment spending. Consider splitting your money between your money clip, your bag—even your sock; having cash in a few different places means that if you’re pickpocketed or robbed, you’re unlikely to lose a significant amount of money.
When you’re travelling between hotels, the same rules apply. A tourist with a suitcase could be a clear target for thieves, and jet lag may leave you less aware of your surroundings, putting you at risk of pickpocketing. Keep your cash in different hiding spots, and never keep money in your check-in luggage in case it’s lost by the airline. A Ziploc bag in the lining of your carry-on luggage is a great way to protect your cash in transit.
3. Try a money belt
Money belts are a great way to keep your essential documents and cash close to your body, making it virtually impossible for pickpockets to access anything of value.
Traditional, money belts have the appearance of a normal belt, come in a variety of materials to match any outfit, and have a zipper pouch on the inside to keep cash or documents safe. As these belts are discreet and more uncommon, it’s unlikely that a pickpocket or robber would think to check them, leaving your valuables secure.
A more common version of the money belt is a money pouch, which is usually worn around the neck or torso, and hidden under loose clothing. These pouches are big enough to fit passports, money, and other items, making them a very practical, handsfree option. While well-hidden money pouches can be virtually impossible for pickpockets to access, many thieves are aware of their use and will lift a person’s shirt to look for one in a more serious robbery. Make sure that you have copies of your documents, and emergency money stashed away elsewhere in case your money pouch is taken.
Carrying cash is a necessary part of travelling, but by keeping these tips in mind, you can minimize the risk of theft while enjoying the holiday that you’ve worked so hard for.
By simply being aware of your surroundings, as well as any local scams, and being proactive in protecting your valuables, you can have a safe and exciting trip.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
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