How to Travel Safely with Cash
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How to Travel Safely with Cash

How to travel safely with cash is one of the most important challenges all travelers must master. You want just enough on you to be safe at all times, but not enough to make you a target for criminals. Although we live in an increasingly card-friendly world, there are still many very good reasons to carry cash when you travel. Carrying cash, and keeping it on your person, has important benefits cards cannot accomplish. For example:

  • Depending on the country or region, small shops, taxis, or public transport cannot be paid for with cards
  • Cash can be used in the event of a power outage or computer problem
  • Depending on your bank, you may encounter daily limits or security authorizations which temporarily lock your card and prevent you from using it. If you’ve never been island hopping in Greece when Citi Bank cancels your card over "fraud" and you will be on your way to Africa in 12 days without an address good for more than 10 days, then you don’t know how awful these companies can be to travelers!
  • Cash is usually the best, and sometimes the only, way to give tips, buy items from street vendors, show appreciation for buskers or innumerable other small transactions.
  • Cash is a good way to track and manage budgets and make sure you don’t overspend

For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to have at least some cash on you when you travel. However, traveling with cash also poses additional risks. Some thieves and hustlers specifically target travelers because they expect that they will be carrying cash, and wallets and purses can accidentally be misplaced or lost to snatchers and pickpockets. Unlike digital currency, when cash is gone, it is gone, and being far from home without money can be an unpleasant situation. Here are our top tips for how to travel safely with cash.

Use a Money Belt

A money belt is a belt with a concealed pouch where you can carry cash and/or your most important documents, like your passport. Some money belts are literally belts, with zippered compartments on the inside, which look exactly like traditional belts on the outside, and are worn just like any other belt. Some money belts are waist bands with pockets attached, that are designed to go around your waist but under your clothes. Fitted and worn properly, they are difficult to see, and a secure way to keep your most essential items on you at all times.

Money belts are more discrete than fanny packs, and keep your money close without drawing the attention of thieves and pickpockets. Also, a pickpocket will find it difficult to discretely rummage around inside your clothes to steal your money without your knowledge. However, in some countries, thieves will hold up tourists and search them for a money belt, because they have become such popular and widely known travel accessories.

Top Money Belt Picks on Amazon

SaleBestseller No. 1
DAITET Money Belt - Passport Holder Secure Hidden Travel Wallet with RFID Blocking, Undercover Fanny Pack (Black)
3,172 Reviews
DAITET Money Belt - Passport Holder Secure Hidden Travel Wallet with RFID Blocking, Undercover Fanny Pack (Black)
  • MONEY BELT for TRAVEL: Anti-theft RFID Blocking material, effectively prevent your personal information from being scanned (credit card, passport, personal ID, cash, etc.) 1inch adjustable elastic strap, two metal zippers and pockets! Lined with two pockets for credit cards or coins, and a metal loop for keys
  • SLIM & HIDEN TRAVEL FANNY PACK:Now you have enough place to store and hide your belongings like your IPhone, Keys, Money, Credit cards, Documents, Passport and more.
  • OESN'T MOVE: Widened belt,stronger,more durable;Strap size 23" - 43" (Max Stretch 55"),adjustable elastic waist belt can be expanded to the desired length to fit your waist.
  • WEAR COMFORTABLY:Padded with breathable cushion,Back of the pouch which sits close to the body ,made from very soft mesh, it draws sweat away from the skin easily.
  • SECURITY & Water Resistant:Design of thinness and lightweight, RFID blocking safeguards.Even if you wear thin clothes, pickpockets and thieves is difficult to find.
SaleBestseller No. 2
MoKo Secure Travel Money Belt, Undercover Hidden RFID Blocking Travel Wallet, Anti-Theft Passport Wallets for Men & Women, Black
1,749 Reviews
MoKo Secure Travel Money Belt, Undercover Hidden RFID Blocking Travel Wallet, Anti-Theft Passport Wallets for Men & Women, Black
  • 【HIDDEN & SECURE】-With 3 perfect-fit individuals pockets, the slim design ensures our belts discreet and invisible to others when worn under clothes. A solution to keep your cash, cellphone, keys and other valuables safely and avoid pick-pocketing.
  • 【ULTIMATE COMFORT】-Designed from skin-friendly material, the travel money belt is breathable to keep dry. Super lightweight that adds minimum bulk and weight, it is comfortable to wear.
  • 【SUPERIOR QUALITY】- Made from 210D rip-stop water-resistant nylon, the fanny pack and elastic straps are sturdy and not easy to tear. Using durable material, the inner pockets burst difficultly, and the buckle is easy to close and hard to broke.
  • 【RFID BLOCKING】- MoKo waist pack blocks all RFID transmissions and eliminates the chances of being scammed! To protect your sensitive private information located inside the chip of your ID card, credit cards and passport.
  • 【ADJUSTABLE ELASTIC STRAP】The elastic waist strap can be adjusted to perfectly fit waist circumference 24" to 50" and would not slide up and down, fixing the height you want perfectly. Also great for other occasions as waist bag or fanny pack.
SaleBestseller No. 3
StashBandz Unisex Travel Money Belt, Running Belt, Fanny and Waist Pack, 4 Large Security Pockets and Zipper, Fits All Size Phones Passport and More
8,300 Reviews
StashBandz Unisex Travel Money Belt, Running Belt, Fanny and Waist Pack, 4 Large Security Pockets and Zipper, Fits All Size Phones Passport and More
  • Travel, Money, Running and Storage Belt with 4 Large Pockets: Our moisture wicking, slim workout phone holder fits any size phone as you exercise, and carries multiple passports, ID, cash, keys, cards, flask, glasses, Travel Wallet, Insulin Pump Holder, ice packs, ear buds, and more inside 4 big pockets with a large zipper compartment located in front. See Size Chart image find your correct size.
  • Double the width of other Fanny Packs and Money Belts, our Waist Pack for men and women is constructed with 2 large pockets in the front and 2 in the back, each pocket 6” high x 8” wide; the fabric stretches vertically to 7-inches high to accommodate medical devices and Insulin Pumps.
  • Made in the USA with the highest quality sport technology fabric and discreet logo: Our Running Waist Pack is made of top grade spandex that stretches and stays in place even with an intense work out; our custom designed Travel Belt is soft and comfortable with no bounce for lasting wear over the years.
  • Slim Waist Pack with no annoying buckles or straps: Our Fashionable Fanny Pack is designed flat and tubular, non-bulky even when carrying items; undetectable it wears under clothes as you travel or over clothes during sports as the wide construction prevents muffin tops by stepping into the belt and pull up to hips.
  • Pickpocket proof, an ideal Travel Money Belt: Pockets load from the top so valuables don’t fall out, separate roomy compartments make it easy to store and retrieve items. Fold-over flap hides the zipper and all pocket openings to keep your money, passport, phone, and extra supplies secured for new adventures.
SaleBestseller No. 4
RFID Blocking Travel Wallet - Money Belt & Passport Holder, Waist Pack for Women Men - Black
1,851 Reviews
RFID Blocking Travel Wallet - Money Belt & Passport Holder, Waist Pack for Women Men - Black
  • ✅Durable Materials - We use the finest material for our waist pouch belts, Never worry about it tearing or breaking while traveling. Machine washable, Wash in warm water, hang dry or use dryer on low setting.
  • ✅Hidden & Convenient - Supper slim Money belt with Two zippered compartments, three perfect-fit individual pockets, secure solution to keep your peronal ID, credit cards, passports, money, smart phones and other valuables safely hidden under clothes.
  • ✅Superior Quality - Durable and lightweight nylon ripstop, resists water, odors, shrinking, adjustable strap, soft breathable padded mesh backside make it more than comfortable to wear, prevent build up of sweat and moisture.
  • ✅Slim Lightweight & Hidden Security - Keep your valuables away from the sight and reach of thieves and incredibly convenient to carry with you when travelling. Grab yours now and rest assured you are travelling with safety!
  • ✅Satisfaction Guarantee - If for any reason you are not satisfied with our product you will receive a full refund no questions asked and hassle free.
Bestseller No. 5
Money Belt for Travel - Slim Passport Holder Travel Pouch to Protect Your Important Papers and Money - Soft Innovative Rip-Stop Fabric, Secure and Water Resistant w/ RFID Blocking Sleeves Set
9,134 Reviews
Money Belt for Travel - Slim Passport Holder Travel Pouch to Protect Your Important Papers and Money - Soft Innovative Rip-Stop Fabric, Secure and Water Resistant w/ RFID Blocking Sleeves Set
  • Super Slim and Comfortable Hidden Wallet for Travel - Using the most innovative, softest, lightest, breathable, moisture resistant, non-rip fabric available, for extreme comfort, durability and security for international travel. We bring you a new and improved money travel pouch with innovative RFID blocking material.
  • Pickpockets, Regular and High-Tech Don’t Stand A Chance Against Our Travel Gear - Our secure, water resistant fanny pack is slim enough to be comfortably hidden beneath your clothing. So lightweight, with a thin, almost silent inner theft protection RFID barrier, it will guard up to 5 passports, credit cards and money.
  • Traveling in Comfort - We’ve listened to all our customers’ ideas and suggestions and we have created the waist bag / travel wallet that travelers really want to use. Using the very best zippers for their strength and stability help to make this the perfect travel money belt for women and men.
  • Best Gift for Your Traveling Friends and Family - With an adjustable, elasticated waist strap, this hidden passport holder is a one-size-fits-all fanny pack which can just as easily be used as an organizer in your purse or backpack. 7 unique and stylish RFID Sleeves make this the complete set.
  • We Create Extremely Durable Travel Accessories, so we’re able to give you a Lifetime Guarantee. We do everything in our power to ensure you receive a perfect product every time and our customer service is always available to you with any questions or issues you may have. Buy Yours Today and travel with comfort and confidence.
Bestseller No. 6
ANJ Outdoors Super Slim Water Resistant Money Belt, Running Belt for Women and Men, Expandable Phone Belt to Hold Cell Phones, Cards, and Money. Ideal Waist Bag Waist Pack for Travel, Sports and Yoga
390 Reviews
ANJ Outdoors Super Slim Water Resistant Money Belt, Running Belt for Women and Men, Expandable Phone Belt to Hold Cell Phones, Cards, and Money. Ideal Waist Bag Waist Pack for Travel, Sports and Yoga
  • THE THINNEST AND LIGHTEST MONEY HOLDER / PHONE HOLDER FOR RUNNING OR TRAVEL: If you are looking for a running gear or a money belt next to the skin to hold your phone and essentials, then no need to look further. This uniquely designed cell phone belt weighs mere 2 Oz. at 0.04" thickness. It is so thin and so light that you almost do not feel it. At the same time, the layer of Spandex material makes it elastic and comfortable with phone running, a great workout belt and waist bag.
  • LARGE SPACE WAIST PACK FOR ANY SMART PHONES: Even with so much focus on thinness and lightness, this premium runners belt did not cut any corner on space and capacity. The running pouch features a 7.5" x 4.5" inner space which comfortably holds any sized running phones, like iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, Galaxy Note 8, Google Pixel 2 XL and etc. In addition, it has a 2-layer design. You can add money, cards, IDs in the belt to make it a fanny pack.
  • WATER RESISTANT MATERIAL TO PREVENT PHONE/MONEY DAMAGE: For running phone holder, one major feature people are looking for is water resistant. We sweat when work out, or we may travel in the rain. We do not want our phone or money ruined by water. This waist pouch has special material applied inside the pouch so water won't get inside to damage the phone.
  • UNIVERSAL SIZE FOR WOMEN AND MEN: The fitness belt can fit waist sizes from 24" to 42", a truly universal sized running pouch for you to find the best fit.
  • REFLECTIVE STRIP FOR SAFETY AND STYLISH: Considering we are so busy every day, the running pouch added reflective strips on the top and both sides of the pouch, both practical and stylish!!

Keep Your Cards and Cash Separate

If you are traveling to areas with markets, small shops and lots of potential for theft, keep cash in a totally separate wallet or pouch than your cards. When I’m at a flea market, I only take out my cash and my cards are buried under multiple zippers. This way, I can take out cash to pay for that trinket, scarf, street food or tuk-tuk ride, but I only use my cards inside establishments like hotels or restaurants. I keep my cash in a really ugly wallet, not a fancy leather anything. If I lose $50-$100 in cash, it sucks, but won’t break me. If I lose a wallet full of credit cards while overseas? That’s a nightmare I can live without.

Divide Your Money

The downside of a money belt is many travelers begin rummaging around in their clothes when they need to pay for something. Not only is it physically inconvenient, but it lets everyone around you know that you are wearing a money belt. Traveling safely with cash, money belt or not, means dividing your money and concealing the presence of a money belt.

For example, if you have several days’ worth of cash with you, keep most of it in your hotel safe. Keep a larger amount (say, $100) in a money belt, or in a shoe, or other discrete place on your person. And keep $20 in your wallet, purse, or pocketbook as normal, to pay for your smaller transactions as they occur. If you need to take money from your belt and put it in your wallet, do so in a restroom or other private place where no one can see.

Note on hotel safes: If there is a safe in your hotel room, test it by opening it, closing it, locking it, and unlocking it again before you put anything of value inside. Try a few different ways to open it without unlocking it. Some travelers have found, to their dismay, their hotel safe can easily be opened even when locked, and a defective hotel safe can be a huge problem. If your hotel room does not have a safe, do not leave large amounts of cash in your room. While most hotel staff are honorable people who would not steal from you, it can and does happen. And most hotels do not protect guests from theft.

There are many advantages to dividing your money:

  • Keeping most of your money in a safe helps you stay on a daily budget and not overspend
  • It keeps small amounts of cash quick and handy for tips, postcards, bus fare, etc., without requiring slow and embarrassing rummaging around in a money belt
  • It keeps your money belt discrete, so people don’t know you are wearing it
  • If you open your wallet and people can see inside, it doesn’t look like you are carrying large amounts of cash, which makes you less of a target
  • It gives you a convenient place to put and use small change which you may need over the course of the day
  • Dividing your money also reduces your risk. If you are pick-pocketed or ripped off, there is a greater chance they will get some, but not all, of your cash

Use a Decoy Wallet to Hide Cash While Travelling

Use a decoy wallet. If you are in a particularly crime-prone place, it’s smart to carry a decoy wallet or pocketbook. If anyone tries to rob you, give them the decoy, and they may leave without getting your real cash supply, which is still secured somewhere else safely on your person.

If you are going to create a decoy wallet, make it persuasive. Don’t just get a cheap wallet and put a couple bucks cash in it. Add one or two old, cancelled credit cards, or expired gift cards, a few business cards, a condom… make sure it looks like a “real” wallet on quick inspection, or you won’t fool your thief.

Conclusion

Cash is still the universal language, where ever you may go, but it’s important to keep it safe and keep yourself safe while you travel. Follow these tips to protect yourself and prevent travel disasters.

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