Nine smart ways to carry money while travelling

There’s a fine balance between storing money safely while travelling and it still being accessible when you need it. You want it to be out of sight and away from pickpockets, but you don’t want to have to strip off multiple layers of clothing just to pay for lunch.

There are a few different ways to carry money while travelling, and the best option for you will depend on your personal circumstances. For instance, how much money you are carrying and whether you can divide it up among your belongings or others in your travel group.

With that in mind, here are nine smart tips that will help you carry money safely while travelling.

Read: Managing money while travelling

Divide it up

Wherever possible, divide your travel cash and even credit and debit cards into multiple safe spots. This way, if one of your money sources is stolen or lost, you will still have access to other funds.

It is best to leave some money at your hotel or rental property, carry some with you in a secure bag and have some on your person. If you distribute your funds in this way, it’s likely you’ll always have some money to get to a police station or back to your hotel if your bag is stolen or lost.

Opt for on-body storage

On-body storage accessories are a great way to keep your valuables safe when you’re travelling, and they’ve come a long way since neck pouches and money belts. Bras, long johns, and undershirts with built-in pockets are all great options for on-body storage.

This type of storage is especially useful if you’re sleeping in a place that doesn’t have a secure place for your belongings. However, on-body storage is not a good alternative to a wallet. Searching under your clothes for money is a sure way to let everyone know where you’re hiding your valuables.

Keep smaller bills and coins handy

Exchanging or withdrawing larger amounts of money can be cheaper than paying a fee each time you withdraw smaller amounts, but it also means you’ll be travelling with more cash – and larger bills – than you’d likely have on you at home.

When you can, try to have a variety of small bills and coins on hand for cheaper purchases such as food, souvenirs, and attraction entry fees. Make money preparation part of your morning routine, that way, you won’t need to pull out a large amount of money to pay for smaller things.

Read: The best luggage to suit every budget

Know the local money culture

No matter where you go on holiday, it’s always a good idea to come prepared with enough money to cover any expenses. But that means different things depending on where you go. In a cash economy, that means always having a variety of bills and coins on hand. But if you’re travelling to a place where automation is common and chip-and-PIN credit card technology is standard, it’s useful to have a compatible credit card with you. That way, you won’t be stranded if you find yourself at an unattended petrol station or train station after hours with only cash in your pocket.

Invest in an anti-theft bag

Some travel bags are designed with features that make them more resistant to theft and damage, such as slash-proof fabric, steel-cable-reinforced shoulder straps, and locking zippers. Elements such as these slow down thieves and make you less of a target.

Declutter your wallet

Before you leave on your trip, go through your wallet and remove everything except the essentials. This will help you travel lighter and, if your wallet does get lost or stolen, you’ll have fewer items to replace.

Carry a dummy wallet

If you’re particularly worried about pickpockets or muggings, consider carrying a cheap, fake wallet as a decoy. Fill the wallet with a few small bills and some fake cards to make it look more real. Having a dummy wallet can stop pickpockets from going for your real wallet and give you some peace of mind.

Store valuables safely

Sometimes the best way to carry money is not to carry it at all. If you’re worried about losing or misplacing your cash, consider stashing it in a hotel room safe or safe-deposit box. Just be sure to retrieve your belongings before you check out. If you’re prone to forgetting things, leave a bright note on your suitcase as a reminder.

Read: Eight things you always forget to budget for when you go on holiday

Use money alternatives

If you’re in a city with a public transportation system that offers multi-use cards, such as London’s Oyster card or San Francisco’s Clipper card, take advantage. You’ll reduce your chances of losing your wallet by retrieving and stowing it fewer times. Plus, you’ll save money by paying for travel trips in bulk.

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