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Escape Hunter Planning How to Protect Your Money When Traveling

How to Protect Your Money When Traveling

January 22, 2015

Because travelers tend to have more money than locals, makes them the primary targets (even "magnets") of thieves.
You, the traveler will have to be astute, inventive and you'll then be able to protect your money even in the most dangerous situations.

Hopefully my ideas will inspire you.
It's always good to combine multiple techniques instead of just resorting to a single one.

Protect your money abroad

Source: © iStock.com/j0sefino

#1 Look cheap, don't stand out

Although there will be lots of signs that will scream out "foreigner" or "traveler", which translates to "nice juicy target" in the minds of thieves, you should strive to look cheap.

Don't wear an expensive-looking watch, wear no jewelry at all, if possible and the list could go on. You can figure it out by yourself.

The idea is not to stand out, but you don't have to look like a depressed hobo either.

#2 Don't put all your eggs in one basket

Never keep all your money in a single location like a single wallet or pocket...
But 3 might be enough to confuse you. You don't have to overdo it, just have at least 2 locations where you are going to keep your money. Split it. And put them far from each other.

#3 The bank cards

Have at least 3 bank cards, but they don't have to have money on them. I generally carry one that's almost empty. In case the hotel requires it as a warranty for payment, I give that card's details, but always prefer to pay in cash.
This reduces the possibility of over-charging, card number theft etc.

Of course, keep all your bank cards faraway from each other.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket", right?

In addition: bank cards may be declined, blocked or stolen. It's important to have enough cash with you. Cold hard banknotes are always money, needless to explain. Don't rely on cards. Rely on cash and cards will be a second resort.

#4 You don't really need wallets!

The first thing a thief would look for is a wallet.
If you keep your money in anything else that serves as a wallet, but isn't actually a conventional wallet, your money is one step further from the thief.

#5 Carry "naked cash" in the frontal pockets of your trousers

For daily expenses, it's best having a small amount of money in your frontal pocket (e.g. 15-50 USD, depending on how much you expect to spend that day).
You will not expose a thick wallet with a lot of money in it when merely paying for a ticket or buying a bottle of water.

#6 Have reverve money enough to bring you home

Almost no-one ever does this one, but it's good to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Suppose a gang attacks you at gun point and they steal everything you have except your reserve money safe.
Or, you survive a dangerous accident and all you're left with it is your secret money pocket.
It's ideal to have enough money to buy you a one way plane ticket back home and a little more money to buy food, perhaps 1-3 nights at a hotel.

#7 Write passwords in a way that only you can understand

You might require passwords for online banking accounts or even PIN codes of bank cards. Sometimes you jsut have to write them down.
Use secret characters or write down the numbers with letters/words in a foreign language that less people speak (but you'll understand). You may also use hints, shortcuts or slang words, not necessarily the exact password. This will make anyone impossible to deciphre.

Pick a good location for your secret words and make sure no-one will understand they're actually passwords, nor should they know what sort of codes they are (PIN codes or online accounts, whatever).

#8 The "body pockets"

It's quite popular among travelers to carry a "belly pocket" or an "ankle wallet" in which you have your reserve money. But the mistake many make is to open it up, show it in plain sight.

Never let anyone know where you have your money. Even if you feel like you can trust those around. Sometimes it's in fact our travel mates who are the biggest thieves.

One of the best places to keep your money is not around your belly, because it's easily visible if you're a thin person and you're wearing a thin shirt and it's accessible to the potential thieves.

The best place on your body would be around your ankle, hidden below your socks. It's better concealed, plus you constantly feel whether it's still there...

#9 Use diversion safes

The mislead by design, but they hold valuable within.
A diversion safe may look like a real shampoo bottle or a deodorant spray can, but is actually a money-holder.

The problem with the diversion safes is: you have to be extra careful what you pick to use!

If you choose to use a cola can as a diversion safe and forget it in your hotel room, the cleaning staff may assume it's an empty can and throw it away!

Another bad example: the airport staff may think your "deo spray" diversion money holder is real spray and they will not allow you to bring it on the airplane.
Think of all the possibilities and pick the right one. Also, never leave it in plain sight!

Diversion safes are ideal when carrying valuables, which wouldn't normally fit into a waller. This includes: expensive souvernirs you bought abroad.

#10 Hide it in your shoes!

Probably the best place to hide money or bank cards is in your shoe.
The two best location for these would be below your foot or, under or inside the shoe's tongue (there are companies manufacturing or modifying shoes to build a small pouch inside the tongue).
The simplest way is to hide you valuables (like paper bills) under the midsole of the shoe.

#11 Locks on daypacks

Most of us carry a daypack. A small backpack on our back or any other sort of bag that serves for daily purposes.
I always lock this bag. But I avoid putting valuables in it.
Generally, if the bag is black, I use black locks. They don't have to stand out.

The vast majority of people never lock their bags and that's a tremendous mistake.
It's more likely the thieves will target your daypack, than your huge 'n' heavy check-in luggage.

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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