Travelling abroad is exciting, but with all the preparation, packing and last minute arrangements, it can be easy to forget about the safety and security of personal belongings, and most importantly the way you carry your money.
If you lose your cash, passport or credit card whilst abroad, and you have travel insurance, you should be covered for the loss or theft of these items. However, it goes without saying that you’ll have a much more enjoyable trip if you can manage to hang onto your personal belongings.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some handy strategies that will ensure your money and other items stay firmly where they belong – with you.
Don’t Carry Money In Your Back Pocket
It’s so easy to slip a bundle of notes into your back pocket, but this is one of the first places pickpockets will try. Whether you keep your money in your wallet or loose on your person, the back pocket of trousers or in the front pocket of a backpack are both major no-nos.
The Great Divide
Losing your wallet with your cash and cards inside can put an abrupt stop to your holiday plans. If you need to carry a day’s worth of money with you, it’s a good idea to split it up into different areas and across different sources. For example, you might want to pop a few notes into your wallet, your credit card into one pocket of your bag and your debit card into another pocket. If you are unlucky enough to have your wallet or one pocket targeted by pickpockets, you will always have backup available.
Don’t Treat Your Money Belt Like A Wallet
Money belts should never be used as a substitute for a wallet or purse. Instead, you should treat your money belt as a money safe instead. Keep the money you think you will need during the day to hand in your wallet, and any surplus cash in your money belt.
Don’t Be An Obvious Tourist
It’s easy to spot the tourist in a busy city. They are the ones carrying the packs on their backs, holding the maps and guidebooks and displaying their belongings in a careless fashion. If you really want to blend in, ditch the backpack, the money belt and the guidebook and invest in a smaller bag or purse that you can wear across your body. Choose a bag that is big enough for your wallet, a small camera and your mobile phone and try to look as confident as possible.
Carry Your Money Quietly
Be as quiet as you can whenever you access your money when you are abroad. That is, don’t make a scene, don’t brandish notes and carry as little money as you can as close to your person as you can. Pickpockets are quick, clever and discreet and are good at the art of distraction and deception. You can avoid their attentions by being as inconspicuous as possible.
Sort Your Cash Monopoly Style
Monopoly is a great game especially when you get your cash from the banker. It’s customary to sort your notes into denominations before the game starts, and this is a great tip for carrying your real money abroad too. By keeping notes of the same denomination together, you don’t need to draw attention to yourself by fiddling with a wad of notes trying to find the right amount. This way nobody needs to know how much cash you have with you as you can simply reach into your wallet or purse and pull out one note or the notes that you need.
Always Keep Your Wits About You
Whether you are traveling on the London Underground or walking through a crowded shopping centre, always try to keep an eye on your surroundings and the people around you. Try to get money from an ATM when there are not a lot of people around or where you could be followed. Thieves are opportunists and are much more likely to strike when they are sure you have money with you.
Consider A Prepaid Currency Card
Leave your money and debit and credit cards in your hotel safe and use a prepaid card instead. A prepaid card gives you the freedom to top up our card with just the amount of money you need. If you lose your card or have it stolen, you will only have lost the money on the card and you can simply contact your card issuer to have the card blocked. Some prepaid card companies can replace a card immediately or even give you emergency cash to tide you over until your new card is ready.