6 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling
There’s nothing like boarding a flight with a magical destination in front of you. Earphones? Check. Neck pillow? Check. Wallet and money for delicious food and making memories that will last a lifetime? Double check! Travel is back after an extended break, and we couldn’t be more excited to check destinations off our bucket list and see family after far too long. But when traveling, there are risks involved, and you want to keep your money safe while traveling. Pick pockets, scammers, thieves2, oh my! We must be on our A-game and keep a vigilant eye on those around us, especially in crowded areas. So how can you avoid the hassle, headache, and possible heart break of your cash being stolen, your personal information being snagged, or your credit card information being compromised? We have six easy to implement money safe tips to keep your wallet (and your peace of mind) safe while traveling.
Staying Safe While Traveling is the Priority
Safety first they say, and that’s especially true when traveling. Like everything we talk about here on the blog, planning is always the first step. Make sure you research your destination and check out any blogs specific to that area for money related safety tips. For example, in some larger cities pickpocketing is a very lively practice. You want to keep your wallet secure and not accessible. No matter your destination, there may be area specific instructions, tips and tricks available to keep you safe. So do your research! At Speedy Cash, we’re big fans of making plans.
I’m from a small town, and when I started traveling more as an adult, I quickly learned that you have to stay aware of your surroundings. Moving to a larger city was an eye opener for me! What do you mean there are people who want to steal your purse?! Call me naïve, but it took a while for me to learn how to stay safe without feeling worried. Making a plan and being aware of the dangers in the areas I travel in or even frequent in my current city helped me gain confidence without becoming unaware or an easier target for criminals.
Tip #1: Stay Vigilant
The truth is thieves are smart. If only they would use their brain powers for good! Keep your eyes always peeled and a hand on your purse or bag. Watch for people who are too close or following you. If someone bumps into you, immediately check your belongings. When you arrive in the airport at your destination, make sure you keep a little bit of cash that you’ll need for tips5 in taxis if applicable or at the hotel when you arrive separate from your other funds. You don’t want to pull a large wallet full of cash out in a crowded area like my husband once did in a shopping alley in Mexico. Oy. Keep everything else securely stowed away and rearrange after arriving in the hotel.
You can utilize hidden pockets built into clothing, money belts (although some thieves are privy to this and will check for a money belt), a decoy wallet, or other creative ideas to keep your things safe while carrying them. Ultimately, you’re the best line of defense, and you’re a savvy traveler so remain focused! Remember: if someone tries to steal something, just give it to them because fighting with a desperate thief isn’t advisable. Your safety is the priority over the safety of your money or possessions.
Tip #2: Notify Your Bank
Before you board your plane, you’ll want to let your bank know that you’re traveling. Your bank wants to keep your money safe while you travel and will often flag transactions that are in a city or area you don’t normally frequent. You don’t want your cards to be declined when traveling1 as potential fraud while paying for your delicious dinner in a new city with your friends or family. The day before you travel is the best time to reach out to your banks and credit card companies to let them know your plans and the cities, states, and countries if applicable to which you’ll be traveling.
Tip #3: Consider Using Credit Cards
Using your debit card is second nature, but when traveling it’s typically safer to carry a credit card with you for purchases on the go. Your debit card will still be the best bet for withdrawing money from an ATM. Credit cards can be safer3 when making purchases because if fraud or theft occurs, your credit card may be easier to cancel. Plus, you won’t run the risk of losing all the money in your bank account including the funds you need for, oh I don’t know, let’s say rent when you get home. Another great option is to use a pre-paid debit card with a smaller amount of money loaded on it3 when traveling. Travelers checks are another option to consider. Essentially, your goal is to travel with payment methods that make sense for your situation while minimizing your risk. Assess what the outcome will be if the method is stolen, then plan accordingly.
Tip #4: Leave What You Don’t Need
Once you arrive at your hotel, prepare the bag or wallet you plan to carry but remove what you do not need for the day before heading out each morning. Conduct research to discover money related safety tips specific to your destination regarding this piece of advice. For all trips, make sure to leave your room each morning with only the money or cards you need for the day. Leave your other valuables in the safe in your hotel room or at the front desk if they have secure storage behind the desk. Make sure to set a reminder6 on your phone or elsewhere so you won’t forget things and to avoid leaving anything behind.
Tip #5: Watch Out for Wi-Fi
Any time you use public Wi-Fi, you want to practice basic safety to avoid your sensitive information being stolen by nefarious characters. When traveling, this can be hard because you have to use Wi-Fi in areas, you’re likely very unfamiliar with in order to enjoy your trip and access important information for your travels. Try to keep your public queries online free of sensitive information if possible. Access your bank accounts and financial information only when using secure networks.2 Your hotel should have a secure network, but of course do a little research before your trip and plan your Wi-Fi usage. You can also up your data plan with your cell phone company if needed to avoid using Wi-Fi. Perhaps find alternatives and keep your internet searches basic and only look up things like restaurants nearby, activities, and other must-know info that has nothing to do with your own personal information. You want to keep your digital access to your money safe while traveling and your identity secure just as much as you want to keep the currency you have on hand safe while traveling.
Tip #6: Utilize Money Wire Services
Truthfully, chances are, you’ll travel without any issues. However, every year many people fall victim to theft while traveling and find themselves in quite the pickle. If you end up without access to money while traveling because you’ve been a victim of theft, utilizing a wire transfer4 service may be the only way to access funds. You can count on Speedy Cash to provide exceptional customer service for you and your family or friends who are sending money through a wire transfer to help you out of a jam. When you’re out of town and something goes wrong, it can feel scary, but you will get through it! Planning and knowing what you’ll do in case of emergency is always a great way to help you safely navigate surprise snafus. It’s easier to have a plan than to try and get through something crazy in the moment that you never considered before.
Have Fun and Stay Safe
The most important thing to keep in mind? Have fun. Always prepare a plan prior to leaving home to keep your money safe while traveling but enjoy your trip! Live in the moment and save the picture posting on social media for when you get back home to add an extra layer of protection for your home while you’re away. Boy, I wish we lived in a world where there were no thieves or people who wished to do bad things when we least expected it, but thankfully there are easy to accomplish steps that can be taken to prevent disaster and keep us safe.
- Gatto, Carolyn (2015, March 6). 20 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling Retrieved from: https://travel.usnews.com/features/20-ways-to-keep-your-money-safe-while-traveling
- Bessette, Chanelle (2022, August 10). How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling Retrieved from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/credit-cards/how-to-stay-financially-safe-on-an-international-adventure
- Juliff, Lauren (2019, June 26). How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling Retrieved from: https://www.tripsavvy.com/keeping-your-money-safe-while-traveling-3150020
- Locker, Melissa (2018, November 28). How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling Retrieved from: https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/budgeting-currency/how-to-keep-money-safe-while-traveling
- Forbes Expert Panel (2017, July 24). ix Effective Ways to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/07/24/six-effective-ways-to-keep-your-money-safe-while-traveling/?sh=7bad76db19a6
- Sarkis, Christine (2013, January 17). Best Ways to Carry Money While Traveling from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2013/01/16/best-ways-to-carry-money-while-traveling/1839433/