Keeping your money safe while traveling takes some forethought and planning. The feeling of being in a strange and exciting new place can be a truly rewarding experience. If you are robbed or taken advantage of, it can give the words strange and exciting whole new meanings. There are many ways in which you could lessen the likelihood of such frustrating and scary things from happening. Money is an essential when traveling. Keeping it safe isn’t as complicated as one might think. Through some simple tasks and diligence, you can make some very effective steps toward your protection and the safeguarding of your funds.
Be careful who you deal with when you are traveling. Many tourist destinations are targeted by scammers, con-artists and your average petty thieves. Being taken for your money never feels good. It can really turn a trip abroad into a much glummer affair. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid the local denizens, just be sure that you are mindful of your surroundings and most particularly any business that you might decide to do with them.
Thieves and con-artists are fairly adept at spotting tourists. Different clothes, hair styles, cameras, electronics, languages and jewelry are all dead giveaways that one is not from the local area. They also know that you will likely be moving on within a few days or so. This gives them the advantage of knowing the local area and how to make themselves scarce. They also know that once you are gone, it increases their chances of getting away with their crimes. By not bringing attention to yourself, you can lessen your chances of being targeted. Taking a few preventative measures can really pay off. Don’t wear clothing that stands out. Seriously, fancy clothes can offer clues that you might be a tourist. Try to dress nicely but also try to take some measures to blend in and don’t flaunt your attire.
Carrying fancy mobile electronic devices like MP3’s, cellphones and cameras can also be a tip off. Try to keep them out of sight and don’t keep them in day bags or purses. Try to keep them close to you and in a place that someone can’t pick pocket. Jewelry can also be a hint. Flaunting jewelry is like flying a white flag. It just surrenders your ability to blend in and it within itself is valuable. Even costume jewelry can be a tip off. It often looks so similar to the real thing it may actually be a bigger liability because it tends to be larger and can draw more attention.
Cash may be king but you will be a pauper if you don’t keep it close. Carry your cash close to your body and maybe even consider setting up an offshore savings account for easy access. Having pockets sewn to the inside of your clothing can help a lot. Carrying money in your shoe may not be the most convenient or the safest but it’s better than in a gaping front pocket. Keep small amounts of money in several places on your person.
Carrying two bill folds or a money clip and a bill fold could be a great idea to keep your money safe when traveling. If you are held up, you hand them the one with a few dollar bills in it instead of the one with more value. Throw some of those rewards cards that you never activated in the wallet or purse and some business cards and generic receipts from a store that you used in the past. Make sure that you do not have any identifying information in it. A dummy wallet can save your money and identity from a thief and it may even keep you relatively safe in an otherwise dangerous situation.
Use travelers checks in small denominations that you have signed before hand. Keep the receipts for them in case they disappear. Travelers checks can be replaced if lost or stolen. You can generally reach the issuers customer support around the clock all week long by phone. Dealing with stolen travelers checks may slow you down but won’t leave you broke. Also try to have your checks issued in the local currency for your convenience.
Before you leave, try to make some copies of your documents. This must be taken very seriously. Not only because you may need them but also be sure to safe guard them. In some cases your copied information can be just as much of a liability as the real thing. That being said, take measures to protect all of your information.
The hotel industry spends millions every year to make attempts to secure the rooms that guests rent. The fact is that in most hotels they have several employees running around day and night all week long with a master key, or several. This isn’t to say that all hotels are filled with thieves but you can rest assured that if you leave no money in your hotel room, it won’t be stolen there. If you have valuables and money in your possession, take careful measures to safeguard them. If you are alone, bringing them into the bathroom when you shower is not over acting. Also be careful who you let into your room when you travel. There are plenty of people that hang out in hotel lobbies and lounges that will be happy to spend time with you. Make sure to leave them there.
Safeguarding your credit cards physically works much like your cash. Keep them close and only use them when you know it’s safe. Make sure you set up an international bank account before you go but try not to use outdoor ATM’s/ABM’s and never hand your card to anyone that might be able to use a small hand held reader to steal your information or memorize your number. There are even some products that are sold that are supposed to help safe guard your credit cards from RFID readers.
Keeping your money safe while traveling isn’t rocket science. Some planning and thoughtful actions can save you a headache and keep you from getting stranded in a strange land with few people that can help you. Learning some of the local language is also helpful. It’s hard to report anything if you can’t be understood. Travel well and stay safe.