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Smart and savvy travelers know that when it comes to money, keeping yourself safe while you’re on a journey is of utmost importance. The U.S. State Department estimates that around 2,100 U.S. citizens are victims of pickpocketing every day when traveling abroad, and travel scams and cybercrimes targeting travelers are also rising. So what is the best way to travel with money?
Why Is Money Management Crucial While Traveling?
By managing your money carefully while you travel, you will cut down on potential risks like theft, loss, and fraud. Also, by knowing exactly where your money is located, in what formats, and accounting for how much you have, you’ll bring yourself peace of mind while you travel, which will only your overall experience!
How to Divide Your Money Safely
When you travel, one of the best things you can do to keep yourself safe is to divide your money; that is, don’t keep it all in one place. Split cash and cards between your wallet, a money belt worn under clothing, and perhaps a separate bag or hidden compartment in your luggage. This way, if one gets lost or stolen, you haven’t lost all of your money. Know how much money you have in each spot, check it regularly, and keep track of your totals as you spend money.
Best Ways to Carry Money While Traveling
Of course, when you are out and about, you’ll need to carry some money on your person. Here are some ideas about how to carry cash when traveling:
- Divide money and use multiple safe spots. As mentioned, this is one of the smartest things you can do with your money when you travel. Keep a portion of money in your wallet, some in a hidden part of your luggage, and keep some in at a third location, such as a hollowed-out chapstick tube, or an emptied candy tin. That way, if your wallet is lost or stolen, not all of your cash will be gone.
- Use a Money Belt or Hidden Pouch. Consider carrying a discreet money belt or hidden pouch worn under your clothes. These are inexpensive and can be found in most luggage and travel supply stores.
- Use Money-Transferring Apps. Rather than prepare and carry all of the cash you plan to spend, you can also rely on online money transfer services to quickly convert your native currency into the currency of your current country. As a bonus, transfer apps, like Sharemoney, allow you to view the exchange rates between countries which helps you contextualize how much you are actually spending.
- Invest in a Travel Wallet. For an even more secure option, keep your cash, cards, and important documents like passports in this secure wallet. Travel wallets typically are larger than regular wallets and have compartments or pockets for passports, boarding passes, multiple cards, and cash. Opt for a travel wallet with RFID-blocking material, which is designed to protect against electronic theft, offering you another added level of security.
- Keep Smaller Bills. Try to make use of bills in smaller denominations, which draw less attention when you are making transactions.
- Use Hotel Safes. Many hotel rooms come equipped with an in-room safe where you can store extra cash, travel documents, and other items of value. These safes usually allow you to set your own passcode, so that only you have access to what is inside. If your hotel room offers this amenity, it is smart to keep any items of value in the hotel safe. If there is not a safe in your hotel room, inquire with the front desk or concierge, as many hotels will allow you to store valuables in the hotel’s safe for the duration of your stay.
- Notify Your Bank When You Travel. Inform your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans, especially when you are traveling abroad, to avoid any unexpected holds on your cards due to suspicious activity.
- Use Credit Cards and ATMs Wisely. Preferably, use credit cards for larger purchases and ATMs for obtaining local currency. Ensure that ATMs are located in safe, well-lit areas and are affiliated with reputable banks.
- Avoid Flashy Displays of Wealth. Keep a low profile with your money. Avoid showing large amounts of cash or valuable items in public when you travel.
- Consider Traveler’s Checks or Prepaid Cards. These options offer added security and can be replaced if lost or stolen.
- Be Cautious with Public Wi-Fi. Avoid checking your bank accounts or making transactions using public Wi-Fi networks as they can be less secure.
- Stay Vigilant: Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded or touristy areas where pickpockets may operate.
Understand the Local Money Culture
Before you leave on your trip, it’s a smart idea to do a little research, so you can better understand the local money culture in the places where you’ll be traveling, especially if you plan on traveling internationally.
A little bit of study before you go will help show you how to carry cash when traveling. Find out what the tipping norms are in the places you’ll be staying, as well as common payment methods. Remember, just because credit cards may be widely accepted where you live, doesn’t mean those same cards will be common in other countries. The same goes for ATMs—though common in the U.S. this may not be the case in the countries you’re traveling to. Find out how you can access your money in the places you’ll be before the beginning of your trip. It’s a good idea to change some currency for the currency in your destination country before you leave the U.S. That way, you won’t be caught without any cash upon your arrival. In some countries, it may also be possible for you to pay for things in US Dollars (USD). But this is by no means universal so find out before you leave whether this may be an option in the country you’re traveling to.
Money Remittance Tools as a Safety Net
Before you leave for your travels, consider setting up an account with a reliable money remittance service, like Sharemoney. Money transfer services allow a contact in your home country to send you money quickly and safely should you find yourself in an emergency.
Once you have an account set up, you can receive money directly, often in as little time as a few minutes. Sharemoney’s platform allows you to receive money in over 70 countries on five continents worldwide, making it an excellent option for travelers who want extra peace of mind.
Remember, while it’s crucial to be cautious with your money, try not to stress too much. Being prepared and aware goes a long way toward ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip. Having an emergency plan, like a Sharemoney account, will help you cut loose and truly enjoy your travels.
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