When travelling, whether you pack light or heavy there is one thing you must have; some (a lot!) money. The truth is, we travel with a lot of luggage; cloths, camping gear, electronics among others but money is hands down the most valuable, and if you can argue with that you don’t have a good grasp of capitalism.
If you lose another valuable, you can always buy with the money, but if you lose your money, you might have no option but to cut short your holiday. But don’t worry, we won’t let that happen. In this article, we will give you the best tips on how to protect your money. After all, it makes the world go round.
First and foremost, I recommend carrying minimum cash while on vacation or even when strolling in your home town. But who am I to tell you what amount of dollar to carry? For those who prefer money in rubber bands, I will share with you good tips on selecting the best duffle bag for travel. Meanwhile, if you subscribe to my philosophy of ‘bare minimum cash’ here are some things you can do to protect your money better.
What You Will Need
Make sure that this is in a currency considered as legal tender in the place you’re visiting.
Preferably one specifically designed for travel, i.e., with security features.
Step 1: Use your credit card for major purchases
This is important because of the law (cheers to our legislators!) which gives you a thick enough layer of protection. The Fair Credit Card Bill is very specific regarding how much you owe in the event your card is stolen and used to make expensive purchases; that is 50 dollars. The credit card offers you next to zero liability in the event it’s stolen. Be it as it may, the earlier you contact your credit card company after your card is stolen (lost!) the better. If you are a gambling person, credit card offers you better odds. You can never go wrong with a credit card.
Step 2: Double check that ATM
If you are the trusting kind, stop. While at home you obviously know the good ATMs -a fake is rare- but if you travelling be careful where you insert your card. It’s common practice in high tourism areas like beaches for some local con to erect a clone of an ATM just to collect cards. Lucky for you, leading ATM card companies specifically VISA and MasterCard have ATM locators on their sites. Additionally, where possible, use ATMs which are near airports, hotels or banks.
Step 3: Keep your Credit Company and bank in the loop
This is crucial if you are travelling outside the country. Why? They can crush your party, quite literally. Imagine you in Brazil sun bathing in the world famous Maracana beach where you are sure to see some fancy stuff and decide to spoil yourself. As you do so, your bank may think it’s not you withdrawing the money and shutdown your card. On a tour, that’s the last thing you need.
Having multiple accounts will also help. In reality, you don’t have to be rich to operate multiple accounts. Examples would be; a personal checking account, travel checking account and saving out. A travel checking account comes handy as you travel. In this account, I advise not to keep a lot of money in them though you should factor in your frequency of travel. In case you experience theft, and the ATM card is stolen, at least your plans won’t come to an immediate halt.
Use the safe in your hotel room; you have paid for that too! The safe in the hotel’s room is your money’s best friend. In a hotel, if you didn’t know, you are not the only one with the keys. There are many keys around so when stepping out, lock your money and cards in the safe.
Step 4: Have a dummy wallet
This is my favorite. Have two wallets with you, the actual one containing your money and a dummy one to trick the thief. If stolen you enjoy two victories at the same time; your money is safe, and you manage to make a fool out of the thief. Obviously, conceal the money-carrying wallet better.
It’s impossible to cover all bases when it comes to protecting your ‘little’ money because some simple things like having a good zipper also count. Above, I have covered the points I consider most important.
If you travel pretty liquid, it’s your turn. To some of us, liquidity is an important factor especially if you want to buy things on the go. You don’t want to queue at an ATM and in the hotel, you want to give the waiter a mouthwatering tip. If you are that person, you will find your only realistic option being carrying physical dollars. The duffle bag is famed for being the money carrier as it combines both the cool factor-if you care-and safety. Be that as it may, the duffle bag market is a congested one with every bag maker wanting a share of the shelf space. Let me share with you what to consider in selecting the best duffle bag for travel, keeping your money in mind:
Aesthetics- Pardon me if you don’t care about how your bag looks, and there is nothing wrong with that as primarily, the duffle bag is for protecting your money. However, I list this as a factor because I believe, if you are travelling to the most beautiful places in the world, you should have a duffle bag befitting the location. Come on; duffle bags are cool!
Ease of packing- You don’t want to be around the world with a bag in which getting a hold of your dollars is a tedious task. Also, look for a duffle bag that allows you to remove your money discretely without it begging to be stolen. Consider main zipper positioning, the number of additional pockets, shape and size of the opening. For the zipper look out for a D shaped one and for the side pockets, make sure they are easily accessible. I find duffle bags with a pocket on the lid quite customer friendly, especially if you have valuables as you can easily access them while keeping an eye on it.
Weight- avoid duffle bags which feel heavy even before you put anything in them because in air travel every ounce matters, unless you are flying private! The worst that can happen is for your money duffle bag to be so heavy it exceeds the cabin weight limit. If you intend to put money in the duffle, pack light. While we at it, let me point out that the size of your bag is also important. When money is your primary load for a particular duffle bag, avoid shopping for one that gives the impression you into mountain climbing and camping! Let your duffle be of a reasonable size, a bag that can easily carry enough money (thousands or millions) but still comfortable in your hands.
Weather friendly- if you serious about protecting your money, have a duffle that can survive any weather- possibly a hurricane. While travelling, the weather can change at the drop of a dime hence the importance of an all-weather bag. If it rains, you should know your money is as safe as when the sun is shining.
Ease of carriage- consider getting a duffle that offers variations in how you can carry. It should allow you to carry your valuables in your hands, in sling mode over your shoulder and backpack mode. This gives you freedom of switching depending on what you are doing and where you are. Even with all the options available, consider whether the back straps can be hidden which if you are not using them as they can make the duffle bag look bulky. Again, aesthetics.
Locking of the duffle bag- a money carrying duffle bag should offer more security than the usual zipper. Some bags offer a simple combination lock which in truth, is better than just a zipper. If any lock is present, the bag should have good side pockets with zippers because you don’t want to keep unlocking the main pocket for small things. It’s tedious.
When travelling with any sum of money, it is important for you to protect your money the best you can. While you can have the best duffle bag and exercise all the practices outlined in this article, it is also important you take simple precautions like avoiding overcrowded areas and being on the lookout for pickpockets. Be on the lookout without being paranoid, as it can lead to a thief marking you.
Another tip is if possible, never travel alone as it is easier to stay safe if you are with a friend or family member than when you are alone especially in a foreign country. Also, let your clothing complement your money protective initiatives and good compact pockets is a good start. On return from your travels, make sure to review your financial activities. You should pay close attention to your credit card, debit card, and ATM card.
Having covered all the above, you should now have no trouble protecting your money irrespective of the amount. These tips, whereas majorly focused on the traveler, can help you protect your money even when at home. After protecting your money, the only thing left to do is taking a tour and get to see the most beautiful places in the world. Out there is a marvelous world!
Evans Lily is the founder of SkyWeFly, where I and my associates blog about photographs, stories and travel tips that will help you make a great journey. I hope to bring my passion to more people via SkyWeFly.