Keeping your money secure while traveling

Once when riding the bateau-mouche sightseeing boat in Paris someone got my train pass right out of my pocket. Despite posted warnings about pick pockets and my trying to be careful, boarding the boat, looking at the sights, being a little groggy from a long flight and enjoying the ride brought down my guard. This happens in a split second. On top of that, some of these people make a living at stealing from tourists and they are very skilled at their nasty behaviors.

Travel purses and wallets

As frequent travelers, we’ve made it a habit to travel with both a travel purse and travel wallet. We’ve also gotten used to carefully selecting what we bring and what we should not bring. Obviously expensive jewelry when going to impoverished countries is a no-no but here is a glimpse at what we bring and some suggestions.

My husband’s travel wallet has a chain that attaches to a pant belt loop, it’s also zippers shut.

My purse is a small over the shoulder strap that closes completely and can be worn cross shoulder if necessary. It also has good compartments to organize my things so that prying eyes don’t see everything in there when I need to access a card or some cash.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

  • Bring two credit cards in case something happens with your primary. Ideally use a travel card with no foreign transaction fees and no liability. Also, we always bring a second low limit card in case the first one gets cutoff for suspicious activity, etc. Make copies of these and keep them in your hotel safe along with numbers to call (on the back of the cards) in case they are stolen.
  • Bring just enough cash for the day, separate your cash and keep only what you need for the day with a small margin in your wallet. Keep the rest in the hotel safe or in a travel belt or secured in a zipped up pocket or bag.
  • Bring a debit card, these are typically the best way to get a good foreign exchange rate as opposed to the many tourist exchange places you find that hike up rates and charge administration or transaction fees.
  • Keep at least one ID but also keep copies back in the hotel safe.
  • Keep insurance information such as traveler’s health insurance cards.
  • Don’t mark your hotel room number and keep it with your key. Anyone finding your key will now have your room number too and may make it to steal your stuff before you even realize you’re missing your wallet
  • Don’t keep your list of passwords or online access codes in there for obvious reasons. Even in code, don’t give them any hints!
  • Don’t keep any blank checks that could be forged and cashed.
  • Arguably don’t leave numbers and pictures or family members names. There are many scams where crooks call back home claiming you’ve been injured trying to get family to wire money.

Travel vests and jackets

We are also considering buying some of the travel vests or jackets like Scottevest or others that have a large number of item specific pockets letting you carry and secure papers and devices on your person. If you have one of these please share your review or feedback about them with us, we’d love to hear it.

You are traveling to have fun and want to enjoy the destination. Having your wallet lost or stolen can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. A little foresight and preparation is well worth the peace of mind!

Happy and safe travels!

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