How to Keep Your Passport, Cash, and Credit Cards Safe While Traveling

How to Keep Your Passport, Cash, and Credit Cards Safe While Traveling

Passport, Credit Cards, Cash. Lose any one of these items and it is a major headache, possibly much worse. Use these guidelines to protect these items no matter where you are traveling.

First point of business: there are many people who insist you should not carry your passport around while you are visiting a place. In other words, leave your passport in the hotel and take a photocopy with you. There is nothing wrong with this in theory, but seriously consider the security of your hotel or hostel.

When we travel we have our passport on us at all times, concealed in a secret pocket or a money belt, along with our credit cards and some cash. We also keep a photocopy of our passport separate from the real thing. Always present the photocopy first when asked for your passport. It should suffice in every situation and an immigration officer/policeman/soldier that says otherwise may be looking for a bribe (this is only really a problem in developing world countries).

Always Have a Decoy Wallet

Before we get to the money belt/secret pocket, you should first prepare a decoy wallet. Ladies, put it in your purse. Guys put it in your back or front pocket. In your decoy wallet put a couple of worthless cards. Here are some examples: an expired library card, a grocery store savings card, random business cards. Also, if you have anything that looks like a credit card, put that in there as well.

Finally, load it up with some cash. Twenty dollars is a good amount. Consider the fact that you probably will not get robbed. Now consider the fact that if you are robbed and it is a confrontational robbery (involves a threat or a weapon) you are going to want to appease the person robbing you in a sense. A wallet with cards and some cash should do the trick. If you lose $20 and some worthless cards, so what. Do not try to fight back – you never know who is robbing you and what they will do.

Store Passport, Credit Cards, and Cash in Money Belt or Secret Pocket

NEVER put anything important in your pockets or in a bag that you are carrying.

Pickpockets are highly skilled. They often work in numbers, create diversions, and they are generally incredibly crafty. It’s not worth it to try and test them. In the Take Caution article we talk about places where pickpockets are successful. You may find yourself in one of these places. It’s not the end of the world. Hopefully you will be able to enjoy it. One last time, NEVER put anything important in your pockets or in a bag that you are carrying.
So, where do you put important items?

1. A money belt.

A good money belt conceals your items and it is not uncomfortable to wear. We typically wear our money belts against our abdomen under our shirt. This further conceals it and if you have a good money belt it is not uncomfortable. Put your passport, credit cards, and cash in the money belt. We recommend the Victorinox Deluxe Concealed Security Belt. It is comfortable, has several pockets, and will last for years.

2. A secret pocket.

You might prefer a secret pocket on a piece of clothing. Secret pockets are generally concealed on the interior of the clothing item and thus cannot be seen from the outside. The only downside with secret pockets is that they can be hard to access. With a money belt you can easily access items if you are in a secure place. With a secret pocket, things may be a bit more awkward (say if the secret pocket is on the inside of your trousers). If you prefer this method, the IZOD Men’s Microsanded Cargo Short is a good option for men. Women, you will have to get a little more creative. Or use a money belt!!

For information on getting your documents in order before you travel, check out this post.

Photo credit: Flickr user kalleboo

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