When going on vacation, having some cash on hand is a good idea. You never know when you’ll need to tip someone or make an emergency purchase. However, it can be nerve-wracking carrying cash around, since it’s an easy target for thieves, and once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. But there are good places to hide your cash, both on your person while sightseeing and in your hotel room or vacation rental home. Learn what to do and what not to do with your money so that it stays safe and not stolen.
If you’re staying in a hotel, the best place to hide your money and valuables is in the hotel-provided safe. These safes are usually secured in the wall and come with a key that you take with you. They’re secure, can hold a fair amount of property and are the safest place to leave any money or valuables while you’re out.
If your suitcase has a lock, then putting some cash in an inconspicuous inside pocket, socks or underwear inside your bag and then locking your suitcase is another good way to hide your valuables. You can do this even if your suitcase doesn’t have a lock, but securing your money in this way can give you extra piece of mind.
Whether you’re in a hotel room or rented house or apartment, hiding your money and valuables in random locations can be a good deterrent. Thieves will look in obvious places like drawers, but rolling up cash in a toothbrush case, food can or box, or an unmarked envelope stashed in a random book are all good places to hide money. Another object that thieves rarely check is in children’s toys, since adults don’t usually trust kids with money. Hiding your money here will most likely keep it safe and overlooked.
To keep cash on your person while traveling, use an inside pocket. Many jackets come equipped with one, and some people like to sew a pocket onto the inside of their pants. When money is against your body, it’s much tougher for thieves to take, since they’d have to attack you to get to it instead of just swiping it with a slight of hand. And since you’ll probably be in a crowd of people or in daylight or both, thieves will be looking for an easy steal.
If you don’t want to modify your clothing, several companies sell travel pouches you keep around your waist, money belts or even socks with special pouches for your money. These products are specially designed to keep your money close to your body and out of sight. If you are a frequent traveler or will be carrying a lot of cash, this would be a good investment to make.
Places that are Not Safe for Hiding Money
It is also important to note obvious places you don’t want to keep your money, since thieves will try these locations first. When in a hotel room or vacation rental, don’t keep your money in a marked envelope or pouch, drawers (especially a top drawer), purse or backpack. These are all obvious spots that a thief will look in first.
When walking around, don’t keep your money in an outer pocket (especially back pants pockets), or in a purse, bag or fanny pack. Thieves can easily grab these small bags and run, and then all of your cash is gone. If you are worried about an encounter with a thief, try carrying a decoy wallet in your back pocket with a small amount of cash. That way, if you are asked to hand it over, the thief won’t have the majority of your cash. The same can go with putting a small amount in a bag or purse, and then carrying the rest in one of the ways described above.
Overall, unless you’re going to a remote destination where cash is still the main method of payment and banks or ATMs are scarce, don’t carry too much cash. Most places now accept debit and credit cards, and cash can be easily accessed through an ATM when needed. Also, payment methods like credit cards and traveler’s checks can be traced; if they’re lost or stolen, there’s a way to alert authorities and get your money back. But when cash is stolen, it’s gone for good.