I am looking for a safe way of transporting money while traveling. Are there any good guides or tips?

I know CC or ATM machines are almost available everywhere... they almost always work well. But it's the almost part that worries me more. Unforeseen situation like out of cash machines, bank limitation, governmental limitation, etc. can ruin your travel plans. Physical money is still the widest used mean everywhere and it's good to have some backup just in case.

The problem is transporting it safely. The best would be carrying it with you, not in bags, or leave it somewhere. The wallet is too visible and can easily be stolen, the backpack the same. Although rare I am sure we all know stories of stolen property in hotels / hostels /etc

What tactics and ideas are there to safely transport and keep money?

Are there any "gadgets" that may help to avoid or dissuade someone from stealing?


3 Answers 3


First and foremost never have more physical money than you can afford to lose.

Secondly, if you carry it on your person always split it into two parts. The first part, kept in your pocket or easily accessible should be the smaller of the two. The second part should be kept in a body wallet or some other equally hidden place (shoe/sock).

Finally, keeping a portion of your money in a safe in your hotel room or with the front desk of your hotel is always a good backup plan as well.

  • 3
    I would add, if you do have cards, don't place them in the same place where the cash is (wallet, pouch etc) in case it gets stolen, you don't want to lose everything
    – blackbird
    Mar 4, 2014 at 21:38

Don't use cash. Its can be stolen really easy.

I may recomend the way I usually deal with my money in every trip

First of all, you need some cash on your hands. Buy some junk food and souvenirs in an airport. It must be sum of money that you are not afraid to lost or waste on something. I usually keep this sum in dollars and change it on domestic currency when arrive.

You also need to have 2 credit card which operate the same account. On this account keep most of your money in dollars. It must be VISA or MasterCard. Keep one of those cards in wallet and another in safety place - where you keep your passport and other documents. Use first card to for usual payments and getting cash from ATM. (If you use VISA you will not charge additional for getting cash from ATM)

So, if by some reasons you lost your wallet or it was stolen - just call to your bank and block first card. Your money will be still available by using second card.

I also want to warn you to never use ATM on the streets. Use only ATMs in a big shops.

  • 2
    I know that this is an old answer, but I don't think that "If you use VISA you will not charge additional for getting cash from ATM" is a universally true statement - many Visa cards come with a fee for ATM withdrawal. Also, the two credit cards don't need to "operate the same account". Finally, "dollars" should probably be replaced by "home country currency".
    – DCTLib
    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:32
  • Hm. I've never met withdrawal charge in any country where I was, however, I assume that in some countries it can be set. From my experience, ATM can charge you for checking balance. "dollars" mean dollars, or euros, or currency of country where you are travel. In any case, not "home country currency". There is no reason to convert money by high exchange rate (which is usual in ViSA and Mastercard systems).
    – MikkaRin
    Jul 21, 2015 at 13:58

I always carry at least some money in US and Canadian cash- crisp bills in large denominations (plus whatever useful foreign currency I might have had lying around from the last trip to the region).

Probably $500-$1500 in most cases. That, plus several ATM and credit cards (Plus System) and all three major types of CC's, kept in a couple locations and separate from the cash. I don't buy any foreign currency in advance nor do I generally sell the foreign currency upon leaving if I think I might be back in the next few years.

At the airport upon arrival, I usually get a couple hundred dollars worth of foreign currency (withdrawal from an ATM) to get started, and buy a coffee or something to get some change. That works in most of SE Asia, Europe, China, Japan etc. There are a few places where you won't find western ATMs, but there's usually a bank at the airport where you can change some money. If it's a situation where the ATMs won't work, more cash either from home or from the last country you visited where ATM cards are accepted. It's important not to carry too too much cash (many thousands of dollars equivalent total) or you could attract the attention of authorities trying to prevent money laundering. Although $10K is supposed to be okay in many places, I think they actually prick up their ears at far smaller amounts.

I keep a list of all ATM and credit card numbers and bank phone numbers, both in a munged written list and available in encrypted and munged form online (along with a scan of my passport, air tickets, visas, etc.), so I can easily call and cancel should there be a problem. Once I forgot a bank card in an ATM, called (using Skype, so it was almost free) and immediately cancelled the card.

In fact, worst case, should I happen to wake up naked in a ditch, the information online ought to be enough to get me back home eventually, with some inconvenience and tolerable monetary losses.

I do use a wallet (front pocket only) and have never had it stolen (though I did have some travelers checks stolen from the opposite pocket in a coordinated crush attack by pickpockets). Also a money belt, especially if I'm expecting to be alone in a risky area.

I also tend to trust hotel safes with at least some of my cash and most of my credit cards (perhaps unwisely). Most backpacks are really unsafe, especially many pockets that can be unzipped (often they find themselves unzipped behind you) but if you bury stuff down deep inside it's reasonably safe. I think I've been targeted by pickpockets and thieves about 10 times, and (so far) almost no losses.

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