¨Travel because money returns; time doesn’t¨
Financial Safety While Traveling Tips
- Keep your cash hidden (and in more than one place).
- Put your cash in a belt (like the one pictured) that goes under your clothes or for men in the front pant pocket.
- Try to keep one credit card, a little cash, and your passport somewhere other than on your person, just in-case you are robbed. Always have copies of your cover passport page (with your photo) on you (in case you need it for identification), at home, and in your luggage, in case it is stolen.
- Keep a little cash aside and an extra credit card just in case of problems. Though it has never happened to me, I have heard stories of people who had troubles using their ATM or cashing travelers’ checks overseas, particularly in Japan. Besides, if someone steals your wallet; you may not have any money for a couple of days. In 2017, a pickpocket stole my wallet on a bus in Milan, Italy. Fortunately, I only lost 50 euros. The bank (in this case, Citibank) sent me a replacement ATM card by express mail, which left me without cash for three days. At the time, I stayed in a homestay, and the woman in charge kindly lent me 50 euros, which sufficed.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM. Make sure that no one is looking over your shoulders to see your PIN code. Also ignore anyone who is trying to distract you while you are making your transaction. Take out your card from your purse or wallet away from the ATM. Be careful that no one is following you out of an ATM.
- Don’t call taxis off the street. Use taxis from stands or Uber.
- Know the current safety situation in your destination. I have been to Puebla, Mexico four times. Until 2018, Puebla was considered one of the safest cities in Latin America. When I went there in January 2020, I didn’t know that the safety situation had changed. I checked websites (in English) that still touted the city’s safety. I got into a cab at 10:30 at night and was kidnapped. Later I learned that Mexican newspapers had reported extensively about how the safety in Puebla had deteriorated. I also learned after talking to Pueblans that most were very scared of the safety in the City.
Other Traveling Money-Related Issues
Issues with Banks
Though less so than in the past, it is best not to exchange money inside a bank. Banks are only usually open on weekdays, leaving you without money on weekends and weeknights until the banks are open again. Even when they are open, banks often have long lines. Besides, there are no advantages in exchange rates at a bank over an ATM.
Problems with Travelers’ Checks
Travelers’ checks are rare nowadays. You can be only able to cash them at banks for a relatively high commission charge. Traveler’s checks may, however, have some utility if you are going to visit a country that is either:
- So off-the-beaten-path that they have few ATMs.
- Has a high degree of pickpockets.
Want to Know More About Keeping Your Finances Safe While Traveling?
Some Additional Posts About Money
- Lessons From An Express Kidnapping in Puebla, MexicoIn January 2020, I was a victim of an express kidnapping in Puebla, Mexico. I discuss what happened to me and what I learned about travel safety from the incident.
- How Many Taxes, Fees, and Other Charges Do Consumers Pay For Airfare, Hotels, and Other Travel Services?The amount and number of travel taxes, fees, and other charges added to your bill will probably surprise you. Many are hidden and like everything else, taxes keep going up.
- The 3 Reasons Travel Prices Are So Radically Different than Other Products: Perishability, Capital Costs, and Yield ManagementHave you ever wondered why travel products seem to be priced so crazily? Learn the three economic factors that contribute to the pricing of travel products: perishability, high capital costs, and yield management.
- Round the World Tickets 101: Are They Worth the Trouble or Not?Once in my life, I bought a round the world ticket. My experience was favorable but I think the number of times these tickets are useful for most travelers is fairly limited for the reasons outlined in this post.
- Paying More than Locals As a Foreigner: How to Deal with and Avoid ProblemsWhen I was younger being charged more for things than locals used to piss me off. Now I simply acknowledge it as part of traveling in third-world countries. I find the less it bothers me the less I attract aggressive vendors, too.
- Money Safety Tips While TravelingThis post offers a few simple tips to avoid problems with travel safety and money issues while traveling.
- Pros and Cons of Using US Dollars While Traveling AbroadOne of the most pervasive myths about traveling is that everybody wants the US dollar. The fact is most people do not want the dollar. Most of the time when they do want the dollar, you will lose money on the transaction. The few times that people do want the dollar are discussed in this post as well.
- Foreign Exchange Fees: A Guide to Help You Avoid Paying Them UnnecessarilyUnless you are careful, you will spend 7% more on foreign exchange conversion fees than you should. By making a few simple changes, I avoided these fees and saved myself $18,000 during my five-year, round-the-world journey.
- ATM and Credit Card Tips: How to Keep Money Problems from Ruining Your Fifty-Plus Nomad LifestyleHow to avoid problems finding ATMs, using ATMs and credit cards, and making large ATM withdrawals abroad.
- A Guide to Currency Exchange, ATM, and Credit Card Fees Abroad: How to Avoid Getting Ripped OffFind out several useful tips to avoid paying unnecessary foreign currency exchange, ATM, and credit card fees while traveling around the world or living abroad.
- Using Foreign Banknotes and Coins: 3 Tips to Avoid Problems3 simple tips for travelers and expats to avoid problems with foreign coins and banknotes.
- Top 7 Budget Travel Food TipsSome of my favorite food-related experiences were also very inexpensive. Sometimes, modest hole in the walls restaurants, kiosks, and street carts can feature some of the country’s best chefs.