Safe Money Handling

One of my biggest fears is being on a trip and not having any money.  I see contestants on the Amazing Race do it all the time, but it would be a nightmare in my opinion.  These tips will help to keep one of your most valuable possessions safe or at least provide a backup plan should the worst happen.


  • Carry some extra American dollars. Even in international destinations, American money may be the last resort.  In countries like Mexico and the Caribbean, you can often use American money just as easy as their native currency.  Other countries’ banks may be able to convert the money in a bind.
  • Always carry some backup currency in a place separate from your wallet.  I like to carry an extra large bill in my phone case and under my shoe insert.  I don’t know many robbers who ask for your shoes.
  • There is no need to carry everything with you at all times.  Chose a primary credit card and some currency to have with you while leaving the bulk in the hotel safe.
  • If you are visiting a location known for pickpockets, consider having a “dummy” wallet easily accessible and then a “secret” wallet with real cards and money.
  • There are lots of clothing options now available that have concealed pockets or money belts available.  This only helps if you actually use them the way they are designed to be used.
  • Let your bank and credit card companies know that you are traveling in advance.  This will hopefully limit the fraud alerts and your cards being denied.
  • Take photos of your credit cards and important documents.  The photos will make it easier to replace or cancel them if they are compromised.
  • Use ATMS connected to banks.  Should your card not be dispensed at the end of the transaction, you can go to the bank and have them retrieve it.
  • Understand the current currency exchange rate.  DO NOT use dynamic currency exchange rates as this WILL cost you more on the back side of the transaction.