Traveling is a thrilling thing. Getting to see new sights, taste new foods, try new things, and meet new friends across the globe are all life experiences that everyone should enjoy. But, it’s also important to note that there are a few downsides to travel, namely that it can be rather expensive.
So, you save your pennies, nickels, and dimes to go on that vacation or journey of your dreams. You diligently plan a vacation budget to ensure your money stretches further, you download all the relevant travel apps to plan each detail down to the last minute, and you write out an itinerary like a pro.
However, there’s one thing you might be forgetting in all your vacation financial planning: how to physically keep your money safe on the go.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to keep your money safe while traveling. You could start with planning ahead and keeping your wits about you. Here are a few more money safety tips to take with you on your next global adventure.
1. Investing in a Money Belt or Money Pouch
One easy way to keep your money safe while traveling is to keep it as close to your body as possible. This doesn’t mean stuffing it into a purse or a wallet or sticking it in your back pocket. Instead, you may want to invest in a money belt or pouch.
These accessories are long-held favorites for frequent travelers, as the money is often stored on the inside of the belt, keeping it tight to a person’s body and making it difficult for a pickpocket to grab.
Of course, because we live in cool, modern times, there are also some cool, modern options. For women, there are now hidden money compartments in bras and underwear. And, for both men and women, there are even hidden money socks.
You could buy whatever you feel most comfortable actually wearing that also makes you feel a little more confident that your money is secure.
2. Not Carrying All Your Cash or Credit Cards at Once
To ensure you’ll always have cash handy, it may be prudent to divide your money into different places just in case one stash gets stolen.
This could mean leaving a little wad of cash in the safe in your hotel room or hostel, taking a bit with you in your money belt, and leaving a little locked up in your luggage.
The same goes for credit cards, too. You could take just what you need for each outing then store the rest for safekeeping.
You might even consider doing this while out and about by having a bit in your money belt and a bit in your bag just in case one goes missing.
3. Carrying a Few Extra U.S. Dollars Wherever You Go
The U.S. dollar really can go a long way on your travels. Several countries have even adopted it as their own currency, including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, and El Salvador. Even more have adopted it as a secondary legal currency including Jamaica, Cambodia, and Peru. So, keeping a few extra U.S. dollars handy in case of emergency can be a smart money move.
4. Taking Photos of Debit Cards and Travel Documents Before Leaving
Before you even leave home, it might be a good idea to photograph your credit and debit cards (along with passports and visas) and email yourself the photos. This way, if any of your cards or important documents are stolen along the way, you at least have access to the numbers and pins so you can easily cancel them.
As for having photos of your passports, those might come in handy if it’s stolen so you can get an expedited copy at the nearest embassy.
5. Using ATMs Inside Banks and Avoiding Them in Tourist Hot Spots
If you have to take out money during your travels, it might be best to do so inside a bank. And, you also might want to avoid taking money out at night. This is also important if you’re traveling alone.
In highly populated tourist areas, ATMs run the risk of being tampered with by thieves adding what are known as “skimmers ” to machines. Skimmers look and act like a normal ATM card reader, however, they are actually stealing your information so thieves can quickly access your card number and pin and replicate them onto new cards.
There are a few ways to spot a skimmer—including checking for bulky card readers, tape, and glue—but again, it might be better to be safe and find an ATM inside a bank instead.
And here’s a pro tip for you while traveling—at the end of each day, log into your bank account via its website or app and check your transactions. This way if you spot something fishy, you can alert your bank immediately versus waiting until the end of your trip to find out someone skimmed your card and stole all your money at once.
6. Letting Your Bank Know Where You’re Going
Prior to takeoff, it may be smart to let your bank and your credit card companies know where you are going.
This could help you in two ways—your bank will know where you are so it can track genuine purchases, and it will know where you’re not so it can block anything that appears to be fake.
If your bank offers this service setting up a travel alert can often be done right from your credit card or bank’s app.
You could also give your customer service number a call and set up a travel alert that way too.
7. Taking SoFi Money® With You
No matter where in the world you go, it’s nice to know you have a financial friend on your side to keep your hard-earned cash safe. And you can have that by signing up with SoFi Money® cash management account.
With the SoFi Money card, you can take out money from any ATM that accepts Mastercard anywhere in the world and you’ll be reimbursed for all of your ATM fees.
Plus, you can earn 0.20% APY (annual percentage interest) on all your cash (subject to change), which means your money will be working for you while you enjoy your vacation anywhere around the globe.
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SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.