How To Hide Your Money, Credit Cards And Passport When You Travel

January 31, 2017

The sad truth is that there are too many people looking for the opportunity to relieve you of your cash and credit cards, particularly when you look the part of the tourist.  If you’re immersed in enjoying a tourist attraction or entertainment, that is one of the best times for pickpockets to make their move.

Others are out to skim the personal identification information off your passport and credit cards, so they can steal your identity and cause you no end of grief as you attempt to straighten the mess they so selfishly made for their own gain.  We are able to spend (or charge) our hard-earned dollars quite readily ourselves when we’re traveling….we don’t need anyone else to help us do that…thank you very much

It’s not all doom and gloom, of course.  We certainly don’t intend to scare you…or put you off the joys of travel….however, we do want to make you aware that your travel safety, in many regards, lies squarely with you and you alone.

How to Protect Your Money & Passport as You Travel

We’re not talking about ‘hiding’ your cash in the Caymans or in a Swiss bank account….but you may find our tips ‘valuable’ in protecting your valuables.

Following are a number of items you can employ to foil would-be thieves.  You may wish to consider getting yourself one, or a combination, of these travel safety products:

1. Hidden money belt – These belts are available in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can be sure to get one that suits your personal taste.

Tarriss RFID Blocking Money Belt 

Tarriss RFID Money Belt

  • Some styles are waterproof, making it so much easier to get out to that swim-up bar in the middle of the pool for a refreshing cocktail, or to take a dip in the ocean without a lifeguard thinking you’re in trouble when he sees you swimming while wildly waving one arm, clutching your wallet to keep it from getting wet
  • For additional travel safety, look for a hidden money belt that includes RFID-blocking technology to prevent your personal ID being skimmed and used in identity theft.
  • Generally, a money belt is worn tucked down into the front of your pants and is hidden under your shirt.  If you don’t want to tuck it in, you’ll want a shirt that is long enough to cover the belt….otherwise, it’s no longer a ‘hidden’ money belt and will be easily spotted by a thief.
  • Since a money belt cinches around your waist, consider one that has a steel wire running through the waist strap; otherwise, it’s vulnerable to determined thieves who can move in behind you, cut the waist strap, and run off with your money belt.
  • If you’re traveling with a large amount of cash (why???)…. don't put it all in your money belt. Leave the majority of it behind in the hotel safe.  Take only what you’ll need for the day, plus one credit card.

2. RFID-blocking passport sleeve – Thieves don’t need to be right near you to skim personal information from your passport; they can do so while standing several feet from you.

RFID Passport Sleeve

Aerb RFID Passport Protector | Source: Amazon.com

  • All US passports now contain an RFID (Radio Frequency ID Device) chip.  All of your personal information is stored on this tiny chip, making it vulnerable to an illegal card reader.
  • Even when stored in your leather attache case, or carried in a wallet in your slacks, a card reader still can skim data from your passport.
  • An RFID-blocking passport holder is a valuable piece of travel gear that will help to protect your identity.  It blocks a reader from obtaining all of your personal information which could be used to produce a duplicate passport or to steal your identity for nefarious uses.

3. Neck wallet or neck stash – This item is similar to a money belt, but worn around your neck.

Tarriss RFID Neck Stash

Tarriss RFID Passport Holder and Hidden Neck Wallet

  • Purchase a neck stash that has a wire running through the lanyard to prevent it from being cut from behind and grabbed.
  • Tuck it under your shirt collar, so it’s not visible.  As these are very popular with tourists, thieves know to look for them…don’t make their job easy for them!
  • Since it will be dangling around your neck for a good part of the time, stow your items in it to keep it as flat as possible so it rests against your body.
  • It will be more convenient to access your cash when you need to if you loosen the lanyard cord to reach nearer your waist.  If you wear a loose-fitting top, you will be able to remove what you need without performing a public strip-tease :-).
  • You can get a neck wallet or neck stash with a built-in liner to keep the contents from getting wet in the rain or when the humidity has you sweating like you’re in a sauna.  No one appreciates being handed dripping cash :-).

4. RFID-blocking credit card sleeve – This is another travel safety item that will keep your personal information safe from identity thieves.

RFID Blocking Credit Card Sleeves

I3C Anti Theft Credit Card RFID Blocking Sleeves | Source: Amazon.com

  • Your credit card slips into the sleeve, and the RFID-blocking feature protects it from being skimmed by a reader.
  • If two of you are traveling together, each of you should have a different credit card (ie. not one with the same number).  If one gets stolen and needs to be canceled, you’ll be up a creek as both of them will be canceled.  It’s also a good idea to get a ‘travel’ credit card that has a restricted limit…say $1,000.00.  If it does get lost or stolen, the thief won’t be able to go on an extravagant shopping spree at your (or your credit card company’s) expense.

5. Hidden leg pouch – It’s a very good idea to separate your cash while you’re traveling…..’divide and conquer’ so to speak.

Eagle Creek Hidden Leg Wallet | Source: Amazon.com

You could carry some in a hidden money belt, some in a neck stash, and some in a hidden leg pouch. That way, if one item is stolen, at least you still have a backup.

  • A hidden leg pouch works the same way as a money belt – it’s strapped right next to your leg so. To avoid some odd looks :-), you’ll want to wear one of these only when you’re wearing slacks. Somehow this look with shorts or a skirt definitely blows your cover :-).

These are some ways you can protect your cash, and your identity, as you travel.  Go out and enjoy all the ‘touristy’ things that you want to, just take precautions ahead of time – be prepared before you even set foot on your departure flight….and be vigilant wherever your travels take you.

Written by Emma Ghattas