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SECURITY

How to keep your money safe when travelling

11 December 2018

Holidays are all about relaxation, exploration, and having your money stolen. No, wait… that last one doesn’t quite fit. Of course, no one wants the stress of having their hard-earned cash going missing when they’re trying to enjoy a vacation (or any time, for that matter). But there’s something about being in a foreign country, quite often as an obvious tourist, that can put a bit of a target on your back for potential pickpockets.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you manage your money safely when travelling, and take a few extra precautionary steps that you might not usually bother with when you’re milling about your hometown.

Top tips for keeping your money safe as a tourist

Keep your cash in several locations

There’s a reason that old saying warns against keeping all of your eggs in one basket. If you stash all your money in one spot – like your wallet, for example – it can make it easier for someone to come along and take it all.

Instead, divide up your cash so that some of it’s on you when you’re out and about (and spending it), and some of it’s safely locked in the safe in your hotel room. If you have multiple card options, it’s also worth separating those so that if one goes missing, you still have a backup.

Have a plan in place before you go

These days, you have plenty of options for how you want to access and spend your money when you’re overseas, so you can find the one that fits your needs. Whether you want to get a travel card specifically for your trip, keep using your regular bank card, or go a different route, it’s important to explore your options and decide what’s going to work best for you before you take off.

Discover Suncorp’s travel money options

Cash is (not necessarily) king

Having cash on hand is definitely useful, especially as some places don’t have card facilities for you to pay with. That being said, it’s important to be wise with the amount of cash you keep with you (in all of your stash spots, that is) and be prepared to put bigger purchases on card. That’s much better than flashing around larger bills in front of everyone in the souvenir store.

Be safe at ATMs

You might already be aware of all the safety precautions you should take using an ATM, such as:

  • make sure no one is standing too close by you;
  • cover your hand when you’re entering your PIN;
  • and don’t use a machine that’s in a dimly lit area or that looks like it’s been tampered with.

When you’re travelling, there’s an additional precaution you can take. Being in a foreign country, particularly one where they speak a language you don’t understand fluently, you might have a bit of trouble at the ATM. The look of panic/confusion on your face can be pretty easy to spot from a mile away for a scammer, who may have a card skimmer that allows them to read your card details if they get close enough to you. For that reason, it’s important to never accept help from a stranger when using an ATM, under any circumstances.

Keep a small amount of cash easily accessible

If you go to pay for something and find yourself thumbing through a large wad of cash trying to get the right amount, you can increase your chances of being targeted. Rather than showing off how much money you’ve got on you, keep small amounts of cash in accessible parts of your wallet so you can easily get it when you need to.

You can do this by either dividing your cash into segments throughout your wallet, or organising yourself somewhere away from crowds (think bathroom stalls or your hotel room, not dark alleyways). That way you’ll have the cash you need on hand before you enter a store, restaurant, or wherever you’re going.

Study your new currency

In a similar vein, it’s ideal to make sure you’re across what the currency you’re dealing with looks like, so you’re not a) holding up the line pouring through your wallet in a flustered manner and b) dumping all your cash out on the counter in an attempt to get a better look at it.

We don’t mean you have to create flash cards and memorise every single coin of the country you’re in, but at least have a look to get a general feel for them – especially the more important (i.e. more valuable) coins or notes.

Keeping your money safe when travelling doesn’t have to be a huge burden – with a little bit of extra caution, awareness and savviness, you can spend less time chasing up stolen cash and more time, well, spending! Unsure you’re going to have enough to pull off your dream holiday? You may want to consider a personal loan for travel – find out more today.

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Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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