Vacationing is stressful. You have to pick where you are going, where you will be staying, and, most importantly, how you will pay for it all. The last thing that you need to worry about is keeping your money safe but the fact is that millions of tourists are the victims of theft every year.
This ranges from housekeepers/maids going through the belongings in your room to pickpockets targeting tourists on the streets. Over the years, wily travelers have developed several methods for hiding their money. Some of these work, but many others do not. This article will list 10 secret places to hide your cash when travelling and (10 that are cliche) This list is designed for our readers who are traveling anywhere, though some of the entries specifically relate to international travel. The fact is that no matter how nice of an area you are in and how expensive your hotel and dinner reservations are, there will be someone nearby looking to take advantage.
If you use a method to hide your money while traveling that didn't make it on to our list, feel free to mention it in the comments section.
20 Secret Places - Money Belts Keep Your Money and Underwear Secret
This list is just filled with cool contraptions. I remember that a friend of mine had a belt with a secret compartment that he used to sneak his favorite drink into football games but I never imagined that they could be adapted for such practical purposes.
The key components to finding a good place to stash your money is 1) that it is not easily accessible to other people but 2) it is easily accessible to you.
This entry meets both of these requirements. Even better, these belts can be found on Amazon and at Spencer’s for less than $10.
19 Cliché- Nobody Wants the Money From Your Shoe
There is no place to hide your money while traveling that is more cliché than in your shoe. For decades, travel publications have been telling their readers that this is the best place to put your money if you are worried about it being stolen.
This method may be cliché but I have to admit, that I think it would work. Unless someone forces you to give them your shoes there is almost no scenario where this money could ever become lost. The only downside that I can see is that all your sweat and foot odor will drain into your cash.
18 Secret Places - The Sneaky Phone Case
People love to complain about technology but there are certainly some benefits to taking your phone with you everywhere. Phones are filled with gadgets to make your life easier but sometimes even the phone cases themselves have a second ability.
Many phone cases that you can buy now come with a hidden compartment in the back. This compartment isn’t very big but it is perfect for carrying your credit cards or a few bills of cash. It would be much harder for someone to steal your phone than your money (and less likely) so I like the idea of keeping your traveling money here.
17 Cliché - Fanny Pack, Sigh
I understand that fashion goes through cycles, but why fanny packs were ever considered cool is beyond me. The handy carrying cases are again seeing a comeback and some travel websites have begun urging their readers to use these on vacation.
Hanging from your midsection, these packs give you easy access to your things but (supposedly) prevents other people from getting into them. The only problem is that you end up walking around a foreign country looking like a tourist. If you are trying to fit in, a fanny pack probably isn’t the way to go. Not to mention they will make you look like a total dweeb.
16 Secret Places - Upgrade Your Wallet To A Travel Wallet
Recently, travel wallets for women have become in vogue. These wallets are specifically designed for traveling so they can hold everything from your passports to your boarding passes. Normally, I would advise against carrying everything important in one place but some of these wallets come with serious security features.
The simplest of these come with a strap that lets you connect the wallets to your body but the more high-tech ones have a tracking device embedded in them.
If the potential thief takes your things and ditches the wallet then this isn’t very helpful but at least this gives you the chance of getting your stuff back.
15 Cliché - Your Sock Drawer Is Not A Secret
This next entry would be good, except that everyone in the world knows that this is where people hide their money. For whatever reason, people think that tucking their money into socks will keep it hidden from other people.
If I was looking for money in someone's room, there sock drawer would be one of the first places that I would check. To truly hide something, you cannot put it in a place where everyone knows to hide stuff. Anyone who has ever seen an old movie or TV show knows that people hide stuff in their sock drawer. Talk about a cliché.
14 Secret Places - Hidden Suitcase Pocket
You may have already realized that I love gadgets. There are plenty of traditional places to hide your money but I think that the most secret ones are the ones specifically adapted for that purpose. Take, for instance, the suitcase in this picture. This bag has a secret compartment that was stitched in specifically to be an extra hiding spot. Lots if people don't like to carry their valuables with them when they travel. If you have this bag, you can safely leave them in your room without worrying that they will get stolen.
13 Cliché - The Second Pocket of Your Wallet Isn't Hard To Find
I have seen a few advertisements for wallets that come with a second, hidden pocket. This is a cool idea, but I question whether it is useful as a deterrent against theft. The second pocket is “hidden” but it wouldn’t be that hard to find if someone had a significant amount of time with your wallet.
If your wallet gets stolen, you aren’t going to get it back any time soon. The best-case scenario is that you get it back after it has already been gone through, and if it has already been gone through, then the thief has probably found your hidden pocket.
12 Secret Places - Bring Back Cargo Shorts
This next entry is my final plea for cargo shorts. There was a time, not too long ago, where it was socially acceptable for men of all ages to wear cargo shorts. This has since changed, which has led to several negative side effects, including the fact that men's shorts now have less pockets.
If you were traveling abroad before cargo shorts became universally despised then you had two extra pockets where you could hide your money. These pockets were on the side of your legs, making them less susceptible to pick pockets. Maybe cargo shorts are more acceptable apart than they are in the U.S.
11 Cliché - In A Wallet On a Chain, Sigh Again
Thankfully this fashion trend has fallen out of favor but I still occasionally see people rocking the chain wallet. Lots of people wore these for style purposes but their primary purpose was to stop your wallet from being stolen. If anyone tried to take it out of your pocket the chain would pull on your pant leg and you would realize what was happening.
Things quickly adapted, however, and the more ambitious pickpockets would simply unlatch or cut the cord. In this day and age, I'm not sure that the security benefits outweigh the hit to your fashion credibility.
10 Secret Places - On your body (especially for women)
I cannot attest to the effectiveness of this method but I have to admit that it sounds pretty secret. I cannot imagine very many circumstances where someone could get access to the money hidden away in a bra without the person noticing, and that is what secret hiding places are all about.
The only downside I can see to this plan is that the money is in direct contact with skin, and we all know (or at least we should all know) that money can be filthy. Lots of women do this, so there must be some value to this method.
9 Cliché - Everyone Can See The Bulge In Your Back Pocket
For the cliché entries on this list, I tried to think of the places where everyone keeps their money. The easy entry was this, in their back pocket. The weirdest thing about this is that almost everyone, including myself, thinks that their money is safe there. My wallet occasionally slips out of my back pocket when I slouch in my seat, so I can only imagine how easy it would be for a thief to swipe it from there.
If you are traveling abroad and everything that you need to go home is in your wallet, maybe it isn’t so smart to keep it in a place where it can so easily be lost or stolen.
8 Secret Places - Amazon's Shaving Cream
After discussing this article with some of my colleagues, I feel like I am alone in favoring the secret shaving cream compartment. You can now buy bottles of shaving cream (less than $5 on Amazon) that have a hollow bottom. The bottom of the bottle can be unscrewed and you can hide valuables in the container. There is even a tiny bit of shaving cream in the top of the container so if anyone tries it, it will seem like a real bottle.
I cannot imagine a scenario where your valuables would be safer. That is, unless, someone is really after your shaving cream.
7 Cliché - Good Luck Getting The Money That Is Strapped To Your Leg
I did a little research for the purposes of this article and I was shocked by some of the things that I found. Some people will hide their money anywhere. I couldn't include all of these terrible suggestions on this list but this next entry was one of my favorites.
Several people suggested that travelers tie/tape a small was of money to their inner thigh. Because that's what I want to do, spend my whole vacation with a wad of tape stuck to my leg.
I wonder how these people propose that you retrieve that money while you are out in public?
6 Not So Secret Places - Concierge Desk
I worked at a hotel when I was in college and I was very surprised to see guests storing their valuables at the concierge desk. Hotels don't want everyone doing this but they are okay with a handful of guests checking in their valuables. The concierge gives a receipt to the customer and they can always be reimbursed if something gets stolen. There are usually less concierges (and they are generally better paid) so there is less of a chance that they would steal anything. This is also convenient if you don’t want to go all the way up to your room to get your stuff.
5 Cliché - The Interior Pocket That Everyone Has
If you are only keeping your money in your inner pocket to avoid pick pockets while you walk around the city, then I am fine with that. But if you think the inner pocket of your coat is a sure-fire way to protect your money wherever you go, then you are surely mistaken.
The problem with keeping your money in your coat is that you don't take it everywhere with you. If you decide to leave your coat in your room or check it at a fancy restaurant then suddenly you are in great risk of having your money stolen.
4 Secret Places - The Lining of Your Hat, Just Try Not To Sweat
A friend of mine showed this trick to me and I think that it is one of the better places to hide your money. Keeping your money in your hat keeps it close to your person, and therefore out of the easy reach of anyone else. There are several cliché ways of keeping your money close to your body, but unlike those methods, keeping it in your hat makes it easy to retrieve.
No one will give you a weird look for pulling money out of your hat like they would if you pulled it out of your shoe or your waistband.
3 Cliché - The Hotel Safe Is Not Fort Knox
Does anyone actually use the hotel safes anymore? According to crime reports, yes. Every year hundreds of hotel guests are shocked by the fact that something was stolen out of the safe in their hotel room. By their design, these safes have to be accessible to the hotel staff.
This means that dishonest staff members will have every chance to break into these safes. Most don't, but you do not want to be one of the isolated incidents. If you are in a strange country I would not leave anything valuable in your hotel room.
2 Secret Places - International Banks
I really tried to think outside of the box for this one. When people go on vacation they think that they have to keep all the money that they brought with them on their person or they will be forced to leave it unguarded in their hotel rooms. But what if there was a third option?
Often when people go on vacation, they are going somewhere where they do not have access to their own back. But several banks have partners with other financial institutions all over the world. This means that their customers can deposit funds into another bank for a short amount of time.
1 Cliché - Please Do Not Put Your Money In Your Underwear
I understand the appeal of this strategy, I really do, but how can you possibly think that this is a sustainable way to hide your money. If you have no plans to spend this money then sure, it will be safe tucked into your underwear. But if you ever plan on spending this money, this plan becomes infinitely more complicated. How do I get it out? Should I clean it? Am I disgusting? These are all questions that you will be asking yourself.
These tips are supposed to ease your worries while traveling and this one doesn't do that.
Reference: cnn.com, theatlantic.com, washingtonpost.com