What are the best ways to hide your money when traveling?
Traveling is fun. Traveling is awesome. Travel is life changing.
But it doesn’t mean that travel can’t be dangerous, or that accidents can’t happen.
Whether you are robbed, or you accidentally leave your wallet in a taxi, or misplace your debit card – shit happens! You should ALWAYS have some emergency cash hidden on your body, no matter where you are traveling in the world.
I’ve been traveling the world for 10 years now, and I’ve learned a few tips, tricks, and hacks about hiding money while traveling, and I am going to unleash all of them right now.
Let’s jump into the 8 best ways to hide money while traveling… A few of them will definitely surprise you.
Quick Answer: Best Ways to Hide Cash when Traveling
In some countries, like Venezuela, there is a black market exchange rate on cash and this means that if you are to get the best bang for your buck you have to bring cash into the country.
Venezuela, in particular, poses a bit of a problem for backpackers as it’s a country with spiraling inflation and a crazy crime rate.
Local thieves know that backpackers have foreign currency on them and with foreign currency worth an absolute fortune in Venezuela, this makes travellers a target.
Whilst travelling across Venezuela, I had a literal pillowcase of Venezuelan bolivars hidden away as well as a few hundred dollars which I kept on me at all times. I knew that I needed to hide my money while traveling in Venezuela and so, whilst in Colombia, I came up with a proper plan to conceal my money whilst traveling.
I decided to split my cash into several different secret places to hide money…
So, how should you carry cash when traveling? First things first, let me run you through my top tips for keeping your cash safe in general and then I’ll introduce you to the best ways to hide your money when traveling…
Tip #1 – Split up your money
To avoid losing everything, split up your money into three locations. There are lots of places to hide money when traveling but if you just hide everything in one spot, you could really screw yourself over. I recommend having some money in a travel security belt and the rest in a couple of other concealed places on your body…
Tip #2 – On-body storage is best
Hide your cash on you when you are traveling. Try to avoid having your money hidden away in your backpack, whilst this will often be OK it only needs to go wrong once. A friend of mine had a thousand bucks stolen from his backpack, it sucked.
Tip #3 – Be ready with small bills
Try to avoid flashing your cash and instead be ready with small bills. 99% of the time, the world is a very safe place to travel in. You can get that percentage up to 99.9% if you are smart – don’t make it obvious that you are traveling with cash.
Tip #4 – Use a dummy wallet
If you are in a ‘shit I’m about to be mugged’ situation, it helps if you have something you can surrender willingly. Enter the dummy wallet – a pre-prepared wallet with just a few bucks in it and some old library, or other largely useless, cards. You can hand this over knowing that your money is safely hidden away.
I tend to travel with a dummy wallet, in which I keep small bills for day to day shenanigans and another proper wallet which rarely leaves my accommodation. I simply top up the dummy wallet as I go, this is also a fairly helpful tip for budget backpacking!
If you need to take more money out on the town, no worries, there are lots of ways to keep your money safe while travelling… The best ways to stash your cash while travelling all have one thing in common – you should hide your money on your body.
There are a ton of travel security products out there which are absolutely god-damn useless. Travel money belts and security neck pouches are useful for keeping your passport and money together in airports but are NOT a good idea if you are travelling through a country like Venezuela, Mexico,or South Africa.
Travel money belts are a step up from carrying all your money in a wallet as it’s not as easy to pickpocket a travel money belt. Unfortunately, travel money belts are super obvious to the trained eye which means that if a thief tries for a proper mugging, your hidden money will not remain hidden for long.
I hasten to add – the world really is a safe place, it just makes sense to properly hide your money when travelling. Most of the time, thieves will only strike when they can see a target.
Luckily, there are some travel security options out there which are a lot more subtle than the average money belt. I recommend picking up a travel security belt – it’s the best way to carry cash when traveling. When I traveled through Venezuela, I had my money hidden in three places…
My secret weapon for stress-free travels. This covert security belt takes travel safety to the next level
I’ve been using these security belts for over 7 years and they are hands down the best way to hide money on your body.
With it, just like me, you’ll be able to travel around the world, stress-free.
Over the years I’ve bought a ton of different types of belts and learned quickly most of them are cheap knockoffs. Frankly, most of them suck.
Which is exactly why I recommend the Active Roots Security Belt.
It’s super affordable, tough, airport-friendly (it won’t set off a metal detector) and you can fit up to twenty notes inside – that’s a lot of hidden travel money!
This is the best way to conceal money. Period.
Believe me, knowing that you have some spare money stashed in your belt is extremely satisfying, and will give you some much-deserved peace of mind.
I’ve travelled with a lot of cash on me, through Iran, Pakistan, Colombia and all over South East Asia thanks to this belt. This travel security belt is my number one alternative to a traditional money belt.
I never travel without it.
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
I sewed a bunch of hidden pockets into my trousers years ago and these are a great way to hide your passport and some money.
Remember, you want to split up your cash so that if one of your ways to hide money is discovered, you don’t lose everything. I think it is very unlikely that the security belt above would ever be discovered and the hidden pockets are also pretty damn sneaky – until someone pats you down.
If you are really paranoid, read on to check out my own homegrown, broke backpacker friendly, way to conceal money while traveling. You can easily make these yourself or you can buy some ready-made pockets and just sew them in and they make a great place to hide money.
#3 Laminated photo album
A few times now, I’ve taken my emergency money and placed it between two photographs of my family back home. I then laminate the two photos, back to back, with the money hidden in between. I do this a few times to create a photo album. This is a GREAT way to hide money in plain sight and is a truly secret way to conceal your cash…
A personal photo album is extremely unstealable and I figure that even if you were mugged, you could ask for the photo album back and be in with a pretty good chance of having your hidden cash handed straight back to you.
For all you ladies out there – perhaps this scarf with its hidden pocket is the best way for you to hide your money while traveling. The only problem is that scarves are pretty damn easy to lose so I’m not sure if it would be a safe place to hide cash.
The best ways to hide money while traveling are the ones that require the least amount of messing around – hide your money in a belt, or in a leg wallet (see below), and boom – job done, you don’t have to worry about it as it’s strapped to your body.
There are also some bra money belts on the market but, for obvious reasons, I haven’t tested these. Still, a hidden wallet in a scarf might be a good option for hiding a small amount of money on a night out.
There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.
The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!
Even more ways to stash your cash when travelling
If you’re looking for more nifty ways to stash your cash on the road, check out these options…
If you are carrying large amounts of cash then an undercover leg wallet is a good way to conceal your travel money. The undercover leg wallet is the best body wallet I’ve come across so far and a decent way to hide money while travelling.
If you are patted down though, I reckon there is a 50% chance that it will be noticed. The other problem is, and I speak from experience, that they get pretty uncomfortable – especially if you are somewhere hot. Prepare for a mighty sweaty leg!
Whilst wrist wallets for travel are a viable way for you to carry cash abroad they are not exactly subtle and even somebody with just one eye is likely to spot that you have something on your wrist.
Some wrist wallets are better than others, I met a girl in India who had made one herself from a large piece of leather and it basically looked like a bracelet but most of the options available to buy online are fairly obviously hidden wallets.
The whole point of a hidden wallet is that it’s a subtle place to hide your money. Wrist wallets are handy for runners or perhaps a night out but not really a viable solution to hiding large amounts of money while traveling. Still, the link below takes you to the best one I found…
Whilst I don’t use a money belt outside of airports, it is a popular way to hide money. There’s a lot of great money belts on the market so if you are going to get one then make sure it has RFID protection built-in. The best money belts for travelling are comfortable and crucially, not too fat.
The main advantage of money belts over the security belt, which is my first choice, is that you can keep your passport in there as well. When I’m catching a flight or crossing borders, I do often use my money belt as it’s the most accessible place to keep my passport, debit cards, hidden money and photos for visas.
However, I would not ever recommend wandering around streets, bars, museums or anywhere besides an airport or border crossing with your money belt on – if there is real crime in the area you are travelling than a money belt is only marginally better than a wallet as anybody who is determined to get your money will probably know where to look.
I’ve been using a security belt like this for years and recently me and my buddy DJ launched our very own travel money belt under our adventure gear brand, Active Roots. It’s the most comfortable money belt I’ve used and crucially, it ain’t too fat. Support the site, protect your shit, and buy a travel security belt today.
When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.
A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.
#8 In your shoe
You can also simply stash your cash in your shoes! An oldie but a goodie, backpackers have been hiding money in shoes since the dawn of time. The only problem is that your money may endure a bit of wear and tear and eventually end up stinking of feet…
#9 Get Insured!
Right, so it’s more of a cure than a prevention, however, should something happen, you’re damn well gonna want some excellent travel insurance coverage!
Travel insurance can really pull your ass out of the fire in a jam; it’s pulled my ass out of the fire no short number of times. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell every traveler: if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you shouldn’t be traveling.
Be sure to get your backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! Travelling without insurance would be just plain silly. Presenting The Broke Backpacker’s top recommendation – World Nomads!
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
My Top Recommendation For Hiding Your Money When Traveling
There are lots of ways to carry cash when traveling, for me though the answer is pretty obvious. The travel security belt is the best way to carry cash when traveling. It’s simple – stick your money in there and forget about it, your hidden cash is literally around your waist so unless you lose your trousers you are all good.
The belt itself is not flashy and not steal-able and the zip is only visible if you flip it over, which you can’t really do whilst it’s in the belt loops.
Hands down, this travel belt wallet is the best way to hide cash when traveling.
I’m fairly confident that you could be kidnapped and strip-searched and your hidden money would still not be discovered. Remember though, always hedge your bets and split your money into a couple of places, just in case.
The safest option is to combine the travel security belt wallet with some hidden pockets or the concealed leg wallet. Watch the video below to see the Active Roots travel security belt in action!
Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.