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
- Tip Top Tips for Traveling with Cash
- How to Hide Money When Traveling
- #1 A Secret Money Belt
- #2 Hidden Pockets
- #3 Laminated Photo Album
- #4 Scarf with Hidden Pocket
- Even more ways to stash your cash when travelling
- #5 Undercover Leg Wallet
- #6 Wrist Wallet
- #7 Travellers Money Belt
- #8 In Your Shoe
- #9 Inside a Water Bottle
- #10 Get Insured!
- FAQ about the Best Way to Travel with Money
Quick Answer: Best Ways to Hide Cash when Traveling
#1 – Security Belt with Hidden Wallet
#2 – Undercover Leg Wallet
#3 – Wrist Wallet
#4 – Hidden Pockets
#5 – Ways to Hide Money
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. And anyway, if you know anything about how travel foreign exchange works, you’ll want to bring cash rather than just relying on ATMs and cards.
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 a Security Belt.
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.
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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.
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!
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#6 Wrist Wallet
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 it’s the most comfortable money belt I’ve used and crucially, it ain’t too fat.
#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. Still, even a foot scented dollar bill is perfectly acceptable currency in most parts of the world.
To our knowledge, there isn’t currently any footwear on the market with a secret stash flap under the soul. Not even the best backpacker shoes have thought of this yet!
#9 Inside a Water Bottle
Here me out here! I know what I’m talking about and I’ve tried this one myself! These days, many travellers travel with a re-usable water bottle with a proper shell – you know, a non-transparent one that you can’t see inside.
The trick is, to fill the water bottle with up, package your cash inside a tight, sealable zipper bag, and push it down to the bottom of the bottle. Of course, your water may taste a bit plasticy. This is not one I use for a day to day stashing but for special occasions such as bus rides and border crossings. Just keep your water bottle close to you at all times.
Why Should You Travel with a Water Bottle?
Whilst there’s a lot that we can do when it comes to traveling responsibly, reducing your plastic consumption is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, don’t take plastic shopping bags, and forget straws. All of this just ends up in landfill or in the ocean.
#10 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.
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FAQ about the Best Way to Travel with Money
Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:
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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.
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
Before our trip to SE Asia i sewed pockets in the front of all my husband’s underwear. They were of stretchy material. I cut up an old pair and color cordinated. We brought a lot of cash and spent 4 months there. Worked great! Got wet from time to time but hey it dried.
I have the sports bras with pockets from Amazon. Love them!! Comfy, no irritation from items between the girls, no soggy money, good support. I’ve used them on a Caribbean cruise and a RunDisney race. Was able to stuff my credit card, ID, slim pill case, two goos, chap stick, tissues, and poncho down there with no chafing. Ladies, buy them now! Men, be jealous.
Firstly thanks Will Hatton for the article. Three main places on your body is correct for storing your cash.
As devices go, the #1 device really is the #1 device. I’ve used the same security belt for over 25yrs and it works. My wife still hasn’t found it! True! The best place to store your largest denomination notes. Folded and interleaved along the length of the belt so there’s no discernable ‘thick’ section in the belt.
#2 best thing is a sacrificial wallet. An old ‘actual’ wallet filled with smallest denomination notes and some expired ATM / Credit cards. You keep this wallet attached to the inside of your back pocket with a piece of strong string and a safety pin. A nice wallet itself can cost you quite a bit in your home currency so you don’t want to sacrifice a good one. You use this wallet when in public view. Pay for small things, give tips, etc. The string helps you to not lose it in taxis etc when you sit down or forget it when you put it down somewhere.
If your wallet is demanded with a weapon, just had it over and un-clip it. They run. And you get away. They get a little cash and useless cards. You escape unharmed. The cash they got amounts to not much in your home currency.
#3 Keep your intermediate notes that you MUST carry in your ‘good’ wallet. Keep also a copy of your passport identity page and visa, and some vital phone numbers. Put them in a secret compartment pocket inside your trousers / walking shorts and positioned between your upper leg and groin, in the cleft at the front of your body there. Not being rude. That’s the place that’s hard to pick-pocket and is usually not found except by pat-down professionals eg police – and even police can be corrupt thieves. I had to pay 500,000 Rp to Jakarta police some years ago because they demanded it and threatened harm to my wife’s family if I reported them. She is from that country, I’m not. The 500k Rp = about 60AUD at that time so I just let them have it.
The laminated photo album seems a nice idea but results in another bulky item to carry around when you’re trying to save on luggage weight.
If you must carry your passport, put it in ANOTHER secret container that protects it from being crushed or getting wet. Carry it close to your body under your shirt, between hip and chest. It is worth more than most of the money in your intermediate wallet! If your passport is lost, stolen or badly damaged, it is VERY expensive, difficult, painful and troublesome to try to replace it and your VISA in it, whilst in a Foreign country!
The other most important thing is not a device but a strategy. Be organised and always vigilant. Be mindful of your location, time of day and those around you. Most thieves are opportunistic amateurs and full of fear.
Don’t make yourself an easy target and don’t provide an opportunity. eg don’t pick a bad time and location for an ATM visit. If you suspect your being followed, suddenly get into a taxi and leave that location or go to a crowded place where opportunity to steal from you is low.
** Happy Travels **
Has anyone though of using the female TAMPON tube ?
The scarf tip is so nice! Thanks for this content! 🙂
after several years traveling. and loosing some money!as a woman I made a special security money belt for myself . i absolutely recomend the Waist one and hidden pockets. money will stick with your body! and you can easily go any where (WC..esp!)
but i am still thinking a bout when swiming in the sea ! i used to put them in condoms and hide them in my bra :)). it works.
Hmmm, I don’t have a bra, but maybe I could stuff them down my cossies?
I often carry a lot of cash…….
I’m a transgender man. In our community it’s fairly common to “pack” something in one’s pants, usually a prosthetic or a sock, & imho it’s not an awful way to hide cash—you can search “ftm packing tips” for ways to keep it from falling out, keep it out of contact with your body, etc. Crafty sorts will sew pockets in & there are instructions online on how. However, if you’re already well endowed, hiding much cash in that area could cause you to look excited. Usually the rule of thumb for ftms without much going on down there is no more than two socks’ worth of bulk—and socks compress better than dollar bills.
The only time I’ve heard of someone noticing this is at gay bars and professional pat downs. So if you’re going somewhere where people might grab your crotch, it’s not secure. If you don’t sew in a pocket or sew a y-front closed it’s also very possible for it to fall out—usually when you’re running or jumping (at the gym, trying to catch a bus, etc).
I Been a Backpacker for 25+ years on and off 100+ countries – Used to use a belt but thats gone way of the dodo – best ways are still what you suggest above
But this 3 place method – Up that to like 10 places –
money gets nicked from Hotel rooms especilly some of the budget places i stayed world wide
Hide money – in wash Bag ( leave bag open with stuff in it ) some one looks doubt they nick old toothpaste
Day sack – 2 places
Main Backpack 2-3 places
dirty socks are great place or bottom wash bag
and also when walk around as mentioned small amounts in one pocket then rest in few other pockets or day sack – I even fold up a $100 bill hide in hat or camera case – behind phone if in a case
then when get home you might even find a bonus $100 –
Fake wallet and finished credit cards – been doing for 20 years nothing changed
Also watch for Bag slashers – they fix a razor blade to a pencil and expertly can slash pockets and bags nick whats inside and you can be Unaware – be bag aware always –
No 1 way i found people get robbed wrong place wrong time _ avoid dark Parks (ie Quito) – dont buy drugs i met lats people got robbed doing that -(or careful if do i guess)
3 years non stop in latin america only theft was person entered room when asleep – i woke and as he climbed window got his shoe –
Me and my girlfriend are planning to travel next year and have all these tips to thinks about..makes me nervous when it comes to keeping things like money safe etc so these tips are really helpful! Thank you x
The belt looked like a good idea. Thanks. I just bought one.
Wow! Amazing post…
Read the book “Papillon”, and see where Papillon stashed his cash while on Devil’s Island! I won’t go into details, but that cash could NEVER get stolen!!!
Hey will, thanks for sharing this hacks buddy. Your tips will really help us to hide money perfectly. Keep posting this type of helpful post… 🙂
Security belt with a hidden wallet never heard before. Definitely try by myself.
Wow, your review absolutely starred on my history. Thank you so much for the complete guide, tips and tricks, hotel and route and more, and surely it’s beneficial for my next trip to India.
Cool and very creative ideas to hide money! Will keep these in mind for my next travel! Cheers
I have tried the money belt.
The problem I then came across was that after a while travelling in hot sticky countries the bills end up with permanent folds and sometimes a bit ragged on the edges. Putting them in a sealable pastic bag helped.
After that it can can very difficult to exchange the notes.
Your ideas are all great! I will try it soon. Thanks for posting!
Awesome! Do you recommend any tracker that can be attached to a wallet? Thanks.
I’ve not tried one personally so have no recommendation to offer I’m afraid, cool idea to find your cash though!
This is very useful for traveling alone!
For woman there are little pouches that clip onto the middle of your bra, they’re pretty small but great for something like a card.
Thank you for this write-up, it has really helped me. I will be setting off on a month-long trip to Mozambique, and will, unfortunately, be carrying a whole load of cash. Unfortunately, cards and ATM’s are far from plentiful if you go further North.
Carrying this cash was a major source of stress, but now that I have a plan I’m feeling a whole lot better about it. Thanks again!!
Pickpocketing is one of the oldest and most widespread crimes in the world. A skilled pickpocket can make off with just as much money as an armed robber, without much danger of confrontation or risk of being identified in a line-up. In most cases the thief was long gone by the time the victim realizes what has happened. The security belt is really cool, I’ve never seen that before. You cash is well hiding.
Tip #4 is your best tip and one I have used myself. Just make sure the dummy wallet contains some cash and preferably a fake card. There’s nothing worse than an angry thief.
It’s best to hide ALL your money on at least one area of your body rather than in a hotel room where a hotel worker may have access. I like the belt and wallet wrapped around the waste as those wallets can usually hold more money and you can hide them nicely under a shirt.
You’re brave travelling to Venezuela which has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
What a great post about such a useful subject. This should really assist people when traveling.
Everything on this list is a must-have,haha! Thank you for sharing them. One of my favorites is that scarf and the wrist it’s kinda stylish at the same time. Anyways, great post!
Priceless tips! Thanks for unveiling your secret weapon, the security belt with a wallet is genius!
I used to be too careless about my money until I was first robbed. That was a real bummer. But it taught me to be cautious and since then, I always split money while travelling.
I’m going to try out your tricks during my next travel. A dummy wallet is a very good point.
Emergency cash hidden in a secret pocket in pants is great but just remember it’s there when you send your washing out. I made this mistake but luckily it was all returned by the honest and laughing laundry people.
Wow, some great advice. This is always my biggest stress when traveling, particularly in more rural areas where the next ATM could end up being days away.
The belt looks really great. definitely going to invest in one of those. You know if there are any leather alternatives, I love a brown leather belt?
Wow! Really interesting. I love your all fantastic idea! I usually hide most of my money in my underwear and some often in the little pocket in my workout pants. I think it is safe and comfortable.
the inseams of clothes. behind the belt. on the bottom of your pants… even shirt collars.
you just cut a whole and insert.
traveld vz twice this year. never discovered.
I’m going to make a custom belt in colombia.
Until now, I didn’t try anything of these great hacks to hide money on the body.
I want to know if i can use tbc coin to pay for my ticket
Send me BTC and I’ll send you whatever ticket you want mate.
Looking at that first pic and thinking, how do you hide such a pile of Venezuelan Bolivars in your belt? LOL.
Wow! I love the fake wallet idea! I´m heading to South America very soon, and it would probably be a good idea to have a fake wallet there. I normally hide most of my money in my sports bra and some often in the little pocket in my workout pants (they’re good to have when it´s hot outside too). But I will definitely take these advices with me on future travels, so thanks!
Will, that first picture of you holding a pile of notes and $100, you carried them all while walking around!? That’s a huge pile. I wouldn’t think its possible.
The dummy wallet is genius; I am definitely using this insurance technique. I used to use a money belt but like you say, its just a step higher than a wallet.
Yeah man – you get SO MANY notes for the USD that you will end carrying a pillowcase of cash around; that’s what I was doing – just hide it well! 🙂
I like the wrist wallet idea.
And the scarf is ultra ninja.
We made a leather belt with a small hidden pocket in the lining but you can’t get a lot into it.
I might look into making the wrist wallet out of leather, make it look like a bracelet.
Thanks for the ideas.
Nice one Will!
I’ve used a variety of methods, I even used to have a sort of arm wallet, but I would use that for clubbing, back in the day ‘cos it was far up my arm not to lose and trendy enough to still look good…!
My favourite method is the moneybelt which I used during my Gapyear. I just wore it under my jeans, and for extra security, pinned it on using safety pins. Very handy for those dodgy rooms where you know for a fact that you can’t leave your passport there..I’ve also been known to stuff some money down my sock.
I have big feet, so that usually works quite well!
I already use some of these tips, but I’ll certainly try other ones. Anyway, most of the times I prefer to use a credit or bank card. Thank you!
I used to buy a book like dictionary to hide my money or in the shoes, It doesn’t save up much but it’s something will let me catch a taxi. Thanks for great guide to show me more ways to save my money when bad things happen 🙂
These tips are simply awesome! I will definitely try some of them on my next travels! Thanks!
Always like the shoe idea! Also, for the fake wallet one. A good amount of money to have in those is about 10-30 dollars (at least in the US) so that it’s enough money for the criminal to be satisfied with you but you aren’t losing a ton of money if you’re robbed either.
Wow, Will! You have come up with so many creative methods. I never would have thought of most of these, so my hat’s off to the inventors.
Love that shoe full of hundreds illustration. 🙂
Haha how cool you are the first other person i heared about with a fake wallet. I do this for yeares and still people are suprised about something so simple. And i was really happy to have some hidden money in my backpack when someone stole my onbody money in a train in China.
Wow! Great ways to hide your money on your body! I haven’t tried any of these. I normally keep all my money, cards and all the other important documents together in a wallet, but I really like the idea of a dummy wallet. I think it’s a smart thing to do while traveling.