Whether you’re going to Europe for a family vacation, a cruise to the Caribbean, or even two hours away from Gainesville with a bunch of friends, you’re going to care about your money when you travel. No place is free of thieves, so here are four tips to help ensure you don’t lose your precious cash.
1) Don’t mark yourself as a tourist.
There are so many things tourists wear and do that scream, “I’m on vacation!”
Don’t stand out in the crowd. Ditch the fanny pack - it’s a fashion sin and shows where your money is. Leave all the fancy jewelry at home; they show you have something to lose.
Don’t keep pulling out a map – it shows you’re unfamiliar with the area and can act as a distraction. If you have a map, try to memorize where you’re going ahead of time and only pull it out for emergencies once you’re there.
If you’re vacationing where English isn’t the first language, you can go the extra mile and learn a few key phrases in the native language. One is asking, “How much?” to a street vendor or at a kiosk. You never know – it may save you from getting ripped off.
2) Keep the bulk of your money in a safe place.
This is a “duh” tip, but it needs to be said. If you’re staying at a hotel or on a cruise ship, only bring what you think you’ll spend from outside your room. It’s best to keep your excess money in the safe. When you’re shopping it’s hard to determine just how much you’ll spend, but always keep SOME money locked up.
Some cars actually have storage compartment in the floor that can only be opened with a key. If you’re bumming out your trip in a car, this would be a place to store your most important items while you’re exploring the area.
3) Have the right type of equipment while you’re out and about.
Shunning the fanny pack is a great start. Ladies, if you want to bring a purse, it’s best to have a sturdy one that you wear as a messenger bag – you put your head through the strap and the whole thing rests around your body. It’s a lot harder to steal compared to one that’s just on your shoulder or hanging around your wrist.
In your wallet, don’t bring all of your cards with you – your library card, Gator1 and store gift cards take up space. It’s good to have a travel wallet, which is thin and only has a few pockets for the cards that are important – driver’s license, one credit card, and an insurance card. Some people even buy a dummy wallet and slip in a few fake credit cards (the ones you get in the mail) in case of a robbery.
There are tons of items you can buy that will help hide your cash, such as shirts with pockets on the inside or belts that goes under your clothes. If you’re vacationing somewhere where the robbery rate is high – go for it. There are also inexpensive things you can use for a stash; my personal favorite is pulling out your chapstick and putting a few bills in the container.
4) If all else fails, utilize your clothes
It’s pretty tough to inconspicuously steal money that’s in a sock, shoe or bra. If you’re extremely paranoid and don’t want to bring a wallet at all, this is the best alternative. Just don’t fumble around with the cash too often, even if you feel uncomfortable.