How To Hide Money and Valuables While Traveling

Thieves are smart. They target travelers because travelers have money. But you can outsmart a thief — all you have to do is make it tough for them to take your stuff.

One good rule of thumb is to act like a squirrel: Hide your money and travel documents in several different places, not all in one stash. Many travelers recommend bringing a dummy wallet when you travel, which is an old wallet filled with expired or fake credit cards and some small bills. Here are a few more clever hiding places for valuables while traveling.

How to Hide Money on Your Body

Money belts and neck wallets — those flat, cloth pouches that fit under your clothes — are the traditional ways to carry money safely while you’re traveling. They’re meant to escape the notice of pickpockets and muggers, and the newer ones even have RFID blocking to keep your credit card and passport information safe. The problem with wearing one is that you end up fishing in your pants or under your shirt for cash, which may attract a thief’s attention.

There are many other discreet and clever hiding places for valuables and cash in your clothing and on your body. These include:

  • Money belts that look like real belts. These belts have zippered pockets for cash (although nothing larger).
  • Money socks. The Zip It Pocket Sock has a zippered compartment large enough for a passport and cash. While socks may sound like awkward places to hide valuables, the Zip It sock is designed for comfort, with fast-drying fabric and a nylon zipper.
  • Pocket underwear. Companies like Smuggling Duds and Stashitware make underwear for men and women that includes a surprisingly large pocket for hiding valuables. While we don’t recommend reaching into your underwear for cash while traveling, this solution is pretty much pickpocket-proof.
  • Money bra. The Bra Stash personal security wallet attaches to bra straps with snap closures. Reviewers say a bra wallet is comfortable to wear but can be easily visible under tight shirts.
  • A hair roller. Travel blogger Monica Wong suggests wearing a single hair roller while traveling “to get rid of that dull, flat airplane hair.” And guess what? Inside that roller, you can hide a few large bills, secured with a bobby pin.

How to Protect Valuables in Your Luggage

We can’t say it enough: Never, ever put valuable items or cash in your checked luggage. One government report found that more than 380 Transportation Security Administration officers were fired for theft between 2003 and 2012, travel expert Peter Greenberg reports. The thefts included iPads, cash, computers, and cameras. Former TSA agent Pythias Brown, who was convicted of stealing valuables worth more than $800,000, told ABC News it was easy to steal from luggage, even bags with TSA-approved locks.1

For your carry-on or personal luggage, you may want to invest in a bag with built-in safeguards to hide and protect your valuables. The Ultimatesafe travel backpack from Pacsafe promises to be virtually theft-proof. Its straps incorporate steel wire to deter bag slashers. Its zipper pulls attach to security hooks to thwart pickpockets. And turn-and-lock security hooks allow you to attach your bag to immovable objects. There’s even a zippered pocket in the waistbelt.

If you’re looking for a smaller theft-deterring purse, Travelon makes a cross-body bag with a locking main compartment, cut-proof shoulder strap, rear zip pocket and extra-strong Velcro closures.

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