Cash can be quite useful – and in some cases downright necessary – while traveling. Despite my personal preference for using a credit card whenever I can, I’ve been to places where cash is the only currency; be it a marketplace, restaurant, or entire city or country.
But cash is also the easiest form of tender to lose or be bereft of, on levels ranging from petty to devastating. So once you’ve been to the ATM, here are some tips for carrying your cash:
1) Don’t keep your wallet too easily accessible. The easier it is for you to access, the easier it is for a pickpocket to access.
2) Don’t access your wallet in public. If you’re in a busy marketplace and enjoying some shopping and the art of haggling, constantly whipping out your wallet is asking for trouble. Instead, keep some spending cash loose and separate from your wallet. Not only is it a form of budgeting, allowing you to pre-determine how much you’d like to spend and keeping only that amount easily accessible, but it also limits your liability for theft or loss.
3) Diversify your cash. Keep some in a wallet, some in a zippered pocket, some in a shoe, and some behind in your luggage (in an unlikely place like your toiletry kit or even in a dirty sock). That way if one stash goes missing, you haven’t lost everything.
4) Spend it all before you leave! I don’t like losing money on exchange rates, and I find it a fun challenge to budget my cash to the point where I leave a country with none in hand! (In Belfast a few years ago, I had just over ￡2 remaining and 24 hours to make it last – I found the exercise quite fun).
Here’s an article that covers many more cash carrying tips, including how to get it, stash it, convert it, and spend it. Enjoy!