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8 Ways to Safeguard Your Money While Traveling Abroad

The famous marketplace outside of Rome - Porta Portese- is a wonderful array of flea market goods.  From antique furniture to leather jackets, it's all there brought to you by over a thousand vendors.  The atmosphere is wonderfully Italian, the merchandise is endless and fascinating, and it's become one of the top things to do while in Rome. But along with the lively atmosphere and amidst the endless rows of vendor booths offering treasures both new and old, there's also a thriving network of professional pickpockets.  In fact, if Porta Portese is famous for being one of the best flea markets in the world, it's also famous for its expertly creative pickpockets.  Those kids are so cute (yet admittedly peculiar) and forlorn looking but watch out as one of them empties your pockets while the others distract you.  They're good... really good at what they do . You've heard the sad stories before: vacations ruined by pickpocketers, theft, or even just plain old carelessness with cash.  How's one to compete and win against the many ways traveling can unexpectedly separate you from your cash?  Here are 8 ways you can fight back by safeguarding your cash money in stealthy, smart ways that make sense for today's traveler.
 

8 tips for avoiding pickpocketers and other threats to your holiday cash

#1.  Split & Hide The age-old trick of separating your cash into several hiding spots still works for many.  Carry some, leave some in your hotel room, put some in your shoe, give some to a companion to carry, or fold it up and pin it to your underwear.

#2.  Be Wise About Stashing If you do plan to leave cash in your hotel room, don't leave it out in the open.  Cleaning staff have access, as does the manager and you never know what they could be up to.  Also, human error does come into play...your room could be left unlocked accidentally or left unattended while the maid leaves to get some fresh towels.

#3.  Be Smart About Handling Your Money Even when moving about at home with large rolls of cash, it's best to keep a close hand when counting it.  When you're on holiday, that's even more true.  A top tip for handling cash is not to display it.

#4.  Be Safe When Using ATMs Only use ATMs which are located in busy areas.  Avoid secluded machines in dark places.

#5.  Separate Your Large Bills From the Small Bills If you plan on carrying all your holiday cash with you, then you'll have some pretty large denomination bills.  Separate them so that you're not waving around tons of money every time you pay for a coffee

#6.  Try Using a Fake Wallet Pickpocketers?  Bring them on!  Let them take the dummy wallet while you keep your cash.

#7.  Credit Cards Of course you could simply take your existing credit cards with you  and use them wherever they're accepted.  Even if they get stolen, you're not liable for unauthorized purchases.  Credit cards offer unlimited spending, too...treat yourself to that gorgeous leather bag you saw in the window in Florence! But that's a downside of using credit cards...there's no spending limit.  You'll have to practice some strict self-budgeting in order to prevent horrifying bills once you get home. The other problem with credit cards is that they're not the best way to access actual cash.  ATM fees, transaction fees, conversion rates, and interest charges on cash advances can quickly get out of control.  Know your card and what it's capable of before you travel.

#8.  Prepaid Travel Money Finally, the best way to safeguard your money while traveling abroad is to leave it in the bank.  You'll still have access by using a prepaid card, but until you need it, why not leave the majority of your spending money safely back home in the bank where nobody can pickpocket you for it and you won't be able to lose it? For immediate spending concerns, prepaid travel money cards do the trick.  They also help you budget your vacation since they only allow you to spend what you've loaded onto them. A quick prepaid travel money cards comparison shows that the best of them:

  • - charge low flat fees for withdrawing cash at foreign cash point machines
  • - are easy to refill, even on the go
  • - are issued free of charge
  • - carry no transaction fees
  • - offer a one-time conversion rate when loading
  • - can be canceled if stolen

As with credit cards, you should know your card before you travel.   Smart travelers like to connect their prepaid travel money cards to an existing debit or credit card to make topping off convenient should they need more cash while traveling.  Then, they'll always have the security of keeping their cash in the bank until they need it.  The cards then keep the cash safe until the moment they're ready to use them or withdraw cash.  Couldn't be simpler!

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