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How to Hide Money and Valuables While Traveling

woman traveling in city
Allianz - woman traveling in city

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.

Here are a few of our best tips for concealing your money, electronic devices and other valuables when you’re traveling. And remember: the #1 best way to protect yourself is with a travel insurance plan that covers lost, damaged and stolen baggage. Get protection for your next trip.

How to protect valuables in your luggage

We can't say it enough: Never, ever put valuable items or cash in your checked bags. Luggage theft happens every day, whether by airport employees or people walking into airports to grab suitcases from the baggage claim.

Many travelers are now placing tracking devices, such as AirTags, in their luggage for extra security. In Florida, police were able to locate $16,000 worth of luggage stolen by an airline subcontractor, thanks to the AirTag concealed in one passenger’s bag.1 (Don’t use tracking data to try to nab possible luggage thieves yourself! Report your loss to the airline and local authorities.)

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. Travel backpacks from Pacsafe promise to be virtually theft-proof. Straps incorporate steel wire to deter bag slashers. Zipper pulls attach to security hooks to thwart pickpockets. And turn-and-lock security hooks allow you to attach your bag to immovable objects.

If you're looking for a smaller theft-deterring purse, Travelon makes cross-body bags with a locking main compartment, cut-proof shoulder straps, RFID blocking card slots and extra-strong Velcro closures.

How to hide money on your body

The best rule of thumb: Act like a squirrel! Hide your money and travel documents in several different places, not all in one stash. Many travelers also recommend bringing a dummy wallet when you travel, which is an old wallet filled with expired or fake credit cards and some small bills.

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 some 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 unwanted attention. Some travelers mistakenly wear money belts outside their clothes, issuing an open invitation to thieves.

Other discreet and clever hiding places for valuables and cash in your clothing and on your body include:

  • Money belts that look like real belts. These belts have zippered pockets for cash (although nothing larger).
  • Money socks. Try a pair of “stash socks” or security socks, which have a small pocket for a credit card, cash or a single key. Don’t try to stuff a whole wallet or passport in your sock, however.
  • Money-hiding shoes. Some flip-flop and sandal brands include a slot where you can keep a card or cash. Or, try Storage Soles: foam insoles with a storage compartment that can be cut to fit your shoe.
  • Stash underwear. Several companies make travel 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. Bra wallets attach to straps or fit between cups. They’re comfortable to wear but can be visible under tight shirts.
  • A hair roller. Wear a single hair roller while traveling to give flat hair a little boost. Inside that roller, you can hide a few large bills, secured with a bobby pin.

How to hide valuables at the beach

This is a classic traveler's conundrum. You want to bring your phone, cards and cash to the beach. But how can you enjoy yourself in the water if you're worried about someone grabbing your stuff? You could ask a stranger to watch your things, but that friendly-seeming local may take the opportunity to steal your valuables.

To discourage thieves, tie your bag to your beach chair so it's not easy to grab. You can also purchase a travel bag with a retractable security chain, so you can lock it to a pole or tree. Or, keep your valuables close while you swim with a waterproof case that hangs around your neck or attaches to your swimsuit.

Some ways to hide your credit cards, keys, and cash at the beach:

  • Wash out an empty, wide-body sunblock bottle and cut off the top so you can slide in your stuff.
  • Use a sturdy, empty food container as a safe.
  • Put everything in a zip-lock bag and tuck it under your towel or bury it in the sand. (Don’t forget where!)

One of the oddest — but still effective — hiding places for valuables is a disposable diaper. Take your phone, cash, and keys and roll them up inside a diaper, then fasten the adhesive tabs. Voila: a hiding place no thief will touch. You can leave it on your beach towel, so if your bag is stolen your valuables will remain safe. There are a few caveats: This works best for travelers with kids, obviously, and there's always the chance someone will toss the diaper by mistake.

How travel insurance protects your stuff

Sometimes, your stuff gets stolen despite your best efforts. That's why Allianz Travel Insurance with baggage loss/damage benefits is absolutely crucial.

Your baggage benefits can reimburse you for missing items: either the actual price, actual cash value, repair or replacement (whichever is less), up to the limit in your plan if your luggage or other possessions are stolen while traveling. Read your plan documents to understand the details and exclusions.

Keep receipts for anything you’ve bought specifically for your trip, and snap a few photos of your suitcase as you’re packing, to document the contents. Just make sure you know what’s covered by your baggage loss benefit. Stolen cash is not covered, and there’s a maximum limit for high-value items like jewelry and electronics.

You can get help if you’re the victim of theft. Contact 24-hour assistance, and our experts can help you report the crime, get money in an emergency and replace prescriptions or vital travel documents.

Some of the best travel insurance plans for baggage protection include:

  • OneTrip Basic, with baggage loss/damage benefits up to $500
  • OneTrip Prime, with benefits for baggage loss/damage up to $1,000
  • OneTrip Premier, with benefits for baggage loss/damage up to $2,000
  • AllTrips Premier, which gives you a full year of travel protection with baggage benefits up to $2,000

Protect your stuff — and your peace of mind! Get a quote for your next trip.

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Allianz - AZ_OPM_Insurance_Partner

Sep 02, 2022