How to Keep Your Wallet Safe When You Travel

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We’re going to start traveling again one of these days, and as exciting as that is, it also carries with it plenty of risk. Take the risk of losing your wallet, for instance. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in a Hudson News or Starbucks, put my wallet down and walked away—until one fateful trip where I lost my wallet and couldn’t even recall when I had last seen it.

We carry everything we need in our wallets; they’re the last thing we want to lose. Here’s how to keep yours safe and secure.

Condense what’s in your wallet

First of all, it’s not necessary to actually carry your life in your wallet. Your physical passport, credit cards, and extra cash should be kept in a safe—especially if you’re staying in a hotel. Alternately, bring your own lock box and secure it in your luggage.

All you should have with you is enough cash (or cards) to eat and shop for the day. Also, keep a copy of your passport and the location of your accommodations—if you lose your wallet, someone can either return it to where you’re staying or your embassy/consulate.

Get a GPS locator

A GPS wallet locator is as thin as a credit card and can be placed in your wallet alongside your credit cards. Paired with your phone via Bluetooth, the locator will beep if you’re searching for it. The range for finding your wallet this way can be between 100-500 feet depending on the device (and the noise level where you’re searching).

Another option is using a wallet with a built-in GPS. These smart wallets typically connect to an app that helps you find its last location.

Use a fanny pack instead

If you’re always losing your wallet, why not opt out of having one altogether? For a more secure alternative, use a fanny pack. Fanny packs allow you to hold everything you’d put in a wallet and keep it all close to your body.

Similarly, you could consider an over-the-neck passport holder. While keeping your passport secured, it can also hold cash and essentials.


Go cashless (and cardless)

There are so many ways to use currency without actually pulling out any cash. Here are ways to go cashless and never lose your wallet again:

  • Use ApplePay (links your bank account and credit card)
  • Opt for Google Pay (best for Android users)
  • Download Alipay and WeChat (for Asian countries like China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia)

With all of these apps you simply link it to your method of payment (credit/debit card). After linking these, you’ll need to verify your identity; once that’s completed you can use your phone to pay for items.

Smaller, undeveloped countries may not accept these forms of payment unless you’re at an American chain store or restaurant. Always be sure to check what’s accepted in the area of the world you are traveling to. And remember that although making bigger purchases may not require you to have cash on hand, keep a few dollars for tipping,

Use store apps 

Many places have their own apps to help frequent customers accrue points, credits, and rewards. With their apps you can also pay directly without having to pull out money. These payment systems give a QR code that you’ll scan with the respective app and pay through that. This includes chains with international locations:

Keep in mind that some countries require downloading the app specifically for their region. For example, you cannot use the same Starbucks app in the US as you would in China, and vice versa.

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