You’ve ordered your travel cash and had it delivered to your home, great news! You’ve started your holiday plans on the right foot and you’re prepared for your arrival in a new country with the local currency (and got at the best rates too!) But what do you do with a thick envelope of cash?

Five top tips to help you keep your travel cash safe when you are abroad.

Tip 1: Understand the currency where you’re going.

When you’re travelling in a place with an unfamiliar currency take a little time to familiarise yourself with the currency.  Find out how much everyday things cost, like a coffee, a tip or a meal and think about what notes you need with you.

It’s an easy mistake to make if unprepared, to hand over the wrong note and not check your change.  For example, handing over 2,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah (approximately ÂŁ100)  instead of 200,000 Rupiah (approximately ÂŁ10)  when paying for a light breakfast…. “Keep the change!” would mean something very different in each case!

Another idea is not to have too many large denomination notes if possible. 

Tip 2: Spilt the storage of your travel cash

We tend to carry more cash than we usually do on holiday, we visit places we don’t usually go and we are less sure of its worth or how much things cost.  Whether ist jumping on the metro in Barcelona or haggling in a souk market in Egypt, the general consensus is to keep a note or two handy rather than getting your whole wallet out each time. Security-wise, it’s never a good idea to show people how much money you’re carrying (and it makes bartering easier!)

A common suggestion is to have at least 3 places for your cash:

  1. The equivalent of a meals worth of cash easily at hand, maybe in your purse or trouser pocket.
  2. The equivalent of a days worth of cash stored securely deep in your bag.  Be mindful of only doing this in places you trust and don’t make this visible when you’re out in public. Don’t carry more cash than you need to if visiting busy markets or to the beach if you’re planning on leaving your bags when you do things like going in the sea
  3. If possible leave the rest of your money in your hotel safe.  If not possible don’t store all your cash together, split the amount between storage places so in the unfortunate event it goes missing, the whole amount will be harder to locate.

When you are abroad your travel money is relatively more important than it would be at home.  It’s not as easy to replace it as it would be in your own town, you have set out your budget for your holiday and you need it to buy food and entertainment.  This means you really need to take care of it.

Tip 3. Know how much you need

You may have already paid for accommodation and transfers prior to departure so you’ll need to take enough to cover meals, entertainment and ice cream!  Think about how you will be spending your holiday and order your cash accordingly.

Setting a daily budget only to find out you’ve not really understood how much things cost in your holiday destination can be frustrating, and alternatively carrying excessive cash is not advisable.  You can research budgets for destinations online on sites like

Tip 4. Be security conscious and don’t rush

  • Take your time when you are getting ready for the day, think about the different stashes of money you have so you can avoid pulling out your whole wallet or purse to pay for small items like a bottle of water.
  • Be conscious of what note you are handing over and check your change.
  • Make sure you secure all zips and fastenings on your bags, even the zips on the interior of your bag, don’t make it easy to slip a hand into your bag to get cash out.
  • Avoid using an open style bag or beach back to hold your wallet or purse and avoid using the outer pockets of backpacks to keep any valuable in.  Remember easy access for you could also mean an open invitation to pickpocketers.
  • Also, when you are out shopping, take the time to replace your wallet in a secure place in your bag rather than just rushing and wedging it in your pocket. Which take us on to tip number 5…

Tip 5. Avoid becoming an easy target

Avoid keeping your wallet or purse in the back pocket of your trousers, or backpacks or on the table in front of you in cafes. Wallets mean nothing but money (and usually carry forms of ID which are often a nightmare to replace).  Wallets and phones or passports kept in back pockets are easy pickings for pickpocketers which unfortunately are more prominent in tourist areas we love to visit.  

Even if you think your wallet is safe on the table directly in front of you, you only have to be distracted for less than a second for it to be taken.  The chances are when you are on holiday, your focus won’t be on the wallet, you’ll be taking in the ambience, looking around and people watching.

Bonus tip: Don’t leave valuables or bags in a hire car

Also, if hiring a car do not leave anything of value inside and don’t leave any bags visible when you leave the car.


Although some of these may just be common sense, we are often more relaxed on holiday and let our guards down. Remembering these tips can save money time and potential heartache.

The good news is the chances of having your cash stolen are low and even lower if you follow these tips to help you keep your travel money safe. Take the necessary precautions to keep your holiday safe and we wish you all the best for safe and exciting travels!

Do you have any more tips for keeping your travel money safe while you’re on holiday?

Don’t forget to order your travel money in time before you leave on holiday.  Order today!


Travel FX brings you the latest travel money news and money-saving tips for all your foreign exchange needs.