HARD WON AND FILLED with spending potential, your rupees, dollars, euros, pounds, and dinars are an essential part of any trip.
But that overloaded wallet you are carrying — with phone numbers, business cards, and photographs — is a rather insecure place to hide your cash when traveling. A few carefully stashed bills can be the insurance policy that gets you that train ticket, that hospital bed stay, that bottle of red wine, or that emergency call home.
Here are ten places where you can hide your cash when traveling.
Storm flaps on backpack zippers
Most nylon backpacks have a piece of fabric protecting the zipper from rain and dirt, often built in such a way that you can slit it open with a razor, and slide in a few rolled up notes.
Modern backpacks have elaborate frames of plastic and metal. Sometimes, you can access the plastic stiffening backboard sheet through a pocket, or by making a slit.
You can hide larger documents and large amounts of money in this area. But if you put too much you might feel it uncomfortably poking your back.
Trouser waist seam
The waistband of trousers is often a folded piece of cloth secured at the bottom to the fabric that makes up the leg. You don’t need to buy a fancy money belt: A quick slice with a razor and you can put several rolled up notes into this unexpected hiding spot.
Don’t push them around to the back; it will be noticeably bumpy between you and your pack. Rather, if you have the slit and the notes towards the front, they’ll be not only more comfortable, but accessible without being too noticeable.
In your shoes
My brother swears by this one, but you’ll have to be careful to not only place the notes somewhere that doesn’t interfere with your walking, but also doesn’t get ground down to a pulp by your sweaty feet pounding down on them.
In your hat
The same razor trick applies here. Many brimmed hats are built with a hat band that is actually two layers of fabric. Give it a quick slit and you can hide in some rolled bills.
In your toiletries/first aid bag
It’s unlikely that any thief rifling through your belongings would be that interested in your toothbrush and band-aids. The bag or box protecting these essentials can be used in your financial security policy.
Not so long ago, formal shirts were made with stiff collars, and even now you can find some with plastic or cardboard tabs inserted to add structure to the collar points. Get out your trusty razor blade, make a slit or two, and stash some cash.
You might try for comfort and camouflage pushing the notes around to the back of your neck, or putting paired notes in the very front sides of the collar.
The back of a travel notebook
You can make a simple pocket in the back of a notebook using some paper and tape. Some, like those now-ubiquitous Moleskines, are built with a pocket already.
Notebooks can be small and portable, and if you’ve invested some soul into your writing, then you’ll always remember to take care of it. A notebook can be, literally, priceless and it’s a good habit to keep it in your pocket.
In your wallet — with a string tied to it!
Maybe you have a leather big chain hanging off your wallet or maybe you have a big hand wallet with lots of pockets and cards and junk.
You can still carry these, but why not get a spare small wallet, simple nylon, and put your truly essential cards and cash in it.
Two wallets equal two baskets to put your eggs. You can tie or stitch a string to and then put it in your front pocket. It will be handy still, but much less likely to be stolen.
In your PayPal account
Like a bank, it is an odd thing to consider such an electronic backup as a financial insurance policy in case you are mugged.
But a Paypal account can be especially handy.
It requires less paperwork, and is less tied to the physical offices of the banks throughout the world. Leave the account details with a friend, and arrange with them to use a service such as Western Union to send you your own money via Paypal.