Personal Security

Be alert to the possibility of theft while abroad. American tourists are easily identified and usually a bit naïve. Taking a few simple precautions, however, can reduce the likelihood of losing your billfold…or at least the magnitude of loss, should it occur.

If possible, don’t look like you have money. Empty your wallet of all extraneous material, such as credit cards and membership cards you can’t use while away. Don’t be seen in public with wads of money. It is not desirable to hide all your money, since a violent assailant will assume you are carrying at least some money. Keep enough in your billfold to pacify an assailant. No amount of money is worth losing your life over. Don’t resist, antagonize, or argue with an assailant. The bulk of your funds should be in the form of traveler’s checks anyway.

Do not keep anything valuable in your rear pants pocket, where even a button can easily be ripped off without your knowledge. Carry coins in a coin purse, in one front pants pocket, to avoid casual loss and prevent jingling when you walk. Carry some local currency and a few small bills (enough for a couple of days) in a bill fold in your other front pants pocket. This will make it harder for pickpockets.

Secret pockets can be sewn on the inside of pants and shirts to conceal valuables. They can be placed anywhere, but should be equipped with buttons or zippers to preclude casual loss. A belt pocket can be made to slip onto your belt and fold over to be worn down inside your pants. The conventional moneybelt, to be strapped around the waist and worn beneath clothing, is available from travel outfitters. This is the best way to keep money and credit cards safe. However, don’t keep your day-to-day money here. Reaching for your money belt at the register isn’t smart and defeats the purpose.

For more information on safety and security, see the following links on the U.S. Department of State website: