How to keep money safe while abroad

Whether you’re going on a blissful beach holiday or non-stop city break, we know fun or relaxation are usually the number one priorities.

But even when you switch off, it’s still important to keep an eye on your money and your valuables while travelling abroad.

Keeping your personal possessions and money safe while travelling is a whole lot easier when you plan in advance. So, before you jet off, follow these simple steps to give yourself some extra peace of mind.

Choose the safest way to carry money abroad

Are you planning to take credit or debit cards, prepaid currency cards or cash? Or better still – a combination of them all?

Everyone has their own opinion on the best way to take money abroad. Here are our tips to help you choose.

No matter where you’re heading off to, it’s always useful to carry some local currency.

Just make sure you shop around to find the best rate rather than exchanging money at the airport when you’re getting cash abroad. And always use a registered trader, like a bank or exchange bureau.

It’s quick and easy to use your debit card abroad to make purchases and withdraw cash from foreign ATMs. But bear in mind a non-sterling cash fee may apply each time you use it.

A credit card can help manage the cost of large unexpected or emergency purchases abroad. And under the Consumer Credit Act, you’re protected for single credit card purchases between £100 and £30,000.

Card issuers that operate ‘chargeback schemes’ may offer extra protection, so it’s useful to keep this in mind when shopping around. And like all cards, double check the small print to understand the fees that apply when using your credit card abroad.

Prepaid currency or travel cards are the modern version of travellers’ cheques – and arguably the safest way to carry money abroad.

Before you travel, you can load your prepaid currency card with local currency so you can withdraw cash from an ATM on holiday. Just keep in mind that some card issuers may charge a small fee for doing this.

You can also use a prepaid currency card like a debit card to pay for purchases. And when your card starts to run low, you can simply top up online as you go.


How to keep money safe while you’re abroad

Happy days. It’s finally time to hit the beach or explore a new city. But that means it’s time to be carefree – not careless.

Here’s our top tips on keeping money safe while on your travels.

  • Keep your PIN to yourself – never write it down or share it with anyone
  • Make sure you bank or shop safely online, especially when using public Wi-Fi
  • Don’t let your card out of your sight and shield your PIN when typing it in
  • Avoid using cash points that appear to have been tampered with. You may be at risk of counterfeit fraud
  • Tell your provider immediately if your card is lost, stolen or used fraudulently

If you’ve chosen to take cash on holiday with you, split it up to avoid unwanted attention. Don’t carry it all in one place to prevent it from getting lost or stolen.

The safest place to keep your money secure will most likely be in your hotel room safe. If you don’t have one (or if you really need to carry cash with you) try keeping your money in a:

  • Money belt
  • Neck pouch
  • Slash-proof anti-theft bag

Purse-snatching and pickpocketing tend to be more common in places where tourists gather. So, stay aware of your belongings, especially when you’re in and around busy tourist attractions.

To help keep your money and valuables safe, consider the following:

  • Check maps in bars and restaurants rather than on the street
  • Don’t leave bags or purses unattended – keep them secure and visible in front of you
  • Split your money up and keep spare cash in your hotel safe if you have one
  • Stay vigilant in crowds
  • Wear a money belt and keep it hidden under your clothes

Before you set off, research your destination to check whether it’s known for any particular scams. Local embassy websites and travel forums can be useful sources of information.

Some common scams to watch out for include:

  • Cashiers pretending to be on the phone, while taking a photo of your bank card
  • Scammers offering flowers or friendship bracelets, then demanding payment
  • Strangers offering to take a picture, then asking for payment or running off with your camera
  • Someone ‘accidentally’ spilling something on your jacket then offering to help clean it to go through your pockets
  • Taxi drivers deliberately taking longer routes than necessary


What if your money is lost or stolen?

If the worst happens and your money, cards or valuables are lost or stolen, it’s sure going to sting. But knowing what to do and where to go can help ease the pain.

  • Report it to the local police straight away
  • Ask for a written police report – you’ll need it to make a travel insurance claim
  • Tell your card provider immediately
  • If your passport is lost or stolen, contact the closest embassy or consulate as soon as possible

It’s worth taking note of their overseas number in case you have to call them in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to double check your registered contact details are up to date before jetting off. Just in case your bank needs to get in touch with you.



Protect your travel money

It’s important to keep your wits about you abroad. But it’s just as important to relax and have fun.

With travel insurance from Sainsbury’s Bank, underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, you can switch off and enjoy your trip – knowing we’ve got your back.

Get a quote


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