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Six Precautions to Take When Traveling with Cash


carrying cash travel internationalWhile traveling internationally to complete your adoption, carrying cash is often a necessity. Credit cards, while an everyday convenience here in the United States, are not always practical when traveling to third-world countries. We recommend our families carry cash both in American dollars and local currency. Here are some tips for traveling internationally with cash.

  1. Invest in a money belt. Purses, wallets and fanny packs all attract the attention of potential thieves. While wallets may be most convenient, and can be used to carry some small amounts of money, carrying cash close to your person, under clothes where it is difficult to access is the safest option. Money belts can be a variety of materials, but if you’re planning on wearing it while flying, we suggest a cloth or plastic version to prevent you from having to take it off while going through airport security. Some companies make money carriers that can be worn around the neck, which may be more convenient.
  2. When traveling, do not put cash in a checked bag. Unfortunately, airlines can lose baggage or even worse, your baggage may be searched through for a variety of reasons, giving someone an opportunity to take advantage of you. Cash is safest on your body in the form of a money belt, but can also be put in your carry-on bag, just be sure to keep your carry-on bag at your side, and keep careful watch over it when going through security.
  3. If you are not traveling by yourself, divide cash between traveling companions. (This lessens the risk on just one person.)
  4. Be discreet. In addition to wearing a money belt, it makes sense to carry the cash you think you’re going to need for the day in a more easily accessible place so each time you need to use cash you don’t have to get into the money belt and expose how much cash you’re carrying.
  5. Request new, crisp bills. When you withdraw money from your local bank, make sure to request new bills. When paying with American dollars internationally, vendors can be picky about the condition of the money, and may even refuse to take bills that are not crisp enough. This is not usually a hardship for the bank as long as you ask in advance if necessary.
  6. Limit credit card usage. Not only is it dangerous to carry credit cards when traveling because of the risk of having your wallet stolen, but local vendors who accept credit cards may not use precautions in safeguarding against identity theft. If you do choose to travel with credit cards, give all the information to a trusted individual at home. In the case that your card gets stolen, you can contact them quickly and they can make the necessary phone calls to cancel the credit card(s).

Follow these six precautions when traveling with large amounts of cash to stay safe!

For more information about international adoption, click here.

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Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.