Travel and Money: Carrying Decoy Wallets

Editor's note: Traveling safely and managing your money along the way is an exercise in balancing multiple risks: theft, loss, high surcharges, and confusing discrepancies. This Travel and Money series discusses various ways to address money and security issues while you are abroad.

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Closeup of a black wallet
© Alexander Baxevanis

A friend of mine left the bar he had enjoyed a few drinks at to walk back to his hotel. It wasn’t late, but it was late enough. He wasn’t drunk, but he had certainly drunk enough. And he wasn’t in an unsafe area, but it was dodgy enough.

He had visited this town before, and had all the street sense of a seasoned city-dweller ”” even with a few drinks in him. So he had relatively little to worry about.

Alert and aware of his surroundings, he crossed the street and rounded a corner. Wham! Face to face he came with a group of big guys with even bigger scowls on their faces. The exchange of minced English and foreign words that took place was fast and furious. It all ended with my friend receiving a body-doubling punch in the stomach, and a not entirely cordial request for his money.

He reached into his pocket and reluctantly drew out his wallet. His perpetrator grabbed it, quickly opened it to reveal a few small bills and a few cards. He sneered at this paltry take and ran off with his friends, wallet in hand, before they could create too much of a ruckus and attract attention.

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2 Responses

  1. How Not To Get Robbed While Traveling - Latitude 34

    […] Along those lines, consider a “decoy wallet”. The gist is that you keep a wallet in your pants pocket with just enough cash and cards to fool a mugger into thinking that it’s your only one. Meanwhile, your whole nest egg is safely stashed elsewhere. If you do get mugged, they’re (hopefully) only making off with a fraction of your real stash. (Read more about it on […]


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