a travel wallet overflows with cash and credit cards

5 Things Not to Carry in Your Travel Wallet

Travelling abroad is a fun and relaxing experience, but it comes with its own inherent dangers. Protecting your valuables and your identity while exploring the world can be as simple as knowing what not to carry in your wallet. Below are five things you should never keep in your wallet or your purse while on vacation. Losing these items will lead to unnecessary headache and a complicated process for replacing them.

  1. Your Social Security Card

    When it comes to what not to carry, ID theft experts say the Social Security card is the absolute worst. Your Social Security Number is the only thing a skilled identity thief needs to begin opening credit cards or taking out loans in your name. Never carry your card with you; try to memorize the number instead should you need it, and only take the physical card with you when you know you'll need to present it.

  2. Your Passport

    It can be hard to avoid needing to show your passport while travelling abroad, but for the most part, you shouldn't need it every day. If you know you'll need to show it, take it. Any other time, leave it somewhere protected, like a hotel safe. Make photocopies of your passport and leave those in the safe, too. This makes it easier to replace your passport if it's lost or stolen.

  3. Your Checkbook

    Checks have a remarkable amount of information on them, including your account number, routing number, and address. It's also possible that your signature may be imprinted on the top check, giving thieves complete access to your bank account. The best scenario for carrying checks is to have only one at a time, filled out with as much information as you can.

  4. Large Amounts of Cash

    The rule goes "only carry as much cash as you're willing to lose." In some areas, pickpocketing is a lucrative form of employment. Don't fall prey to petty criminals cutting your purse strings or lifting your wallet and making off with your whole vacation fund. Opening your wallet to reveal an excess of cash will make you a prime target.

  5. Your Unprotected Phone

    For many people these days, phones are their lifelines. We tend to feel so confident that they'll be attached to our hips 24/7 that we're lax with their security: saving PINs, storing passwords, and remaining logged in to many private accounts. If pickpockets lift a phone with no security code, they could easily gain access to bank accounts, PayPal, email, and lots of other private information. Make sure to put some type of lock-code on your phone when traveling. That way, even if it's lost or stolen, it'll be nothing more than an expensive paperweight to whoever finds or takes it.

Travelling should be an exciting experience, not one filled with worry and dread. Following these tips on what not to carry with you can help protect you while you vacation, and they will provide some peace of mind while you explore the great wide world.

Last Updated: September 23, 2014