In fact, withdrawing and exchanging large amounts of money minimizes the risks and fees and maximize your time going to currency exchanges and ATMs. This means you will travel with lots of money which can be lost on the way. Smart travelers know the best tips to keep their money safe in Vietnam. I would like to share 40+ great Tips to keep money safe when traveling in Vietnam, including dividing your cash, credit cards and other valuable things, hiding them on your person, in your hotel rooms, keeping them safe when you are using public transportation, using ATMs safe and many other tips.
Rule #1 – Never keep all your travel cash and credit cards in one place
1. Do not keep your money, credit cards and valuable items (eggs) in one place (one basket) such as your luggage, in your hotel room or on your person. You will lose all if the luggage gets lost, a thief enters your hotel room, you are pickpocketed or your bag is snatched.
2. Divide up your cash and bank cards and stash them in different places on your person, throughout your luggage, and in your hotel room.
3. Leave all the cards and cash you won’t need immediately in a secure location in your hotel. Put bags of money in suitcases, safety boxes and other places in your hotel room. We will go into details later.
4. Separate your cash into piles and put them into separated zipper bags, squeeze the extra air out of the bags before hiding them.
5. If you’re a solo traveler, keep a backup card in a separate place to the one you use regularly.
6. If you’re traveling with a partner, split your money and cards between the two of you in order to make sure two of your are ok in case you get separated or something happens to one of you.
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7. Keep some small cash in an easily accessible pocket or wallet and you will not lose so much money when you pay for a bottle of water or buy an entrance ticket and snatched by a thief.
8. Carry small bills and only the cash you need for the day.
9. If you’re forgetful, write the places you hide your cash and credit cards on a notebook or write a not on your smartphone.
Tips on keeping your money in your hotel room
Put your cash, credit cards and other valuable items in safes in your hotel rooms in order to keep money safe when traveling in Vietnam.
10. You can leave some of the money and valuable things in the safety box in your hotel room. Although some hotels provide safes that let you set your own codes, the safes can be opened by someone on the hotel staff in some ways.
11. Some travelers do not count on safes but hide valuable things in secret places as follows:
- Inside shower curtain rods, zippered cushions on chairs, covers on the ironing board, shoes.
- Taped to the bottom of a bottom drawers, bottom of heavy pieces of furniture, the back of furniture against walls.
- Use a screwdriver to hide money inside frames of older televisions and telephones.
- Put money into a bottle then drop the bottle into the toilet tank or refrigerator.
- Put money and toilet paper or tissues into an empty bottle of shower gel or shampoo and put the bottle in the bathroom.
- Under mattresses, inside teapots, zippered cushions, tissue boxes after the room has been cleaned for the day.
- In pockets of dirty clothes which are put in a package.
As mentioned above, make sure you remember all the places where you hid all your money and spend your time collecting the money before leaving the hotel.
Tips on keeping money on your person
12. Use rubber bands to wrap money and wallets to make them stickier and harder to steal and keep money safe when traveling in Vietnam.
13. You can simply keep money in your zipper pockets. So that shorts, pants, jackets, shirts with zipper pockets are good choices. Money and wallets should go in front pockets of your pants or shorts. But the truth is pickpockets easily get money from your zipper pockets. Clothing items with hidden interior pockets are smart things to help you avoid pickpockets.
14. Hiding some money in your sock or in your shoes is not a bad idea. Some female travelers hide money in their bras. It is difficult for thieves to steal money from your shoes and bras.
15. Under-clothing storage accessories are effective and useful in case you sleep somewhere and your money in pockets, suitcases and bags may be stolen easily. They are not good wallet alternatives because it is not convenient to get money from on-body storage in front of sellers and cashiers.
- Most travel experts wear money belts, waist money belt, neck pouches, leg money belts worn around the thigh. Currently, leg money belt is the safest. Pickpockets know how to slice them off some travelers. Bra stashes are recommended by many female travelers.
- If you are good at cutting and sewing, you can sew a money pocket into the inside of shorts, pants, jacket, long johns, underwear, and undershirts. Otherwise, you can buy the listed items with built-in pocket.
- Or you can cut a hole in the cuff or a waistband, slide some cash in there. Smart and crafty, right?
15. Keep small bills handy in a wallet and large banknotes in other wallets which should be hidden somewhere.
16. Anti-theft bags, backpacks, wallets, purses which are made from cut-proof and slash-proof fabric and leather, have steel-cable-reinforced straps and locking zippers, are worth buying. These items are sometimes expensive but they are investments that might save you so much money.
17. A dummy wallet containing nothing or paper cards which sample credit cards, small notes, some coins can deceive pickpockets or stop pickpockets before they get to your real wallet.
18. Avoid keeping purses or wallets in the front pocket or outer compartment of your bag or backpack which are less noticed.
19. Wear bags and backpacks in the right ways to help you avoid pickpockets and snatch thief:
- Keep the flap of the bag against your body so that it is harder for pickpockets to steal something from the bag.
- Sling the strap across your body rather than just over one shoulder.
- Wear the bag on the front instead of the back.
Carry enough money you need for the day
20. Planing what to spend on a day and carrying enough money for the day is one of the smart ways to keep your money safe while traveling.
21. If you join a half-day Cu Chi tour including transport, guide, entrance ticket, bottle of water, tissue, you will carry money to pay for the tour, tip the guide and buy some souvenirs. Research what to buy in Cu Chi Tunnels and the prices before the tour in order to know how much money you should carry.
22. If you go to the War Remnant Museum yourself, you just carry enough money to pay for taxis and the entrance fee to the museum.
23. You can buy tickets and tours at tour desks in your hotels or at tour agencies around the hotels. Carrying enough money and shopping at fashion stores, souvenir stores, convenience stores, do laundries, have your meals around your hotels if there is no need to go to further places.
Tips on keeping your money safe while in transit in Vietnam
24. Keep your valuables and money in your carry-on luggage rather than in your checked-in bags. In Vietnam, your check-in bags can be lost or slashed.
You check-in luggage may be damaged or sliced and your valuable things may be stolen. Source: plo.vn, kosshop.vn, sohuutritue.net.vn, vietnamplus.vn
25. Keep money and valuable belongings on your person instead of bags and backpacks when you sleep on planes, trains and buses. There are fewer risks in private cars and private cabins on trains.
26. Try not to sleep when using public transportation if it is a short journey. On-body money storage is a good choice if you want to sleep.
27. Pay attention to everything when:
- You are waiting at bus stations and taxi stands on the streets, especially at airports.
- You hop on and off buses and trains.
- You are in waiting areas at bus and train stations.
- You are on crowded buses.
- You move on trains.
Use Money Alternatives
28. There are some money alternatives in Vietnam and you should consider using them in order to avoid carrying so much money while traveling and going out:
29. Book in advance and make online payment for your hotel rooms, tours, bus and train tickets, cyclo rides, meals, show tickets and other services. Certainly, you should check the cancellation policies for the services. Make sure that they refund you in case you need to cancel. Some tour agencies and hotels in Vietnam do not charge if the cancellation is made at least 24 hours before the scheduled tours and check-in date.
- You can search for hotels and experiences and book rooms and tours on websites and apps of Online travel agencies (OTAs) such as TripAdvisor, Agoda, AirBnb, Expedia, GetYourGuide, Hotels.com.
- You can book train ticket at http://vetau.com.vn/#/
- It is easy to book bus tickets at good prices at https://vexere.com/en-US.
- Book directly on websites of hotels, tour agencies, shows. If you have any questions, just contact them and let them know that you would like to pay in advance.
30. Some hotels and tour agencies accept Paypal when you are in Vietnam.
31. Keep both printed vouchers and e-vouchers to make sure one of them is lost. For example, you can show them e-vouchers if you forget where your printed vouchers are, the printed vouchers get wet or are torn. If your phone was lost, you show them printed vouchers. I both smartphones and printed vouchers are lost, you can log in your email on any other device and show them the e-vouchers.
32. If you stay in Vietnam for a long period of time, you can use popular Vietnam’s e-wallets such as Momo, Moca (English version), Zalo Pay which are accepted at lots of supermarkets, stores and used to make online purchases on online marketplaces.
Tips on avoiding from being targeted in Vietnam
33. Do not let them know you are a tourist and newcomer in Vietnam. Carrying bulky bags and backpacks or money belts and clothes with many zipper pockets, you tell thieves that you are a traveler and have lots of valuable things to be stolen. Although European, American, African, Middle Eastern and Indian foreigners are easily recognized in Vietnam, try to look more like a local or an expat by wearing simple clothes and inexpensive-looking backpack or bag.
34. Withdrawing and exchanging money on the street is a good way to get ripped off. At some currency exchange stores and gold shops on the street, customers queue in line. Thieves usually are around these places and may target you. They also observe customers at ATMs and exchange money stores at airports, railway stations and bus stations. Instead of withdrawing cash at an ATM on the street, you can withdraw cash at an ATM in an office of a bank where there are security guards and security cameras. Gold shops and currency exchange stores in houses or buildings are good places to exchange your money.
35. Be discreet with your money in public. Never count your money in public places but in secret places such as a restroom.
36. Never leave your bag unattended even you are relaxing at a coffee shop, enjoying your delicious meal at a luxury restaurant, or watching a wonderful show.
Tips on withdrawing cash at ATMs in Vietnam
37. Cover the keypad with your hand when entering the PIN code.
38. Do not use the ATM if there are many people standing too close to you. Choose ATMs in a booth or inside a bank lobby or foyer. In Vietnam, most of the ATMs have security camera inside them. If you become a victim, it will take you lots of time to find the thieves and it may ruin your trip.
39. Count your cash as quickly as possible and prepare a place to keep the cash before.
40. Cancel the transaction and leave the ATM right away if one or more people approach you. They may want to steal your bank information as well as the money in your credit cards or the money in your bags.
41. Never accept the help of anyone except for security guards and bank officers.
42. Withdrawing your cash at ATMs should be done during the day instead of at night.
Read more about The ultimate guide to ATMs in Vietnam.
Protect your devices with passwords
43. Protect your devices such as your phone, laptop, or tablet with passwords so that thieves can not log in the devices, then access your financial details including bank information and credit card information through apps and emails.