Many of these items are not useful or necessary when we travel. If stolen, the loss of some of these items can cause a great deal of trouble for a traveler.
For example, it’s not recommended that travelers take their debit cards with them on their trips. Your credit card has better protection if it’s stolen. A thief who obtains your debit card, however, can drain your bank account – an action that’s not covered by any bank protection or travel insurance.
There’s another reason to minimize what you carry in your wallet when you travel: identity theft.
If a thief gets your wallet with either or both your social security card and driver’s license, they have everything they need to steal your identity and create a nasty financial mess you’ll be cleaning up for years to come.
Therefore, we recommend that the last step you take before you zip up your suitcase is to go through your wallet and remove any items that are not necessary to your trip.
15 Items to Remove from Your Wallet Before Travel
Before you take a trip, remove these items from your wallet:
- Social security card
- Debit card
- Work ID card
- Voter’s registration
- Library card
- Department store credit cards
- Gasoline credit cards
- Local discount cards
- Personal momentos
- Irreplaceable photos
- Video rental cards
- Checks or deposit slips
- Pills or medications
- Gym ID cards
We’ve even heard that some people carrying their birth certificates in their wallets. Remove that item right now and store it in a locked safe or a safe deposit box instead. Your birth certificate should never be carried in your wallet – not even back home.
Stop to Consider your Cash and Health Insurance Cards
Travelers should keep only the cash they need for that day in their wallet. Too much cash in your wallet, and you’re a prime target to be mugged or robbed. Too little, and you could be stuck if you wind up somewhere where credit cards aren’t accepted.
Travelers should also be careful about taking along their health insurance ID cards if they are traveling to a location where their insurance coverage does not extend:
- If you’re traveling inside your home country but outside your health insurance network, your health insurance ID cards are still useful. You’ll be paying out-of-network charges for your medical and dental care, but some coverage is better than nothing after all.
- If you’re traveling overseas, it’s not likely that your health insurance will provide any coverage at all. Leave the cards at home to protect them from being stolen.
Make it Easy with a Separate Travel Wallet
Consider a separate travel wallet when you travel. After all, it’s far easier to transfer a few items – your driver’s license and credit cards – to a travel wallet than it is to take the proper time to get everything you don’t need out of your everyday wallet.
Fool Pickpockets with a Fake Wallet
Consider a fake wallet to fool pickpockets. Some travel experts recommend putting in some old cards – outdated library cards and used gift cards work well here – and even some fake money into a cheap wallet. Carry that wallet in a more accessible location and keep your real wallet secured.