A final word on how to keep the cash “compact”, as in non-bulky. Obviously you should strive to move large amounts around in as high denomination bills as possible. Until you reach your ultimate point of destination (your bank in Liechtenstein, for instance) make sure that you have kept spending money apart from the serious money. Have a smaller amount for airline tickets, gasoline and hotel bills in a money-clip, preferably in your trouser pocket, and even less- serious money – petty cash – for meals en route or even potentially violent beggars in a coat pocket. Never use a wallet, thieves love them. A wallet delivers everything from cash and credit cards to identification papers with a victim’s home address in one, neat package. You may elaborate on this as a way of foiling robbers by having a seemingly bulging wallet containing nothing but small bills and expired or otherwise useless credit or similar plastic cards to placate a mugger.
Those who do not wish to leave any fingerprints anywhere always carry a small Tipp-Ex sized bottle of Beechams “Germolene NEW SKIN”, available in British and stateside drug stores at approximately £l/$2 a pop. The 13ml jar even carries fingerprint-obscuring instructions and a clear drawing on how to use it on the outside of its packaging.
An alternative could be soft leather driving gloves or white dress-gloves of the kind used for black-tie affairs. Simpsons (Piccadilly, London), among others, carries an extensive stock. Some careful individuals often don their kid gloves to avoid getting their fingerprints on anything potentially incriminating including love letters.
To reduce bulk you may have to shop around for the right currency. Canadian dollars are available in 1000-dollar denominations but these can be difficult to dispose of and if obtained from a bank are centrally registered. German 1000 Deutsche Mark bills are equal in value to roughly £400 sterling but you may go one better: Swiss 1000 Franc-bills are equal to about £500 Sterling (about US $750) and are also among the safest currencies. As opposed to US $- bills, Swiss Francs with their complex designs and colors are almost never a target for counterfeiters. If your bank hands you just one US $100 bill that turns out to be a phoney when you try to exchange or deposit it abroad you may come under some very unpleasant attention from local authorities. Far-fetched? Your author had this experience when exchanging dollars for lira in Ankara, Turkey a couple of years ago. After being questioned by a cop who – miraculously! – spoke English and was also positively disposed towards foreigners, the matter
was solved amicably. On my return, I made sure to inform my Portuguese bank that if they wanted me for a customer in the future they had better not give me any more fake US $20-bills.
We are told that Singapore issues bills for 100,000 Singapore dollars (about US $50,000) but these are probably pretty rare outside South-East Asia. If interested in this exotic option check with the closest Singaporean embassy or consulate and with a bank – then commit to memory. Their 10,000 note is common.
All told, you may comfortably – if not necessarily legally – carry perhaps 50 Swiss 1000- Franc bills in a pouch. With one strapped to each ankle, this equals 100,000 Swiss Francs or roughly £50,000 Sterling (about US $75,000) without the need for a double-bottomed briefcase.
Whatever you do, your physical person is the safest for carrying cash. To illustrate this consider the Canadian retiree who a few years ago reported to the police in Stockholm that a suitcase containing his life’s savings – about US $500,000 – had been stolen from the trunk of his rental car. Obviously not an insurance scam (insurance companies do not cover cash) the information was checked out with the Canadian authorities. Everything was kosher. The victim had, indeed, sold off his business a week earlier and had departed on a Europe-wide search for a place to retire – with his cash. Sad story.
So even if you are travelling with very large amounts of cash for any reason it is recommended that you keep it literally strapped to your person with ankle, waist and even arm pouches. This may make you as bulky as a bodybuilder with a history of steroids galore in appearance but it sure beats putting your stash in the trunk or glove box of a friendly Fiat Uno rent-a-car! Rental cars are a favorite target of thieves who usually get cameras and passports.