How I stashed cash during solo backpacking in Indonesia

It was my second time I went solo! For a country that local currency makes you seemingly a MILLIONAIRE, it gave me headache how to handle that inch of banknotes while taking it carry-on… The highest-value banknote in Indonesia is 100,000 rupiah which is equivalent to mere 300 Thai baht. One plate of ordinary street food meal cost you around 15,000, rich huh? Darn, that’s in Rupiah eh. (around 40 TH฿ or just 1.2US$) The volume of cash surely makes you want to split it into many parts if you don’t want to get a bulky wallet. On top of that, putting all eggs in one basket as a solo backpacker is a universal MUST-NOT. Now, take a look how I portioned out 5,500,000rp cash for a 11-day trip across Java and Bali 😀

1. Hey, sleeping place comes first!

My first portion went to accommodation expense. It was 1,200,000rp (3,200TH฿). It’s better to put the necessity first than keeping all money open to any possible new expenses along the way and you end up being pale-faced to pay for hotels…

And now it’s 5,500,000 – 1,200,000 = 4,300,000 IDR

In the little notes I wrote: TOWN + NUMBER OF NIGHTS + TOTAL COST  (Jakarta + 2 nights + 500,000IDR)

Then I folded them and put into a plastic bag.

IMG_20150110_164049_1420893132939

2. EMERGENCY MONEY CAN’T BE MISSED

I kept 2,000,000IDR (around 5,200TH฿) for a backup. That made up a pretty huge percentage out of the total portion. (36%) Nothing could be trusted or expected to be smooooooooooth in Southeast Asia.

And now I had 4,300,000 – 2,000,000 = 2,300,000 IDR (6,000TH฿) left…

SACRED HOLY ROLL-ON MONEY!
SACRED HOLY ROLL-ON MONEY!

The moment I paid taxi fare and took this sacred deodorant out, that taxi driver was in awe…..

3. What? Just 6,000TH฿ left for 10 days?!!

IMPOSSHIBURU

Why not? I’m usually not a snack grabber and I don’t feel like eating spree. Indonesian food is not that far different than that we Thai have. To my later surprise, I WAS TREATED by Indonesian friends I was supposed to visit, free meals and free ride around the city. That’s why I got more money left than I had expected.

One reason I didn’t need to have fancy food was because I had nice Indonesian companies along my way in almost every city I visited although I went solo. Most of them are around my age or even younger —students —and I thought it would be awkward if I had deluxe meal while the persons sitting at the opposite with me had plain food. And definitely, I’m not a tourist who seeks comfort, my travel moral is to immerse myself in locality and get along with how people really live. When in Indonesia, do as the Indonesians do.

So, let’s cut off meal cost 2,300,000 – 700,000 = 1,600,000IDR (4,200TH฿) —this part was all for transportation, tour, etc.

MAIN FACTOR: I AM NOT A SHOPPING GIRL

NOW THESE ARE THE SPOTS I STASHED MY CASH

moneydividedcollage
I divided all the rest of money into 5-6 parts and kept them in plastic bag with notes. All I wrote was how many banknotes in each bag and the total values. Easier to hide it tho 😀

1) At the bottom of sanitary pad’s package

(no photo inserted…) Surely all of those pads were NEW & UNUSED.

2) Inside a push-up bra

Just pull off that push-up pad and insert the cash in 😀

3) Disguise in a vitamin C bottle

The pill’s package is not transparent

4) Holy yeah! MY SACRED DEODORANT

5) Under a hat

I had it modified by adding zip under the head part.

6) Backpack’s belt

7) Disguise my Macbook Air in an ordinary paper file folder.

stevenotemba
At least it’s very thin! Inspired by Steve Job’s product presentation.
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