I took the step of having two inside pockets stitched inside the waistband of two different pairs of lightweight pants which I wore while riding on public transport and/or while walking in crowded public markets.
I universally carry along laminated photocopies of my passport (3) which I stash in my bag, my camera bag, and any other place I can think of.
This is about the best plan you can have on the road. The laminating the passport copies thing is something I have only done on this trip...but it works like a charm. Two thumbs.
I just ordered a great passport wallet today, and plan on keeping it in my front cargo slacks pocket. I think I will do the lamination of the copy as well - thanks for the idea!
I'll be in SE Asia, and Vietnamese paper currency can take up a great deal of space. Last trip I kept the small bills <10,000VND (small change) in another pocket to give to the poor and handicapped, and will do the same this trip.
Part of the problem of the stitched inside pockets is that if you put anything bulky or hard in it (wallet, credit card etc), it becomes obvious on the outside that something is there, and the fact that you have gone to such an effort can attract more attention than if you hadn't. For some cash supplies, it works, but only if you don't ever go into that supply in public/shop/etc
I always carry cash/cards in at least 2places on my person, and have at least another couple of cards and normally 4 or 5 small stashes of emergency through my stuff, some hidden in places I won't ever tell anybody about, so word doesn't get out and those places compromised by others (as happened with money belts, due to all the idiots who were always dipping into them in public. Utter morons).
In particularly dodgy places, I have a 'fake' wallet in my pockets as well (make sure there is enough small cash and random bits - people never put the random bits in, meaning they are give away fakes - like store cards, old phone cards, receipts, stamps or whatever) which I can hand over if somebody mugs me. It sounds paranoid, and perhaps is, but at least gives me a bit of piece of mind and extra security so i shouldn't ever get completely stuck. Well, unless i have my bag and all clothes simultaneously stolen and get left naked somewhere, which is a reasonably rare occurrence, i believe.
I have never though of laminating photocopies of my passport, I must admit, though it does make sense. I do, of course always have 3 or 4 paper copies amongst my stuff, plus scanned copies in my email (and at my parents) for emergencies. *now ponders the lamination idea and wonders if a laminator even exists on St. Helena*
ziplockbags are as good to keep your papers dry and they are softer then laminate.
ziplockbags are usefull for everything and they come in different sizes from Sandwich to cloth storage size.great to organize your backpack,keeps your clothes dry.Also graet also for your photo equipment.
I must agree with Gelli - using a special storage space for your passport/wallet may very well attract more attention than simply storing it as usual. Pickpockets on the look-out will always check you out - when you take up your wallet in a store or at a stand. And anything you put in a out-of-the-ordinary place, in their eyes, must be worth stealing.
I simply have my wallet in my leg-side pockets, as I always have. Passport depends, but often deep in my regular camera bag - so no one could ever see it.
I used to have a very simple way to be sure not to be robbed: When crossing croud (markets etc), I would keep my hands in my pockets, where my papers and wallet were. Might sound ridiculous, but sometimes, the most simple, the most efficient.
For the average traveler, the most secure thing is to look like a harder target than your fellow tourists. People out to relieve travelers of their currency don't pick a target at random, and then decide how to get them. They watch for soft targets, and take advantage. Most people that prey on tourists have specific MO's they are comfortable with. They are opportunists, so don't look/act like an opportunity.
So to be a harder target, never flash much cash. You should have at least an idea of what your expenses for the day are. If you have any majors purchases or payouts then have that in secondary pocket from the money you regularly access. Toilets are also globaly private. If you need a refil or to transfer moeny about your person, go there to do it.
Don't wear jewelry out and about.
Don't buy aa bunch of travel clothes and gear, and walk around in new everything.
Scuff your shoes. Mark up that new back pack.
If you want, you can also carry around decoy wallet in your back pocket. It can be interesting when you get back to your bed at night, and you realize it's gone. Don't be tempted to leave a cocky message in it though, you don't want to make it personal.
As always, trust your gut. Look people in the eyes. Use your head.
Just look like more trouble than you are worth, just remeber to not let it affect your manners.
Most people you meet aren't going to steal/screw/harm you (unless you can't barter, then you'll be cash light whatever you do), so don't treat them like it. But be mentally open to the possibility.
Depending where you go, you can also break your currency by having a couple ATM cards (two accounts, two cards. Same bank = easy online/phone transfers with Canadaian banks anyway). That way if one is lost/stolen, it's only a slight nuisance.
And as the above posters noted, keep a copy of your passport in everything. Backpack, daypack, camerabag, money belt, tilly hat, whatever.
And remember, if absolute worse comes to worse. It's just stuff. If you need to you can walk away from it, so you should never be in any real danger from the opurtunists of the world.