Fodor's Spain 2006: "No money belts"

Sep 9th, 2006, 02:58 AM
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Fodor's Spain 2006: "No money belts"

The 2006 edition of Fodor's Spain warns against depending on waist packs (bum bags) and money belts in Spain (p. 52, 53). Their Portugal guide gives a similar warning.

Both guides recommend deep pocketed jackets and carrying only what is absolutely necessary in front pockets.

I always wear one of my LL Bean Traveler blazers when I go to Europe or during airplane travel here at home. These have pockets, some of them zippered, that are so deep I sometimes have trouble retrieving my own stuff!

Obviously, someone could slit the jacket with a razor blade, but if I distribute stuff, its location isn't obvious.

We are off to Spain and Portugal in November. I'll let you know how it works!
Ackislander is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 03:15 AM
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We discussed this advice on another thread. My interpretation is that Fodors means that one should avoid "fanny packs" or "waist packs" that are roomy pouches strapped around the waist and over clothing.

It would be very foolish to advise against using a true "money belt" which is a flat cloth 'envelope' secured underneath clothing and unattainable for the groping hands of pickpockets. I can think of no reason that these should be avoided. What one chooses as personal preference is another matter.
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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I sure hope they mean fanny packs/bum bags/belt bags. I think they got sum editin' to do before the next editions. That is just silly advice. I can see it now - sitting in a cafe on a warm afternoon, all one's worldly possessions are in those deep jacket pockets. It is a warm day and you place the jacket over the chair back - oops - jacket gone, worldly possessions gone. Or jacket pocket slit open and worldly possessions still gone. "but fodors said it was safer!"

Don't get me wrong - the secured jacket pockets are fine for some situations - but you can't wear it 24/7 . . . . . .
janisj is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Oh I meant to edit - should have said "I agree about the fanny packs/bum bags/belt bags, but Money belts?? . . . "
janisj is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 07:25 AM
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There isn't a more horrible travel accessory than a fanny pack (waist pack). I never understood the practicality of it either. It screams "important stuff in here, take me".
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Sep 9th, 2006, 07:58 AM
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I would agree that it was an odd statement to warn against "money belts" which are made to be worn under clothing. Did the person who wrote the article really never hear of such things and think that "bum bags" or "fanny packs" were in any way related to money belts?
 
Sep 9th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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Maybe they say it because they can be uncomfortable on hot weather ? Or because you don't wear clothes enough to hide it ? If not, I also cannot see the point.
kenderina is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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I wear a document/wallet holder that is looped through my belt and am confident that it is as secure as anything. My arm naturally rests over it the minute it is in a relaxed position and it is deep enough (the passport and IDL fit in vertically) and tight enough that it would be difficult to pickpocket it anyway. As it is I can't "whip out" my wallet.
Michael is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Ackislander, you reminded me of something I saw on the Travel Channel about theives who put up signs in tourist areas that say, "Warning Pickpockets in Area" or something to that effect. It always causes people to check the pocket where they keep their money.
I personally don't like waist packs, they are truly horrid but I wear a money belt inside my clothes.

L84SKY is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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There are generally two kinds of overseas travelers: those who don't understand the merits of a money belt... and those who have not YET been pickpocketed.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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> There are generally two kinds of overseas travelers:

Those who have a genuine concept about what acting securely in respect of finivial and idenitity issues really is, and those who don't.

Money belts (etc) are no absolutely no guarantee of financial (or idenity) security, despite the ill-found faith that many here seem to put in them.

They are at best just a small part of acting in a secure way, and even then only when used intelligently.

If a thief get hint that you are carrying something hidden (and therefore by self defined as probably valuable) and they want to get hold of it badly enough, the experience of having it removed from you will be MUCH more traumatic than simple pick pocketing.
Bill_Bolton is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 04:27 PM
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Okay. Better enunciated.
rex is offline  
Sep 9th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Pickpocketing, burglary and robbery are different crimes. Most pickpockets want to get their loot surreptitiously and will not take the time nor risk to remove a hidden pouch forcefully. If you encounter a robber, that is a completely different scenario.
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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> Pickpocketing, burglary and robbery are different crimes.

Sigh! Clearly some people just don't want to hear!
Bill_Bolton is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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I received an email response from Fodors about their guidebook statement (the source of this thread, see orig post) after I sent a post off to them...

It says:
Dear Alice,

Thanks for your question about money belts. We have updated the language on that in our newest editions. What we suggest is that travelers avoid using fannypacks and moneybelts outside their clothes. These are obvious targets for pickpockets and draw unwanted attention.

Instead, spread your valuables out: use deep outside front pockets, inside hidden/vest pockets, or money belts hidden under other layers of clothing. Always avoid retrieving valuables from the hidden moneybelt in public.

Hope that helps clear up any ambiguity!

Kind Regards,
The Editors
Fodor’s Travel
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Udpated to say " . . . suggest travelers avoid using . . . . moneybelts outside their clothes" ??

Well, a good thing they clarified that I guess Fodors demographic must include a few nit wits who think money belts are worn on top of their clothing.
janisj is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 04:28 AM
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I've actually seen advertisement photos with the model displaying a 'moneybelt' by wearing on the outside. No wonder.
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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I realize that this is an old thread, but I'd like to know why using a waist pack is discouraged. I always use one when I'm traveling and find it very convenient because it frees up my hands. If given the choice between a purse and a waist pack for traveling, I pack a purse for special occasions and use the waist pack for sightseeing. On the plane, I keep the three children's passports in my waist pack, as well.

Seriously, what's wrong with a waist pack?
New_England_Dawn is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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I just thought I'd add that Stashsafe makes a travel waist pack that's awesome! I'm going to pick up a few for my family and our travels. Here are the details, in case anyone is interested:

Travel wisely with the world's first fully lockable and slashproof waistpack—it keeps your money and passport secure against your body.

Dual zippered compartments, one with a zippered pocket is sized for airline tickets, currency, passport, traveler's checks and credit cards.

Other compartment features two zippered mesh pockets for loose coins and hotel key, plus one pocket holds key for lock.

Waist pack also has two additional hidden pockets for stashing smaller, valuable items.

Low-profile, wire-reinforced, slash-proof belt adjusts to fit waist sizes 28-46 inches; features a concealed lock and quick-release buckle.

Constructed of durable ripstop nylon with a soft, breathable mesh backing for comfort.

Lock included.


REI carries them, as well as other online shops. Hey, whatever works the best!
New_England_Dawn is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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Well, I would never, ever, carry a passport in a fanny/waist bag.

And, I love the ladies' LLBean slacks with the very deep pockets, especially the dressier microfiber slacks with the hidden (full size behind the regular pocket) zipper pocket.

Out and about, I have a bit of cash in one pocket, and my ATM and a credit card in the zippered pocket or front pocket on the other side.

My husband favored a fanny bag and used this on our first trip to Paris. One day, on the metro, he looked down and noticed that the zipper was part way opened, an inch or two. I was sure it had something to do with the very normal looking school girls that had just gotten off the train. Sure enough, they had relieved him of all his French currency out of his wallet. (Left the wallet and all the American cash and ATM slips - the French currency stuck out just a bit.) Amazing! Fortunately, it was not a lot of money, but lesson learned!

I think Spain and other destinations are even more problematic than Paris.

Many say you'll be fine, "just be aware of your surroundings". My husband thought he was being "aware", but they probably got him when the train slowed down suddenly pulling into the station - and I'm guessing these girls knew the timing perfectly.

The pickpockets are surely more practiced at their "art" than I will ever be of "being aware of my surroundings". Just too many distractions when traveling.

If you peruse this forum, you'll see plenty of advice against carrying anything valuable in a fanny or back pack. There are lots of reports of folks being relieved of the entire bag in a flash.
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