Money belts outside of clothing-danger?

Old Mar 8th, 2000, 08:27 AM
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Money belts outside of clothing-danger?

I'll be traveling to Spain with 2 of my girlfriends and we all have money belts pursuant to prompts I've read about purse-snatchers. What I'm wondering is if you wear the belt outside of your clothes are you at risk to get mugged, or are there ever attempts to pick a money belt outside of your clothes. Our belts are bigger and if we put them under our shirts people could tell anyway.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 09:00 AM
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Well, I'm not an expert on these matters of crime-prevention, but I thought the whole idea of a money belt was to have something not visible or accessible to thieves, to keep oneself from being a target. If the idea is to keep your valuables out of sight, wouldn't wearing the money belt outside your clothes defeat the whole purpose?

Maybe you can look for a smaller money belt? Samsonite makes one out of thin nylon, and various companies put out similar items. Or maybe some other variation (like those things that strap to your leg or somewhere) exists that would work better for you.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 09:27 AM
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Wear it under!!
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 09:34 AM
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Pick your money belt? Not necessary; a razor will cut the strap in a flash.

Wear it under. Better, consider trading the belts in for a valuables-pouch that hangs around your neck inside your blouse or one that hangs from your bra.

Old Mar 8th, 2000, 09:45 AM
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Will the valuable pouch for my bra interfere with the tassles that already hang there?
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 10:28 AM
dan woodlief
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Actually, you can do it either way, depending on the fit of the belt and what kind of clothes you are wearing. I have usually worn it completely under my clothing, but sometimes that is too hot. On other occasions, I have worn it on the outside but still out of sight. I just tuck the bag and straps down into my pants outside my shirt.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 10:39 AM
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There are several versions of "money belts", so which one is yours?
Originally, a money belt was a man's leather dress belt with a pouch (usually zippered) between the face and the lining, designed to hold large sums of paper bills. It was a regular belt, so it was worn looped through the pants' waistband. To access the money, the belt has to be taken off (as the zipper compartment is usually several inches long, if not the whole length of the belt).
There are money pouches, usually a 4" to 5" square cloth bag worn on a mesh or elastic bands. These are designed to hold bills, passport, and maybe a railpass, and to be worn around the waist on the inside of the pants or skirt. They should be easily accessible, just reaching inside your waistband and pulling out the pouch.
There are the infamous fanny packs/bum bags that are NOT for concealment of valuables. Originally designed for runners and joggers to carry wallet and keys, it is bulky and really is only for convenience. As many people do use them to carry valuables, thieves have devised ways to get at them (one ploy is to be ahead of you on an up escalator, then stop at the top. You scramble to keep your balance, while the thief reaches behind him and unzips your pack).
I've tried different sorts of valuable safeguards; the new favorite is a microfiber bag that hangs bandolero-style across my chest, with a zippered compartment, for money and passport, worn next to my body, then the outside compartment is a velcro-closure where I keep maps and street guides. It's a nice looking purse, and frees my hands for groping...souvenirs.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 11:37 AM
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Just watch you don't grope Brett's tassels!

Old Mar 8th, 2000, 06:27 PM
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Do you the pouch you describe under your clothes? How is it different from a standard neck pouch that you wear around your neck and tuck into your shirt? Where did you get it, and how much does it cost?
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 01:26 AM
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My partner's father had his moneybelt torn from his body (under his shirt) in Ronda (Spain), a relatively quiet place,2 years ago.
One guy held him while the other did it.
You would be better with no belt than inviting an assault.
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 05:59 AM
dan woodlief
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It is probably a good idea to not make it apparent that you are wearing a money belt. I always keep a little cash in my front pocket for spending. When I need more I take it out with my back turned to the crowd, under the dinner table, in the restroom, or in some other way that conceals it.
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 08:26 AM
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A fanny pack is an open invitation. We've travelled all over Europe and Spain is the very worst for street crime. Keep a little money in your pocket (or a handbag with nothing else you value). Get a flat security pouch, made for that purpose, and hang INSIDE your clothing. (For men, an under the shoulder pouch works well - they only have to unbutton their shirt to get at it (in a very secure area).
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 12:22 PM
Monica Richards
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I don't know, when I travel to Europe I just throw caution to the winds and carry my money exactly how I would in an American city, which is in whatever purse/backpack combo is most in fashion at the time. These almost always have some interior pocket where you can stash your passport and money so that even if the purse were slit you would still have the money. And I never carry more than I can afford to lose, and I stay aware of my surroundings. Of course, it helps that I am fairly young (32) and don't wear expensive jewelry. Judy, if this describes you, just follow normal precautions as if you were in a city. No use being uncomfortable or unfashionable (a fate worse than death! using a money belt if you don't have to.
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 03:39 PM
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Well, I can't say I completely agree with Monica on this one, but maybe we went to different countries. I've been to Italy twice, and I've seen several people pickpocketed on the street, and I know someone who had his day-timer calendar (which looks like a wallet) stolen practically getting off of the plane in Madrid. I've also seen pickpockets size people up (like me) and decide to pass them by. To some extent, they seem to be looking for a "target," that is a wallet bulge or purse. If you don't have one, they'll usually go after the person who does. Sure, if you have a purse or fanny pack, they may try to get into it and be unsuccessful. But who needs that? Better, I think, would be to make yourself less attractive by keeping your valuables (passport and most of your money) in a money belt under your clothes. I use a nylon neck pouch, just for valuables. Plus, there is the added benefit that you're not clutching a purse the whole time, so you can relax.
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 04:55 PM
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I responded on the forum and it all got eaten up, so I'm trying it again. I'm not sure to which contraption you were referring, so here's a rundown on my 3 bests:
1)The pouch on a waistband can be bought anywhere travel stuff is sold (even KMart), but I made one because I wanted a softer fabric for the waistband and the pouch, and the pouch bigger than the storebought one. It worked fine, and I still use it if I'm in summer clothes and on a walk (you look pretty dumb strolling along the beach with shorts, tank top and a purse). They are about $10.
2)A leather purse/wallet on a thin leather strap. It was designe to be worn
bandolero-style as a fashion accessory; I wear it around my neck and tuck the
purse in my pants or skirt waistband. It holds all the credit/ATM cards, cash, passes, passport, etc. I paid $3 at MacFrugal's
3)The newest bag is actually a real handbag. OldHand bought hers at
Marshall's for about $10; I think I paid $7 at Target. They are made of that
new microfiber stuff that's like very tough nylon. The strap is set on an
angle so when you wear it bandolero-style, it lies very flat against your
pelvic bone. It's about 8"x11" envelope with a zippered pocket on the back, where I put the valuables. The outside pocket has a flap with velcro; I keep my map, guidebook, kleenex, etc. in it.

I don't get weirded out about security, but there's a big difference between
losing your wallet at home ("damn, have to go to DMV, then stop at the bank
and get some money from the teller") and 6000 miles away from home (get a
passport from the US Consulate, then what do you do about money? No teller
named Shelley who knows your face and will cash a check for you with no ID).
At home, it's an inconvenience; on a trip, it's a catastrophe.

So, I take a little extra precaution...

Old Mar 9th, 2000, 05:28 PM
Monica Richards
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Just to clarify, I think my "purse" is more often than not the type favored by Elvira (tiny, held close to the body) except for the backpack purse I wore to Spain and Portugal last year. I'm not talking a goofy handbag or anything. And I've been all over Italy, to Greece and the aforementioned Spain/ Portugal as well as Costa Rica with nary a problem. YMMV.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 03:43 PM
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my wife and i have travelled quite abit in europe and have never had a problem even though we have been approached by pickpockets in florence and rome. a common ploy is to stick a newspaper in your face to distract you then go for your fanny pack. they usually work in pairs and both times it happend to us they were young girls. the pair in florence were about a twelve year old with her younger sister. the older one come up with the newspaper and the young one is suppose to swoop in. as soon as they stuck the newspaper out i realized what was going on and swatted the newspaper away. they walked away with the older girl yelling at her sister probaly because she did not move fast enough. i saw the older girl in a different part of town later in the day and shook a finger at her, she just laughed and walked into her house.
the only things we carry in a fanny pack are maps and books. i have a ankle pouch that fits snugly at the calve and has a pocket for passport and money. in the morning i will put a day's worth of cash in the pouch and then little by little during the day move some to a front pocket for easy access. when you are going into the pouch it just looks like you are tying your shoe. i also where a money belt around my waste for important documents and traveller checks which i only access maybe once a day in the hotel room or in a restroom if necessary. my wife wears a neck pouch just inside her coat which seems to work well also. we leave my wife's diamonds at home; i bought her a gold wedding band that matches mine andthat is all she wears.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 05:36 PM
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Well, like Elvira, I didn't like what they had at the store so I devised my own method. I make a "burrito" out of my valuables. How do I do this? Like this...

I buy some socks at the store. Long ones, not crews. Cut the "foot" off and this will leave you with a "tube" of soft, elastic fabric.

Slip it on up to just below your knee. Place your money and whatnot next to your sock on your leg and then begin folding the fabric over a few times until you have a nice little package fit snug against your leg.

I know it sounds strange but it works like a charm. This got me through almost 2 weeks in Thailand last year and it's very humid there. The soft sock fabric didn't make me feel hot and sticky like the store bought ankle pouch would.

In addition to this, my husband uses one of the "real" belts with a zipper in it. I do too if I'm wearing pants that take that type of belt. If you wear only pants on trips like we do, this sock trick works great.

One other thing. I always carry a small purse for a "daily" amount of money, mints, dental floss, maps, etc. And Elvira's mention of the new microfiber "sling" sounds good too. I've been seeing those around and keep meaning to get one and try it out. They look like they are very secure and out of the way.

I don't blame you for not wanting to wear the inside belts. Too bulky. And the "necklaces" are no better. You can see the bulge and it looks silly. You should be comfortable while on vacation.

Also, I totally agree with above comments about jewelry. Leave it at home. I'm a jewelry nut. Seriously. I color coordinate my gemstones to my clothing every day! I'm ridiculous, just ask my husband. But, when we're far from home, I wear nothing or take a couple of pairs of simple and cheap earrings and a silver ring or two and my stainless steel Swiss Army watch and leave it at that. I have a client who never leaves home without her wedding set (3 carat center stone plus extras around it) and I always tell her she's nuts. One day someone is going to cut her finger off for it.

On a lighter note, be safe, keep aware (but not paranoid), and have a great trip.
Old Apr 4th, 2000, 03:25 AM
Ben Haines
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I'm aged 63 and have travelled off and on since 1957. These days I have bout six weeks a year in cental Europe and the Balkans.

I have never owned nor used a money belt, bum bag, or other contraption. Rather, I carry in a pocket enough money for the day, one of my credit cards, and a photocopy of key pages of my passport. The rest (passport, tickets, other credit cards, other money) is either in a hotel safe at recepotion or in a bedroom cupboiard, as the hotel itself recommends. (If they say a bedroom cupboard is fine they know what they're saying. No hotel can thrive with crooked staff).

On distant busses I have the same small handful of valuables, my passport if need be, and the rest in a used brown envelope wrapped in a dirty shirt in the middle of my heavy bag. This, of course, is ecurewly stoiwed in the boot of the bus, controlled by the driver.

On trains the same set up. In west Europe by day I am unconcerned: in centeal Europe I ask a fellow-traveller to mind my bag if i go to the toilket (bathroom) or to the restaurant car. By night I ask the sleeping or couchette car conductor for the same help.

In street markets in poor countries, and in such famous theiving spots as Krakow Glowny and Prague Hlavny stations I have my banknotes and credit cards in the top of my sock.

Plase write if I can explain further.

Ben Haines, London


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