Moneybelt Question

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Sep 9th, 2010, 09:22 PM
  #1
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Moneybelt Question

help me out.....so i have a money belt and as i understand it, i should always keep my passports in it. SO...do you also keep your credit cards in it and only carry small amounts of cash out and about? do you leave your passport/credit cards in your hotel room when you are out to dinner or out for the day....or do you only do this if there is a safe in the room....or do you just never do this and ALWAYS keep your passports on you?
THANKS!
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Sep 9th, 2010, 10:00 PM
  #2
 
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I leave my passport at the hotel along with my backup cards and any excess cash. I carry my DL, cash for the day, and a couple cards.
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Sep 9th, 2010, 10:06 PM
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I think the usage of a money belt is confusing if you think in this sequence:

Operations (your list of question) --> objectives.

I think the way you use a money belt is clearer if you think:

Objective --> operations

The general objective of a money belt is to provide a separate location difficult for pickpockets to reach. Even if the valuable are not in the money belt all the time, it still reduces the probability.

The actual way you use the money belt; however, depends on the objectives at hand.

For example, if I go out for a day and not planning to do a major shopping using a cc, I keep my passport and most cash in hotel safe, one backup CC and little backup cash in money belt. I carry one CC and sufficient cash in my wallet until I can get to a secure place, such as restaurant bathroom, where I can replenish the wallet from the money belt. This minimizes the loss if the wallet is lost.

On the other hand, if I plan to do a major shopping using a credit card, and if there is a chance that the merchant might demand a real passport for ID (I was told at one store that the copy was no good.) In this case, I will carry my passport in the money belt if using cash is not an alternative.
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Sep 9th, 2010, 10:44 PM
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Hi babyatlas,

Also realize that if you keep your passport in your moneybelt, it will be exposed to moisture and bending for hours and hours at a time. I fairly ruined one passport that way.

And if you keep your passport there during your overseas flight, you'll have to dig it out to hand it over for immigration -- and you'll be handing over a nasty, damp, document. The immigration officers are not real happy about that (yes I learned that the hard way).

So I would say that you should be vigilant upon arriving, but make sure you can get to the passport fairly easily. After arrival, yes I put the passport in a safe and carry the copy with me.

And I also separate the credit cards so that I have fast access only to the one I'll need that day.

Have fun!

s

s
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Sep 9th, 2010, 11:03 PM
  #5
 
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Never, EVER, have your passport on you!
carry a copy of the relevant pages if you think you must have it on you at all times (why? who is asking for it?).
But "store" your passport in the hotel room's safe, email a copy to your own email address, but nevr EVER sightsee with it.
You never know, better safe than sorry ...
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Sep 10th, 2010, 12:01 AM
  #6
 
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put what you will in your belt....ATM/Credit cards and yes your passport..."never EVER"..having your passport "on you" is just stupid. Many instances you will need your passport ...and as they say...a man without a passport is a man without a country. (a copy won't suffice) All you folk who are getting wet passports try placing them in a waterproof baggie ...a cookie or sandwich ziplock baggie works every time
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Sep 10th, 2010, 02:11 AM
  #7
 
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I never wear a moneybelt.... I just carry things as I do at home, with extra care on occasions in certain areas.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 04:37 AM
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This question comes up alot for new overseas travelers. I cannot believe the absolute horrible advice some of the above are giving you. A well used money belt is the most intelligent thing a traveler can do.

I ALWAYS wear an under the clothing style money belt. The passport is always in it (except when about to go through passport control). I carry a color copy of the face page, that is usually enough for checking into hotels, paying with credit cards in the places that need to see ID, etc. Leaving it in a hotel safe is better than just carrying it in your pocketbook but there are plenty of stories about things stolen from hotel room safes, not to mention, forgotten at checkout. Do a search if you want to read some horror stories.

Also in the money belt are credit cards, ATM cards, and cash. I carry one credit card in my pocket or pocketbook and a days worth of cash. If I plan to replenish my cash supply from an ATM then one ATM card is carried in my pocketbook until I have an opportunity to put it back in the money belt.

If you need to access the moneybelt (need extra cash, etc) during the day then go to a rest room or some private place. Never access it in public (recent horror story on here about someone who did that and a thief witnessed and then mugged the person).

With this method even if you are pickpocketed, or your purse snatched, you can continue with your trip. All you really need to travel is a passport and a credit card/ATM card. But if those things are lost or stolen abroad it is a tremendous hassle to replace them. That's why smart people wear a money belt when away from their home country. I go to large cities near home all the time and don't use a money belt. Why? - I don't need a passport in order to get home, it's easy to call and report lost credit cards - no language barrier, no (or little) time change to contend with, etc.

And re the "wet" passport. Yeah, in 95 degree weather it gets damp but it dries out, it's never been ruined. Russwuf's baggie idea solves the problem if you happen to sweat a lot.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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I can't see the reason for wearing a moneybelt. Do you wear one at home? I carry my items the same way as I do back home here in the US.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 04:59 AM
  #10
 
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Me too SusieQQ, really the panic and fear created here makes me sad.....but I am clearly a dumb and a person who gives horrible advice.

On one occasion I was with someone who realised that on the Saturday morning he was travelling home, that he'd mislaid his passport during the trip and his flight was in the afternoon. He went to the British Consul/Embassy in Istanbul, who had him sorted out with the necessary documents in time for him to catch his flight home in the afternoon.

If you are travelling solo, then yes, you need some sort of contingency, but mostly I treat it like I'm at home.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 05:01 AM
  #11
 
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I think this subject has been discussed a lot of times and there are two schools of thought: one thinks that one should leave the most important things in the hotel, the other one thinks that one should carry them around, preferably in a money belt.

As I see it, there will never be a consensus since both ways work well in most cases while at the same time both don't offer 100% security.

For example: It's obviously possible to forget to empty your room safe before leaving. But it's also possible to accidently pull out something from your money belt while looking for cash and to lose it in the bathroom of a restaurant.

Personally I leave most things in the hotel room and just take some cash and a bank card with me. I travel a lot for work within Europe and from my experience (and from what I hear from colleagues and freinds), the rooms in "normal" hotels are pretty safe. Nothing was ever stolen and I always remembered to look into the room safe.

On the other hand I did manage to lose things like credit cards by being tired and in a hurry and just not replacing them correctly after use.

So my personal risk assessment is that I have a bigger chance to lose everything if I carry a money belt than it being stolen from the hotel room.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 05:37 AM
  #12
 
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You may find a money belt that hangs around your neck and can be pulled upwards out of your clothes if you need to access it is more comfortable than one worn around your waist. I find the waist ones terribly uncomfortable but will wear one around my neck if absolutely necessary. Normally we leave as much as possible in the safe at the hotel and just carry one card and minimal cash.

One thing about the 'hanging around the neck' thing - make sure the cord or pouch is not visible or too obvious. If you are just wearing a t-shirt that makes it hard but in cold weather with all the layers it's perfect.

Kay
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Sep 10th, 2010, 05:54 AM
  #13
 
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>>> I can't see the reason for wearing a
>>> moneybelt. Do you wear one at home?

No, I never wear one at home. Why? Because if my wallet was stolen I could still get home and call all my credit cards, the bank etc etc.

On the other hand.. of my wallet is stolen while in Europe... how am I going to eat? How am I going to pay my hotel bill? How will I contact my credit cards and banks? MAJOR problem.

Losing my wallet at home would be an inconvenience... losing one while on another continent can be a nightmare.

Another reason I don't need a moneybelt at home... I live in a rural area... a pickpocket would stand out more than a mile! Not quite the same in Rome or in the tube in London or the Athens subway...
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Sep 10th, 2010, 06:24 AM
  #14
 
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i've wrestled with this one before too. i just personally hate wearing a money belt ... uncomfortable, gets hot/sweaty, not very practical if i'm doing something active, just one more distraction ... it's just annoying. so i just keep valuables in the hotel and take the stuff i need for the day with me. (credit cards, atm cards, cash, some form of id, passport copy sounds likea good idea). can't ever remember having something stolen from the hotel room - but also have never had my pocket/money belt picked either. *knock on wood*

however, i did forget my passport in the hotel safe once the morning of my flight home and it was very stressful - it was an apartment style place, and we had left the key inside b/c we were checking out. so we were locked out with our passport inside with the taxi waiting for us and we needed to get to the airport and no cell phone. luckily we had the owner's number and got the taxi driver to call her, and she rushed over straight out of bed - 20 or 30 min drive - and hadn't even brushed her teeth. (yes, she was an amazingly accomodating owner/host.) in the end, we made it. but i hope that never happens again - and that i never forget that lesson!
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Sep 10th, 2010, 06:28 AM
  #15
 
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Moneybelts, either around your waist or neck are a big pain. If you take common sense steps you can avoid problems. I live in a large metropolitan area, so I carry a purse that has a zipped top, with a strap and carry it with my one hand on that zipper.
That being said, when traveling there are certain things that I leave locked up in the safe, i.e. airline tickets, show tickets, passport, one credit card, some extra cash, etc.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 06:51 AM
  #16
 
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"On the other hand.. of my wallet is stolen while in Europe... how am I going to eat? How am I going to pay my hotel bill? How will I contact my credit cards and banks? MAJOR problem."

If you take only one credit card with you and leave another in the hotel, you have one left to pay for food and hotel.

The credit card companies have 24h hotlines to block your credit cards and there are phones in Europe
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Sep 10th, 2010, 07:15 AM
  #17
 
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I'm probably breaking all the rules.

I'm a male, so no purse. I used moneybelt first trip to europe, and after soggy money and passport, did not use again. I usually leave passport and plane ticket at hotel. I've never used a safe. I put wallet in front pocket. I also slim down my wallet before going, so I'm not bringing my library card, gas card,picture of kids,etc..

If I have a jacket with zipper I put my wallet in there. I do not carry a backpack with odds and ends, or a waistpack. If I need qater, I'll buy it. When I'm on the street I have a camera and map, maybe copies from guidebook. I'm trying to minimize the 'tourist' look. I've wandered Paris with nothing in my hands and no 'packs'.

Coming from as big city, and having travelled a fair amount, I am aware, as best I can be, of my surroundings.

One thing I've considered, but not done/required, is creating a 'second wallet'. I have a bunch of expired credit cards at home. If I was going to somewhere really suspect, I'd have two wallets on me. Someone wants my wallet, here take this one

I was in Africa a few years back and everything was with me in my multi-zippered short pants. Only concern at times was that we got so much currency for our dollars that the stacks could not fit into our pockets, so we stored them in our travelling packs.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 07:15 AM
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tjhsu, I feel your pain. I once forgot my passport and flight tickets in an internet place a few hours before the flight. It was a private home (early days of the internet) and the owner left together with us.

When I found out that I had forgotten them, it left me wondering whether the owner was just shopping or gone for the weekend. I also thought about what sentences you get for burglary in New Zealand
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Sep 10th, 2010, 10:11 AM
  #19
 
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I think it all comes down to what sort of risk management a person feels most comfortable with. I am a no-money-belt type of person. I leave most of my things at the hotel.

I suppose my things could be stolen out of the room, but the probability is pretty low. I don't know nearly as many people who've had stuff stolen from hotel rooms as I know who've been pickpocketed, mugged, or just lost stuff along the way.

I could forget to empty the safe, but again, the probability is pretty low. My practice is to sweep the room including all closets, drawers, and the safe before leaving when checking out. If I've forgotten something, I'll see it. I also always put things in the same sort of places in every hotel room, which makes it easier.

The only time I really worry is when we are moving from one place to the next with all of our stuff. So we try to travel light (fewer things to keep track of) and use the divide and conquer approach - valuables aren't all stored in the same place. And I do have an under clothes pouch if I think I need it - like travelling by train with a bunch of cash for an apartment rental.
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Sep 10th, 2010, 10:29 AM
  #20
 
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We've discussed this endlessly here, but I'll continue to give my two cents:

Wear the money belt so you can relax and really enjoy sightseeing without feeling the stress of worrying about who's looking at you with an eye to pickpocketing you. It really makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

Wear the money belt because, unlike at home, you will have a huge hassle to get everything replaced, not to mention the time away from your limited vacation to do this.

Wear the money belt with your stuff (yes, passport, cc, cash) in a ziplock bag to keep the moisture of your body from effecting the stuff you carry. Every evening take your things out of the baggie and lay them out.

Wear the money belt with the pouch in the small of your back instead of the front of your pants. It fits snugly and nicely there without bending, curling or poking out. I promise you that it is much more comfortable there and, in fact, can be forgettable (so watch out when you go to the bathroom--easy to grab the belt when you grab your waistband

Carry a little cash in your pocket for quick purchases.

Have a wonderful trip!
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