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Katie_H Jul 1st, 2008 06:45 AM

Survey: Do you "do" moneybelts?
Today's travel tip of the day advocates switching from a moneybelt to a leg safe for carrying valuables while traveling.

This question comes up constantly on the Forums, particularly on the Europe board.

Which of the following do you use to when you travel?
a) Traditional money belt
b) Leg "Safe"
c) Something like a money belt that hangs from your neck
d) A Backpack
e) A purse

What did I miss?

suze Jul 1st, 2008 06:58 AM


suze Jul 1st, 2008 07:03 AM

Hi Katie, More possibilities for your list:

f) safety pockets - interior zippered pockets you find in some "travel" clothes from Magellen or TravelSmith for example, or you or a tailor sews in some hidden pockets into your own clothing.

g) regular leather belts that have a zipper on the side that faces your body so can hold some cash.

h) zippered socks(!) yes belive it or not i've seen them in travel merchandise catelogs

i) travel vests with lots of pockets both interior and exterior

scotlib Jul 1st, 2008 07:04 AM

Hi Katie,

<b>a)</b> If &quot;traditional&quot; means around the waist, then nope. Bought one but don't plan to use it.

<b>b)</b> I don't think what I tried was a &quot;leg safe.&quot; I bought a sock that has a zippered compartment, sold as being big enough for the passport .. humph, barely .. It was interesting, but I tried the socks only one day. Only one sock of the pair has the zipper (buy two pairs to have a zipper on both legs?).

<b>c)</b> I've used this style wallet: I've worn it with the strap cross-body and the wallet itself tucked into my pants, easy to pull out to access. It also works under a dress cross-body, though need a private place to access. Be careful, the strap could show around your collar, depending on the shirt.

About neck wallets: I was surprised how many people had neck wallets on the outside of their shirts when waiting for the flight on my April trip. Maybe it was because we were still at the home airport. I hope they tucked in the wallets at some point.

<b>d)</b> I would use a small backpack for guidebook, umbrella, water, etc., but not important stuff!

<b>e)</b> Again, purse has &quot;stuff,&quot; but not usually the tickets, money, etc. If I am in line and just waiting my turn, it could be in there.

I like an adapted money belt: I used this wallet from Magellans,

I used the safety pin method, the one that came with it and another to pin the wallet horizontally to my pants' waist. A bonus to pinning: you don't worry about taking off a belt at security line and losing the wallet with it sliding down your pant leg!

The pinned secret wallet is my deep stash. For daily use of one credit card and small amounts of cash I like .. Pockets! A hidden one in the pants pocket, or buttoned ones on the shirt. Travel clothes need good pocket design. Something sorely, sorely missing in women's travel clothes, though admittedly, that's just my (one person) opinion.


scotlib Jul 1st, 2008 07:09 AM

I remembered replying to this thread last month:;tid=35131414

Maybe some more ideas can be gleaned there.

thursdaysd Jul 1st, 2008 08:15 AM

I use a &quot;traditional&quot; money belt, if by that you mean a waist belt. I have some old Rick Steves' belts - I don't like the newer version with two zippers, so I put the old ones through the washing machine. I wear it with the pouch at the back, where it fits nicely into the curve below my waist. I wrap the contents in plastic.

My longest trip was 10 months, and I wore it almost every day. After a long trip I feel undressed without it! I really don't like the idea of a leg safe, even though I almost always wear long trousers when traveling.

I also carry a small backpack, with outside pockets for a water bottle and folding umbrella (doubles as a sunshade). I use a small wallet for one day's money supply, and usually have loose change in my pockets.

I was actually pick pocketed on the notorious bus 64 in Rome. That time my money belt was in the safe in my hotel. All I lost was one day's supply of money and an expiring bus pass (it was late at night). I don't often have a hotel safe available.

I haven't done any US travel recently, so I'm not sure whether I would wear a money belt here. Not if I were traveling by car, probably, but I think I might use it for places like New York where I was using public transport.

yk Jul 1st, 2008 08:50 AM

Hi Katie-

I have (a), a waist money belt. I have used it on many trips but not always. I tend to use it more when I'm traveling alone, as I cannot always scan my surroundings all the time plus my hands can be tied up with luggage. I am not a huge fan of it though because it gets soaked with sweat when the weather is hot, and can sometimes be an obvious &quot;bulge&quot; in the middle section. Getting money/ATM card out of the waist belt is not that convenient either as I have to lift my shirt up a bit.

DH has (c) and he tends to wear it more than I wear (a). Major downside is the neck strap tends to show, whether he's wearing a T-shirt or a polo shirt. The same problem with showing a &quot;bulge&quot; in his chest area and also getting sweaty.

When I don't use (a), I use just a regular purse (e). I do that in cities I'm very familiar with, like London. I also do that in the US including NYC. I feel that in places I know well, I look less like a tourist (without maps etc) and more like a local. In other foreign places where I only use a purse, I distribute my money &amp; CC/ATM cards in various zippered pockets. I put small amt of money in the wallet. In that way, even if someone steal my wallet, I still have some remaining money and ATM card to rely on.

WannabeinaMontserrat Jul 1st, 2008 09:14 AM

A) - We also carry a backpack a lot but it is typically full of stuff, maybe a camera, but outside of that, nothing of value. More likely rain ponchos, snacks, water, maps, etc. One of our friends just returned from Paris &amp; had her purse snatched through the window of her hotel room. She is pretty sure she was 'set up' &amp; thinks they used a hook to snag it w/out ever entering the room. I'll see if I can find out the name of the hotel.

Katie_H Jul 1st, 2008 10:05 AM

That is so bizarre!!!

Thanks for the many opinions. I used to always have a money belt handy when I traveled abroad <i>until</i> I went to Paris, the first trip to Europe I made since moving to New York City.

I definitely had one when I was in Rome last; luckily had no issues. Does seem like an overwhelming number of pickpocket stories posted on the Forums happen in Rome.

WannabeinaMontserrat Jul 1st, 2008 11:00 AM

Hotel Ibis - 15 Avenue Jean Jaures

toedtoes Jul 1st, 2008 07:29 PM

Hi Katie - I use E. I have two purses that I currently use. One is a small wristlet that I can attach to my belt and slip the wallet between my camera beltpack and my waist. No one knows it's there, but I can easily get to it when needed without having to unhook it.

The other purse is again very small but has a long strap so I can wear it cross-body style.

I find that a small purse/wallet that I can hang onto easily and that doesn't look like it carries everything is the important part.

Also very important is the Divide and Conquer rule:

Keep your small change (coins and a couple small bills) in an outer zippered compartment on your purse. Pull from here for bus fare, vending machines, etc.

Put about 1/3 day's worth of cash in your main compartment of your wallet. Put another 1/3 in a second compartment and the last 1/3 in a secure inside pocket of your purse. When you start pulling from your second 1/3, move the last 1/3 into your wallet. This means that no one will see more than 1/3 of your day's funds. If someone grabs your wallet (or you drop it), you've only lost 2/3 of a day's funds.

Put one credit card and one ATM in your wallet in separate areas that are completely covered. If you go to get one, no one will see the other.

Put a second credit card and ATM in something other than the purse. I use my camera bag as I take it everywhere with me.

november_moon Jul 1st, 2008 08:15 PM

We use a combination depending on where we are. I have a moneybelt and my husband has a sleeve that attaches to his belt and slips inside his pants behind his front pocket. In situation where we think it is wise, we use them. Otherwise I have my stuff in my purse and my husband has his in his pocket. We only take the day's cash and a card with us though and leave the rest in the hotel safe.

RufusTFirefly Jul 2nd, 2008 05:06 AM

I just use the regular pockets in my pants and jacket. They all button or zip.

thursdaysd Jul 2nd, 2008 05:53 AM

Do the people who don't use a money belt travel outside their home countries? I take different security precautions depending on where I am - none at all if I'm going up to the Virginia mountains, but high alert in Barcelona, for instance. And traveling in the US I don't have to worry about my passport, or about trying to replace credit and ATM cards from abroad.

toedtoes Jul 2nd, 2008 06:21 AM

Yes, I travel outside my home country.

The biggest issue I see about using money belts is that people don't truly understand their purpose.

They are meant to HIDE your valuables, NOT to be used as a protected purse. If you are accessing your money belt in public, then you have defeated the purpose.

Once people know you are wearing it, they know you are carrying something that you consider very valuable and they will be more likely to rob you rather than just swipe your purse or wallet.

It's not meant to be used as a daily purse.

suze Jul 2nd, 2008 06:27 AM

thursdaysd makes an excellent point.

My destinations are not particularly adventuresome (places like major cities in western Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, San Francisco) are unfortunately never for more than a couple weeks time.

IF I were doing a trip that lasted for several months, trekking around southease sia, going to africa or india, or even rome or barcelona (that have notorious reputation for pickpockets) I would take the extra precaution of a) on the list, a traditional money belt under my clothes when I was moving place to place.

thursdaysd Jul 2nd, 2008 07:24 AM

toedtoes - I totally agree with you about the need to use a money belt correctly. I've even heard reports of people wearing them OUTside their clothes! If I need to access mine during the day (e.g. more expensive meal than planned so I need a credit card, trip to the ATM, etc.) I look for a restroom.

SeaUrchin Jul 2nd, 2008 08:38 AM

When I think it is a wise thing to do I wear a money pouch belt around my waist and with the pouch at the small of my back. I just take my ATM and some cash in my purse for the day's use.

FainaAgain Jul 2nd, 2008 08:40 AM

A purse in &quot;safer&quot; areas.

A money belt if I don't feel safe with a purse, and it's cold enough to camouflage it with a sweater or jacket.

An under-skirt pocket with a safety pin when the money is visible in hot weather.

RufusTFirefly Jul 2nd, 2008 09:46 AM

thursdaysd: Yes, we do travel a lot outside the USA. I've been traveling since I was 6 months old (father was career military).

Among the countries I've traveled in since I became an adult (the past 43 years): Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany (east, west, and reunified), Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, India, Republic of Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Japan, Panama, Canada, Costa Rica, Belize, Venezuela, Cuba, Czech Republic, Poland, Republic of China ... . I do stay more alert in some areas than in others, but I prefer to just use my pockets for my stuff.

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