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Last minute questions

As my trip gets closer I am a bit confused and need some sound advice.

  1. My face cleanser comes packaged in a 100ml plastic bottle but it is not a clear plastic. Should I pour it into one of those clear plastic travel bottles? Same with my hair conditioner which comes in a black 100ml plastic squeeze tube. Do I repackage these items?

  2. I have rented a studio in Switzerland and the owner, who is now away on his vacation, did not ask for deposit but wants the CHF600 paid upon my arrival. The bank in Canada does not transfer money so I am faced with: taking the CHF600 in cash, or an international postal money order. Do I have any other choices? I had to order the money from the bank today but I am still uneasy about having that much money on me for all of July. I need it when I go to Switzerland in August.

  3. Since I am living with friends when I go to UK, and in my own little flat in Switzerland, is it necessary to have a money belt/neck pouch? I will be travelling with only a backpack, so I won't have any checked luggage to worry about. If I hide the money in my backpack, would it be safe that way? I am spending the month of July in UK and August in Switzerland and I am not keen on the idea of carrying around a money belt for two solid months. I won't be staying in hotels or hostels at all, and only will be on public transit for getting to the two countries.

Any advice is greately appreciated. I leave the 27th June, and if I need to order a money pouch will have to do so asap. Thanks.

~Tallie

Posted by
160 posts

Not sure about the first two questions, but as for #3:

I'd say get a money belt or pouch, and keep your credit cards, passport, railpass, and big bills in it. You should have those items concealed on your person anyway. And can use a wallet/pocketbook for spending money.

A backpack is a lot easier to steal than a money belt/pouch (it can be cut open or unzipped fairly quickly as well). Plus, you won't have to dig for these items when you need them - they'll be right next to you.

As for comfort, I got used to mine - and I ran into two young guys who got pickpocketed in Holland and lost their money and passports. That caused a lot more discomfort than a money belt.

If you are curious about brands, try this site:

http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php

I like the Pacsafe money belts better than Eagle Creek and Rick's for a couple of reasons. 1) it has a slash-proof belt, 2) the clasp seems to hold better, and 3) it has a waterproof plastic compartment. Good luck!

Posted by
1003 posts
  1. the color of the bottle doesn't matter. As long as the bottles are 3oz/100ml or less, you are fine. I've never had a problem taking non-clear bottles on a plane, as long as they are under that size and in the quart baggie. It's the amount of liquid, not whether they can see it.2. Can you get the CHF from an ATM right when you arrive in Switzerland? I'm with you, I wouldn't want to carry that much cash either.3. I'm with the previous poster... wear a moneybelt/pouch. It's also not about what you check on a plane or whatever. a money belt is to wear under your clothes when you are sight-seeing. I think personally that it is more important on the days you're traveling than normal sight-seeing days, if for no other reason than you are carrying more, are more frazzled for lack of a better word, you want to get where you're going, might be tired, etc. Not the time to risk your money. I'd use a moneybelt. But ultimately that is a decision only you can make. Have a great trip!
Posted by
389 posts

Question 2: Check with your bank on limits for withdrawing funds. Many times they will raise the limits, especially if you have ample funds. Also consider taking 1/2 and withdrawing the other half. That way you aren't carrying quite so much cash. When We have been in Europe we withdrew about $300 per day, but this time we've upped the limit to save a bit of time and hassle and will be taking $600-1200 each time. There are 3 of us to carry the funds so one won't be holding that much money for long.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the advice! I did check with my bank and they have upped my card limit. However, I will be arriving in Fribourg around 10:30 p.m. on the 31st July and won't be able to take possession of the studio until the 1st Aug. At that late hour I don't want to be heading to a bank machine to withdraw a large sum of money and I know I will be exhausted the next day (I won't have had sleep for 2 days by that time, unless I can sleep on the train for a few hours), so I will have to have the money with me to give to the studio owner right away. I am only taking one of Rick's backpacks for the two months so maybe there is a creative way of hiding the money. I think I will also buy a money belt too, just in case. :)

Posted by
75 posts

1 Doesn't matter what color container is. Don't forget, you can only carry on one item when leaving the UK. Not suitcase plus "personal item", like in the US.

2 I don't know if you are aware, but Continental Europeans routinely carry lots of cash on their person when they travel, and pay for things with cash often (especially if they are too old to understand electronic banking). This also helps them avoid things like taxes. Also, unless you are in a "bad" section of town, you won't be in danger of being mugged/robbed at knife point, just pickpocketed. Just FYI.

3 Your British friends probably have a safe place at home where they keep their passports and unused credit cards (like you do at home, no?) and could relieve you of your passport/Swiss Francs, etc. when you are going around the UK. For transit, a money belt really helps you with pickpockets. Some people just safetypin a small pouch to the undersides of their clothes.

Happy travels.

Posted by
124 posts

Hi,
1. No problem with bottles/tubes, as long as 100ml/3 oz. size, that fits in 1 L (20.5cm X 20.5 cm.) zip-type closure bag. I get mine at Dollarama, 15 for $1, larger size for packing in suitcase/totebag, 10 for $1, called Slide Seal.

  1. Re carrying cash, I take about 100 Euro with me for when I first arrive, ATM's at airports not always working and I like to have local currency. My opinion is that you should get the international postal money order or a bank draft from your bank made out to the owner - that way no one else can cash it.

  2. Well-hidden money belt is invaluable - at home, if you had your important items stolen, you could get them to you in a few days, think how your vacation would be if you had to try to track down where to go for replacements. I always carry my passport with me for identification when I am at the airport, train station - some vendors even ask for it when I pay with credit cards. Use a totebag/purse, not a backpack or use locks on zippers.

Posted by
934 posts

Get a monweybelt and wear it.Anything that you couldnt get along without should be in the moneybelt or at home.Have a great trip.

Posted by
505 posts

Greetings

In both Switzerland and UK, you will be fine with a regular wallet tucked carefully into a ppurse/purse-backpack. Switzerland - minus a few nieghbourhoods in the wee hours of the morning - is one of the safest countries in Europe. I had no problem walking across Geneva at night after a dance performance. Frankly, I think most of the Swiss crime tends to be white collar - i.e. think numbered bank accounts.

The UK is also fine, and your friends should be able to tell your of any places to be cautious. Just take the normal precautions of not having all your credit/debit cards/cash in one location.

So I would do what is comfortable for you - money belts are definitley not needed, but if you prefer them, use them. Just don't feel you have to.

As to the cash/bank order - could you ask your UK friends to stash it in a safe place whilst you are there. I believe that the advantage of money orders is that the number is recorded so they can be cancelled if stol

Posted by
8987 posts

I disagree about Switzerland, it's large cities do have tourist related crime issues. In fact, it's the only place in my travels through Europe where I have actually witnessed tourists getting robbed. In Bern I saw a women get her purse snatched at the train station, and witnessed a man get mugged in broad daylight on the main shopping street. At all the major tourist attractions and trains stations there are large are signs warning about pickpockets. Those signs are there for a reason.

Posted by
71 posts

I recommend and use the Olay Facial cleansing cloths. You will be amazed and pleased at how well they work.

A money belt is a definite must have. If you have time order the one from Travelsmith.com that has the metal cable built into. Also, the fastener is concealed.

Posted by
190 posts

I carry all of my cash with me, but who knows? I sure don't tell anyone and it is in my moneybelt. I take the the day's money out to avoid going into my monybelt. I have survived multiple pickpocket attempts with stories to tell afterwards - they didn't get anything. Putting anything of real value in your backpack (and I am trying to forceful here, not rude) is just plain dumb. So, what are you waiting for? Get that moneybelt.

Posted by
808 posts

I hate wearing a moneybelt. I find it rides up on my waist. But wear it I must. I've found that you can eliminate the elastic band by having the pouch part sewn into the waisteband of my skirt or pants.

You can get a tailor to sew one in using a zipper track so you can completely remove it to wash your garment.

I find this system is more comfortable than the elastic band on a traditional moneybelt.