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More money belt logistics

I read the advice on the airport security thread that wearing your money belt through security is OK and probably not even noticeable (unless you have metal in it!).

I have worn around-the-neck money pouches in the past, but they are noticeable and can get heavy and uncomfortable. The around-the-waist money belt I got from Rick's travel store feels great. But...

I have questions about getting stuff in and out of it. I realize that won't be very often, but still. For instance, when you go through passport control, do you reach into your pants to retrieve it? (I do have to wear my belt below the navel quite a bit so it doesn't show as a big lump on my stomach.) Going to an ATM and having to get out your debit card? I did see Rick on TV once reach into his pants to get his passport for a hotel clerk. It just seems a tad odd to me. Any advice from those with experience?

Posted by
23472 posts

Randall, you need to go back about a month or so on the Scam site and read two excellent posting from others who thought that the rubber band and front pocket was secure. One posting should be quoted in Steves' books

There are a couple of ways to wear and use money belts. Kent's suggestion is OK if you believe you need access from time to time. Both my wife and I wear our belts high, just under the rib cage with the pouch in the small of your back. We find it more comfortable and doesn't create that lump on your stomach. The things I need during the day -- cash, debit, credit card, passport if necessary -- are scattered on my body or wife's body in secure pockets. If I really need something from belt I can get to it but it requires unbuttoning my shirt and pulling the pouch to the front. Obviously I find a bathroom or a dark corner to do that.

Many people will use a money belt more as a slightly hidden wallet as Kent describes but I think that defeats part of the purpose of the money belt. Try different ways and see what works best for you.

Posted by
8 posts

Is a moneybelt really needed? Is my wallet not safe even in the front pocket of my jeans? Or is the moneybelt something you use when in transit, instead of leaving things in your luggage (sorry to hi-jack the thread)

Posted by
11507 posts

I only use my money belt in transit, or on the days I go to the ATM to "stock up". I do not carry my passport around , I leave it in hotel safe.
When I get cash from ATM I generally go back to hotel and leave bulk of it in safe, only taking a days worth. I then just use my regular shoulder bag9 worn cross chest, zipped up etc. If I need to bring my id for certain days, like at the Lourve you can only rent the audio guides if you have id, I bring my Drivers Licence, it is only 25 dollars to replace .
On occaison ( like when we went to Disneyland) I wanted my CC with me, and a large amount of cash, so I wore my Moneybelt then .
I only assessed it in the washroom , or just before entering the gate area just found a secluded corner asgainst building. . I keep regular amount of spending money in my purse.

I think digging in and out of a moneybelt is a recipe for disaster, sometimes when your reach in other stuff falls out or can fall out, especially when you are trying to be "secretive" about it.

Posted by
10344 posts

Diana: Here's the secret: The money belt goes on over your upper garment (shirt for men) and under your lower garment (say trouseers for men). That way, when you need to access it (won't be very often during the day), you suck in slightly, reach your fingers an inch into the very top of your trousers and pull the belt out. The key point is: if it's mistakenly worn under your upper garment, accessing it becomes quite awkward.

Posted by
72 posts

I also use the waist money belt.

I'd guess you already do this, but I always keep some of my cash in my wallet--front pocket with a rubber band around it to make it harder for the truly proficient European pickpockets. That is all I keep in that wallet, but at least that way I don't need to access the money belt so often.

As for getting the money belt out, since it has a loop or two on your belt, I usually just grab the loops and give a tug to pull the pouch itself out a bit, then I can pull the rest of it out that way (Hmmmmm, not nearly as obscene as that sounds!).

Frankly, in any tourist area they've seen thousands of people using the things, so I don't think anyone will consider you odd at all.

Posted by
23472 posts

Jason

Go to the Tourist Scam Alert site and read Nick/Salt Lake City, 5/23/2008 posting. His posting should be permanently posted somewhere for all to read. If that does not convince you, then read John/Denver 5/31/2008. Equally good posting. They are good and it can happen to you.

Posted by
32272 posts

Placing a wallet in a front pocket is not a safe method of carrying cash (even with a rubber band)! I spoke with someone recently who was "victimized" on the Metro in Rome last year. The car was crowded and he had placed his wallet was in a zippered front pocket. When he disembarked from the car, he noticed the wallet was missing (he said he "didn't feel a thing"). The wallet contained a "substantial" amount of cash, but he wouldn't divulge the amount.

I always use the Money Belt to secure credit and debit cards and other important documents, although I often carry my Passport in another very secure location, as I really dislike having to dig through the Money Belt when I arrive in a city and have to use the Passport to check into a Hotel. However, if I anticipate being in a "high threat" environment, I'll leave the Passport secured at the Hotel.

I usually keep my "daily operating" cash in a velcroed front pocket, and keep my hand on it when riding in the Subways or other "risky" locations. I also try to be very aware of anyone within arm's length.

Posted by
87 posts

I have to agree with Kent on this. Anything lost that can ruin a trip goes in the pants money belt. Some women seem to like the around the neck type. If you want comfort, just put everything in your back pocket wallet and hope for the best.

Posted by
15717 posts

I always wear a money belt when traveling. I prefer the Eagle Creek Hidden Pocket. It fits on your belt and is worn between your pants leg and your leg. Very comfortable.

I also found the following to help keep my wallet safe--the one kept in my front pocket with a little cash and one credit card.

Wallet Minder

Posted by
225 posts

When we went to Europe three years ago I used a money belt for the first time. I had no idea of the proper way to use it. I wore it around my waste with the wallet part in front. I loved it! But, I would keep my major money and passport in one zippered compartment and then a few Euros in another compartment. When I needed money I just pulled out my pants a bit and lifted the money belt an inch and unzipped it and pulled my cash. It worked fine for me. I just looked down as I would looking into a wallet and pulled out what I needed. I don't believe anyone else could see the contents beside me, but obviously they would know I'm wearing a money belt.

Have people had money belts stolen while on around their waste? I guess I didn't figure it mattered if anyone knew I had it on, they couldn't get it anyway.

Maybe I should be more secretive next time??

Posted by
36 posts

I also wore it low on my abdomen behing the button and zipper of my pants. At the airport etc. I kept the passport in my day bag. (I also used, LOVE and can not say it enough the pac-safe metro 200). After I was done using my passport I would then find a washroom and place it back into my moneybelt. I carried about 30-50 Euro in my day bag and just found a washroom when I needed more money. A couple times I had to access my moneybelt I just tugged it up and got into it when needed. It did not happen often.

Posted by
10344 posts

Susan and Monte: No one on this board has ever reported having a money belt or anything in a money belt stolen. It doesn't matter if they see your money belt, they can't get anything that's in it, if it's worn under your clothing. They would have to use a weapon to rob you, to get your money belt, and we've never had a report on this board of a robbery using a weapon occurring to anyone on a Europe trip--that kind of violent crime is more likely to occur in the US than in Western Europe.

Posted by
23472 posts

That is kind of an odd remark --- I think money belts can spoil the fun..-----

I sure it spoils the fun for pickpockets but I cannot begin to think of any way that using a money belt would spoil the fun for me. I am always amazed at the number and type of comments that this question generates. To us, it is a no brainer !! Why would you not want to use a money belt? And it has taken about ten years but Marcia does not even carry a purse. Old habits can be hard to break.

Posted by
448 posts

Okay...I've never used a money belt..only got robbed once , in Bangkok, when i went to cash machine, put money in shoulder bag...and when i got off the bus, the purse was nicely slit open and the money gone...I now still use a shoulder bag, but with the bag carried in front, as Pat mentioned....Recently in Rome I did the same..passports and credit cards "safe" at the apt..husband had a bit of cash in his pocket (no wallet bulge) for ice cream and metro ticket if he got lost..and what he called "the tourist tax " if he got pickpocketed...And if i lost the money it was my fault...I think money belts can spoil the fun..just keep your bag in front, and remember to close the zipper...(same advice for men, but you probably won't have the purse option.)

Posted by
225 posts

After my use of a money belt in Europe I was really tempted to use one at home! I can carry everything hands free...what could be better. Maybe I'm just weird, but mine was very comfortable, however, I was there during cooler weather.

Posted by
10 posts

I loved my money belt! I couldn't have imagined traveling in Europe without it!

Posted by
10344 posts

Exactly, with it you can put out of your mind any concern about losing your vital stuff and focus on enjoying what you came there to see! How often can you buy peace of mind for $10?

Posted by
448 posts

oh dear, i did it again...re:money belts spoiling the fun...i just meant that one focuses so much on the valuables attached to your waist that you don't enjoy the trip/voyage...I know one has to be careful..but i get the feeling you think that Europe is 50% pickpockets...and 50% "locals" or tourists...

Posted by
15717 posts

No, Regina, I don't think Europe is 50% pickpockets..in fact, I don't think it or anywhere else is even 1% pickpockets. But it only takes one to ruin a vacation.

I wear a type of money belt that is attached to my belt and worn inside my pant leg. It's so comfortable I sometimes forget it's there. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I know my valuables are safe.

I even wear it when traveling in the U.S. There are pickpockets everywhere people travel. I've even worn it in my home city when carrying large amounts of cash.

Posted by
5065 posts

Diana, check for a private response that should answer most of your questions.

Posted by
36 posts

I think having a money belt or something is a safe idea. While Europe is not unsafe or full of pick-pockets. The pick-pockets do target the areas you will be going to and they target tourists. You are also going to be carrying more money than the average local and also it is harder to replace you passport, the 2 cards you bring and your money when you travel.

I had someone approach me with the ring scam, was on a bus when someone had their purse unzipped (they only had books and snacks in it), and saw someone in London who was distracted and had his card taken out of the ATM. A team distracts you with a "fight" when you put in your card and may even shove near you while someone sneaks in and hits cancel and takes the card.

Just be smart.

Posted by
850 posts

Like Kent, I wear my money belt over my shirt and under my pants and use his "suck in slightly" method to access the contents. That works for me. After wearing it for a very short while I don't find it uncomfortable and it is just another garment that I wear without even noticing I have it on much like wearing a belt or having a wallet in your pocket. Most of all it gives me a peace of mind knowing that a pickpocket cannot get to it and with easier targets walking around he is going for those folks and not the ones who make it difficult for him to rob.

Posted by
11 posts

I think you just to find out what works for you. Usually I put my passport, a credit card, and my ATM card, along with any large amounts of cash in my money belt. Then I carry small amounts of cash and the credit card I use for most purchases in my camera case. This is small enough for me to keep my hand on in crowded areas, and it has a long strap so I can wear it diagonally (no one can grab it and run). Using this method, I have easy access to money, but if someone does get the camera case, I have everything that's really important still tucked safe away (I just need to make a quick call to cancel the stolen credit card). I would definitely recommend using a money belt, but if digging into a money belt in public makes you uncomfortable or self-conscious then I'd suggest working out an alternate system that balances comfort and security and go with it.

Posted by
21 posts

My husband always wears a money belt and we find it to be very safe and convenient. I traveled solo one time and found that my fat little tummy made it too awkward to wear the money belt the regular way. So, like the poster above, I wore mine slipped around to the back, where the flat pouch of the money belt lay flat against the small of my back. All my clothing concealed any possible bulges (plus I checked in a mirror to make sure). When I needed money or any other item, I just slipped the pouch to the front, took out the whatever-it-was, and then slipped the pouch back.

That being said, on one trip, I took a camera bag I had bought from Magellan's. This bag, which buckles around my waist, has steel cables in the strap, so it cannot be slashed and stolen. The buckle itself is hidden behind a Velcro'd cover. The zippers all latch together, in such a manner that one cannot be pulled without alerting you to the attempt. I was able to put our digital camera in the bag, along with extra batteries and memory cards. In the main pocket and the other pockets I put my passport, money, credit card and bank card, tissues, lip balm, glasses case, and hand sanitizer. It was all as handy as a standard waist or "fanny" pack, but completely safe.

Magellan's also sells bags and purses with steel mesh in them, along with the cables in the straps, so that no one can slash your bag from the bottom and just collect whatever falls out.

Personally, I would rather NOT carry a traditional purse, for two reasons. One, after a while, my shoulder gets tired of carrying that weight all day. Switching shoulders just means they're both tired at the end of the day. Two, it's just one more thing to worry about and keep track of.

Posted by
72 posts

Regarding the earlier post about rubber bands and wallets.

Of course, I know that the rubber band on the wallet is not a miracle cure to the pick pocket. That is why I use a money belt. However, I believe that keeping some cash in a wallet is much more convenient and practical than always having to dig out the money belt.

Posted by
10344 posts

Yes, always keep the cash you need for the day somewhere other than your money belt.