RS recommends every traveler wear their own money belt, but what about teens? I'm traveling 3 weeks in the UK, Isle of Man & Ireland with two 14-yr-old girls. Should I carry the 3 passports & BritRail passes in my money belt, even though it'll be bulky? On the other hand, I'd like them to learn wise travel habits, but teen girls may reject money belts. Suggestions?
How much responsibility do they have at home?
They're both responsible girls. They do keep track of their wallets and phones, but haven't had to protect against theft the way RS recommends for travelers (small town, low crime rate). Is the money belt security precaution not necessary for where we're going? I've always used one for travel, but where do you "hide" a passport on a slim girl?
Personally, I do not see the need for keeping the BritRail passes in a money belt. Keep a dedicated pocket/slot in your bag, where they are always kept - all together.
Keep all 3 passports together, in your money belt. I only ever keep excess money, cc, and the passports in the money belt (when I use one).
If they bring their own cash on the trip and it's a good amount, then suggest a money belt for their larger wad, with a daily amount that they parcel out to their wallet for the day. If they lose money, only tears will be shed.
They can learn wise travel habits from watching you.
I think you can debate many sides of this. Ultimately, you have to be comfortable with who has the passports so you can sleep at night. My first trip to Europe was a high school trip at 14 and we were all responsible for carrying our money and passports. There were no mishaps. But I understand the perspective of a 14 year old is different from the responsible adult on the trip.
Re: moneybelts. Maybe you can talk them into wearing them on your intercity travel days at minimum? These are the times you will be most vulnerable to theft- train stations, crowds, hauling luggage, new cities etc. Then when you have set up "camp" in a new city, you can live the rail passes in the hotel. And some people choose to not carry around their passports once they have settled in a city. Legally, you are supposed to. But it is technically an option to also leave the passports at the hotel and carry a paper copy with you.
Forgot to add- I think you need to consider the threat of theft everywhere in Europe. But just hang on to your things and use common sense. It's okay if the moneybelt is visible under clothing of a slim person (or bigger person for that matter). The point is , because of its location, it is virtually impossible to remove it or touch it without the wearer noticing. It would take one gutsy person to reach under someone's shirt to try and steal it. Most thieves will just move on to an easier target.
The money belt is more comfortable if you have the pouch against your back rather than your tummy.
I've traveled with teenagers several times in Europe, and I always keep the passports for everyone. There are plenty of opportunities for them to exercise responsibility at home, whereas losing a passport would be a major trip disruption. They have never seemed to mind, although this is a pattern we established when they were younger so perhaps they don't think about it that much. Over time my family has lost (multiple) glasses, (multiple) coats and at least one cell phone so perhaps that's one reason I do this.
The UK, Isle of Man & Ireland are very safe. I didn't personal use a money belt while I was there. I am very much a believer in the fact that everyone should carry their own passports. So I'd say make them carry their own passports and that you should keep the rail pass.
My niece is one of the teenagers and my sister said, "If she loses her passport the day before you fly home, I can't afford the extra airfare to get her home. You keep her passport, please." We looked up US Airways change fee for international non-refundable tickets: up to $750 per person, plus the difference in fares. With additional food & lodging while waiting to replace the passport, it'd be a lesson in responsibility we can't afford. I've decided-- I'll keep passports, they'll keep everything else. Thanks for all your replies.
Last time I packed kids - boys 16 and 12, girl 8 - they all had a neck wallet and carried money and passports themselves. They also were responsible for their own carry-on bag (the girls was just a large school daypack). I was determined not to carry their stuff for them.
The 8 year old girl was the most responsible of the group. The 12 year old boy misplaced his passport at one point; but only briefly, he had left it in our leased car.