by Nancy Bestor
Customers often ask us to recommend the “most important item” that they should take on vacation. Because we feel that security is of utmost importance, our number one must have is a money belt. Bob and I always travel with our passports, credit cards, and cash in some kind of money belt or security wallet. This protects us against theft and our own forgetfulness and gives us peace of mind that our essential items are secure.
Once in Italy with my sister, a group of gypsy children approached me with a map that they stuck in front of my face while they tried to reach into my bag underneath. I swatted them away (literally), but even if they had gotten into my bag, they could have only stolen my lipstick and my water bottle, as my cash and passport were in my money belt. Another time, in Costa Rica, I was walking the streets of San Jose with a small backpack. I felt something like a fly on my arm, and when I went to swat it (again with the swatting!), I realized someone had actually unzipped my bag. There was nothing of interest in there this time either, just a sweater and a Lonely Planet guidebook.
There have been plenty of other vacations where I have felt a little bit uncomfortable with my surroundings—maybe because it was very crowded, or I felt like some sketchy looking folks were paying a little bit too much attention to me. I’ve always been confident with the fact that my important, costly, and difficult to replace items were tucked away in my security wallet, underneath my clothing. They can take my backpack or bag because there’s nothing in there that isn’t replaceable (except maybe for that perfect shade of Clinique lipstick that is no longer in production).
My favorite security pouch is Eagle Creek’s Undercover Deluxe Neck Wallet. I wear it a little differently than most customers expect though. I don’t hang it around my neck straight down in front. Instead I wear it cross body underneath my blouse. This gets the strap off the back of my neck and the pouch off my stomach (which doesn’t need any more pouch, believe me). I size the strap so the pouch is right at my hip and tucked into my pants or skirt. When I need to get into it, I simply pull it out from my bottoms, with it still strapped around me, and get what I need, then I tuck it back into my skirt. Bob’s favorite is the Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket. The Hidden Pocket has a loop that a regular belt runs through and then the wallet is tucked down inside his pants. It always stays attached to his belt, and when he needs to get into it he pulls it out, gets what he needs and then tucks it back in.
We always keep enough money for the day in our front pocket or day bag. That way we’re not getting into our money belts every single time I demand a gelato (and I demand lots of gelato). But the bulk of our cash, credit cards and passports are always in our money belts. If we’ve got a safe in our room, we do sometimes leave our passports behind, but really, we keep our cash and credit cards with us at all times. I’m not paranoid, I just like to be cautious.
There are all kinds of money belts for all kinds of people. There are even money belts that block RFID signals from being scanned by techno-savvy crooks. You can choose from styles that go around your waist, around your neck, that hook to your bra or strap to your leg. You can choose silk money belts, nylon ones, and more. It doesn’t matter the type you choose, what matters is that you keep your important belongings safe. And then you can relax and enjoy your vacation.