When people ask us for travel advice the first thing we say is...
Wear a moneybelt.
What kind of travel advice is THAT?
We think it's the best kind.
Nothing will ruin a trip faster than to lose your passport and credit cards or cash.
The best way to protect them is to wear a money belt.
We've seen leather belts with a little zipper in them...
...and people ask how can you get anything in there?
That's not what we're talking about.
Travel moneybelts are small, zippered nylon pouches that you wear under your clothes.
They're usually about 5 inches by 12 inches. (12 cm x 30 cm). You wear them around your waist, either in the front or in the small of your back.
That little compartment is big enough to slip your passport in.
Paper airplane tickets fit. (Yes, you may still get those once in a while!)
You should put credit cards, debit cards, and your driver's license in there.
Once you've gotten cash from the ATM, keep just enough for one day in your wallet and put the rest in your moneybelt.
These days, you should be looking for one that's made with RFID blocking material. In case you're wondering that stands for Radio Frequency Identification blocking material.
Some cards today can be scanned from a distance if not protected. Keep your cards in this RFID blocking moneybelt or in sleeves that are made to protect them.
We use them anytime we go away from home for more than a day trip.
When we're traveling, we put them on when we get up in the morning, and we don't have to worry... all those valuable documents are safely tucked away with us all day.
When you arrive in a foreign country, you've gone through passport control, then you've probably found an ATM for money.
Now before you do anything else... find a Toilet or WC (in most countries they are marked as Toilets or WCs not restrooms). You can put that passport, ATM card and most of the money away in your moneybelt in privacy....
Don't say you'll put money and valuables away later.
Wear a moneybelt now and USE it.
This is one time when you're most vulnerable.... You're jet lagged, taking public transportation into town, juggling your luggage.... You're a prime target for a pickpocket. If you stop and tuck everything away, you'll have greater peace of mind.
If you need more money or a credit card during the day, there will always be a restroom or a private corner where you can dip into your moneybelt safely.
Once you're done with your transaction... put your credit card back in your moneybelt.
We always keep our passports in our money belt unless we are going through borders or we are asked to get them out.
Keep a good photocopy of your passport with you where you can get to it quickly. We have copies of the information page and the signature page, and we have them laminated.
Sometimes that will be enough to show.
Hotels sometime need passport information to register you... show the copy to the hotel desk clerk, it might be enough. If they need your passport to register you, you can always get it out for them in a lobby restroom or in your hotel room and bring it down later.
Be sure to safeguard your copies too...
you don't want your passport information to fall into the wrong hands any more than you want to lose your passport.
We put the passports, money, and paper documents inside a plastic zip-lock bag.
If you get hot and sticky, you might sweat through those money belts... soggy passports and money are no fun.
The plastic bag protects your documents and money.
And here's a story for you....
We were in Gombe National Park in
Tanzania... It was calm and sunny when we arrived on our "yacht". (Doesn't look like a yacht, does it?)
We had a wonderful two days observing chimps in the wild. As we were taking the trip back to Kigali to catch our flight... in the "small fast boat"... a storm sprang up over Lake Tanganyika.
Waves started crashing on the beach where we were supposed to wade ashore.
We'll cut out the drama here (and there was plenty!), and just tell you that my hubby ended up in the water.
The good news is the airline tickets and his passport were just fine because of that zip-lock bag.
There are neck pouches that some people prefer. Those might be easier to pull out from under your top.
We just prefer the money belt style because we can really tuck it in under everything.
Which ever style you use is up to you, but wear a moneybelt. It will give you peace of mind.