As we wrote in yesterday’s tip, Rick Steves was pickpocketed this summer in Paris. He wrote that the main reason it happened was that he wasn’t wearing a money belt. I have a money belt myself that I rarely use, and that I’ll think about using more. But the main takeaway for me is that even a seasoned traveler like Rick, who’s spent over 4,000 days on the road and knows all the tricks the bad guys use, can still get robbed.
Take it from Rick: If you’re going to be in a crowded, touristy spot, don’t let your guard down. And money belts can really help. Pickpockets like the one that got Rick come in all shapes and sizes. In general you can’t pick them out of a crowd, as they dress as tourists, businessmen/women and beggars, and they usually work in pairs or groups. They also love crowded places like subways, buses, tourist attractions, even churches! That’s right. I was once on a tour in Germany on which a travel writer was picked in a church. On Palm Sunday!
Back to the money belt. The best ways to combat thieves are to leave your flashy valuables at home and to wear a money belt with your money, credit cards and passport on you. There are plenty to choose from, and the right one for you will be a matter of personal preference. Here’s a list on Amazon.
The money belt I’d buy next
Personally, I’d choose this Eagle Creek money belt as my next one. It has two zippered pockets that make it easy to keep your currency in one pouch and your important documents, etc., in another. It’s also “made of natural silk and a soft, adjustable strap eliminates all irritation and discomfort allowing for all-day wear.” In addition, I like that it’s “outfitted with soft-to-touch breathable, washable natural silk and a sweat-resistant lining.”
The Eagle Creek money belt is 11.5″ x 5.5″ x 3″, weighs 2oz and costs $20. Grab it here.