Why Money Belts Don't Work... November 10 2011, 0 Comments

When I went abroad on my first solo trip, ie without my parents, I was given a money belt. The general idea of money belts is great; hide money and stuff in a belt and hide that belt underneath your clothes. I accepted the money belt, put my hard earned cash (paper delivery route...I was 16 at the time) in it and went on my merrry way. So far so good.

But when I, four days into my trip, found myself on Santorini trying to pay for a huge, lovely Greek salad, only to discover that my money  belt was missing, I wasn't so happy anymore. I had no idea where the belt had gone. I hadn't felt it come off, I hadn't felt anyone stealing it off me. Nonetheless, it was gone and so was my money.

This was in the days long before Internet, emails and cell phones and let's just say it took me several days to get some money wired to me. In the meantime I lived cheaply and borrowed money from some seriously nice people I had just met at the hostel. Imagine that - lending money to a complete stranger! 

Back to the money belt. On the last day on Santorini, as I was rushing out from the hostel to catch the ferry to Crete, one of the Hostel managers calls out to me, holding something in his hand 'You dropped this the other day' and holds up my money belt! Imagine that as well - I hadn't been robbed. it turns out the belt had simply fallen of me as I walked through the lobby. The closure had come partially undone, loosened, and the belt had slipped to the floor. The hostel manager hadn't had time to stop me and simply put the belt aside and forgot to tell me until at the very last minute.

It was 40 C degres plus, seriously hot, the warmth and sweat combined with the icky, nylon material of the belt had made it simply slide to the floor. How's that for safety? 

A money belt is a good idea in theory but not only can it fall off, it can get stolen too. Thieves know where to look and they most certainly know how to get the belt off of trusting tourists without them noticing. A quick cut with a pocket knife and the belt is off, no obstacle at all for nifty pickpockets. Worst of all, money belts are easy to forget; in a bathroom stall, in a hotel, well anywhere. The same goes for fanny packs and mostly neck pouches and similar products.

I now stick to underwear with pockets. There is no way I can forget them somewhere. There is no way they can simply fall off and there is now way a thief can get into my pants without me noticing: they are really 100% pickpocket proof!