Every year I drag out the dreaded money belt - I despise them.  Thankfully my husband I have an unspoken agreement that because I carried two children in my womb, he gets to wear the money belt.  It works out nicely and I feel it's a fair trade.

The money belt debate is alive and well on many travel forums - some people  swear by them and others swear at them.  They do serve a purpose though, I'll begrudgingly admit, so we employ one when necessary.  In my opinion a money belt is like a safety deposit box and should be used as such; it is not to be used in place of a wallet.  If you need to lift your shirt to get out 10 euros for some gelato that money belt isn't helping you.  It is helpful, however, to store large amounts of cash and/or passports while in transit.  Keep some money in your pockets - not so much that it will ruin your trip if it gets snatched, but enough to buy the incidentals and things you'll need for the day.

I carry a purse - call me crazy.  The funny thing is I'm not the only one who does - as I can see by the millions of other ladies walking around everywhere we go.  I don't keep much money in it - and certainly not our passports - but aside from some cash I carry our camera, pen, paper, maps, etc.  I refuse to be paranoid.  In any city (including my own) I pay attention to my belongings and hold my purse to my body when in crowds or using public transportation.  Seems like common sense to me.  Sure, the guy in the multi-pocketed fishing vest in downtown Paris may feel  secure because he doesn't have a bag to lose, but he sure looks ridiculous.

Our money belt is used when we leave home with lots of cash.  We use ATMs and our visa as much as possible while traveling but in many European places (small towns in particular) you can't use a credit card.  To make life easier we take some cash with us - an amount that we definitely don't want to lose.  This is put in the money belt and strapped around the torso of my husband.  We both have a smaller amount in our possession that is easily accessible, and we take some out at the beginning of each day to replace any that we've spent.  We tend to keep our passports safe in the apartment or hotel that we stay at - if we don't feel they will be secure we add those to the money belt too.  By the end of the trip when the cash has dwindled the money belt gets retired.  Some people may call us crazy but it works for us.

So there it is - our deepest darkest money belt secret.  Oh, and about my purse - I always wear a cross-body style purse that lays flat against my body.  I also download our pictures each day 'just in case', but that can be done because we take a computer with us.  If you didn't it would be wise to have a few different memory cards that you switched out now and then - not necessarily because someone steals your camera, but what if you accidentally drop it into a canal?  Yikes.

Time is now ticking down and all the little things that I need to do keep popping into my head.  Letting the credit card company know we'll be in Italy is a big one - having once gone to Mexico without telling them and having none of our credit cards work solidified how important that is!  I also need to increase the length of our health insurance - booking tickets with our credit card automatically gives us 15 days coverage but as we'll be out of the country for 21 days I need to add that time on - a simple process really and can be done on the same phone call as letting them know we'll be away.  Which reminds me that I also need to ask them what exactly we have for coverage with our Visa regarding car rental insurance - many card companies have great coverage that people aren't aware of and simply add on the extra insurance when they rent because they aren't aware of it.  It's important to use the perks your card offers - you're paying for it so take advantage of it!

I like the busy rush that happens as you get ready for a big trip.  For so long it's a waiting game - you certainly can't pack 4 months ahead of time and reading guide books is great but if you do it too far in advance you forget what you read and what you want to do.  Some things are best left until near the end and we are now entering that happy busy time.  I have the kids signed up for cooking day camp this week which will allow me some time to do the shopping and other errands for the trip.  We also have friends coming to stay with us for the weekend which means I need to take all the winter gear and boxes of stuff out of the guest room.  There's nothing like having people stay with you to force you to get your house in order!  My kids will have to clean up the Barbie explosion that has taken over the entire basement… this will be an interesting week.  Luckily part of getting ready for this trip involves 'practicing' drinking Italian wine - it makes the preparation easier.  Wink


 photo gallery


me_madridAbout Me

Blog Archive

Powered by mod LCA