Travel Safety: Valuables and the Travel Infinity Scarf

Valuables and where to put them

Travelers everywhere share the fear of being pickpocketed. Replacement cards/IDs/passports are not impossible to replace, but it sure is a big headache. Here I'll let you in to a brief snippet of our anxious-what-if-thinking about how to carry around valuables:

- If I wear a money belt, how do I get money out to make purchases? Money belts are lame! But you better take one.
- Is my wallet safe in my back pocket (no probably not), but what about my front pocket? Lady pockets are the worst!
- What kind of purse should I bring? Actually neither of us like purses. A backpack it is.
- Are backpacks safe? Where do I put stuff inside the backpack so it's safe? Also we better make sure to wear it on our fronts in crowded spots!
- Do I carry my passport around with me all the time? It's advised, but also not safe! That makes no sense.

Plus many more anxious thoughts, which I will omit for brevity/sanity.

Wes with the front-facing backpack for travel days (plus his luggage on his back).

What we actually carry (Based on research, experience, and ease of use)

  • Phone is kept in a front pocket, so he can always feel it.
  • In safer places: RFID blocking wallet with only a credit card, a debit card, cash, and a driver's license.
  • In places that are less safe: Wallet goes into a front zippered pocket.
  • Extra cards in a backup wallet that gets locked in our luggage.

  • An RFID blocking wallet with a credit card and debit card for taking out cash, plus a driver's license. This stays in the bottom of my backpack at all times, buried under luxurious items such as my hat and first aid kit. It's really fun to try to pull it out (not).
  • A "dummy" wallet that I use for in-country cash, coins, and our travel credit card. It's zippered into a pocket in my pants/skirt/coat so that it's easier to get to. The idea is that if we're ever seriously robbed, we could give this away without a huge amount of loss.
  • Phone is kept inside a zippered pocket, easy to access for photos but out of sight.
  • A backup folder locked in our travel luggage with extra credit cards/debit cards/copies of important things.
  • On travel days: A money belt with cash and cards needed for the day. Everything else is locked in the luggage.
  • On all days: Passports in my super secret zipper infinity scarf! (see below) I stuff this into the bottom of my backpack or wear it. I love this scarf! Sometimes I'll wear it for an evening walk and use it to carry my wallet and phone, rather than using pockets or a bag. Plus it's an extra pocket if I'm wearing a skirt like the picture below. You can feel the contents while you're wearing it, which is reassuring when it's something as valuable as a passport. And if you tuck things in correctly, it looks like a normal scarf.

Secret dinosaur pocket for passports!

Making the Travel Infinity Scarf

I knew that I wanted a scarf with a pocket, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted to buy online. DIY came to the rescue! When we were still in Hillsboro, I sacrificed one of my favorite beach sarongs and some dinosaur fabric to create the following masterpiece. The pattern I followed is free and online, at Patterns for Pirates (this is not an affiliate link, I don't know her in any way, just used her pattern).

The sarong to be sacrificed
The starting materials cut to size: sarong, dinosaur pocket, and green zipper (plus interfacing not shown here for support).
Lots of ironing...and thank goodness I was able to find my zipper foot.
After sewing: now it's a tube with an enclosed pocket. Just need to finish the pocket, turn it out, and topstitch.