My Safe Travel System: Adventures in Argentina
En route to Argentina, which I had planned to travel in a circle counterclockwise, I picked up a pair of stockings. ‘Why stockings,’ you ask? Were you anticipating a rendezvous in the ‘city of chandeliers,’ Buenos Aires?
Possibly yes, but that was neither my motive nor intention. What one does with the stockings is an old travelers’ secret, which after 25 years of living, working and traveling abroad qualifies me for that particular distinction.
If you are switching hemispheres, venturing into new longitudes and latitudes, unsure of the ‘lay of the land,’ which may include thieves, pickpockets and other scoundrels, you must bring a pair of stockings!
As I had worked and saved for this adventure, I certainly was not going to let some riff raff thief run off with my hard earned travel money, bank cards nor passport leaving me high and dry in Patagonia!
‘How did you outfox the foxes,’ you ask? As anything can happen anywhere, and right out of left field, a good traveler must be prepared!
Long ago and far away, before the Internet, ATMs and mobile phones, one had to make do with what one had and find simple solutions to protecting travel essentials and money while ‘on the road’, I had used the following three strategies:
1. Use an across the body bag and cut an opening at the bottom seam. Then, put your travel essentials in a zip lock bag and hide them there. Put your ‘small money’ in an outside pocket and ‘runaround’ money in an inner zip pocket.
2. I cut openings at both sides of the bra, between the lining and the bra itself, then put cash in two, small plastic zip lock bags inserting them into each side ‘pocket.’ Be sure to remove the hidden money before washing the bra!
And now, stage right, enter the Stockings, Preferably Black!
3. Cut off one leg of the stockings. Put travel essentials into a zip lock bag. Then insert the bag into the stocking leg. Wrap in various ways around the body and tie the ends in a bow. I used this system on both the upper body, over the bra or around the hips with both options keeping the zip lock bag with travel essentials at the back.
I had used the above systems all over the world and especially if there was a ‘frisson’ of danger in the air. I felt confident knowing that my most important travel essentials were hidden, secure and ‘held’ on the body. System 2 and 3 being the most secure, especially on night trains, buses, boats as well as when using public transportation, in crowded markets or in high traffic tourist zones. In this way, I could simply carry on, sleek and streamlined as a panther.
The above is based on the premise that anything apparent, anything shown, can be easily taken. If your travel safe system is an easy access one, that means it is easy access for the thieves as well. If you want to ‘travel safe,’ having your money belt/pouch on the outside, or showing in any way, is a contradiction. Certainly, if you go with the hidden option, your daily travel money is kept in an outside bag.
Another advantage of the ‘hidden option,’ is that you can keep to your budget better. Your focus is on the experience vs. the temptation of shopping. If there is something you simply can’t resist, then go undo your money and get it, with the understanding that you will have to carry it or ship it home. There are always irresistible objects of desire which you will encounter while traveling, so choose carefully.
One day, I took a good, long look at this ‘stocking thing’ and thought, “I can do better then this”! This makeshift ‘money belt’ which worked so well, was, as my daughter Sofia would say, ‘ghetto’, and could do with some refining!
I also began to both notice and question the whole approach to ‘travel gear.’ Just who was designing it? Were they travelers themselves? The khaki commando styling with the proportions too big, seams too thick and all that hardware; zippers, buckles, toggles, loops and webbing was just too much! I am all for having a ‘tomboy spirit’ but truly a new approach was needed.
Women travelers are often seen as ‘easy targets’ and I wanted to create a travel safe system so they would be protected to some extent. Using common sense, being conscientious and ‘street savvy’ is primary when out exploring the world. (Pretend that you are from New York City.)
And so, the ‘travel safe body b~a~n~d~s’ concept began to take shape in my imagination. After the trip, I spent months locked away with elastic, stretch materials and stretch thread tying myself up in knots trying to make up some prototypes, emerging dizzy, maddened with hunger and frustration. This was about the time that I wished I had studied physics or engineering vs. Art History.
Eventually, a proper tailor and pattern maker was found and we spent a month making prototypes. Finally, I decided on a ‘travel wing,’ the upper body option and the ‘travel band,’ the around the hips option, made from a strong, stretch power net material, and sold as a set. The traveler can decide which to use and when.
And so, from it’s humble beginning as a stocking, preferably black, the Dovetail travel in peace, ‘travel safe body b~a~n~d~s’ for women were developed!
Beware of handsome, charming locals who want to ‘help’ you, and remember to remove your ATM card after using the machine and close your bag after opening it!
You can go everywhere, the world is yours!
Have a Wanderful Day!
This is a sponsored post. Alex Ivory is the COO of Dovetail travel in peace, designer and producer of the ‘travel safe body b~a~n~d~s’ for women, www.dovetailtravelinpeace.com. She can be contacted at [email protected]