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Passports/Money

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#1
In 2012 I walked 40 days on the Camino. I carried a fanny pack with all my important documents/money, having in my possession 24/7- even in the shower.
In light of recent discussions about Camino safety, Wondering what other ideas have been used to carry these valuable documents and keep them both safe and out of sight while on your person. Something yseful not just for the Camino but anybtravel.
Thanks!
 

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David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#2
You seem to have it pretty good already .. only thing I would say is that I always split what I have into two - real passport, some money, and a credit card stay on me at all times in a gripseal - then if I lose or have stolen the other lot I have a backup.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#3
I think that fanny packs / bum bags are terribly insecure from pickpockets and also shout out "The good stuff is in here!"

My valuables go in a zippered pouch with a strap worn under the pants with a tucked in shirt between the pouch and the pants. Sometimes I also wear a leather belt with a zipper on the inside to hide extra cash.

Later edit: I didn't find this uncomfortable at all and often wore it to bed. I wish it had additional securable/zipped pockets though so I could go get one item without worrying that another might fall out unnoticed.
 
Last edited:

mspath

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#4
Discretion and no bling might offer surer protection than a bum bag. However, never leave unwatched what you can't afford to lose. Like many other pilgrims I sleep with any valuables within my sleeping bag beneath my feet and NEVER tell anyone where and what they are!!

A few years ago in Trinidad de Arre an actor from LA who was bunked next to me asked anxiously "Where do you have your money?" As if on cue I rolled my eyes and answered "Why in the bank! And you?"


For further advice read these earlier Forum threads with useful tips on camino security
and here.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#5
I know that pockets ruin the line of shirts and pants, but pockets are great. Go for practicality instead of style. I have pants with pockets inside 0f pockets, and they are quite secure. Don't forget a plastic bag to keep passport and wallet dry in the rain or inside a poncho (as water condenses).
 

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Waka

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#6
I have to admit I do carry a slim bum bag which hides under my shirt, it only contain my phone, credential and my daily spend, all the other important items are spread around my body and back pack.
Never worried while I was on camino, maybe I was just lucky. I think any base is good as long as it's not advertised when wearing it. Regarding the very slim pouches that go around the neck and under the shirt, I find these very uncomfortable.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#8
Seeing the proliferation of messages about safety, I could contribute with a very short story. It was in Los Arcos, in the first days of my first walk, so my routines were not so well established. There were not many people in the path, just 20 or 30 of us, and we more o less knew each other.
Well, I went veeery tired to shower, completely exhausted, resisted the urge to sleep and decided to visit the magnificent cathedral, and after that I thought it was time to get my "menú del día". When I entered the restaurant, I checked my bumbag as I routinely do...but it was missing (with money, credit cards, passport). I felt as if a thunderbolt had struck me. After a moment of paralysis, I almost run back to albergue, without really hope...and I discovered the bumbag exactly where I had put it, in a hook in the shower.

Not that I recommend that you repeat this experience, evidently. Be very careful with your belongings, establish a routine, but don't get obsessed about safety. The vast majority of pilgrims are good people, and I had discovered that misteriously some things that go usually very bad in daily life, turn well in the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September/October 14, May 17, September 18
#9
Hi all. I do carry a waist belt with my water in it, my guide book, credential, money for the day, some lip balm and kleenex because I really like thisstuff to be super accessible, but my passport, debit card, credit cards and the rest of the money (in a small plastic ziplock bag) go in a little cotton bag (about 4x5 inches) that attaches with an adjustible string and it goes around my waist under my clothes. I never take it off, even when sleeping, except for when I have a shower and then it goes in a lightweight plasticized grocery bag that I put my clean clothes in on the way to the shower, then put my dirty clothes in on the way to wash them, sit on if it is damp when I am taking a break on the trail, and use for getting any food stuffs that I might purchase. The little cotton bag was given to us when we were taking a trip years ago and I have used it ever since for travel. The string does not add a lot around the waist, is not hot and sticky and the passport etc. is really not noticeable under your clothes (especially when wearing a Macabi) I just put it off to the side slightly. Has worked for me on my last Camino and on other travels.
Buen Camino-Linda
PS - anyone starting out from SJPP on May 7th?
 

RobertS26

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Oct 2013
Camino Frances, Aug 2014
Camino Frances, Apr 2015
#10
The problem with using a fanny pack instead of pants pockets is that people often take off their fanny pack to use the toilet. You never see anyone walking out of a toilet without their pants on, but you do see them leaving with their fanny packs still hanging on the back of toilet door. I found it so incredibly simple to place my passport, my credential, and my phone in the extra front pockets of my hiking pants. Whenever I stood up to move on I simply had to pat each pocket to confirm the three most important items were still with me. That sure beats watching the terrified pilgrim running backwards down the Camino to retrieve their fanny pack that may or may not still be hanging in the toilet at the café in the last village.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#11
A passport over-shoulder pouch is my solution, worn crosswise under your shirt/blouse from one shoulder to under the other arm never just hanging neclace style around the neck. It's all but invisable, cheap, with plenty of room inside for cash, your credit card a-n-d your credental ready for instant retrieval. David got it right, always split your money and backup credit card, bury one set deep in the backpack your cash stash there, much smaller amounts of money and a credit card for daily use in the over-shoulder pouch.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#12
PS I also carry there my health insurance documents, any emergancy, say, a runaway garbage truck gets you and who knows where it may be in your backpack or on the cellphone.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#13
Two slim pouches hold my valuables:
  • One is my hidden pouch, similar to this one. I use diaper pins to attach it inside the waist band of my pants, so it hangs inside my pants. I move it whenever I change my pants. This holds my emergency cash, cards and information - things I won't need during the day.
  • The other is my home-made cross-body pouch (see photo attached), which is an expansion of the neck pouch concept. It holds my daily cash,credential phone and guidebook, and sometimes my bank card if I am planning a withdrawal that day. I can add some tissues and my sunglasses, but not much else. I also wear this all the time, and don't have to remove it when I take my backpack on and off.
I find that these are inobtrusive enough that I don't mind having them on at all times. In fact, I feel vulnerable without them and I use them on non-camino travel as well. By keeping them small, I avoid the temptation to add clothes, gloves, bananas, etc., and lose the control over the valuables.
 

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M

Mark Lee

Guest
#17
I heart Rick Steves so much. js
ha ha...
I didn't know the dude expanded into retail.
Don't get me wrong. I owe Rick. It was his show on northern Spain and Pamplona from 2010 that made me aware of the Camino, and I had never even watched his show before that episode. Came across it whilst channel surfing, and it was the San Fermin part that initially caught my attention, but once he started talking about the Camino, I became totally intrigued and instantly knew I must walk it.
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
#18
I dvr his shows all the time. I'm convinced he has the coolest job ever. I also like his spirit when it comes to cultural differences. He is so incredibly respectful of all traditions and encourages the viewer to do the same.
 
#19
In 2012 I walked 40 days on the Camino. I carried a fanny pack with all my important documents/money, having in my possession 24/7- even in the shower.
In light of recent discussions about Camino safety, Wondering what other ideas have been used to carry these valuable documents and keep them both safe and out of sight while on your person. Something yseful not just for the Camino but anybtravel.
Thanks!
Pant pockets. A small dry bag for shower and into my sleeping bag with me at night
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camiino de Santiago 2012
#20
In 2012 I walked 40 days on the Camino. I carried a fanny pack with all my important documents/money, having in my possession 24/7- even in the shower.
In light of recent discussions about Camino safety, Wondering what other ideas have been used to carry these valuable documents and keep them both safe and out of sight while on your person. Something yseful not just for the Camino but anybtravel.
Thanks!
I walk the Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2016 and wore an Bumbag. Though a little fashion dated - who cares! All money important stuff and iPhone were always in front of me and I has easy access in all weather. Once you start hiding things access is difficult. I could even sleep with it me if I needed to.
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#21
Thank you, all, for the ideas.
Monica
 
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2016
#22
In 2012 I walked 40 days on the Camino. I carried a fanny pack with all my important documents/money, having in my possession 24/7- even in the shower.
In light of recent discussions about Camino safety, Wondering what other ideas have been used to carry these valuable documents and keep them both safe and out of sight while on your person. Something yseful not just for the Camino but anybtravel.
Thanks!
when purchasing shirts or pants make sure they have a zipped pocket.
I put them in ziplock bags and carry them either in a chest pocket, zipped up, or in a zipped pockets on my pants.
Always with me and almost impossible to get pickpocketed.
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016)
Via de la Plata / Sanabrés (2017)
Barcelona - Fisterra (2018)
#23
Here are some nice ideas (not all are useful for weight-conscious pilgrims) to get your creative fluids flowing:
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016)
Via de la Plata / Sanabrés (2017)
Barcelona - Fisterra (2018)
#24
Juliet: True. And obviously you have hidden just the notes you actually need in a difficult place. Mr. Murphy lives also on the Camino. However, it is not a bad idea to spread the money so you don't lose everything in case something happens.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Perhaps Camino Portuguese in 2018
#25
I keep all essential documents inside of thin food grade polyethylene bags inside of a flesh-colored cross-body pouch which I ensure is always* concealed under my shirt including when I am asleep. My house key is tied inside the pouch too. I only keep one day’s spending money outside of the pouch, and it is distributed amongst the zippered pockets of my trousers. I keep my shirt tails tucked into my trousers so that, should the strap of the pouch break, the pouch will not fall to the ground.

*When I take a shower, I wear the pouch into the shower stall with me, take it off, hang it from something difficult to reach from outside of the shower stall, and keep it in view. I put it back on before exiting the shower stall. The pouch has my name magic-markered onto the side of it that faces my body.

The purpose of the poly bags is to prevent perspiration and rainwater from damaging the documents, most especially the passport. The thin bags puncture occasionally but are easily replaceable at any grocery store and since I buy only food grade bags, any excess bags can be used to package daily snack items.

I take very few valuables with me when travelling and never leave any valuables in my pack, suitcase, etc. I do however keep a photocopy of essential documents inside of a poly bag buried deeply inside of the luggage.
 
#26
If you experience a serious thief, it does not matter where you hide vaulables. First comes the demand. Then you give something up. In our case, it would be a wallet, passport, waist pack, purse, even our backpack. But then there is the, "tell," that the thief is watching for. That is when the maximum of distress needs to be demonstrated. Act it out. Give the thief your, "giveaway," and act as if it is everything you have. If not successful, more will be demanded. That is when it can escalate to violence.

Heed this or not but this is a part of, "self defense," that the so called experts do not cover, because they are not experts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Perhaps Camino Portuguese in 2018
#27
Give the thief your "giveaway" and act as if it is everything you have. If not successful, more will be demanded. That is when it can escalate to violence.
A “giveaway” sounds like a really good idea. I think I will start building up a sacrifical well-used-looking wallet with some money and maybe some expired cards with the magnetic stripes erased, and some other convincing junk in it, to hand over.
 

LesR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#28
Be very careful with your belongings, establish a routine, but don't get obsessed about safety. The vast majority of pilgrims are good people, and I had discovered that misteriously some things that go usually very bad in daily life, turn well in the Camino.
I agree - it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming everyone is out to get you...

Walked CF 2018 Sept/Oct and started fairly paranoid about the security of cash and the second travel card and (particularly) my passport.

Split the cash between my wallet and a cache of cash and the second travel card with the passport in my backpack. Wallet stayed in my shorts pocket (it was a deep pocket so there was no chance of it falling out) and I started out sleeping with the shorts under my pillow and watching my backpack like a hawk.

By about Burgos I had relaxed, and as long as my passport and cache of cash were well hidden in my backpack, I wasn't overly worried about possible theft - once I was in an albergue. No way was I going to leave my backpack unattended in the street or in a church.

Had thought about taking passport/wallet into the shower with me, but never got around to it.

Maybe I was lucky and simply didn't encounter anyone with designs on my cash/passport, or maybe my meager security precautions were sufficient ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the Camino Frances in May 2018
#29
Hi all. I do carry a waist belt with my water in it, my guide book, credential, money for the day, some lip balm and kleenex because I really like thisstuff to be super accessible, but my passport, debit card, credit cards and the rest of the money (in a small plastic ziplock bag) go in a little cotton bag (about 4x5 inches) that attaches with an adjustible string and it goes around my waist under my clothes. I never take it off, even when sleeping, except for when I have a shower and then it goes in a lightweight plasticized grocery bag that I put my clean clothes in on the way to the shower, then put my dirty clothes in on the way to wash them, sit on if it is damp when I am taking a break on the trail, and use for getting any food stuffs that I might purchase. The little cotton bag was given to us when we were taking a trip years ago and I have used it ever since for travel. The string does not add a lot around the waist, is not hot and sticky and the passport etc. is really not noticeable under your clothes (especially when wearing a Macabi) I just put it off to the side slightly. Has worked for me on my last Camino and on other travels.
Buen Camino-Linda
PS - anyone starting out from SJPP on May 7th?
I’m leaving SJPP on May 7!

Was planning to keep everything in a bumbag, but these posts have given me something to think about. Already had one phone stolen in Spain :eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Perhaps Camino Portuguese in 2018
#30
With respect to the advisability of never allowing one’s essential documents and keys to leave one’s person when travelling, including e.g. when one is in the shower, there is a saying: “It is impossible to be betrayed until after one has trusted”.

It is for each of us to decide when and whom to trust.
 

Malachiuri

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos 2017
St Jean to Santiago 2018
#31
When I started traveling internationally I was terrified of my passport, cards, etc. Now I worry more about my phone than anything else. Losing a passport is monumentally annoying but not the end of the world, bank cards are more problematic.

I have a colour copy of my US (complete with devistatingly handsome pic) passport that I keep in a ziploc with my camino passport to show to the albergue staff and keep my real one hid in my crap, mainly so I don't show everyone where my good stuff is kept hidden. Cards are split up on my person and in my bag.
As for cash, never carry more than you are willing to lose. ATM fees aren't so terrible balanced with constantly worrying about your security.

I have had more issues with theft in the US than anywhere in Europe or Asia...
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#32
Sew a plastic D ring into any non-zipped pocket and make a chain (I used old key rings) for a small purse with a small clip. Some coins and a small value note in the purse and it is clipped to me. An elastic band around a wallet makes it hard to remove from a non-zipped pocket.
Personal documents, cash cards etc are well hidden and also protected by foil from scanners.
 

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