You know that sinking feeling you get when you realize you’ve forgotten something... left something valuable behind never to find it again, or heaven forbid had your valuables stolen from you when you were traveling away from home?
Thankfully, I’ve never been robbed while traveling, but I have had the sinking feeling of losing small valuables of my own accord. That used to happen to me often because I carry a LOT of stuff around with me. Every day. Everywhere. But I recently tried something new.
Let me give you an idea of what I drag along with me when I travel:
- I’m a travel writer, so I take a small notepad and pens with me wherever I go (old school I know, but I can write faster than I can type on an iPhone).
- I’m also a photographer. So I carry a dSLR camera body (sometimes two) and at least two lenses with me everywhere I go in a heavy camera backpack.
- First and foremost, however, I’m a traveler. So I carry my cell phone, sunglasses, passport, boarding passes/tickets, lip gloss, credit cards, money, keys, hair elastics, brochures, readers (just you wait), language phrasebook, pocket guides, and all the other little things you need as you move from place to place.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten tangled up in the straps of my cross-body purse and the shoulder straps of my camera pack, forgetting which one I put on first. My husband looks at me like he can’t believe I did it yet again - it’s not a pretty sight!
My husband wears a money belt when we travel, and honestly we come home with the same folded up $20 bills that we left home with. They’re a hassle to take off and not very discreet if you actually need to get to your money, since taking off your belt in public is not the most private thing one can do.
For our upcoming trip to Italy, I decided to try something new instead of my cross-body bag - something I actually wear all the time….a scarf. Only this one has a twist, and is especially made for travelers. The Secret Scarf was created by owner Tammi Foor, and has a sewn-in pocket for security that’s large enough to carry your valuables and leave you hands-free. I was skeptical at first whether it could handle the added weight of all that little stuff, but it was fine - even gave it just enough weight to hang nicely in front.
The Secret Scarf looks like any other infinity scarf that loops around twice, even three times for a tighter look. And you can custom order them in a slew of beautiful fabrics. I ordered two scarves from Tammi's Etsy store, 4theloveofoils. The first was a two-fabric scarf with a pretty print on one side and matching aqua blue solid fabric on the reverse. The fabrics were beautiful together. The other was an indigo blue block-printed cotton batik that I absolutely love.
Both fabrics were a great weight for Italy in late summer. I’m a big fan of Indian prints and indigo colored anything, so frankly I ended up wearing this scarf all the time. It was the color of blue jeans, and went with so many outfits, especially jeans!
Tammi has been making and selling them through her online Etsy store for several years, and now even makes RFID-Blocking Passport Wallets to match your scarf! Like many great ideas, hers was born from necessity since she could never find just the right way to secure and tote her valuables when she traveled.
“It might sound somewhat strange, but I almost know how a man feels being able to walk around fearlessly, never having to clutch your bag or tense up when someone walks too close or brushes by you.” Tammi said. “You know your valuables are safe because you can touch them and feel them through the pocket without anyone knowing what you're doing.”
I think scarves are the perfect travel accessory anyway - an item that can do double or triple duty when packing light is important to you. They can also be used as hair covers, shoulder shrugs, or to wrap souvenirs to bring home in your luggage. The fact that hers come with a hidden pocket is a real bonus, and makes a thoughtful gift for the traveler on your holiday list. And lest you think they’re just for girls, let me tell you I saw so many well-dressed guys in Italy who were wearing infinity scarves. Check out the gorgeous fabrics you can choose from, and consider the hands-free peace of mind you’ll have the next time you travel, not to mention a very cool wardrobe accessory. Head over to 4theloveofoils shop and pick out a few for your next trip.
Want to Buy?
You can order your Secret Scarf by Tammi at her Etsy store, 4theloveofoils. She's quick to answer any questions you might have and really helpful with fabric info and recommendations.
What's your favorite travel accessory? Aren't these scarves genius?