Ditch the Money Belt and Build a Hidden Pocket

While I do feel they are usually necessary, I dislike wearing a money belt when traveling. I own a Rick Steves-branded pouch, but I often find myself not wearing it because it’s uncomfortable. Even when it is strapped to my waist, I spend too much time with my hands down my pants fixing an annoying situation spawned by the belt. This, of course, draws attention to the very thing I am trying to hide.

I was searching around today for money belt alternatives and ran across this tutorial on building a hidden pocket into an existing pair of pants. The plans seem simple enough: turn your pants inside-out, cut a scrap piece of fabric into the same shape as your existing pocket, and sew! Even I could do this!

You could do this to all 4 pockets of your pants, effectively tripling your storage space. My brain is already churning with ideas on how to keep your valuables from falling out. Andy over at HoboTraveler created a Velcro-based pocket, which seems ideal, though a zipper could work as well.

Now how could I waterproof it?

Set Your Luggage Apart with Paint

I’m one of those snotty, one-bag types that talks bad about travelers who pack their belongings into a checked suitcase. As I quickly and efficiently bounce through the terminal — backpack secured tightly to my back — I roll my eyes and shake my head at the site of those poor souls who couldn’t live without having three outfits for each day of their week-long trip. Nonsense! To smell while traveling is natural; a change of clothes — a shower, even — is overrated.

However, If you do have to check your luggage, sister site DIY Life pointed us to an article from Baxter Bulletin on a creative way to decorate your checked bag as to distinguish it from the others on the luggage carousel: paint it!

I recall seeing some pretty wacky luggage in my travels. One westerner’s suitcase I spotted in India had swastikas all over it, which may have been perfectly fine in India, but could certainly cause problems with the uninformed in the western world.

Paint your luggage at DIY Life

On the Road, Cold Coffee Is a Good Thing

Struggling to find a good cup of coffee while traveling to remote areas? There is hope for us!

I am a huge iced-coffee fan in the summer time. A friend recently introduced me to a great new thing: cold-pressed coffee. Instead of using hot water and adding ice cubes (often impossible when traveling), you simply mix ground coffee with cold water (and let sit overnight). Guess what – it tastes great and it is noticeably less bitter than regular brewed coffee. Next time I travel, I am packing ground coffee.

NY Times recipe: Cold-Brewed ICED COFFEE

Time: 5 minutes, plus 12 hours’ resting

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best) Milk (optional).

  1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups cold water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

  2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice (opt.), mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

Yield: Two drinks.

(NOTE: To make hot coffee, dilute concentrate one-to-one with water and heat in the microwave.)

Viking Ship Of Popsicle Sticks Sets Sail

On Monday night I heard a story on CNN about the Viking ship made of popsicle sticks that recently set sail across IJesslmeer lake in the Netherlands. One of our sister sites, Engadget covered this story when the ship was first completed. The hope for this ship is that it will be seaworthy enough to follow the Viking route to North America. An accounting of the project was also covered in last Saturday’s The Gazette, a Montreal paper. There is a photo of the ship as well. (This photo is a popsicle raft featured in garretsbridges.com. Maybe a post idea for our newest sister site DIYLife?)

The story behind the popscicle Viking ship story is intriguing. Robert McDonald, the man in charge of this project, was badly burned as a child and his family killed in an explosion. Afterwards, because of his injuries, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to do what other kids can do. Ever since he has gone on to prove the naysayers wrong. He writes about his life and projects on his Web site, OB Viking Ship. Come to think of it, it does seem that McDonald, an American, is unable to do what most people do which is to buy a normal ship instead of building a replica of a Viking ship out of 15 million recycled popscicle sticks with the help of 5,000 school kids. His aim is to show that what people think is impossible is possible and intrigue kids to manifest their dreams. Here’s a TV report from the Netherlands on this latest undertaking to cross the Atlantic. There are English subtitles. I love this story.

Introducing DIY Life

Today, the Weblogs, Inc. network introduced a brand new blog to the family: DIY Life, highlighting “the best in ‘do-it-yourself’ projects.” The site is already loaded with enough content to keep you busy building, fixing, and improving everything around the house and beyond for days. Tomorrow — during their official launch shebang — they’ll be having a “toolstravaganza” giveaway to celebrate Day 1, so keep an eye out for your chance to win all sorts of free DIY-friendly stuff.

Here are a few posts from DIY Life that are especially travel-related: