A Quick Access Bag That Keeps Out Prying Eyes

Everything is ready. My house-setters are ready, the bird feeders are all filled to the brim and I even took time to change out the food in the hummingbird feeder so they would have fresh nectar while I’m away.

I was thinking today that I’m a little crazy. Okay, quit nodding your head in agreement! I’m the only one who’s allowed to think that, much less say it out loud! 😉 For my first trip out of the U.S., I picked a country (Kenya) that you can’t visit without first getting a Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Hepatitis vaccine and you have to take malaria meds before, during and after the trip.

Done. (Well, accept the malaria “during and after” part.)

I chose a country where a Passport isn’t enough to let you in, you also have to get a Visa.


And I chose a trip where the places I’m staying are so far out in the bush, I’ll be flying twice on small planes, which means I can only take a small duffel size bag and one personal item.


Packing for African Safari


Have you ever tried to pack a week’s worth of clothing where temps range from 55 to 85 and for activities that include safaris, swimming and candlelight dining, all in a bag this size? After this, packing for any other trips should be a BREEZE! 🙂



I’ve made a few changes to my previously shared packing strategy. Instead of my aqua blue windbreaker (which I love) I’ve pretty much decided to wear my forever coat on this trip.

Waterproof Rain Jacket in Aqua


Barbour jackets have lots of deep, bellow-style pockets which should really come in handy since packing space has been so limited.

Barbour Beadnell Wax Jacket in Navy & Barbour Tartan Lining


Plus, the hidden pocket will come in handy for stashing away important papers/instructions I may need to refer to quickly during my trip. I already have them in there and ready to go!

I love this jacket and I think it will be the coat that goes with me on this and future travel adventures. In addition to being a forever coat, it is destined to become a memory coat, which is exactly what so many Barbour jackets become. A lot of good memories get made in these jackets over the years.

Barbour Beadnell Wax Coat With Inner Hidden Zip Pocket


If you missed my post about Barbour jackets and why they are so special, read more about them here: A Forever Coat. They have an amazing history and follow a long tradition. I especially love the story of how the holes in the pockets came to be a design feature for the coat. 🙂

Barbour Coats and Jackets


My Wallet/Bag For This Trip

The other big change I made regarding what I’ll be taking on this trip is the wallet I’ll be taking. I can’t take a purse since my “personal item” will be my camera bag, so I needed to find something that would hold my plane ticket, passport, Visa, credit card(s) and the cash I’ll be taking on this trip for tipping.

Unlike the Italy trip with Grand Circle Travel where all the tips are included, I’ll be doing a lot of tipping all throughout my Africa trip for drivers, pilots, housekeepers, guides, etc… I’ve been worried how I would keep up with all that tip money so I’m not standing there fumbling and searching, or worse yet, pulling out a wallet in public spaces.

I would love to have just taken my Travelon purse, but it’s large enough that I feel sure the airlines would count it as my personal item. My camera/laptop bag will need to be my personal item. (You can read more about this awesome travel purse in this post: Travelon Anti-theft Bag)

Travelon Crossbody Travel Bag with RFID Block


I already have a great neck wallet that fits under my clothing that I’ll be using on my trip to Italy, but it just didn’t have the space I knew I’d need on this trip.

Lewis N. Clark RFID Neck Wallet & Passport Pouch


I ordered a couple of different wallets and the one I settled on was this Travelon Neck Stash Wallet. It took me a while to realize just how perfect it was going to be for this trip, but now that I’ve figured exactly how I’m going to use it, I absolutely love it!

Travelon Anti-Theft Neck Wallet


The thing I love about this wallet the most (besides the fact that the strap and body of the bag is slash proof) is how with just one side of the bag partially unzipped, I can clearly see and access my driver’s licence, credit cards, Passport, Immunization documentation, Visa, etc… I especially love that the only person who can see down into the bag when it’s open, is me. It keeps what you have inside away from prying eyes. Of course, all the credit card slots are RFID safe, as you would expect in a bag by Travelon.

Travelon Anti-Theft Neck Wallet


Another reason why this bag is so perfect for this trip is that little silver zipper-pull in the bottom, left corner of the photo below.

Travelon Anti-Theft Neck Wallet


When you pull that silver zipper down just 2-3 inches, cash can easily be accessed for purchases, tipping or whatever. Again, no one else can see down inside except you, because it’s hanging around your neck. Of course, if you’re in a private place, you can unzip both sides if you need to, but while in public, this wallet really keeps its contents hidden from prying eyes. This was exactly what I needed for this trip since I’ll need to access the contents a number of times throughout the trip.

I also love that it has a spot to hold one those little mini pens. Did you know they made pens this short? I had no idea until I got this wallet and realized it had a spot for one. (Pens can be found here: Mini-Retractable Gel Ink Pen)

Travelon Anti-Theft Purse Wallet


I know it’s kind of hard to see, but on the back of the wallet, there’s a deep pocket that perfectly holds a cell phone. I just upgraded my phone to a Samsung Edge 6+, which is a big phone, and it fits easily down inside the pocket.

Travelon Wallet Bag for Travel


I plan to wear this bag underneath my jacket so I don’t expect them to count this as a personal item. It’s only 5 1/4 inches wide and 7 1/2 inches long. If I really had to, I could probably squeeze it into my already overstuffed carry-on bag, but I don’t think they’ll ask me to do that.

One of the wallets I considered using was a really pretty, leather passport wallet that also held credit cards and IDs. I think it would have fit down inside the neck wallet I already had. BUT, and this is a big BUT, I knew how easy it would be for me to pull it out to pay for something, or to access an ID, and then absent-mindedly lay it down and walk off. With this bag, I can access every thing I need while traveling without it ever leaving my body, so there’s no risk of me laying it down somewhere and walking off.

If you would like to read more about it, you’ll find it here: Travelon Anti-theft Neck Wallet. I noticed it says it’s currently unavailable, hopefully they’ll get more in real soon. Travelon Anti-Theft Neck Wallet

This is the necklace I’ll be wearing every day on this trip and all future trips. It’s going to be my official travel necklace. 🙂 If you have subscribed to the BNOTP newsletter, Postcards From The Porch you saw it several weeks ago. I really love the inscription: Not all who wander are lost. It’s inexpensive enough that if I were to loose it or leave it somewhere, it could be easily replaced.

If you’re looking for a great birthday or Christmas present for the traveler in your family, or just something for yourself, you’ll find it here: Travel Necklace with Swarovski Birthstone Charm. I purchased mine with a personalized initial, too and I absolutely love it!

All Who Wonder Are Not Lost Necklace

Before I close this post, I wanted to thank each of you who has cheered me on in this new adventure, the adventure of travel! Thank you so much for all your encouraging comments and emails. I feel prepared for this trip and you have greatly helped with all your wonderful tips and advice. Thank you so much!

My next post will be coming from Africa and I promise to keep all the mosquitoes and tsetse flies on this side of the computer screen! 😉

mpaka tukutane tena

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 08


Update: Late last night around 11:00 PM I ordered the new Kindle Paperwhite since I read in a review that it fits inside the Travelon purse I just purchased. I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it on this trip but was looking forward to using it on future trips. To my shock it arrived at my doorstep at 10:00 this morning! Is Amazon amazing, or what?! I’m stunned! Okay, off to download a few books for the trip. 🙂

Kindle Paperwhite

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  1. Sounds like you are ready to go. Please be safe.

  2. What a wonderful and helpful post! I’m bookmarking this for future trips, myself. Thanks for all the info!

  3. Have a wonderful and safe trip!!!

  4. You are so cute! Your excitement jumps off of the screen. Have a fantastic trip!!!

  5. Katherine Godoy says

    With all your shared planning, I have been so looking forward to this trip along with you! Have a wonderful time!

  6. Bon Voyage! Safe travels, Susan! I’m very excited for you and can’t wait to read your posts from Africa.

  7. I am so excited you are going to Africa! It sounds as though you have everything planned as to what you will need. Thank you for providing us with all the tips. I look forward to reading your posts from Africa. Have fun and stay safe!

  8. I can’t wait to hurry up and read about the trip and see the pictures!!! Your pre-trip posts have been wonderful and informative and now I’m ready to go!

  9. I’m so happy for you Susan. I hope you have the trip of a lifetime!! It sounds like it’s going to be just that. Can’t wait to hear all about it and see the photographs. Bon voyage!!
    PS. Thanks for taking us with you too.

  10. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, I’m already praying for your safety. I know this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime!

    Kenya wito, rafiki yangu. Advenstures wakisubiri. Naomba Mungu niende pamoja nanyi.

  11. I love the information about the slash-proof wallet. One time we were going into a nice area shopping mall. I saw 2 people on a small motorcycle drive past a woman, the guy on the back of the motorcycle reached out and slashed the purse from a woman’s shoulder and made a quick getaway. It was quiet quick and shocking, and I have not forgotten the incident.

    But, on a positive note, have a great time and I hope it is all you hoped it would be. We will be anxiously waiting for your posts.

  12. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says

    God bless you dear lady, have fun & bring back tons of happy memories 🙂

  13. Have a safe and wonderful trip. I was born in South Africa and have not been back since I was a child. This is on our bucket list so my husband can visit where I was born. Looking forward to hearing about your trip and seeing pictures.

    Enjoy enjoy enjoy!
    PS say hi to the giraffes for me.

  14. My prayers go with you, Susan. Have a wonderful time. It is so exciting! Be safe.

  15. Off you go! I’ve already had a prayer for you this morning. God is going to watch over you, I know because I ask him too. Have fun my dear!

  16. Have a safe, wonderful, exciting trip! I can’t wait to read about your adventures in Africa. While I’ve never been keen on the idea, you may even convince me that such a trip would be worth taking (my husband has always wanted to visit Madagascar, one of the few places he has never seen). Bon voyage, Susan, and keep us posted!

  17. Wishing you an exciting and safe journey, Susan. Please give one of those giraffes a pat on the head for me. 😉

  18. Hi, Susan,
    I woke up and immediately remembered today was your travel day! Have a wonderful time and make lots of memories! Thank you for “taking us with you” on this adventure. Rosie

  19. Happy and safe travels to you, Susan! I look forward to keeping up with your adventures online. 🙂 I love your travel necklace; did you know that’s a quote from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings?” We’re big “Lord of the Rings” fans at our house. 😉

    Bon Voyage!!


  20. Sending prayers for safe travels! Have a fabulous time. Looking forward to pictures!

  21. Praying for your travel safety and that your eyes will be filled with wonder at all the new things you will see. Anxious to read your reports!

  22. Susan, be safe and have the time of your life! Can’t wait to read your next post. Here’s hoping the mosquito cream works! I’ll be anxious to hear about that. Bon Voyage!

  23. Wishing you safe travels and I can’t wait to hear all about your trip !!! Have fun and relax and enjoy every minute of your trip !!! All the planning and it always seems time goes by way too fast when on vacation!!! ✈️

  24. I know you will have a wonderful trip. Can hardly wait to see and hear all about it. Praying for safe traveling and personal safety and health on your trip. Enjoy and thanks for all the travel tips. Wish I was going with you.

  25. Kathy Powers says

    You will love the Kindle Paperwhite. I love, love, love it! Have a wonderful time, and will be looking forward to seeing your photos. Safe travels!

  26. Marlene Stephenson says

    Here’s hoping everything goes very smooth and you have a smile on your face always and a song in your heart. Thanks for all the advice on traveling you have shared.

  27. Bon voyage! Enjoy your adventure!

  28. Safe travels. I know you’ll have great time. ENJOY””””””””””””””””””””

  29. God’s speed on your amazing journey. I’m praying you have a wonderful, safe trip. Vikki in VA.

  30. Wishing you safe travels…and great memories! 😉

  31. All set to go….have my maps and books ready and at hand and
    have not a doubt in the world about the fun we are going to have “traveling” with Susan to Africa…. all w/o ever leaving my comfy armchair. What is the first stop? Can hardly wait for the fun to begin! Thanks for all the careful and meticulous planning. Wheee…off we go! Godspeed!!!! to all.

  32. Have a great time! Looking forward to your updates. Safe travelling.

  33. Have a fantastic trip! Cannot wait to hear about it! Be safe.

  34. Susan, After all your great planning and packing your “trip of a lifetime” has finally come. Enjoy every minute! I will be following you each day and anxiously waiting to see some wonderful pictures!!

  35. Gee, Susan, maybe you will get excited about your trip between now and departure!!! Ya think????? You are overflowing with excitement so I know you will have a fantastic journey! Looks like you are all set. Let the journey begin!

  36. SO excited for you … and for us! I know you’ll have an amazing, take-your-breath-away time. Thanks for putting us in your “back pocket” and taking us along. 🙂

  37. Have a great time. I am green with envy!! Travel safely


  38. Have a wonderful trip. My oh my –the places you will go and the things you will see. Enjoy,enjoy.

  39. Have a wonderful & safe trip Susan! Will Look forward to your posts from Africa.

  40. Have been searching for the neck wallet forever. How I missed this one eludes me. Mine is 5 years old and the only “purse” I wear on a daily basis. It was my Army son’s from Iraq travel, used for 6 years. A bit worn around the edges and has his embroidered info on it, heavy Army material. Holds everything needed shopping, plus my phone. The only thing different is my Army one has velcro for closing and much easier to get into.

    Thanks for posting a detailed blog on your travel carriers. You never know
    what it will do for another. Really glad to find the neck wallet.

    Enjoy your trip.

  41. I love that purse. I hate taking in a full purse when I go to the mall or when I go to football games (Let’s Go Hokies). I think I will add that to my birthday wish list. Also I love that weekender style bag. I will have to find that. I also love the jacket for the same reasons as the bag, especially during football season.

  42. Donna Bridges says

    I travelled with a neck wallet and found it a pain in the rear, anytime you needed to access it you had to get it out of clothing ,instantly marking you as a tourist and a prime hit for criminal types . Never again I just use my regular purse now as a local would.

  43. Hi Susan
    Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pics of your trip. Question? You said you wore out your wallet from taking your cell phone in and out so many times. did you purchase a SIM card for Kenya? Or how did you stay connected while travelling through so many countries?

    • Well, long story short, I was told by Verizon that they have no service at all in Africa, so I couldn’t buy extra time. The local Verizon guys in the store near me adviced against buying a sim card in Kenya saying folks come in there all the time after traveling to other countries because they can’t get their phone to work right after they return. So I left my phone on airplane mode the entire time I was gone.
      But I used my cell constantly throughout the time I was at Mahali Mzuri and Giraffe Manor to take photos. A few weeks ago, I upgraded my cell to the latest Samsung and purchased the new Samsung Edge 6+ with a 16 mp camera. It’s AMAZING! I want to do a blog post about this phone because I absolutely love it. It was basically my wide angle lens camera the whole time I was gone. So I was taking it in and out to take photos all throughout the trip. When I go to Italy in a couple of weeks, I’ll purchase service there through Verizon…they do have coverage there.

    • The other reason I think I say I wore it out was because, the strap is adjustable but whenever I shortened it, it would lengthen back out again, so it hung down near my thigh. I think my camera bag and Pendleton Bag where pushing down on it at times as I made my way through the airports. So after a week of that nonsense, the strap began to tear away from the bag the last day I wore it coming back. It’s designed where the strap connects to the bag down inside the back pocket, so that’s where it was starting to tear. I’m just glad it lasted until I got home. I returned it and they took it back, no questions asked. They refunded me right away. I think that’s a design flaw with the bag, how the strap attaches…and the fact it won’t lock into place with you shorten the strap but lenthens itself back out again…which was super annoying. For normal everyday use…not the abuse I put it through, it would probably do fine.

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