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Sep 24

Clever Travel Companion Giveaway

Clever Travel Companion Shorts.

A Clever Travel Companion is one who doesn’t fall victim to the swift hand of the pickpocket it seems. It’s also the clever name for the pickpocket proof travel underwear with secret and secure pockets, designed by seasoned traveller Johanna Denize, that we’re giving away this month.

The Swedish-born American resident had been pick-pocketed one two many times for her liking, and it was after one theft, she tells us, on the Trans-Siberian Railway, that left Johanna stranded in the middle of nowhere without money, that she decided to take things into her own hands and design the perfect thief-proof travel clothes.

I’ve never – touch wood – had anything more than a cotton singlet stolen while travelling. It was in a casa particular in Cuba many years ago and I probably would have given the thing to the woman had she asked. I wasn’t too happy that my host stole from me, but I was sympathetic to her circumstances and it wasn’t of much value. Have I jinxed us now?! But there are times when we travel that I worry about more valuable things.

We’re sensible when we travel and we do take precautions. After all these years on the road you naturally become street-wise. We’re also picky about where we stay and if we can’t be and we doubt the security of the accommodation, we’ll use the in-room safe or hide things in our locked luggage. We haven’t worn money belts since our first backpacking trip around Mexico some 20 years ago.

Back then we only tucked the silly things into our pants and strung them around our necks because we were inexperienced overseas travellers and the guidebooks said to. After that first trip, we never felt the need to wear money belts. They were uncomfortable and they quickly became damp from our perspiration, causing our passports and notes to get wet. I think we abandoned them a week or two into that two-month trip.

Over the years we learnt that the best thing to do is to simply dress as you normally would at home, so you don’t stand out as much. But still, there have been many occasions when I’ve wished I could have had some secret pockets to tuck some cash, a credit card or passport into. Mainly going out at night, to bars, pubs and clubs, when I’ve not wanted to carry a handbag or purse, and we knew we’d be walking a dark alley or two.

There are lots of things wrong with the design of ‘travel clothes’, as comfy as they can sometimes to be. I rarely wear them, except when we’re going hiking or travelling in extreme conditions – I love my UV-protected shirt and couldn’t live without my thermals – but the biggest problem is their lack of small, interior, zipped pockets where some cards and cash could be secreted away. How hard could they be to insert? I would always pay extra for a hidden pocket or three.

And this is why I was so excited when Johanna contacted us to tell us about her terrific travelling underwear with their secret pockets, offered to send us samples to try, and suggested we give some away to our readers.

We did try them – they arrived in Sydney a little under a week after she placed the order – and we’re still wearing them, and we love them. I’ve been wearing mine (a cute black tank-top and hipsters), even when I haven’t needed to hide anything in the pockets. Tomorrow we’ve got a long travelling day, a border crossing, and we’ll be taking several types of transport, so while I’ll need my passport handy, I will stash some cash away.

You can choose between cool cotton t-shirts, tank-tops, long-johns, fitted underwear for him and hipster briefs for her, in grey, black, white, and stripes. The sizes are what I’d call ‘global’, which means that while they’re produced in the USA they’re not those gigantic sizes you often get in the States. I’d recommend getting fitted sizes as this is underwear after all, so you’ll want to wear them under things.

The prices are also reasonable for the USA – or even Australia, the UK and Europe – starting at around $23 a piece. They’re available online at Johanna’s site www.clevertravelcompanion.com and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, however, you can go in the running to win some right here. All you have to do is tell us why you want a Clever Travel Companion. Details below. Good luck! And if you win some, let us know how you like them.

So, how do you win your own Clever Travel Companion?
* Tell us in no more than one paragraph: why you want a Clever Travel Companion.
* Leave your answer in the Comments below.
* The best answer will be selected by Clever Travel Companion owner-designer Johanna Denize, who will post the winning answer on her blog.
* The winner gets to choose his/her own Clever Travel Companion product(s) to the value of US$50 or can put US$50 toward purchases on the Clever Travel Companion site.
* The prize includes shipping to you anywhere in the world.
* The giveaway ends Sunday 21 October and winners will be announced soon after.

GRANTOURISMO GIVEAWAYS UPDATE
* 1000 Places To See Before You Die Giveaway
– we recently announced the 3 winners of the latest edition of this aspirational travel tome. Brandon, Sara and Laurie – congrats! You can expect an email from the book’s publicist over the next few days.
* Win Free Postcard Printing – we have extended this giveaway after UPrinting alerted us to the fact our link wasn’t working. It worked for a few days, then something went wrong; these things occasionally happen but it’s all fixed now, so you have until 30 September to enter this one to win the chance to get 100 of your own postcards printed for free!

Clever Travel Companion Giveaway is closed – Coco was the winner!

16 comments

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  1. Sandy O'Sullivan

    I was a bit skeptical when I saw you posting about these, but they are actually good styles and they aren’t trying to be EVERYTHING… which I think is the key. You can’t fit the world in the pockets and that’s interestingly more appealing. Mind you, I still think there have to be some jokes around putting your hands into your undies to pull out a credit card.

    (sokay, I promise I am not entering, not that I won’t buy or recommend them myself in the future!!!).

    1. Lara Dunston

      Yeah, I do like the styles – that they’re fairly plain, simple and fit well – and they need to be really. Yep, having tried them, I can vouch that you can fit a passport, a credit card and some notes in the t-shirt centre pocket, while the undies are better for a credit card and some emergency notes. I’m sure you could come up with lots of jokes! ;)

      But, no, I wouldn’t imagine needing to use them in everyday situations where you’d be using the card all the time, more on long, overnight bus/train rides in dodgy countries, areas that are rife with pickpockets, that sort of thing.

  2. Vi

    You are lucky, but never say never :)
    I was traveling for 10 years around the world and didn’t have any issues until this year. It wasn’t just some money
    http://www.shorttraveltips.com/incredible-thieves-india/

    I don’t think this underwear would help in my case :)

    1. Lara Dunston

      Actually, Terence has also reminded me that in Marrakech a prostitute at a budget hotel we stayed at many many years ago also stole a top I had hung out to dry. Hmmm… a pattern emerging… maybe I better stop wearing such nice clothes ;) But, seriously, I never said ‘never’, which is why I said ‘touch wood’.

      I read your post – thanks for the link – and, no, you cannot fit a camera in one of the hidden pockets of Johanna’s underwear. Maybe extra locks would have done the trick? Or taking the day-train? Sorry to hear about your loss. As Terence earns most of his income from photography, it’s always a worry.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Em

    Great idea! Having just completed a round the world trip I could definitely have done with some of these to wear during my 42 hour bus ride through Chile or when I was carrying $1000 dollars in cash around Burma for a month. Would love to win some so that I can stop having to find ridiculous places to hide my valuables!

    1. Lara Dunston

      Great reason, Em! I hear you – I did a year-long trip around South America by myself many years ago – including loads of long overnight bus trips – and those were the days before ATMs were everywhere, so I was hiding big wads of cash as well as travellers cheques. They were looking the worse for wear after being stuffed in all sorts of places. This underwear would have been wonderful!

  4. Peter

    Hey guys, fun contest. Never thought about pickpocket underwear before but very useful.

    The reason we would love a pair is because we travel a lot and love visiting local makets and snapping some pictures. While in the Otavalo market in Ecuador, someone slashed our pocket with a razor and made off with our wallet. We want to keep going to markets but now worry about pickpockets in tight quarters like the Otavalo market.

    Thanks for the fun contest.

    1. Lara Dunston

      Thanks, Peter! But that’s terrible! Good reason – good luck! Thanks for dropping by :)

  5. Priyank

    An underwear stuffed with cash? Nothing like a bundle of notes to enhance your package! But I wonder if it would attract more attention than before… lol In any case, such piece of clothing will not only be functional and multi-use but also prevent me from slipping currency inside socks, a trick I often use although it results in ‘fragrant’ notes later.

    Thanks for the contest Laura!

    1. Lara Dunston

      Ha! Ha! Having both worn the underwear we can confidently say that the secret pockets are nowhere near where you imagine them to be – perhaps take a closer look at the photo above – so shouldn’t attract too much attention and shouldn’t give your cash/passport any unwanted ‘fragrances’. Great reason! Good luck!

  6. Larissa

    When I was growing up and traveling with my mum, she would always give me what she called a “supot ni Judas” (or Judas bag, in english) which was a small pouch, sometimes just cloth sewn together, or one of those red chinese pouches with buttons, with a large safety pin to pin inside my pants behind the pocket so I would always have money on me no matter what. I think being Filipino made us naturally suspicious and over cautious, i knew people that hid money in their shoes, underpants and I once did a domestic flight in the Phils with $500 in each bra cup just like underwire. I don’t travel around the world with my judas bag all the time anymore – I save it for countries I think I might have to be a bit more worried about. My mom still does though. If I won this contest, I’d give my mom a pair, so she doesn’t look strange digging into her pants to get secret money out!

    1. Lara Dunston

      Ha! Ha! Great story, Larissa! And great reason! Best of luck :)

  7. Coco

    I am all about dressing like a local to avoid getting pinpointed as a vulnerable tourist and I feel Clever Travel Companion underwear will complete the ensemble. I had actually just read an article about these products so I am stoked GranTourismo is promoting them–they are seriously great. I love to travel and I am going to embark on my South American adventure in a few months. However, I feel like once I get a pair of these I will use them all the time as I hate having a purse around my arm!

    Thanks for the contest!

    1. Lara Dunston

      Hi Coco – well we have started wearing them like normal underwear, not necessarily cause we want to hide anything away, so can definitely vouch for them. Good luck!

  8. Susan

    I want underoos with hidden compartments because I am SKETCHED OUT after a few days in a hostel in Ulan Bator where everyone seemed to get pickpocketed. We walked into the common room on our first day to find one fellow traveller sewing and patching the pockets of several pairs of knife-slashed pants. She had been appointed due to her sewing ability and cool attitude. “They didn’t get me! Only my pants!” she said cheerfully, while everyone else was cowering in a dorm room, looking out the window suspiciously. Needless to say, NOT a good introduction to the city, and maybe some back-up security would have made us more adventurous.

    1. Lara Dunston

      OMG what a terrible story! I hadn’t heard that – is it happening at all accommodation there or just where you stayed? That’s a brilliant reason! Best of luck!

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