Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by Jeremy
Disclaimers: Our site uses demographic data, email opt-ins, display advertising, and affiliate links. Please check out our Terms and Conditions for more information. Listed prices and attraction details may have changed since our visit and initial publication.
One of the unfortunate sides of long-term travel is that we alter the subtle details about our lives in a way to fit in and be inconspicuous.
If two Americans walking around gawking at food and architecture with giant cameras isn't obvious enough, we really don't want to draw more attention to ourselves and the valuables that we may or may not be carrying.
So while we may look like tourists no matter what we try, we do our best to make sure we don't look like rich tourists, especially ones that would be easy prey for pickpockets and robbery.
When looking at the items we typically carry with us, one stood out as being something that would easily jump out to all would-be robbers.
So sorry, wedding rings, but you have to go.
We Left Our Wedding Rings at Home for 1.5 Years
In what is perhaps one of the saddest items we're giving up for our trip, leaving our wedding rings at home makes us quite distraught. While wearing them would truly be a risk due to the flashy sparkle that they give off, the monetary value is something we cannot risk carrying on us at any given time.
Sure, our cameras are expensive, but everyone has those. Several thousand dollars of wedding rings? Well, that is something to target.
But where being concerned with the monetary value is one thing, we're mostly upset that we have to stop wearing the rings that we've only had on for just over 12 months.
To put this into perspective, we were engaged longer than we have been married prior to our departure (16 months engaged, 12 months married). Our trip will be about the same number of months that we were engaged (14-18 months).
So by the end of the trip we'll have been traveling without our rings longer than we were wearing them to begin with, Angie's engagement ring excluded.
Something about that is kind of terrifying when you think of it.
Take an Alternative Band, Like a Plastic Wedding Ring
As a way to get around having a naked finger for so long, Angie and I have cheap bands that we bought in the past few months to wear instead.
The primary reason for this was to get over the ghost band feeling that all those who wear a ring know too well.
The second, and more practical reason, is to keep the symbol of our marriage alive during the trip.
After all, 10,000 photos of us during our travels will look a little odd if we don't have any rings on, right?
But there is one more reason that travelers wear fake or plastic wedding rings, and that is to not draw unnecessary and unwelcome attention.
Its a very common trend for single female travelers to wear a band to have unwanted pursuers stopped in their tracks.
A make believe husband is good enough to stop many aggressors, unless you're in Egypt and the men offer to buy the female from any male nearby in exchange for dozens, hundreds, or in one case on my last trip one million camels.
We're not as concerned with this in our own situation, but it is something we have kept in mind when getting fake rings and is worth mentioning for those non-married couples or single travelers heading out to explore the world.
The Practical Side of Things
In reality, there is one reason above all others that we would leave our wedding rings at home, and that is it is not practical.
As with most expensive rings, we bought an insurance policy that would replace any damage or missing diamonds without question.
The downside to this policy is that we have to take our rings in to be cleaned and inspected every 6 months. While the jewelers are lenient with this “6 month” policy, we know we'll probably have issues after a year and a half if we came home with diamonds missing and no inspections to show for it.
Considering Angie has already had one diamond fall out on her wedding band in the first year, you can imagine what could happen when we're active on the road every single day for a year and a half.
Something about explaining to a jeweler that we lost one diamond in India, another in Brazil, and a third in Central America over a year and a half doesn't have an honest sound to it, does it?
So with that, we'll be leaving our rings at home. Hopefully our parents will take them in periodically for their cleanings, and one day far into the future we'll be reunited. That is to say, if we ever come home.
Our fingers already feel naked just thinking about it.
About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.
11 thoughts on “Why We Leave Our Wedding Rings at Home When Traveling”
I’m always wondering what travelers do with their rings! We are planning to get married and travel the world but recently I asked what would I do with my ring on this adventure? His response was to leave it at home and that kinda breaks my heart! Well for two reasons, one, we have been working so hard to prep for this digital nomad life that buying a ring I won’t get to wear sounds like a bad use of funds. Secondly I’m curious if you feel any sort of “buyers remorse” for purchasing wedding rings you aren’t able to wear especially after traveling through so many underprivileged areas…do you feel differently about the importance you put on the object of the ring? one of my friends said even if you leave it at home you will come back to it and it will be your special treasure of this amazing journey. Love that! Just curious how you gals feel about leaving your rings behind!
Not only do me and my husband not travel with our wedding rings, but I work with my hands…so i got a cheap band I wear at work too. I only wear my real ones when I go out socially. Our insurance on my set went way down, and they don’t need to be cleaned nearly as often. I miss wearing my set, but it’s a family heirloom from my husband, and the risk isn’t worth it…
My wife and I chose to ditch our wedding rings to travel (and we’ve been traveling for 2 years now). At first it seemed a little weird but now it’s completely normal. My wife didn’t change her last name when we got married either, so I’m sure some people may wonder if we are married or just saying it. Luckily no one’s ever questioned our legitimacy.
When we were married we both got the same style traditional gold band. We knew we were going to be living a life of adventure and didn’t want to worry about the bling everywhere we went. Overall, our simple lifestyle will never be ones to have fancy diamond rings because it’s not really our personality. I’m happy to hear you are still wearing a simple band because I feel like it’s so important for married couples to have a ring, it just means so much! Thanks for sharing this!
We’ve done the same on our travels. We’re both sad to leave our rings at home, but like you, we feel like it would give us unwanted attention if we brought them. I like the idea of buying a band or something similar to symbolize the marriage – maybe we’ll try that!
Me and my husband have been doing the same for the past 5 years after a really bad experience in a Bangkok cab. Gold and Diamonds are definitely eye-catchers and we escaped narrowly. Good for you guys…The rings symbolizes your partner & when the partner is with u there’s nothing to feel bad about it.
Awesome thoughts everyone! Thanks for adding all the wonderful tips to the post.
@Chasing Adventure – I’ve been reading a lot like that myself. It seems like solid gold bands are common in other countries, but not here. I just bought my $9.99 ring at a thrift store and I’m good to go with my “fake” ring. Never considered the privileged aspect and I think it is very much in line with not trying to be flashy. Great point!
@Thomas Dembie – Agreed! It only takes one thing to make you a target for theft, but that one item will cause you to lose it all if it happened (albeit rare).
@Carmel – I always hate the ghost feeling of your ring when its not on. I can’t imagine a year without it now and I never wore rings until I got married.
@NZ Muse – Thanks! I think it is very much a personal choice, we only advocate giving it a few moments to think on what it is worth to you
Our rings are relatively inexpensive, but I still thought about leaving mine at home before we departed. Sounds like the right choice for you guys.
I know how you feel. We’re getting ready to part with our rings, too, and it’s sad. I don’t have flashy rings, but they do have some diamonds and they are both antiques, so I would be devastated if anything happened to them. We plan on getting cheap rings, too. Seems silly to miss an object so much, but I will miss my rings.
My wife also had a cheaper/simple band made for our honeymoon. I definitely agree with you about leaving expensive jewelry at home. Insurance can cover for theft, but there’s way too much risk of additional issues that could result from being spotted with nice jewelry.
I was wondering what others do! We bought $20 travel rings to replace our real rings while traveling. I prefer the cheaper ring on my finger when traveling to 3rd world countries. The real ring makes me feel somewhat guilty about coming from a “privileged” world. Maybe it just makes me realize that we don’t need fancy rings to be happy or prove anything.