One of the travel-related questions on everyone’s mind is how to keep valuables safe on the road! Whether you’re seeing a new city on foot or settling in for a long bus or train ride, you want peace of mind that your passport, money, and credit cards are concealed and protected.
Many travelers opt to use some version of a money belt – a belt, pouch or wallet worn under clothing that fits the essentials such as currency and a credit/debit card and, depending on the product’s size, your passport.
Note: Money belts are intended to store and protect valuables and not to be used as an every-day wallet! Stash enough money for your daily needs in your purse or backpack (keeping them close!) or another safe space. If you find you need to access something in your money belt, dash into a restroom and out of the watchful eyes of others.
Money belts come in a variety of designs to accommodate different styles of dress and of course your personal interests and comforts. A money belt is only helpful if you can use it!
Traditional belt to fit through belt loops:
Literally a money belt! Tuck bills into the belt and wear as usual. The downside? No room to stash cards or a passport. And many are rather plain. This one, however, seems to be designed with the female traveler in mind.
Belts worn around waist under clothing:
These belts tend to offer a couple of zippered pockets large enough to fit a passport. Some female travelers have said it can be more comfortable to wear it on the small off their back instead of the front. If you tend to wear fitted pants, skirts, and dresses, this may not be the best option.
A cord/string is worn around the neck and the pouch (usually with a couple of zippered pockets and large enough for a passport) is worn under your shirt. The outline may be easily visible unless you are wearing a lose-fitting t-shirt, sweatshirt, or jacket.
Worn on the forearm under a long sleeved shirt. This pouch will not be big enough to hold items like passports but can make for a good money and key stash when necessary.
A small pouch to conceal in your bra or attach to it. Good for cash and keys but not a passport.
Worn around the calf above the ankle – best with long dresses or pants.
A small pouch/pocket with a couple of loops. If you wear a regular belt, feed the belt through the loops and wear the hidden pocket inside your shorts/pants. Some prefer to skip the belt and secure the pocket inside with a couple of safety pins.
A strap is worn over the shoulder and the pouch is worn against your side under your arm (under clothing).
A few things to consider when choosing a money belt:
- Many people assume you have one so they are not the best kept secret.
- You cannot add too much without it becoming bulky and obvious.
- Consider your style of dress when choosing a product that works best for you.
- They may be uncomfortable in warmer climates and begin to smell – look for one that’s moisture-proof with anti-microbial fabric.
I own a traditional under-the-clothes waist money belt but am considering investing in something new. If you use a different product, share your thoughts on the pros and cons!