While we all want a way to keep our money and credit cards safely hidden when we travel, not everyone enjoys the traditional money belt. The traditional money belt that goes under the waist of your clothes can be bulky, sweaty, and just plain common, meaning would-be muggers know that tourists often have this extra hiding place.
Luckily, multiple types of money belts are on the market, including the bra stash. This little pouch that hangs in the area of your bra may be your new best friend, but not everyone agrees. This post brings you two different perspectives of using a bra stash personal security wallet when you travel. Will it work for you? The choice is yours.
A Positive Review of the Bra Stash
My one little thing is a tiny little money pouch that fits in my bra. Eagle Creek and other companies make similar products called a bra stash, but I bought mine in a market in Peru. I love it because it has a strap on it so I can always tell that it’s there, and I can easily pull it out without having to reach into my shirt.
>> Check out bra stashes and bra pockets on Amazon.
Why I Use a Bra Stash
Everyone has a money belt, and they are definitely useful when you are traveling with a lot of cash and important documents. However, I lived in South America for a long time, and money belts are hot and uncomfortable, and after a while you stop using them. Plus, they are bulky and hard to access when you are wearing a dress!
About 9 months into my trip, I was traveling through Peru and got held up at gunpoint. Because I wasn’t wearing my money belt, I lost everything. I bought the little pouch the day after the mugging – it does not hold my passport or large amounts of money, but it is the perfect size for bank cards, ID and a bit of cash.
It’s important to me because it makes me feel safe – I wear it not only when I’m traveling around, but also when I go out at night. It means that I can go out with money on me, and not have to worry about having my pockets picked, my purse stolen, or wearing a hot, sweaty money belt when I’m dancing all night!
Why You Should Use a Bra Stash
I recommend this to everyone who travels to developing countries – it is such a relief to know that you can move around without looking like you’re carrying anything on your person, but knowing that what you do have on you is really safe.
A Negative Review of the Bra Stash
This guest review is brought to you by Gray Cargill of SoloFriendly.com
Everyone was talking about the pickpockets in Spain. Almost everyone had been robbed or knew someone who had been robbed—and they all swore that these were the best pickpockets ever, because nobody ever felt a thing and their money was in the most secure locations (inside zipped pockets, front pocket of tight-fitting jeans, you name it). They made it sound like pickpockets in Spain were magicians. I grew really paranoid.
I decided to check out money belts online. I’ve never used one before, and I was dubious about how well they would work, but it couldn’t hurt to look right? In the process, I ran across a very inexpensive product called The Bra Stash Personal Security Wallet. It’s lightweight and made of silk, with a button enclosure, just large enough for some folded up bills and a couple of credit cards.
Initial Drawbacks of the Bra Stash
First, the straps were too long. I couldn’t wear it in the suggested way–hooked around each bra strap and dangling down the front of my shirt–because it pretty much reached the waistband of my pants. (This might not be a problem if you’re a double D cup, but alas, I am not.)
Second, the wallet shows through any lightweight shirt you wear, which sort of defeats the purpose of keeping your money hidden. My solution was to wrap the straps of the bra stash around one of my bra straps (several times) and tuck the wallet into the side of my bra.
Further Complications With the Bra Stash
From what I’d read online, the cab to the hotel from the airport in Madrid should only have cost me around 22 Euros. I put 30 Euros in the front pocket of my pants for easy access, and all the rest in the bra stash. Well, either all reports online were wrong, or my cab driver long hauled me, because according to him, the cost of the ride was 30 Euros. I tried arguing with him, but I didn’t know enough Spanish to do so effectively. I had to hand over all the Euros I had in my pocket (no tip for him).
When I went to check into my hotel, my room wasn’t ready, so I had to check my luggage and go grab a bite to eat at the restaurant next door. I expected to pay with my credit card. But no, because the cost of breakfast was just 6 Euros, they didn’t want to process a credit card.
That left me in a bind. I was sitting in the restaurant with my knapsack, which had all my valuables in it — netbook, camera gear, passport. Unlike the ol’ tuck a bill down your bra trick, I couldn’t just reach into my shirt and grab some cash, because it was buttoned up in the wallet, which was tucked under my armpit in my bra and tightly secured to my bra strap. What had I been thinking? I could go to the bathroom to access it, but I couldn’t leave my bag sitting in the restaurant with no one I trusted to watch it, and I felt uncomfortable taking it with me to the bathroom in case they thought I was trying to skip out on the bill. And I didn’t know enough Spanish to explain the situation to the waiter.
I sat there cursing myself and the stupid bra stash and wishing I’d just put my cash in a more accessible location. Fortunately, the waiter told me I could charge my meal to my room at the hotel. Whew. Crisis averted.
Final Thoughts on the Bra Stash
Between the sweatiness of having this pouch against my skin all day, and the inconvenience of not being able to easily access my cash and cards when I needed them, I just wasn’t a fan of the bra stash. After a couple of days in Spain, I realized I really didn’t need it. My PacSafe bag was very secure, and I only brought what I needed with me during the day anyway, and left the rest in my room safe.
So in the long run, would I use the bra stash again? Maybe if I were traveling to a really sketchy city or country, but I’d probably also stash some more cash in various more accessible locations around my person and in my bag, just in case I needed quick access to cash. The bra stash keeps your credit card and cash secure all right—even from you!