Wednesday, 1 May 2013

3 Practical Alternatives to Money Belts

The most interesting destinations aren't always the safest, and no matter where you travel, it's always a good idea to keep some spare cash & your papers somewhere safe. Traditionally that means stuffing everything into a money belt under your clothes, but quite aside from being ugly, there are a number of issues with the usual beige money belt.

It can be really uncomfortable to have something jammed into the front of your trousers, especially if you've put your passport, credit cards, and a wad of notes in there. The elastic strap on mine has a tendency to slip up around my waist, or work itself loose. And if everyone is wearing one, it's not even that secure - pickpockets know they can get all your valuables from one easy place.

These days, there are a few far more wearable alternatives on the market. Here are three that I own and use regularly, on their own or in combination.

Clever Travel Companion T-Shirt

Clothes with Secret Pockets
Good for: cash, credit cards, SD card.

Clever Travel Companion makes underwear with a difference - I've got the black tank top with a secret pocket. This is the modern equivalent of sticking a couple of twenties in your bra for safekeeping, but much more comfortable. The company also makes other styles of t-shirt, and even knickers-with-pockets if you're feeling brave! I'm quite tempted to buy a second one, because one major down-side to clothing is it needs washing frequently.

The zip sits neatly just beneath the bottom of my bra, and the pocket gives plenty of space. It's actually designed so a standard-sized passport fits in neatly - but you'd really need a bulky jumper over the top if you were going to get away with hiding a passport at chest-height. I tend use it for spare cash, a credit card or two, and data back-ups on an SD card. Hiding things under your clothes is harder in hot climates, when you don't want to wear lots of layers, but on my recent trip to Greece I found that a light, breezy shirt (of the sort I'd wear anyway to keep the sun off my arms) was pretty good at keeping things under wraps.


A System for Maximum Versatility
Good for: passport, cash, credit cards.

PortaPocket produces a range of extra "pockets" made out of neoprene, with a system of interchangeable velcro straps. I've got a belt-length strap, and a shorter one that fits around a wrist or ankle, along with three different sizes of pocket.

The main advantage of this system is that it doesn't depend on any particular clothing, and you can change your set-up depending on circumstances. If I'm wearing boots, or jeans with a slight flare, then strapping my passport to my ankle works well, but when I'm in a summer dress or floaty skirt, then I fasten it above the knee. The smallest pocket is just the right size for credit cards and cash, and is tiny enough to hide away almost anywhere. I wouldn't use these pockets to store anything small that might fall out, because they don't fasten completely - but they're great for documents.

Eagle Creek Belt

A Different Type of Belt
Good for: cash, photocopies, SD card.

The Eagle Creek All Terrain Money Belt is an actual, functional belt, so technically I suppose it's still a "money belt" after all. The simple black design is practical rather than stylish, but it's the zipped pocket on the inside that makes it so useful.

You can't fit anything big into a pocket that's constrained by the width of a belt, but by a bit of judicious folding I've managed to fit in not only a few euros or dollars, but also photocopies of my passport info page & visas. An SD card full of back-ups also fits in fine. I guess the Eagle Creek clasp would be recognisable to a well-practised thief, but as I usually wear longer shirts anyway, mine isn't on display - so it feels like a very secure way of hiding some cash.


Sarah @ Play 2 Learn with Sarah said...

Hopefully I will be going to China later this year for an adoption. Thank you for the ideas. I was starting to think about how I was going to manage it.

mel said...

These are great and I had no idea they existed. I haven't really traveled anywhere yet where I didn't feel secure enough to leave my things at the hotel/with a friend, but when it comes a time I'll be ordering that tank top for sure. Thanks!

rosaria williams said...

Great ideas!

Tabor said...

Good ideas and thank you so much! It is always better to get advice from someone who actually uses the product.

Carissa Taylor said...

Cool, thanks for these ideas! I'd never heard of any of them!

Anonymous said...

The tank looks like a good idea. I usually wear a pouch on a string around my nuck so the vluable sit in the same position (the pouch tucks into the top of your pants). Only thinga that I can afford to lose go in my wallet!

Rachel said...

I'm very impressed by the range of items available for the adventurous traveller - I would probably expect to have to improvise if I were travelling!

Rebecca Jerdee said...

Great info...I have three different ways to handle this stuff. Rick Steves gives us a waist affair that hides under a shirt, my sister gave me a little velcro pocket that hangs on a bra strap. And we found another passport pocket at the luggage store...always fun to find new ways to guard against thieves.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I had no idea.... Huh!

kyooty said...

I sell avon and they have Curves (women's gym clothing) and one off our best selling items are socks with money pockets and wrist bands with money pockets. Very handy when out for a run or in need of a coin for a payphone. Yes they still exist. :)

Fly Girl said...

These are interesting travel options. I'm always leery of reaching under my clothes for anything because it can inspire assault to get your valuables anyway. I like discreet pockets like the Secret Pockets, I'll check those out. Thanks for the tips!

Blond Duck said...

I just shove everything in my bra!

Maureen Hitipeuw said...

I haven't travel much lately but those are some good ones!

christine said...

it's always a good idea to store spare cash/cards in more than one place about your person, just in case a mugger discovers one of them! Sad that we have to take such precautions, but sensible:)

Johanna GGG said...

I have a fabric sun hat with a pocket at the top - maybe not so secure as someone can grab your hat off you easily or it can blow away but I always thought it a clever idea

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