Looking for a comfortable, smart way to keep your money safe while traveling? Money belts are an excellent way to do this, and in this guide we’ll look at what money belts are, how they work, and the best money belts on the market.
In some countries, cash feels as though it’s becoming a paper relic we’ll, in decades to come, point at in museums with our grandchildren. They’ll look at us with befuddled faces, as we explain how the transaction of money used to occur before credit cards, smartphones, and whatever technologies are waiting in the future for us.
It goes to show how naive we can be and how we can take for granted the ability to pay for lunch by holding your phone next to a card reader for a second and barely batting an eyelid.
Regardless of technological advancement, in the vast majority of countries across the globe, cash is still a key cog in the mechanisms of their economies. Therefore, you will need to withdraw, more-often-than-not, larger sums of money. Naturally, depending on the country you’re in, that will make you a target to thieves.
Thankfully, there are plenty of products on the market that help keep your money safe and away from prying eyes. One of those products is the money belt.
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In short, a money belt is a belt worn by tourists with secret compartments that hide valuables and money. Money belts have come a long way since they first came on the market. They used to be very bulky and very obvious as to what they were hiding.
In today’s market, there are a wide range of different styles and designs. They have become far more fashionable and subtle. Some are designed to be worn underneath your clothes. Some are disguised as actual belts with buckles you would wear with shorts or trousers. Some products have even done away with the belt entirely.
It depends on the product, but traditionally a money belt is strapped and fastened around your waist. This way, your valuables cannot be snatched, as the belt is directly strapped to you, unlike with a travel wallet.
Some use a buckle, some velcro, and some fasteners. Some rely on the taught nature of the fabric to create a tight pocket in which you can slide money in. It is important to identify what’s important to you before making a purchase. If you want your travel photos to look as though you’re wearing a loose, breezy attire, a hefty money belt strapped around you isn’t going to be a good look, for example.
You’ll see this term on several of the belts. Radio-frequency identification block prevents radio frequencies from coming in to contact with your devices, such as contactless credit cards and smartphones.
Largely, the technology prevents thieves from using hidden card readers to swipe your credit card information by coming into close proximity with you. If you only intend to carry money in your money belt, you won’t need to worry. But if you plan to carry cards, it may be worth having this feature in your chosen travel money belt.
Now that we’re clued up about money belts, let’s take a closer look at some of the top-rated belts on the market.
While money belts are largely unisex, here are a selection of belts that align themselves more so with a male audience.
We start our men’s picks with Auopro and their excellent travel money belt. Its fabric is both ripstop and water repellent, making it very durable. The belt itself comprises of two large zippered compartments, two smaller pouches in the upper compartment, and a large pocket at the back. The vast amount of storage room makes this far more than a money belt. Documents, cards, and a device or two, along with money, can easily be stored in the belt.
The double waistband makes the belt extra secure, yet it remains comfortable. Plus, the RFID block is a fantastic addition — an excellent choice for someone who wants a durable money belt that puts safety ahead of everything else.
If you’re looking for a belt to wear during workouts, then the brilliantly named Belt of Orion is a great choice. It’s designed to move with your body, meaning you barely feel the belt attached to you. Narrower than other belts, the 9” x 4” main pouch can still hold a range of items, from passports to phones.
It comes with a hole for your earbuds, so you can listen to music from your phone in the belt as you run or hike. Made from waterproof fabric, you’ll have no problems if you sweat extensively, or the weather takes a turn for the worse as you run.
It can be worn over your clothes, or under, depending on the activity you’re doing.
Eager for a money belt that fits in seamlessly with your attire? Jasgood’s Tactical belt is a great way to store your money without having to wear an additional belt across your waist.
The pack comes with two nylon belts and plastic buckles. The inside of the unzips, so you can store your loose money directly inside the belt. Their very strong belts, and can withstand up to a mightily impressive 500kg. Nylon and lightweight, you could easily use their belts with your trousers or shorts in hot weather, without any trouble.
If you don’t need a belt to be multi-functional, this could be a great choice for you.
Again, while most money belts are unisex, some brands and products align themselves more so with a female audience.
An incredibly comfortable money belt, Peak Gear’s have brought a real gem of a belt to the market. Its elastic band maintains its elasticity well, even after months of usage, and is very comfortable against the skin.
It’s very slim, and not visible beneath a top. Despite this, its two compartments still allow you to carry two passports, a few credit cards, and plenty of cash. Its RFID built into the fabric is also a fantastic addition.
A highly recommended, durable belt that you can wear seamlessly beneath your top or dress.
As the name suggests, Runtasty’s pack was originally designed for women runners, making it a very durable product. It’s far more compact and slimmer than many belts on the market, meaning you won’t feel the belt around your waist.
The RFID block is a welcome feature, and the three expandable pockets offer you plenty of room to store keys, money, cards, and phones. It is water-resistant, so you won’t need to worry about sweat or humid conditions.
Whether you’re planning to work out while traveling or not, this is a great money belt to take on your travels with you.
If you’re looking for a seamless money belt you won’t even notice attached to you, look no further than Stashbanz. Super lightweight, the belt is designed to wrap around your skin. But don’t be fooled, because even if it looks tight, it really isn’t.
The fabric is soft against your skin and is pretty much invisible beneath a top or dress. It has several deep pockets and, because of the surface area it covers, has no problem storying larger phones and passports. Works over or under your clothes, so you can also use it on runs and out hiking.
Many money belts are worn as additional accessories and need to be hidden. If you want something that works as a traditional belt, there are plenty of products on the market, but I’d highly recommend the following:
Crafted from English bridge leather, Yoder Leather’s travel belt is a great belt substitute while you travel. The zippered pocket can hold up to 24 notes, while the thick 3/16” leather and polished steel buckle will look great with any outfit.
If you like to shop with tried and trusted brands, then the following travel money belts come highly recommended from some of the world’s best-known travel brands.
Made from durable nylon ripstop, and including a moisture-deflecting back panel, Eagle Creek’s money belt is another product that lives up to the Eagle Creek seal of quality.
At 2.08 ounces its incredibly light, and the RFID technology helps keep those elusive readers at bay. It feels comfortable against the skin, and the tan color actually blends nicely against bare skin — great for both casual travel, and more rigorous activities, such as hiking.
It comes with a range of durable features, such as YKK zippers, water-resistant nylon fabric, and double release safety buckles. The two front pockets, combined with the back mesh pocket, allow for plenty of items to be stored — a well-designed belt from Raytix that comes in a range of colors.
Deciding where to leave your valuables when taking a swim is a problem I’m sure many of us have encountered while traveling. At the pool, or particularly at the beach, it’s stressful to leave your belongings out of the water while you go in for a dip or a swim.
Many of the travel money belts on this list are water-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you can fully submerge them for prolonged periods of time. It simply means sweat and rain won’t penetrate the fabric.
If you need something you can wear while doing activities in water, then look no further than these recommended belts.
Initially targeted at sportspeople who need to carry their phones through wet terrain, Runtasty’s waterproof belt is used by travelers all over the world in pools and oceans. Also, sand and snow proof, the tactile touchscreen cover allows you to interact with your phone as you swim. Along with your phone, you can stash plenty of other items into the 7.0” x 4.0” waist pack.
Made from a translucent, flexible polymer, this durable pouch is 100% waterproof. It fits snugly around your waist and can be adjusted with the strap to form both a travel belt or a shoulder bag. The 8.5” x 6.0” pouch is very spacious, and could easily carry a phone, passport, cash, and other items.
If you really don’t like wearing a money belt, but still want to have a way of keeping valuables on you at all times, then fear not. There are plenty of creative products on the market.
A comfortable unisex tank made from 86% cotton, 9% polyester, and 5% elastane, both men and women can enjoy wearing this breezy number with its hidden little pouch. Perfect for hiding money and passports, they also come in a range of colors.
90% nylon and 10% spandex, with a 100% inner cotton lining, Barbra Lingerie has brought an innovative product to the market. There are two styles to choose from. One has a 3” x 5” pouch without a zipper, and the other a 6” x 6” pouch with a zipper. An ideal purchase if you don’t want to add another layer over your leggings or shorts.
Finally, if you’re looking to keep things simple, why not try The Friendly Swede’s wallet/ankle pouch. Perfect for holding keys, credit cards, and money, they come as a two-pack and fit snuggly around your wrist or ankle. A great choice if you don’t like the idea of a large belt around your waist at all times. They’re very easy to slip on and off and come in several colors.
However you decide to look after your money while abroad, I urge you to stay vigilant. As a tourist, even if you don’t feel like it, you are a prime target for scammers and thieves. A little foresight and planning will give you peace of mind, and go a long way to making sure you have a wonderful time on your travels.
If you’re still keen to add to your travel gear, be sure to check out some of our other articles:
> The Best 12 Packing Cubes for Travel
> The Top 18 Passport Holders and Wallets for Travelers
> Best Ultraportable Laptops for Travel
> Top 14 Carry-On Products for Comfortable Long Haul Flying
> The Best 15 Waterproof Backpacks and Water-Resistant Backpacks for Travel
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