Losing your wallet on a trip can be disastrous if you’re one of those who carry all the currencies in it. Additionally, if you lose your debit card in that wallet, then you’re stuck with no money on hand and to withdraw. Travelers worldwide have various tips from carrying less cash and credit cards to spreading-out the cash in various bags, or even socks and money belts.
On my recent trip to Central America, I was warned by fellow travelers and also the hotel staff not to venture out at night in Guatemala City or San Jose, with cash in my wallet, and not carrying any money belts, I stashed them in my socks! But a great and more appropriate idea would be to use a money belts, which aren’t really belts but are instead pouches that you loop into your belt line. Although these pouches keep your money and documents out of reach of pickpockets, the material in some of them (especially nylon-based belts) can be uncomfortable to wear, especially during warm weather.
There are downsides to the money belts – you cannot store documents like passports, or perhaps credit/debit cards (depending on the size of the belt); but it’s wise to stash away some extra cash, coins or even a copy of your passport.
There are a lot of options out there for money belts and here are a few of them we reviewed:
Eagle Creek All Terrain Money Belt
It has a hidden zippered security pocket that conceals currency, and an adjustable, quick release, slim cam-style, plastic buckle that allows for easy pass through airport security. The manufacturers claim that the size can be shortened, but when we tried to get that done at a local kiosk in a mall, the zipper pocket under the buckle was a problem. There are other reports of the hinge mechanism failing as well.
All in all, a great all-terrain belt serving the purpose, for a low price.
The Smuggler’s Belt is made of US vegetable tanned cowhide, measures 1.25″ (3 cm) wide, is 100% hand cut and hand sewn, has a lifetime guarantee and is signed & numbered – which is why the $245 cost! You can only get to your stash when you take the belt off, making it a rather discreet accessory. For the price of this belt, I’m sure most of you will look for way cheaper options elsewhere!
Civita Money belt
Price: $15 ($12 on Amazon)
Made from the same ultra-soft polyester blend fabric, this is an under-the-pants money belt, which means that this is not a belt that has a buckle, but you can wear it with the strap over the pants.
The main compartment has a moisture-barrier liner that can store cash, cards, airline ticket and passport. A second zipper reveals two “easy access” compartments — one for your cash, and one for your debit/credit cards.
Black Leather Money Belt
Featuring mix genuine leather, this is a cheap and great option if you don’t intend to spend a lot, although not recommended as a travel belt considering all the terrains and climates you’d be traveling to. The belt has a 19″ zipper pouch and is 1.4″ in width.
Duluth Trading Men’s Smuggler Belt
Although this is a bit heavy belt and gets heavier after stuffing it with cash, it’s a good option for all you out there who love genuine leather belts. But we must warn you that for the price you will be paying, this doesn’t look sophisticated. Again, the belt has a 19″ sipper pouch and 1-3/8″ in width. Available for men only.
Safari Money Belt
Made of cotton with leather tabs, this belt comes in one color and available for men only.
Send us your feedback or tips on any belts you have used.