“No Mother, Yes Mother, I Will Mother” – This was my all-in-one, does-it-all response to her maternal words of warning before embarking on a recent trip to South America. So before departing I looked into the different types of money belt. The goal was to find the best travel protection for cash & valuables.
In truth I had already thought everything through. I didn’t need her advice on my once-in-a-lifetime adventure holiday, her thoughts on which money belt to buy or her review of my travel gear!
Travelling solo in any far-flung destination requires a degree of caution, so check out these travel safety apps. But the likes of La Paz and Lima perhaps require that little bit more. And I was doing the planning.
One of the first things that crossed my mind before leaving this ‘green and pleasant’ (and comparably safe) land of England was where I’d stash away my money. I’d be venturing into some of the more hard-up neighbourhoods of the New World (Yes, I’m THAT paranoid). I wasn’t going to let some trickster pull a fast one on me.
It’s all well and good going places with an open mind, but that doesn’t mean you should go with an open wallet (slash purse). Likewise your tech needs to be protected, so you need the right VPN for travel to stop hackers from stealing your banking details or identity.
So, I did my research into different types of money belt by Eagle Creek, I even tested a few out and came to a decision on which is the best. And here are the findings of my meticulous, painstaking investigations…
After three months in South America I can safely say this style is probably the best money belt of those I tried. It has a loop that attaches to your belt, allowing it to hang down inside the waistband of your jeans, trousers or shorts. It consists of a simple square pouch with internal net dividers and, like many money belts today, it has a moisture-wicking, breathable back panel to keep you sweat-free.
Pros: The Hidden Pocket was large enough to store away my iPhone, passport, camera cards and currency. All of those valuables remain pretty well hidden too – a potential pick-pocket would have to reach right down into you know where if they wanted get hold of my things (that’s not a euphemism).
Before leaving home I’d heard that some muggers are wise to the money belts that drop below the waistline, and so they often make you drop your trousers. The Hidden Pocket drops WITH your trousers, so there’s some peace of mind should you fall prey.
Cons: With my iPhone, passport and dosh all stashed inside it, the Hidden Pocket was quite bulky and probably noticeable. And if you don’t get a few funny looks from that bulge in your trousers, you’ll certainly get some when you reach down into them to get a tenner out for some chips.
In looking for the best travel protection for cash and valuables I tried a leg wallet. This consists of a large pocket with two openings and a moisture-wicking, breathable back panel. Stretchy elastic straps mean it’ll fit around just about any ankle size.
Pros: I loved the idea of the Leg Wallet, and so did all of those who I showed it to on my backpacking adventure holidays (only trusted people, obviously). Everyone seemed to be impressed. And the reason is because they had never seen anything like it. Which means those nasty muggers would probably have never seen anything like it. It’s unlikely then that they would frisk your ankles – leaving your cash and valuables safe and sound.
Cons: The biggest con is that you can’t wear shorts (or skirts), which, in the heat of the Atacama Desert or the rainforests of Paraguay, is hardly ideal. And, although the Leg Wallet was spacious enough to fit my iPhone, passport, credit cards and money, having all those things around your ankle can be noticeable (especially with tight trousers), not to mention uncomfortable.
Eagle Creek and several brands that offer this type of money belt. Basically it looks like an ordinary belt, except on the reverse side it has a zip, or Velcro that opens a long (but very narrow) pouch where you can store notes. This was the last of the three that I tested out for myself.
Pros: Undoubtedly the biggest pro is its secrecy. A pick-pocket is NEVER going to get his/her filthy hands on your dough, and a mugger isn’t likely to ask for your belt. It’s also far more comfortable than any other money belt, because it’s just the same as wearing an ordinary belt of the leather or canvas variety.
Cons: Unfortunately, this style of money belt isn’t big enough to stash your smartphone, passport or cards in it. In fact, you can probably only store about a hundred quid’s worth of rolled up currency in it (depending on where in the world you are, of course).
There are dozens of standard money belts that you can buy, and pretty much all of them are the same. They all strap around your waist, they all feature large, spacious pocket(s), and they are very often made from a moisture-wicking, breathable material.
Pros: There’s a reason why this is the most popular money belt on the market –it’s spacious, comfortable, and does the job in hiding away your valuables.
Cons: The reason I did not opt for the conventional money belt is because I’d heard from more than one source that muggers know all about them and in fact expressly target them. It certainly makes things easier for them if they know exactly where to look.
Of course it all depends on where you’re heading. In most places a money belt of this variety would suffice. Me being paranoid I wanted the best travel protection for cash & valuables. So, I (perhaps judgementally) decided that the poverty-stricken enclaves of La Victoria (Lima) and La Boca (Buenos Aires) were worth a bit more security.
Of the different types of money belt this one’s designed for half the population. Although these days anyone can be the gender they want and wear a bra if they desire! It is a pouch that clips onto your bra hanging down like a neck wallet without the obvious strap
Pros: The bra pouch is a pretty clever place for hiding away your valuables as there is no visible strap and its held against the skin in front of you.
Cons: This style of money belt would be uncomfortable for bigger, heavier items. Also, what you can fit in un noticed depends largely on how big your pouch is, which depends on how big your…
Probably the second most popular type of money belt, these consist of one or two small pockets that hang from a length of soft material that goes around your neck. They usually feature a moisture-wicking backing material.
Pros: Like the conventional money belt, the Neck Wallet is comfortable and practical. The best thing is that it’s probably the only one that isn’t difficult to access when you need a beer in hurry.
Cons: And just like the conventional money belt, it’s relatively well-known in criminal circles. Plus, the lanyard that goes around your neck is often visible and can be cut before you can do anything about it.
And that brings this high-brow analysis of different kinds of money belt to a close. These days cash is less important and you can use cards (either physical or on your phone) in most places. But not everywhere. Markets, small stores, guest houses in the middle of no where prefer or demand cash. And using your cards has risks itself.
The good news is the three months in South America went down without a hitch using the Eagle Creek money belts. I was definitely way too paranoid about travel protection for cash and valuables. That said, with my possessions stuffed neatly away in my various money belts, I felt as calm as Michael Palin in a Cambridge bookshop on a Thursday afternoon.
We hope you found this guide to the different styles and types of money belt useful. The best travel protection for cash & valuables varies depending on the circumstances. So whether it is overlanding holiday in Africa or multi activity trips in South America you hopefully now can protect your money and other important items.