Using a money belt is a common debate among travelers. For some, a money belt can provide peace of mind and a firm hand in hiding valuables in your possession. Others might see it more as a noticeable, bulky, and awkward crutch. Historically, they’ve been about as cool as Travis Wester’s character Jamie in EuroTrip who, of course, wore one religiously. Regardless of your stance, this under the radar — or at least under your clothing — accessory is touted as a sure way to keep your personal items safe, sound, and plainly out of sight.
However, money belts aren’t limited to making the anxious explorer feel better. We’re in a golden age of gear where even fanny packs are somehow cool, and so, money belts are making a comeback. Their designs have changed to the point where they’re no longer a one-size-fits-all mold. They’re practical to the point that even the most experienced travelers could benefit more and lessen the risk of having their items go missing (like this writer, whose wallet was stolen from her purse while in Germany but also whose money belt had extra euros to help her get by until her new cards arrived).
Whether for the safety-minded or self-assured, here are the best money belts catering to various traveling needs.
For feeling comfortable: Eagle Creek’s Silk Undercover Money Belt
Having the back of your money belt pressed against your waist for quite some time tends to make you sweaty and uncomfortable. However, this model from Eagle Creek is made with a natural silk that’s actually breathable, as well as washable and moisture resistant. There’s also a sweat-resistant coated lining, two zippered pockets best suited for holding a passport and money, a soft elastic waistband, and a back slip pocket. It’s smooth, and — dare we say — stylish.
For running while on the road: EAZYMATE’s Travel Belt
It can be tough to keep your workout going while away from home and the gym. This running belt from EAZYMATE comes in a wide range of sizes and is touted as being not only useful but also chic. It actually looks like it’s part of your running outfit. The belt perfectly conceals its two zippered pockets, one specifically made for accommodating smartphones, plus the additional pocket with a key buckle. It’s constructed from a spandex lycra material that’s soft and stretches.
For an alternative option: Pacsafe’s Coversafe X75 Anti-Theft RFID Blocking Neck Pouch
Here’s to thinking above the waist. This adjustable Pacsafe model is designed to be worn around the neck, like a necklace, but has a shoulder-length strap that is wire reinforced and slash-resistant. The upright neck pouch hides underneath your clothes and has a main compartment that zippers up to fit a passport plus one open slot packet, RFID blocking material, and a Velcro flap closure. It comes in two colors, too.
For something that’s dressier: Assorted travel scarves by Speakeasy Travel Supply
With versions varying by print color or pattern, Speakeasy Travel Supply’s travel scarves are handmade with self-locking zippers and double-stitched or serged pockets. Another plus is that these scarfs can suit certain weather types based on the season (think cooler fabrics for summer, warmer materials for winter) or destination. And, they’re fashionable enough for a night out. Heading off to Antarctica? Consider getting the Polar Explorer.
For a strong sense of prevention: Peak Gear’s Travel Money Belt with RFID Block
Built to be slim, compact, and comfortable, this money belt has built-in RFID blocking and comes with a $250 theft insurance policy. Through a partnership with ReturnMe, which promotes itself as the world’s largest recovery company, Peak Gear accompanies this money belt with two free global recovery decals that can be put on your cellphone or other important items. Style-wise, it’s rather minimalist, which can certainly work in your favor.
For more flexible usage: Stashbandz’s Unisex Travel, Fitness, Medical Device Belt
With an assortment of sizes and color choices, this versatile belt is made from spandex and can conceal and carry cargo that’s beyond common travel necessities. This Stashbandz belt consists of four wide pockets with one zipper pocket that all close via a fold-over flap. It’s built for action — as in running, hiking, or skiing — so you’ll find no qualms about slippage with its wide band.
For all-around usage: Boxiki’s Travel Money Belt
This money belt is made of thick, durable ripstop nylon to resist ripping, cutting, and wear and tear from frequent travel usage. There’s a secure release belt to prevent it from accidentally being unclipped, which is handy if you’re rushing through the airport. While it looks simple in design (brown and beige are your color options), it’s also quite roomy with two outer pockets and another one that’s tucked away.