Travel Non-Essentials: Should You Buy the YaY Wallet?
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Travel Non-Essentials: Should You Buy the YaY Wallet?

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Welcome to Travel Non-Essentials, where T+L editors Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein sound off on a different breed of travel product—sometimes ingenious, sometimes just plain odd. Today: the YaY Wallet, a utilitarian pocket to replace your wallet while traveling.

What It Does: The ultra-compact, woven elastic, made-in-the-U.S.A. YaY Wallet ($9.99) comes in dozens of graphic prints, and is designed to carry a minimal amount of cash and cards when you don’t need a full wallet. Orwoll and Ekstein check it out to decide if it’s a must-have, or just a nice-to-have.

MO: The packaging is very utilitarian, just wrapped in a cellophane bag.

NE: Looks like something you might find at Walgreen’s.

MO: These things are very inexpensive. I carried around one of these for a couple of days during the business week. I put in about a hundred bucks in cash, a credit card, a driver’s license, an employee ID, and a house key. That was all I had in it, and I used it instead of my regular wallet. On vacation, this little thing looks like it would be all that I’d need. And it’s definitely useful when you go down to the hotel pool and you don’t want to take everything in your regular wallet.

NE: Absolutely. When you’re going to go out and sample the nightlife in some destination and all you’ve packed is a teeny-tiny clutch, having a teeny-tiny wallet to streamline your stuff is a lifesaver.

MO: The one thing that I noticed, even though I used it for only a couple of days, is that I kept checking my pocket to make sure it was still there. It’s so small! (It’s two and a half inches by four inches or so.)

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NE: Mark, did you find that when you had lots of cards stuck in here, if you were looking for a middle card, that something would fly out?

MO: Whenever I needed to pull something out, I basically had to take everything out. It would be difficult to isolate that one credit card or that five-dollar bill that you need and just remove that one thing. So I found it easier to take everything out, use what I had to use, then put everything back in. It was only a minor hassle, and that was the worst thing about using it, which really wasn’t that bad.

NE: And I will say that if I’m going to get a wallet specifically for my travels, then I kind of do want some safety features added to it. Wireless identity hacking is a real problem for travelers in certain parts of the world (even more so now that RFID technology is having a real moment)... so if you’re going to buy a slim travel wallet, you may want to bear that in mind.

MO: Right, these wallets don’t have anything like that. But I don’t know if you’d find that technology in these very small wallets.

NE: Maybe not. I will say I like this floral pattern. The others—and there are maybe 12 on the table right here—I don’t think I’d be caught dead with them.

MO: There are passport stamps, leopard print, the American eagle with a flag,

NE: Gorillas?

MO: Hmm, I guess those are gorillas. There’s one with a bunch of very small hundred-dollar bills. Look, they’re kind of fun. And the thing that I would do is buy a couple of these and throw them into my empty suitcases at home and have them on hand next time I travel. Or maybe keep one in your travel kit bag. It’s not something you have to think about. If you need it, you’ve got it. And for the price, you can’t go wrong.

NE: Agreed!

VERDICT: A must-have.

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