We know, money belts aren’t exactly a sexy new piece of gear, and the industry is fairly split on whether they’re a savvy security essential or the obsolete badge of a skittish amateur. Tortuga’s Packsmith blog is convinced they’re dead while Rick Steves says he never travels without one.
We’re willing to leave the choice in your hands. Whether you choose to go the money belt route or not, you still shouldn’t carry all your cash around at once. If you have a debit card with no overseas ATM fees, which you should if you’re a frequent traveler, just carry the cash you need and stop at banks to top up like you would at home. If you’re carrying more than your standard, split some of it up and stash it inside your locked suitcase or hotel safe, ideally hidden inside something inconspicuous like a sock or your toiletry kit. If you’re feeling extra sneaky, use an old pill bottle or empty deodorant. As for your passport, you’re better off locking it up in your hotel and carrying a photocopy out and about if you think you’ll need it.
Money belts can excel in some areas, especially if you’re changing locations and may be separated from your bags. An overnight bus or train, for example, is where a money belt can really come in handy so you can doze off with your passport still attached to your person.
Choose a color that’s close to your skin tone and a design that lies flat against your body to minimize visibility. Tuck it as close to your body as you can, without any straps flapping around outside your clothes to give away its location. Most of the market hasn’t evolved too far past the classic beige pouch your mom used to insist join you on your family vacations, but we found a few that you could still want to wear in public, along with some updated options.