With all the talk about robberies and scams on the road, it is important to be prepared. Wearing a money belt is a cheap and effective way of protecting yourself from thieves while travelling.
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What is a money belt?
Money belts are anti-theft devices that discreetly store small items. They come in a variety of styles, from normal-looking belts with small zip pockets on the inside, to slimline fanny packs that are worn under your clothes. Some are made of comfortable stretchy materials while others might be tough, full-grain leather.
Money belts come in a range of sizes. Some can store just a few notes while others have enough room to accommodate your money, passport, room key or even your phone.
They protect you from scams and thefts by keeping your valuables hidden from potential thieves, thus reducing your odds of being targeted.
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Best Money Belts: Quick Answers!
Note: If you are robbed by an armed attacker, the most common advice is to give everything over to them. Whilst it might seem like the end of the world to lose two credit cards and an iPhone, it is much better than losing your life!
Do I Need A Money Belt?
Honestly? No. You don’t need a money belt. By remaining vigilant, avoiding dodgy areas and not carrying valuables with you all the time, you can often avoid being a target of theft while travelling.
However, some travellers will feel reassured while carrying a money belt. If the extra peace of mind a money belt provides will help you enjoy your adventures more, don’t hesitate to pick one up!
The Best Money Belts
Fanny Pack Style Money Belts
Peak Gear Travel Money Belt
- Price Range – $$$
- Best Feature – Plenty of storage room
- Feature to Improve – RFID blocking isn’t the most reliable
The Peak Gear Travel Money Belt offers everything you need from a fanny pack style belt. It’s slim enough to fit under your clothes without creating a bulge but comfortably holds a couple of passports, credit cards and plenty of cash. It features two main compartments which have small internal dividers to keep everything organised.
YKK zippers and a lock-tight buckle ensure the belt remains in place and secure all day. The back of the belt is made up of breathable mesh material to deliver maximum comfort. The front is water-resistant to protect your belongings from errant showers. It won’t stand up to a proper soaking though, so don’t rely on it in a storm and don’t go swimming while wearing the belt!
When you purchase the Peak Gear Money Belt, you receive two ReturnMe tags. These can be stuck to your belongings and can help you get your items back should you lose them. The system relies on the kindness of strangers finding and reporting your lost gear but it increases the chance of it being safely returned to you!
The built-in RFID protection could be improved but it’s better than nothing.
Alpha Keeper Money Belt
- Price Range – $$
- Best Feature – 360 degree RFID blocking
- Feature To Improve – Creates a noticeable bulge when holding a phone and passports
This money belt from Alpha Keeper is lightweight and available in a range of colours. It’s slim enough to be worn under your clothes but beware, it will create a noticeable bulge if you utilise all its pockets.
It features two main zip compartments which contain internal mesh dividers for organisation. The back of the belt is a breathable mesh. It’s comfortable against your skin and has a pocket large enough for your phone.
The Alpha Keeper Money Belt is lined with RFID blocking materials on all sides, creating 360-degree protection. It’s also covered with a water-resistant outer layer to keep your stuff safe. Don’t rely on this when the rain really starts falling though, it’s only water-resistant — not waterproof.
The belt also comes with seven RFID blocking sleeves. Six are credit card size and there’s one for your passport.
Eagle Creek RFID Blocker Deluxe
- Price Range – $$
- Best Feature – Plenty of adjustment in the waist strap
- Feature To Improve – The colour
When it comes to durable money belts, the RFID Blocker Deluxe from Eagle Creek fits the bill. The ripstop nylon construction can easily cope with the rigours of travel. The elasticated waist strap is reliable and long-lasting. It’s adjustable to fit users with a waist size of 26-43 inches. Eagle Creek also claim it will fit bigger users but this will affect the elasticity over time.
It features two zippered pockets which have enough room for your passport, credit cards and money. The back of the belt is made from breathable, moisture-wicking materials to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible while wearing it. The waist strap can be tucked behind the back panel when the belt isn’t in use. This makes it easier to pack, preventing anything from getting tangled!
The beige colour of this money belt isn’t the most appealing. It’s designed to be subtle on white skin tones but this doesn’t really work. It’s still obvious and the light colour means it stains easily. When worn under your clothes it’s slim enough that it can remain unnoticed.
Coversafe X100 – Pacsafe
- Price Range – $$$
- Best Feature – Slash proof waist strap
- Feature To Improve – Only a single pocket
Pacsafe’s Coversafe X100 is one of the most secure money belts we could find. The waist strap features steel cable reinforcement to make it slash proof. The buckle is hidden beneath a piece of fabric, meaning pickpockets can’t easily get to it.
As with the other money belts discussed, the Pacsafe Coversafe is designed to be worn under your clothes, so these extra security features should never be needed. However, it’s great to have them if you’re concerned about being a victim of pickpocketing!
There’s just one zippered pocket on this belt. It has an internal divider for organisation but it can’t hold as much as other money belts. It’s protected with RFID blocking technology though, so you can rest assured your electronic data remains safe!
The backing is breathable and soft to the touch, ensuring the belt is as comfortable as possible.
Traditional Belt Style Money Belts
Pacsafe Cashsafe Anti-Theft Travel Wallet Belt
- Price Range – $$
- Best Feature – Blends in very well
- Feature To Improve – Not the best looking belt
The Cashsafe Anti-Theft Travel Wallet Belt looks like your standard nylon webbing belt. There’s no way to spot the hidden zip on the inside. The buckle looks like cheap plastic, which must be a design choice to draw attention away from the belt but it does give the whole thing a distinctly “cheap” feeling.
One big advantage of the plastic buckle is that you don’t need to remove the belt at airport security. There’s no metal on it at all. However, if security asks you to remove the belt, just do it. Airport security get twitchy when you argue with them – at the end of the day, they decide whether you catch your flight or not. Just do as they ask.
The hidden zipper on the inside of the belt opens to reveal a long, slim, pocket. You’ll need to fold notes up 3-4 times to get them to fit. It takes some practice but once you get the hang of it, it’s possible to store around $1000USD in there! You won’t be able to store a credit card or passport in this belt though.
LifeVenture Travel Money Belt
- Price Range – $
- Best Feature – Very discreet
- Feature To Improve – Waist size is too long for some users but that’s easy to remedy
LifeVenture’s Travel Money Belt is about as minimal as money belts get. It works excellently as a standard belt and is durable enough to last years of travel. The slick design means it draws little attention but the metal buckle is stylish enough that you can wear it to more upmarket bars and restaurants while travelling.
LifeVenture’s belt is suitable for waist sizes between 26-44 inches although users on the slimmer end of that scale will likely want to cut it down a little. Thankfully, that’s easy to do and the metal end clip is simple to reattach.
There’s not much more to say on this one. It’s budget-friendly, sleek and performs extremely well!
Atitlan Leather Money Belt
- Price Range – $$$$
- Best Feature – Classy leather or suede look
- Feature To Improve – Sizing is out (check the sizing chart!)
The Leather Money Belt by Atitlan Leather is handcrafted in Guatemala from full-grain leather. The classy styling means you can wear the belt no matter where you end up. The buckle can be swapped out if you already have a favourite buckle that you don’t want to part with.
The hidden pocket is on the inside of the belt and is super subtle. It’s a little larger than in most money belts of this type, meaning you can comfortably store a few extra notes without the belt becoming uncomfortable to wear.
It’s worth noting that you need to order at least 2-4 inches larger than your trouser size when purchasing this belt. Atitlan provide a sizing chart but the 2-4 inch rule saves you a bit of time!
- Price Range – $$
- Best Feature – Comfortable as hell
- Feature To Improve – Not all pockets have secure zip closures
This comfortable alternative to a traditional money belt is less subtle than the more traditional offerings which is to be expected when you see its design. Its primary purpose is a way of carrying your essentials while running but it doubles up as an excellent money belt for travel too — the extra size means you can often get away without carrying a daypack if you’ve only got a few key items!
Each pocket has a secure flap that folds over to keep your items safe but only one pocket has a zip to close it completely. The belt can be worn under baggy clothing but will be obvious if worn under tighter clothes.
The moisture-wicking material is ultra-comfortable on your skin but because of its larger size, the Stashbandz belt can feel very hot when worn for long periods in warm climates.
Eazymate Running Belt
- Price Range – $$$
- Best Feature – Stretchy and comfortable
- Feature To Improve – Internal dividers would make this a more appealing choice
The EasyMate Running belt is designed to be worn above or under clothes and to keep your valuables secure. It features two zip access points on the front and a secure flap at the rear.
There are no internal dividers so your stuff can move around inside the belt but this is rarely a problem thanks to its tight fit. There is a key hook inside so you’ll always be able to find your keys, even if other items do move around.
The soft, stretchy material makes this one of the most comfortable money belts available. It’s not packed with features like some of the earlier belts in this list and is nowhere near as subtle, but it keeps your valuables safe from pickpockets without hindering your access to them!
What To Look For In A Money Belt
When choosing a money belt, there’s plenty to consider. A good money belt will give you peace of mind as you travel. An unsuitable money belt could be uncomfortable, fiddly to use or the wrong size for your needs.
Read through this list carefully to ensure you don’t waste your cash on a money belt that won’t work for you!
Whether you like it or not (or even know about it for that matter) RFID technology is ingrained into our lives. It’s in your smartphone, smartwatch, ID card, passport and debit/credit cards.
Because of this, a lot has been made of RFID blocking technologies. We’re told over and over again that thieves with clever devices will “skim” our cards and empty our bank accounts. Or they’ll steal our identity and rack up a ton of debt in our names!
While there’s very little evidence to suggest RFID crime is actually happening on any grand scale, it is possible and it’s better to be safe than sorry. RFID blocking materials prevent a reader from stealing your data by stopping any electronic signals from getting through. It’s also worth noting that they may stop phone reception from getting through too. If you’re keeping your phone in an RFID blocking pocket, it will be unable to get a signal which will drain the battery.
Some money belts, when worn correctly, will be right against your skin. You want to ensure they’ll be comfortable even in hot climates. Think moisture-wicking and breathable materials. Mesh is gentle on your skin, reducing rubbing and irritation.
If you’re travelling in cold climates, it’s still a good idea to look for breathable materials but you’ll also want a money belt that can deal with the odd shower. There’s no point storing money in a belt that will wet through as soon as it starts raining. That’s a sure-fire way to lose your emergency fund!
Money Belt Style
There are a few different styles of money belt. Some are a standard belt with a small zip pocket on the inside, others are more like streamlined fanny packs. Then there’s bands and even alternatives like clip-on pouches or neck wallets.
Each has advantages and disadvantages:
- Standard belts with a zip pocket serve multiple purposes. They work as an actual belt and can store a small amount of emergency money. However, the pockets tend to be small and fiddly — you won’t get more than a few notes inside.
- Fanny pack style money belts can hold more but as they’re resting on your skin they can cause irritation. They’re not as subtle either. When not packed correctly, they can create an obvious bulge under your clothes.
- Running belts are designed for use while exercising so they’re a comfortable fit and usually feature sweat-wicking, breathable materials. They’re not the most subtle though. Pocket sizes vary in running belts. Some can only hold a few notes while others will be able to store water bottles!
You’ll need to decide which option suits your travel style and personal preference best and work from there.
How much do you want to store in your money belt?
If it’s only some emergency money then you’ll only need a small belt with a little storage. But if you want to store your passport, important documents and some money, then you’ll need to get something a bit bigger.
Ensure the belt you choose has enough pockets for everything you want to keep safe.
You’ll also want to ensure all the pockets close properly so nothing falls out! Zips or velcro are the most efficient ways of keeping the compartments sealed.
Some money belts come with extras such as insurance or tracking tags. While these aren’t the be-all and end-all, they can be a nice addition. If you’re torn between two different belts, the extras can be a good incentive to choose one or the other.
Money Belt FAQs
What is the best money belt?
Our favourite money belt is the Alpha Keeper Money Belt. It’s slim, comfortable and has plenty of room for money and important documents!
How much money can a money belt hold?
The amount of money a money belt can hold will depend on its size and style. Fanny pack style money belts can hold a lot of money. They have big pockets which are ideal for storing large amounts.
Traditional belts with hidden pockets hold much less. You can still get 10-20 notes inside them if you fold them correctly though!
What does a money belt look like?
Some money belts look like traditional belts. Others look like slim fanny packs that can be worn under your clothes — you need to be careful not to overfill these though as they can create an obvious bulge under your t-shirt.
Money belt vs neck wallet
Money belts are usually a little more subtle than a neck wallet. However, they’re harder to access. Only store things that you’re unlikely to need outside of an emergency.