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Whether you’re on your daily jog, or exploring sights and sounds across the world, the last thing you should worry about is your wallet. Becoming a victim of a pickpocket (or worse — forgetfulness) will dampen any trip, which is why a money belt is a worthy investment.
Also called travel wallets, the best money belts are designed to conceal cash, credit cards, your passport, ID, and other important documents. They’re meant to be worn under your clothing as a more discreet alternative to a large bag, which might be an easier target for thieves. That’s why commuters and vacationers alike use them to stow away their valuables.
International travel may not be an option in the pandemic era, but money belts also make great everyday wallets when you don’t want to shove everything in your pockets or prefer to keep them hidden on your person. They’re great for stashing your phone and valuables when you’re on a run or outdoor workout too.
What to Look for When Buying a Hidden Travel Wallet
Material: If you expect to be in humid or warm weather, look for moisture-wicking or water-resistant material that will keep you comfortable and your valuables dry. Lightweight fabric like nylon is also great for traveling light.
Size: You’ll likely be carrying around your passport, smartphone, and other large valuables, so make sure your money belt is long enough to accommodate those wider items.
Organization: Avoid the stress of fumbling for your credit cards and cash and find a wallet that has inner pockets within its larger zippered compartments.
RFID protection: Most passports and credit cards are equipped with an RFID chip, which emits radio signals for contactless identification. Since there’s no way to turn the chips off, anyone with an RFID scanner can collect credit card details and other sensitive data. Money belts and travel wallets with RFID protection feature a special lining or pocket that prevents the data from being skimmed by scanners.
It’s worth noting that some security experts believe it’s unlikely that tech-savvy thieves will use a scanner to steal your information because it takes too much time. If you prefer to err on the side of caution, then RFID blocking money belts offer good peace of mind.
Warranty: If your belongings are stolen, some money belt companies offer theft insurance. This alone can be worth the small investment in a travel wallet.
Planning your next destination? We’ve picked out some of the best money belts for international travel — see them all below.
1. Zero Grid RFID Blocking Money Belt
Measuring 10.8 inches long by 5.9 inches long by .10 inches thick, this money belt offers plenty of storage space while keeping a light and slim profile. It’s made from 210D ripstop nylon that’s durable and lightweight, while the soft moisture-wicking back makes the wallet comfortable to wear all day. The money belt also has a hidden side clasp and a stretchy waistband that accommodates waists of up to 46 inches.
There’s a main zippered compartment that’s big enough for passports, boarding passes, credit cards, smartphones, and other items. It also has a carabiner clip for holding keys or a slim USB drive. The front zippered pocket is great for storing smaller items like cash and earbuds.
As an added bonus, it comes with seven RFID shielding sleeves (one for your passport and six for credit cards) to protect your items when they’re not in the belt.
2. AIKELIDA RFID Blocking Travel Wallet
This money belt is lined with RFID blocking material and made with lightweight ripstop nylon that’s odor- and water-resistant. Measuring 11.2 inches long by 5.2 inches high by .4 inches thick, this travel wallet is one of the more roomier options.
The large main zippered compartment has three inner pockets for keeping credit cards, money, passports, smartphones, and other valuables secure and organized. An outer zippered pocket is great for your smaller items.
This waist pouch is comfortable to wear in hot environments, thanks to the padded mesh back and an adjustable moisture-wicking waist strap. The adjustable belt can also accommodate waists of approximately 43 inches. It’s also machine-washable and can be thrown in the dryer on low.
3. AUOPRO Hidden Money Belt
At 14.37 inches tall by 5.79 inches wide by .3 inches thick, this travel-ready money belt is compact while still boasting a good amount of storage space. It has upper and lower front zippered compartments that are ideal for smartphones, passports, cash, credit cards, and other flat valuables.
The large and small mesh pockets can hold your smaller items, and there’s a handy front hole for keeping wired earbuds easily accessible. This wallet also has a soft and breathable mesh back, while two extra secure buckles on each side go beyond the standard single clip that most other money belts have. The double waistband also offers extra comfort and can be adjusted for waist sizes up to 68 inches.
It’s also made with RFID blocking lining for added digital security, while the water-repellent material helps to keep your valuables dry.
4. Travel Navigator Money Belt
This zippered money belt measures 11.5 inches by 5.25 inches by .25 inches, so it’s roomy yet slim. It’s made with durable ripstop nylon and RFID blocking material, while the breathable back and adjustable waistband make this wallet comfortable to wear all day.
There’s a large zippered pocket that can fit smartphones, passports, credit cards, cash, and more. The front zippered pocket is handy for stashing away smaller items. And the belt strap can adjust for waists up to 56 inches.