A friend insists on wearing a moneybelt while travelling. Some prefer (shudder) 'fanny-packs' .

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I can't be bothered, frankly, I used to when I was 20 (have a money belt), but these days it's a wallet for me. To be fair, I was once pick-pocketed but that was at La Tomatina, I had 10 people pressed up against me and couldn't do much about it - although I admit a moneybelt would have prevented it then.

However, there must be a better solution than a moneybelt? I've seen people with chains attached to their wallets, or carefully putting their wallets in a backpack, but that of course comes with its own risks.

Is there a commercially available, socially acceptable, safe way of securing the money you carry with you?

  • 4
    The answer cannot be as simple as 'wallets', can it? May 8, 2012 at 9:53
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    Doesn't get around the risk of pick-pocketing. That's why I mentioned the wallet on a chain thing, or putting wallets in a backpack.
    – Mark Mayo
    May 8, 2012 at 9:55
  • Something like this maybe? amazon.co.uk/dp/B003JLL8TY/…
    – SERPRO
    May 8, 2012 at 10:10
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    I don't believe in 'products' to save my money. Simplicity is the best for me: 1- Split your money, keep some with you and some at the hotel. 2- split the money with you in two different pockets. if one got stolen, you still have some! 3- catty debit cards with you. if they got stolen its not usable without pin code. May 8, 2012 at 11:02
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    Buy one of these babies and no sane thief in the world would dare stick their hand in your pockets for the possibility of finding the wrong.. jewels deep down there. May 8, 2012 at 12:10

4 Answers 4


Personally I never carry much money around with me, I just get local cash from the ATM every week and split it up between my backpack, money belt and wallet. I used to have a wallet with a chain attaching it to my pants but recently I went without a wallet altogether and just had the notes in my trouser pockets.

If it is just about cash, a 'real' money belt could be an alternative, something that is just as thick as a normal trouser belt but has an opening on the inside to put your bank notes. I used one for one trip once, but the fact that is is only for cash but not for a passport or credit cards, made it less attractive to me. Protecting your travel documents and bank cards is much more important than cash.

There are also undercover leg wallets, but because they bend around your leg, they again are not good for passports and cards. The other problem it if you wear shorts a lot, they are not so undercover anymore.

I personally don't like having anything hanging around my neck or under arms, so for me it comes down to the traditional money belt (as in your photo) for one passport, some credit cards and a bit of cash. The second passport and other cards are in the locked backpack.

In some places I even used two money belts on top of each other, an outer one with some cash and a lower one with the important stuff. The thought was that if you get mugged and give them your first money belt, they wouldn't bother searching you any further.


There's another option which consist in the same bags you described but hidden under your arms: Undercover Body Safe bag I can also think that can be placed under the shirt or outside (like in the picture) if you have a jacket or so.

  • To the @downvoter. Why don't you care to post a comment about the downvote? I think my answer is related to the question.
    – SERPRO
    May 10, 2012 at 11:37

I think the decline in importance of cash is your friend here. If you mostly use cards (whether debit or credit, and they make debit cards that mimic credit cards so you can use them at places that don't take debit) then if a card is stolen, you cancel it and use a different one until your replacement arrives. As long as you don't keep all the cards together, you're ok. I typically head out for a day of sightseeing with two cards (one debit and one credit) and enough cash for coffee and a snack, perhaps double that. They're in a pocket or a purse and while I've never been relieved of them, it would be far less hassle than having hundreds or thousands in cash or travelers cheques taken. (That moneybelt picture shows 500 Euros. I would never wander around with that much. Why would anyone?)

I don't think the fanny pack is about security. More about quick access to things you use a lot. The only place I've ever worn one is on a portage trail, where they're just the right thing for the purpose. If anything, a bag like that is LESS secure than a pocket, since a knife to the strap behind your back lets someone run off with the whole bag.

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    The other historical factor here is that there used to be paper airline tickets, which you could not lose and were worth hundreds of dollars. It was often suggested that you carry them on you at all times, and moneybelts seem to be sized for them rather than currency. May 8, 2012 at 14:49
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    Your airline tickets are only worth hundreds of dollars? Either you're not flying very far or I want to know where you get them (-; May 8, 2012 at 17:42
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    It's fine to say "don't carry cash" but what about all the times when you are moving between cities, carrying your backpack and luggage, or just had to hit the ATM to pay for your guesthouse? It's not always avoidable.
    – jjeaton
    May 10, 2012 at 6:03
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    The question is how to secure the money you carry and not whether credit cards are better. Moreover credit cards are not an option for many travelers and destinations.
    – crenate
    May 10, 2012 at 11:06

My solution is to split money (and other valuable documents) between my luggage and my person. I find that zipped pockets in all my clothing allows me to distribute things on my person into a variety of secure(ish) pockets. My shirts, in addition to having breast pockets (useful for immediate cash and change) have a zipped pocket behind one of the breast pockets. My windshirt has a similar zipped pocket. My trousers have a variety of zipped pockets - some internal to other pockets. I have found it useful to store my passport in one of the front zipped pockets - I am constantly aware of its presence without having to check it all the time.

Any money or travel documents in my luggage will be buried, usually in dirty socks, deep in a stuff sac, that goes in the centre of my luggage.

This solution started out because I live on a boat and I was concerned about accidental loss of objects from pockets into the water. However, it has proved equally useful for travel - I know that it has foiled one attempt at pickpocketing whilst I have been travelling.

  • +1 for splitting the money. You can always estimate how much you are going to spend before you get to some safe place and recharge your zipped pockets. I think it is very good not to show your wallet or moneybelt or anything that looks like something that can contain larger amount of cash/valuables.
    – jhexp
    Jan 19, 2013 at 0:48

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