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Safety is always a big concern for many travelers, no matter where your destination or how long your journey. In this post, I’ll share the best money belts and anti-theft accessories with you, but first: a little tale of stolen credit cards in Thailand…
Best Money Belts and Anti-theft Travel Accessories
Even a seasoned traveler can easily become a victim by getting too comfortable. My husband once had his credit cards stolen in Thailand and the thieves got away with $5,000 in purchases!
Fortunately, I’ve only been a victim of theft once in over eight years of full time travel, but to be honest, both our situations were completely preventable. All we had to do was lock our backpacks.
This doesn’t mean that all thefts are avoidable and it certainly doesn’t mean that the world is not a safe place. It’s good to be well-informed and cautious, but please don’t feel paranoid.
While there are reports of thefts from travelers, there is a much higher number of people who’ve never experienced anything at all so don’t let it deter you from enjoying your travels.
However, the majority of incidents are due to thieves finding a convenient opportunity to steal your things. By taking a few precautions, you can avoid becoming a victim of opportunistic theft.
These are my tried and tested tips on how to avoid theft while traveling!
What’s a Money Belt?
These anti-theft accessories listed in this article are products designed to help you avoid theft while traveling. (These can also be used at home, too.)
The majority of the items are meant to be worn under your clothing to securely store cash, cards, passports, and potentially other small valuables.
Please note: you should not carry around your passport while sightseeing. Read this to learn how to keep your passport safe!
What’s the Best Money Belt for Travel?
There are many variations to anti-theft accessories, as you can see in the below article. From neck pouches to hidden pockets, there’s something to meet everyone’s needs.
In fact, the best option is to use a combination of items. That’s what I do.
For example, you can use a bra stash to store your credit cards and cash for everyday use, then use a neck pouch or pocket underwear to store your passport on transit days, and the rest of the time, use a lockable suitcase (safe or locker) to ensure your belongings are secure inside your accommodation.
Below you’ll find a roundup of the best money belts and theft proof accessories to protect your valuables!
During nine years of full-time travel I avoided using a money belt. Instead I used a travel money pouch made out of crochet, which acted as a type of neck wallet keeping my cash safely tucked away underneath my top. (Well, except for the one time when I left my pouch in my unlocked backpack and had $100 stolen. My careless fault.)
That simple product worked well until I discovered the Bra Stash shown above and it totally changed my travel safety strategy. I can’t recommend it enough!
It’s absolutely amazing and convenient–even more so than my trusty money pouch, because it also fits my credit cards. By wearing it under my arm instead of in front of my bra, it doesn’t bulge through my shirt or chafe my chest. Buy it here!
This was the first product of it’s kind and a couple of other brands also developed something similar:
Eagle Creek had a bra stash as well but I’m not sure if they’re discontinuing it. The best part about this product is that the silk fabric was soft – but because it’s silk, it was also not practical. Buy it here!
Although I’d prefer a soft fabric against my skin, the Braza Secret Stash is my top pick because it offers an adjustable closure, ensuring it would fit the width of a variety of bra straps.
Another popular Eagle Creek anti-theft product is their Undercover Hidden Pocket that’s placed onto your belt and worn under clothing. Many people find this more comfortable than a money belt but the caveat is that you have to wear a belt in order to use it. Buy it here!
Similar to a bra stash, this secret wallet by Lewis N Clark offers an option you can clip to your waist belt. It also offers RFID protection. While their picture shows in on the outside of trousers, it seems to be better protected on the interior of your clothing.
Another popular Lewis N Clark anti-theft product is their deluxe neck wallet. It can hold up to four passports, which is a plus if you’re traveling with your family. It also has durable ripstop fabric and a long strap so you can also wear it across your body. Buy it here!
Find out how to wear a neck wallet while traveling!
Luggage That Locks
The best protection in your accommodation and during transportation rides can be as easy as locking your bag.
Check out my favorite travel backpack, the Osprey Farpoint 55 and this anti-theft suitcase by Pacsafe. If I hadn’t left my backpack locked in a hostel in Borneo, my valuables would have been gone when I returned from a scuba diving trip.
Clothing with Hidden Pockets
If you don’t like a money belt, stashing your passport and money in your underwear may be a better option. While traveling in El Salvador, I found a boy short style underwear with large pockets on either side of the leg.
While it was a bit awkward to wear my passport over my upper leg, I only used it during transportation journeys in Central America when the probability of getting my daypack stolen seemed a bit higher.
The Travel Bra now also offers comfortable pocket bras and underwear for women and men while Travelon has socks with secret zippers – a great option for winter! Alternately, you can also sew a pocket into your underwear.
Customize your anti-theft approach based on your destination. In places like Europe and Spain, where pickpockets are common, avoid clothing and bags with open pockets, giving wandering hands easy access to your things.
Coats and pants with zippers are a must!
It’s possible to find clothing accessories with zippered pockets to stash a little cash. I found the above infinity scarf online. It’s affordable and available in wide variety of prints and colors.
While you wouldn’t want to carry many things on your next the entire day, this may work well to store some larger bills and an emergency credit card on trips with cool to mild weather. Buy it here!
Anti-theft Travel Shoulder Bags
Some travelers may want to take extra precaution by using anti-theft travel shoulder bags. These specialized travel purses have safety features like lockable zippers, slash-proof materials, and sturdy straps to prevent thieves from breaking in.
Pacsafe and Travelon are the two major brands that offer these theftproof bags but our readers rave the most about Travelon. They offer a variety of styles including travel purses that don’t necessarily look like “anti-theft purses” like their Slim Crossbody shown above. It’s part of their Signature Collection, which offers some of the best looking styles! Buy it here!
If you need more space, the best selling Travelon travel purse is the anti-theft cross body with two pockets. It has a slim design featuring slash-proof fabric, an adjustable, cut-proof shoulder strap, and zippers with a latch for extra security. It also comes with RFID blocking card slots.
It retails for as low as $30 and is available in over twenty colors. Our readers favor the bag in a classic Black but two other popular options are the Midnight and Stone colors. It’s a clear winner! Buy it here!
Read more about the best anti-theft travel bags for women!
If you’d prefer a more traditional option, these are some of the best options to store your valuables. Choose what suits you best and take fabric into consideration when purchasing.
Whatever you do, DO NOT WEAR THE MONEY BELT OUTSIDE OF YOUR CLOTHING.
I can’t believe how many travelers I see wearing it on the outside, advertising to thieves exactly where to find their cash. Please don’t make that mistake. It’s meant to be worn hidden under your clothing.
While there are a variety of brands offering security accessories, our readers favor the beige color by Alpha Keeper and the black color by Venture 4th. They’re both made with RFID protection and water-resistant ripstop nylon.
While the one by Alpha Keeper features some colorful prints, I prefer the Venture 4th style because it offers a variety of neutral colors to blend in seamlessly underneath clothing instead of brights that can show through your tops.
How Do You Use Anti-Theft Accessories?
It’s important to note that anti-theft products DO NOT REPLACE YOUR NEED TO USE A WALLET.
Please keep enough money for the day in your wallet and use an anti-theft product such as a money belt or bra stash to store EXTRA cash and cards only.
I keep the bulk of my money in my bra stash but I keep what I need for the day in my pocket, purse, or wallet. This way, I don’t have to dig into my bra or money belt awkwardly or uncomfortably every single time I need to access money.
Please DO NOT dig under your clothing every time you make a purchase. That defeats the purpose of these products.
I see this happen a lot. Travelers will get their money belt out and dig through everything so they can find what they need. This isn’t very safe as now everyone knows how much money you have and where you store it.
It’s important to be discreet, hide it, and step aside somewhere quiet or secure if you do need to get into your anti-theft product.
Please read my top ten tried and tested anti-theft travel tips for more information on how to properly use these items!
Watch the video above for the do’s and don’ts on avoiding theft while traveling.
Additional Travel Safety Tips
- Don’t forget travel insurance! Keep all your receipts because they’ll be necessary for insurance claims, along with a police report.
- Avoid sightseeing with your passport and all your money in your daypack or travel purse.
- Don’t go to big festivals and events with your passport and large amounts of money.
- Avoid leaving your passport and money unlocked in your hotel, hostel, or guesthouse.
- Use lockers provided by your accommodation (don’t forget one of the top 10 essentials on your backpacking checklist: travel locks).
- Try to only keep all your valuables on you when in transit and on transportation journeys–this is a good time to use the above gear.
- Make photocopies of your passport and offer it when an agency requires you to leave your passport as collateral. It may not always work, but it’s worth a try.
- Distribute the wealth and spread your valuables out in different places so if something does get taken, they don’t get everything.
- Always always always lock your backpack or suitcase, no matter how comfortable you feel in your accommodation.
Here is a quick review of the best money belts and anti-theft travel accessories:
|BRAND / MODEL||REVIEW||RATING||PRICE|
|Braza Secret Stash Pocket||“It’s absolutely amazing and convenient because it also fits my credit cards.”||Check Price|
|Pacsafe Secret Bra Pouch||“The fabric is soft and the design is well thought out. ”||Check Price|
|Eagle Creek Travel Bra Stash||“The best part about this product is that the silk fabric was soft.”||Check Price|
|Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket||“Many people find this more comfortable than a money belt.”||Check Price|
|Lewis N Clark Clip Stash||“This secret wallet by Lewis N Clark offers an option you can clip to your waist belt.”||Check Price|
|Lewis N. Clark Deluxe Neck Stash||“It can hold up to four passports, which is a plus if you’re traveling with your family.”||Check Price|
|Tarriss TSA Lock||“The best protection in your accommodation and during transportation rides can be as easy as locking your bag.”||Check Price|
|Clever Travel Companion Tank Top||“It features zippered tanks and underwear with hidden pockets.”||Check Price|
|Infinity Scarf with Zipper Pocket||“It’s affordable and available in wide variety of prints and colors.”||Check Price|
|Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Slim Day Bag||“Travel purse that doesn’t look like an “anti-theft purse.”||Check Price|
|Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag, Two Pocket||“It has a slim design featuring slash-proof fabric, an adjustable, cut-proof shoulder strap, and zippers with a latch for extra security.”||Check Price|
|Alpha Keeper RFID Money Belt for Travel||“Made with RFID protection and water-resistant ripstop nylon.”||Check Price|
|Venture 4th Travel Money Belt||“It offers a variety of neutral colors to blend in seamlessly underneath clothing instead of brights that can show through your tops.”||Check Price|
As mentioned above, these items should be used as precautions. They won’t guarantee you won’t have things stolen, but they definitely improve your chances of keeping your valuables safe.
It is more likely that your cards will be stolen from inside your luggage rather than someone making off with your entire suitcase or backpack, but things do happen.
In cases where thieves steal entire bags, it usually happens on overnight buses–from underneath the bus or even from right under your seat while you sleep. It’s a sad part of travel, but it happens.
Anti-theft travel accessories are a low price to pay versus having your cash and credit cards stolen.
Watch my video on TPSY TV for a few more anti-theft products.
Items featured in video (in order as shown)
Travel insurance can sometimes help cover costs in case you are a victim, but it’s best to be cautious about your belongings, too.
Do you travel with anti-theft travel accessories?
For more travel safety tips, please read:
- How to Keep Your Passport Safe While Traveling
- I Had My Bag Stolen and 4 Ways I Could’ve Avoided It
- How I Keep My Valuables Safe Abroad
- Will these Safe Travel Essentials Really Help You?
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