While the world is mostly safe to travel, it’s an unfortunate fact that thousands of travelers are robbed every year – so it makes sense to be prepared for the worst, just in case.
In all of my world travels, I’ve only found one proven way to protect your hard-earned money. You have to conceal it and conceal it well. This is exactly why I wrote this article about the best travel money belts.
Investing in a quality money belt is an easy, inexpensive solution to protecting your cash while traveling. Money belts not only improve your security, but also help you keep your money organized and give you a sense of comfort and security.
In a nutshell? It’s well worth the $10-20 investment.
This guide tries to find the absolute best money belt for travel. Learn how to wear a money belt, what I like and what I don’t about each belt on my list, features, costs, my top pick, and much more…
Let’s look at the best security belts for you in 2020, so you can travel stress-free.
Quick Answer: What are the Best Money Belts for Travel?
- Active Roots Security Belt – Best Overall Money Belt
- Active Roots Travel Money Belt – Best Full-Sized Money Belt
- Peak Travel Money Belt – Best Money Belt for Europe
- Stashbanz Running Belt – Best Travel/Running Waist Belt
- Alpha Keeper Money Belt – Best Money Belt for Electronic Security
- LeatherBoss Men’s Money Belt – Best Men’s Money Belt
Do I need a money belt for travel?
Buying a money belt may feel like overkill to a lot of people; others may find them redundant as you’re painting an even larger target on your back.
These are both fair points – pickpocketing isn’t guaranteed and carrying around a bulky money purse is pretty clear advertising anyway. Even the really subtle money belts are disarmed when you open them to access your cash. At this point, everyone knows it’s a belt and it’s kinda ridiculous the sight of someone rummaging through their own waist strap anyways.
Here’s the thing – you’re still at risk. Sure, 9 times out of 10 you may get away walking through a seedy street, but are you ready to cope with that 1 time?
Having you’re money stolen can really screw a lot of plans up. If your credit cards were in that wallet as well, dealing with the company can be a huge pain as well.
Having a money belt is more of an insurance than an actual deterrent. Hiding a bit of cash while traveling is a great way to relieve yourself in case the shit hits the fan. If the worst should come to be and your bag or wallet is stolen, you’ll be in better shape because you had an emergency stash.
Money belts are not huge investments either – most are about the same price as a t-shirt. It’s not like you have to take out a huge policy.
So do you need a money belt? Not necessarily. Are they convenient to use though? Yes – money belts will save you in a pinch. Like condoms, it’s better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it.
So with that being said, let’s take a look at the best money belts on the market real quick.
Table of Contents
A Quick Review of the Money Belt Selections
|Active Roots Security Belt||Check on Amazon|
|Active Roots Money Belt||Check on Amazon|
|Peak Travel Money Belt||Check on Amazon|
|Stashbanz Running Belt||Check on Amazon|
|Alpha Keeper Money Belt||Check on Amazon|
What are the Best Travel Money Belts?
Let’s find out!
Active Roots Security Belt – Overall Best Money Belt
Quick Answer: Price: $23.85
The Active Roots security belt is a must-have product. This money belt is simple, straightforward, and gets the job done. This is belt is versatile, and can be used at home or abroad. Your money is 100% hidden and nobody will know it is there except for you. Hence why it’s our number one pick.
It features a large zippered pouch on the underside of the belt so hiding and accessing your cash is easy. The belt itself is made from a super durable nylon material that can take the inevitable beating traveling brings.
If all that wasn’t enough, for every belt sold, some of the proceeds go to supporting an Elephant Conservation Center in Laos.
If you are looking for a practical, stylish money travel belt that will protect your cash on any given backpacking adventure, look no further than the Active Roots security belt. For the price, you absolutely cannot beat it,
Be sure to read our review of the Active Roots security belt for more information!
- Pocket too small to fit a passport.
- Does not block RFID transmissions.
Active Roots Travel Money Belt – Best Full-Sized Money Belt
Quick Answer: Price: $16.95
The Active Roots money belt features a multi-pocket zippered storage system. The design allows you to keep things like credit cards, money, and your passport safe. The belt isn’t really a belt at all though. It is more like a new generation slim fanny pack that sits right at your navel area under your shirt.
This money belt protects against electronic thieves through an RFID barrier (of course). Basically, if your debit card has a microchip that allows you to make quick “tap” payments (like mine does) you are vulnerable to thieves armed with tap-card reading devices.
This is also the perfect way to keep stuff like passports on you at all times while transiting. Having the perfect pocket on you to safely store your documents greatly lowers the chance of losing anything.
The sturdy design is pretty slick and you can put a bit of weight into it before it starts to feel bulky.
- If you really load it up with stuff people/thieves can see the abnormal bulge under your shirt
- Not actually a belt
- Can be discovered by someone robbing you if they lift up your shirt
Peak Travel Money Belt – Best Money Belt for Europe
Quick Answer: Price: $16.97
Why Europe? Well, because you need a bit of style in addition to theft-protection whilst backpacking in Europe. Duh!
The Peak money belt is another “not a belt” belt, fitting just around your belly under the shirt. The design is sleek, practical, and is very comfortable to wear.
What sets the Peak travel belt apart from the rest is its insurance policy. If some James Bondesque pickpocket somehow manages to get to your stuff, the company will pay you $250 (which isn’t all that much in my opinion). That said, no other security belt company I know of offers insurance, so I guess it is better than nothing.
The Peak money belt is equipped with an RFID reflector to combat electronic pickpockets.
Also, the belt is made from 210D water-resistant (not waterproof) nylon so if you get caught in a heavy rain, no need to panic.
- Not actually a belt
- Not as cheap as the Ray Tix travel belt
Stashbanz Running Belt – Best Travel/Running Waist Belt
Quick Answer: Price: $22.99
Are you a compulsive jogger or trail runner even when you are traveling? Do you just want a secure stash pocket to wear when you are running at home? Stashbanz has come up with the ultimate running belt to meet your needs.
This travel belt is made from a moisture-wicking quick-dry spandex material and includes four secure pockets and a new zippered concealed pocket.
You can really store a ton of stuff in this thing. If you are the kind of traveler that always seems to have a loaded wallet, a passport, phone, earbuds, hostel keys, debit cards, lip balm crammed into your pockets, this money belt might be the answer to your prayers.
The Stashbanz running belt comes in five different sizes and fits easily under or over your clothes depending on your activity.
Made in the USA.
- Not adjustable
- Slightly overkill (too many pockets) if you are just wanting to hide your money
Alpha Keeper Money Belt – Best Money Belt for Electronic Security
Quick Answer: Price: $16.98
Traveling with heaps of credit cards? Have you been burned already by an electronic thief? Do you want to take your electronic security a step further? Alpha Keeper will meet all of your needs and then some.
The Alpha Keeper money belt is made with three layers of 100% RFID blocking material to ensure your valuables stay safe. It is made out of high-quality water-resistant 210D rip-stop nylon toughness and durability on the road.
If those three layers of RFID protection are not enough, the Alpha Keeper money belt also comes with seven protective sleeves, so you can add additional barriers to things like your phone, wallet, and passport even when you are not traveling (for example sleeping at the hostel).
I have certainly never heard of anyone being electronically robbed at a hostel, so please don’t be paranoid. That said, having more protection is never a bad thing.
Long story short, there is no way in hell that an electronic thief will get to your valuable items when you are using an Alpha Keeper money belt.
- Reportedly not as comfortable as other travel money belts.
- Not actually a belt
LeatherBoss Men’s Leather Money Belt – Best Men’s Money Belt
Quick Answer: Price: $10.99
Our pick for the best leather money belt, the LeatherBoss men’s leather money belt is another great option for backpackers looking for a practical piece of gear that also hides your money.
This leather money belt does not feature all of the stash pockets and features some of the other “belts” do, but that is what makes it great. No one can tell that you are indeed wearing a belt containing hidden money.
It looks just like any old belt you would wear any day of the week.
The LeatherBoss money belt certainly wins big on style points. It is attractive, simple, and an all-around great way to stash your cash on the road. This is one of the best men’s money belts on the market.
- Leather material not conducive to getting wet, hiking or other outdoor adventure sports.
- Non- RFID blocking
Quick Answer: Price: $16.99
The Alpine Rivers travel belt is also very focused on electronic data protection. The belt is made from 100% RFID blocking material & Water-resistant 210D rip-stop Nylon.
The sleek, compact design allows for plenty of space and easy access to your most sensitive possessions and cash.
Features include two front zippered pockets and a large concealed rear pocket. The inner pockets allow convenient organization of passports, tickets, credit cards and cash.
Like the Alpha Keeper money belt, the Alpine Rivers model also comes with RFID blocking sleeves to add an extra layer of protection to your credit cards and phone.
The Alpine Rivers money belt is well made, durable, and should be able to handle all of the years of wear and tear that backpacking gear faces.
- Slightly larger than other travel belts.
- Quite bulky under tight-fitting clothing.
- Received a few poor reviews involving cases of theft out of the money belt. Ouch.
Quick Answer: Price: $21.99
Similar to the Stashbanz running belt (what the hell is it with these running belts and the use of the letter “z”??), the EazyMate running belt is designed specifically for active people.
I almost like the Eazymate more than the Stashbanz running belt because there is only one main pocket compartment to deal with.
The belt is made from a high-quality blend of Spandex material that is soft as silk and it stretches well. This is the perfect belt for the people who are running in big cities either at home or whilst traveling.
The Amazon reviews have mostly raved about fit and comfort, so you can expect a comfortable running belt that won’t bother you when you are out jogging.
The EazyMate running belt comes in a wide range of sizes so you can be sure to find the perfect fit.
- Reportedly can slip and ride up
- Edges have been known to lose their shape and curl over time
- Can feel bulky
Quick Answer: Price: $28.99
The Flipbelt travel belt is another unit designed for active people. The belt is made from spandex/lycra material. A big plus with the design is that there are no buckles to rub against your body, thus eliminating chaffing.
There are many knock-off imitators on the internet who have copied the Flipbelt construction. Don’t be fooled. Flipbelt is still making the best money belt of its type.
Features include multi-access pocket openings found throughout the belt for easy access and organization.
The money belt is machine washable, which is good news if you plan on exercising while wearing it.
- Sizing can be different depending on the country that it is manufactured in.
- Pocket a little small for storing iPhone 6 or larger.
The idea of a money belt is simple. They are designed to keep your money safe by concealing it all together in a zippered pocket that stays fixed close to your body at all times. Pickpockets cannot reach your money if it is hiding on the underside of your belt or shirt!
Security belts have been popular for a long time. Styles, performance, and best utility vary across the board. There are MANY travel money belts on the market. So, how does one find the right belt to fit your own individual taste?
When you begin the process of looking to buy a money belt, you’ll need to first ask yourself some questions.
What are you looking for the security belt to do? Are you after a belt that will hide your money only? Do you want a money belt that can also hold your phone, credit card, and passport? Will you be active while you are wearing your travel belt?
Each belt has different features including pockets, zippers, buckles, clips, and bands. You’ll need to ask yourself “what style works for me?” when you are thinking about buying a money belt.
Personally, I like a simple money belt like the one pictured above. For hiding cash, you simply don’t need a ton of pockets, but every backpacker has different needs so the choice is up to you.
You want a money belt that is comfortable. Very comfortable.
You will likely be wearing your travel belt most days whilst out on a backpacking trip. Essentially, it will become an extension of your own body.
You want to be damn sure that it fits you perfectly and does not produce any rubbing or chaffing that will irritate your skin and disrupt your day.
Alternatively, if you don’t like the idea of wearing a belt at all, there are scarves with hidden pockets as well.
Intended Use and Activity
If you are after a running belt or find yourself outdoors, you will want to consider a money belt specifically designed for that purpose. Running belts are great for people who are jogging all the time. They keep your stuff organized, safe, and in theory, do not move when your body is in motion.
Other designs include waterproof or water-resistant fabric. If you do a lot of camping or hiking, you might want to consider a water resistant model, though you probably have camping dry bags that can protect you from rain anyway.
Also, if you hike or run a lot, you should probably stay away from a leather travel belt.
What is RFID? RFID ( radio frequency identification) is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object; for example your credit card.
In this day and age, you have to worry about that kind of thing. Now to be clear I have never had an issue with an electronic thief, but that is not to say that it doesn’t happen. Electronic theft in public places is certainly on the rise. You’ll have to decide whether or not having an RFID-blocking money travel belt is important to you.
Most of the travel money belts on my list are made from tough nylon, though a few of the running belts are made out of a Spandex blend. Typically, the nylon travel belts will last you longer and hold less of a smell over time.
The good news is you can throw just about any travel belt (that isn’t leather) in the washing machine (at a low spin cycle). This allows you to wash off sweat, dirt, and other unpleasantness that you don’t want to fix to your body day after day.
Staying Safe While Traveling
On any given backpacking adventure there will be potential thieves lurking with the hopes of stealing your money. I say this to not induce a state of travel paranoia, but out of the need for every backpacker to be aware of the risks of traveling. It is common sense really.
Many budget backpacker destinations are so cheap to travel in because the local economy is in shambles. People are out of work and when people have no employment, they turn to crime. They target foreigners who do have the plentiful cash that they themselves do not.
I can’t say that I blame them.
Us backpackers are extremely lucky and fortunate to be able to afford to go backpacking at all. That said, in order to keep traveling long term you simply can not have your money taken from you. For some travelers, myself included, losing a big wad of cash in a single moment could end up completely derailing an otherwise awesome backpacking trip.
Having a security belt and putting it to use is a great preventative measure for keeping your cash away from potential pickpockets. There are however other steps you can take to ensure that your cash stays in your pocket (or in your belt).
Top Tips For Guarding Your Cash While Backpacking
- If you plan on going out for a night on the town, take only the cash you need.
- Finding yourself drunk, alone, and loaded with cash in a foreign city is a recipe for disaster anywhere in the world. Don’t do find yourself in that position!
- Use extra caution in crowded public spaces. Train stations, public markets, bus depots, major tourist attractions… all very prone to pickpocket activity.
- Be sneaky when you take money out of your money travel belt. Plan a little in advance if you know you will need a bit of cash for any given situation. Don’t go lifting up your shirt in a crowd of people, thus exposing exactly where your valuables are hidden.
- Don’t overload your money belt. If it is making you look pregnant (assuming you’re not pregnant) through your shirt, you have taken away the hidden aspect of your security belt.
- Travel with plenty of cash, but generally, avoid traveling with thousands upon thousands of dollars on your person. You never know what could happen and you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket as they say.
- Don’t fall for pickpocket tricks and distractions. For example, someone might squirt paint or ketchup on you and make it seem as if it was an accident. IT WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT! They are trying to scam you, so get the hell out of there, ketchup and all.
- Don’t be overly paranoid. The majority of people in the world are fine people. Keep your wits about you at all times, but don’t think that every single person is out for your money, because they are not.
Final Thoughts on the Best Money Belts for Traveling
Well amigos, you have made it to the end of my money belt review article!
Traveling is not without its dangers, but most of the time the power to take preventative steps lies in your hands. Picking up a quality travel belt is the best way to protect your money, period.
You are now in full possession of the top travel belts on the market. The choice of which one to pick is now up to you!
I hope you found my list valuable and informative. It is my wish that you stay safe while traveling and have the time of your life on every single journey you embark on.
A good time starts and ends with a hassle-free/theft-free trip. So, do yourself a favor and prevent any future pickpockets from scoring your hard-earned money…
Pick up a security belt and hit the road with confidence.
Need More Inspiration?
- Cheap Travel Insurance for Backpackers
- A Backpackers Guide to Drugs on the Road
- How to Choose a Backpack for your Next Adventure
- TBB’s Top Travel Tips
- Haggling 101
Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.
Chris Lininger is a writer, photographer, and guide from California. He is an advocate for off-beat responsible travel and the preservation of the world’s wild places and spaces. Chris is also a founding member of Epic Backpacker Tours and leads expeditions to Pakistan throughout the year. He is currently riding out the pandemic in Bali. Follow his adventures on Instagram.