The 10 Best Money Belts
10. Eagle Creek Undercover DLX
9. Zero Grid TechSafe
8. Blue Sky Basics
7. Venture 4th Undercover
4. Peak Travel
3. Volar Bags Security Belt
2. SevenBlu Hip
1. Alpha Keeper
Safe And Sound: Choosing A Money Belt
A money belt is a savvy way to keep your cash safe. Most money belts are designed to be worn close to the body, concealed under your clothes and tucked away such that a thief's hands could never hope to access your belongings if they even knew you had goods worth stealing in the first place. In short, a money belt is designed to help you keep your money. In truth, to call these purpose built garments money belt alone is almost to sell them short: after all, a good money belt can safely house everything from currency to a passport to tickets to a smartphone, keys, and more. And most can be had for between ten and twenty dollars, an easy price to pay to protect your valuables.
When you are in the market for a money belt, you first have to think through all of the items which you absolutely must keep secure. If all you need to secure is cash and perhaps a credit card and ID, then by all means opt for the smallest money belt you can find. Even the most flexible such unit is still adding a layer to your clothing and can make both moving and sitting a bit less comfortable. The best way to preserve comfort and freedom of movement is to use a small money belt and to pack it as lightly as possible.
If you need to carry around a fair amount of cash, cards, and other sundries, then a larger money belt is fine. Look for an option with several different pockets and compartments, because then you can arrange the various items you need to have on hand to maximize your comfort. (Or to minimize your discomfort, to describe it more accurately.)
Next you have to consider the type of activities in which you will be engaging while wearing your money belt. Secure cash and documents are all fine and good, but a garment that chafes and irritates you during a hike or walking tour will be as much of an annoyance as it will a welcome guardian against robbery. Select a money belt than can be easily adjusted for a tighter or looser fit as needed and consider one that has a padded or mesh rear surface that won't cause excess friction during long and/or active use.
If you know you are traveling to an area where a robbery is highly probable, or if you anticipate extortion from corrupt officials or police, then also consider a money belt with a built in hidden compartment. These can be a saving grace for a journalist trying to protect his or her press credentials, for example, or for any traveler who wants to keep the bulk of their cash safe after surrendering a decoy amount from the main pockets of the money belt.
Other Accessories For Staying Safe As You Travel
Many money belts have built in RFID blocking technology that can help prevent your credit card or other information from being stolen by a criminal with an RFID scanner. (RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, is a method of accessing data that is stored on a microchip paired with a diminutive antenna. Chances are good that many of the credit and debit cards in your wallet right now are so equipped.) If your money belt does not offer this feature, then consider getting an RFID blocking wallet as well. Many such wallets are compact enough to be tucked right into your money belt comfortably.
For those items too large to cancel on your person, instead secure them another way. Consider getting a laptop lock that can help you secure that most valuable laptop computer or tablet. When you are traveling, you may not have a dedicated place to store your computer, so go ahead and secure it instead. These locks can help attach a laptop or tablet to any fixed or heavy object, such as a fence out a table.
Also consider a luggage tracker with a built in microchip that can help you keep track of your bags. This is handy not only for seeing if your things are making their way through the airport and onto your flight, but they can be priceless for tracking down lost or stolen baggage. You can choose a smart luggage tag that clips right onto your bag and may help deter a theft in the first place, or you can opt for a more surreptitious approach and tuck a tracker into the bag where it will remain unseen.
What To Watch For In Pickpocket Territory
Experienced pickpockets know how to spot an easy "mark" and can usually commit their act of theft without the victim knowing they were robbed until it is far too late to do much about it. But just as the experienced thief can spot a soft target, the trained, watchful eye can identify a pickpocket.
Pickpockets generally grab a wallet, phone, camera, or cash after facilitating seemingly innocuous physical contact. So if someone brushes against you or seems to stumble into you, immediately check to make sure you have not been robbed. You have mere seconds to do so. Also affect an immediate sense of heightened vigilance if someone begins to engage you in an unexpected conversation. One of the more common techniques of thieves is to work in tandem, with one person distracting the target while the other completes the actual pickpocketing.
Watch out for anyone watching you, especially after you exit a bank or before you exit a store or shopping mall. Thieves know when you are likely to have the most cash on your person and will exploit the opportunity.
One reliable way to avoid becoming an actual victim of pickpocketing is to carry a decoy wallet that you are prepared to lose. Place a cheap wallet containing a dollar or two and some random receipts and such in easy reach, such as protruding from a back pocket, and you can almost rest assured your actual valuable will remain untouched (even if you don't have them secured in a money belt).