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Money belt vs neck pouch

I know Rick Steves favors money belts for security. Any thoughts about the pouches that hang around the neck?

Posted by
8985 posts

I don't believe Rick is anti-neck pouches, as he sells them on this site. In my travels I use both types. When I'm in transit between cities, and I need to have access to my passport, rail passes and other documents I will use a neck pouch. If I'm just out sightseeing for the day, I will use the belt. If my hotel happens to have an in-room safe, I will store all my valuables in it instead.

Posted by
8700 posts

Like Michael, I also use both. I carry larger sums of money and bulky tickets in my money belt and my ATM cards, credit cards, and passport in my neck pouch.

Posted by
83 posts

I've only used neck pouches, so I wouldn't know otherwise. It's probably the style of clothing I wear, or something. I tend to wear my pants a little lower down on my hips.

It may look a little awkward reaching under your shirt, but so is reaching into the front of your pants imo :P

One variation I came up with is slinging the neck pouch over your neck and under one shoulder. While it might make removing the pouch a little harder on the fly, it was more comfortable to wear and easier to access on the side (you wear the bottom of the pouch a couple of inches above your waistband, reduces shirt lifting considerably).

It was also useful for my girlfriend who couldn't wear waistbands w/ her skirts.

I think they're both quality ideas, I went to REI and we tried them on (over my clothes!). If you can, I'd recommend making a trip to their travel dept

Posted by
18311 posts

I discovered Rick and his travel philosophy, including money belts, just after the turn of the century, about the time I took my first trip in a decade to Europe. Before I went I bought a money belt. In the weeks before my trip I tried wearing it around and found it to be very uncomfortable. As a backup, I went out and got one of the neck pouches, and took it along in my carryon bag. I started my trip with a money belt, but by the time I got to Europe, I was using the neck pouch, and that is what I have used for five trips (10 weeks ever since).

Posted by
152 posts

Thanks to all for your comments. I've used a neck pouch (isn't there another name for this device?)on several trips. I wonder why Rick is such a money-belt fan.

Actually, I've gotten lazy in the UK and S. America, where I did not feel insecure carrying my wallet in my pocket. But we're headed for Italy in October, and it seems like we need to escalate to condition orange or red. So it's either around the neck, or in a money belt.

Posted by
95 posts

I keep valuables that I won't immediately need but prefer to keep with me, in a money belt, and items that I use more frequently in a neck pouch (passport, ID, credit/debit cards, train pass, a bit of cash). Surely you might stop at a WC throughout the day. You could certainly use that moment to transfer spare cash to the neck pouch, pocket or whatever to eliminate the fumbling with the moneybelt in front of everyone. As for the neck pouch, why do you need to reach down the front of your shirt? Just grab the string around your neck, pull it out, and access your cards or cash the same as you would your wallet. I find both to be a bit uncomfortable, but preferable to lugging around a purse as I do at home! For me, the minor discomfort far outweighs the panic attacks of "where's my wallet!" should it be misplaced, left behind, or worse, LOST or STOLEN! Whatever you think the minor discomfort is worth to you will determine if you use one or the other, or both

Posted by
683 posts

Both work well. It is a matter of preference and comfort and perceived convenience. I carried a money belt and Sara used a neck pouch( tho a larger one than yoou see on the RS website.I also used a pouch that can be carried on a belt- this for passpoort and daily cash.

Posted by
15 posts

Hello to all, and I apologyze for asking a question into another persons post but I would like to know if a neck pouch can accomodate a railpass or any other document that size?

Posted by
1568 posts

Being a lady, I use the neck pouch.

Posted by
10344 posts

Okay, men (and women if you have an opinion), the question has to be asked: Assume a man is wearing a money belt under his trousers (as Rick recommends), and he is carrying an item such as credit card or passport in the money belt (an item he cannot afford to lose), and it is necessary to get the credit card or passport out of the money belt for use in a restaurant, store, whatever--what is an appropriate and polite way to access the money belt? Am I missing something here, or is this, potentially, a delicate situation?

Posted by
83 posts

Hey Kent,

I'd say have the credit card in your front pocket before you go in the restaurant (not sure what you'd need your pp for in a restaurant?). Otherwise I'd practice at home first to discover the most modest way of accessing your stash (I'd assume it'd be 'suck in your gut!'). Going to the bathroom might seem a little suspect, after all these things are for security not secret agents.

Posted by
313 posts

The money belts stay right at your waist level, and the straps are stretchy enough that they pull right out. Oddly enough, after the first few times you don't think twice about pulling something out of your pants or skirt. It would be the most comfortable to have a shirt or t-shirt tucked underneath it though (they can get hot). But I think there would be a big variation in comfort for people depending on weight/size, etc.

I can't wear anything very heavy around my neck, so prefered the waist style.

Also, at a friend's suggestion, I velcroed one of my husband's pant pockets, so that he could keep a certain amount of money handy in a wallet. It worked great. I'd like to see the pickpocket who could unvelcro a pocket without your knowing it.

Posted by
1158 posts

I got a different idea. I purchased the money belt a while ago from ebay , but when I put my passport and air tickets it felt very stif and I didn't like it . So I am going to sew it under a vest or jacket. It would be very easily accessible and safe. Also I am going to sew some pockets around the vest, maybe on the back and front as well, and keep valuable there and perhaps my camera. I got some mesh bags, those for laundry with zippers and that's what I am going to sew actually .It seems to be strechier then regular cotton.

Posted by
6 posts

Please remember you should only have your passport, credit cards, maybe a couple of large bills and a train pass in your money belt.

You should not have to get into it often - keep your small bills elsewhere! (The velcro idea on the pocket is a good one, but don't get too confident because pickpockets are really, really skilled.)

For me, the most comfortable way to wear the moneybelt was to cut off the waistband and use large safety-pins (I used diaper pins, the kind with the plastic ends)to pin the pouch to the waistband of my pants. This kept it from shifting around and made restroom stops easier. I could also vary where I wore it based on the pants or skirt I was wearing that day. I also found that Rick's belt was the most comfortable due to the silk (I had three different ones).

On my last trip I only had to wear it on travel days because our hotel rooms all had room safes, and we decided that was good enough for our comfort levels.

Posted by
112 posts

Lauren, don't ever underestimate the pickpockets.
Our friend was in Barcelona and a his wallet was
lifted from his back pocket that was buttoned and
underneath a jacket. He felt nothing.

Posted by
79 posts

I didn't see this mentioned yet, and it's by far the thing that works best for me: A Hidden Pocket. Mine is Samsonite brand, and it's the same thing as a money belt or neck pouch, but you attach it to your belt and it lays under your pants on your leg, just as a regular pocket would. I found this to be the most comfortable for me because it felt the most unobtrusive. But, you do have to wear a belt every day. For some this isn't a problem, but for women, it rules out skirts.

Posted by
4 posts

I use a neck pouch, turn it backward and place it under my shirt. Easy as that, and not as obvious as say a Money Belt.

Posted by
313 posts

I should have mentioned that I velcroed the full length of my husband's front pants pocket, not the back "wallet" pocket. It's pretty hard to get open -- even for my husband -- and it's only for carrying the day's worth of cash to save on always whipping out the money belt. But I appreciate everyone's warninigs.

Posted by
51 posts

I'm a very fat woman, but my money belt's never given me problems. An inexpensive style from Wal-Mart, it has a soft, elastic strap w/plastic closure (similar to the adjustment thingy on bra straps). I use a small safety pin so that it won't slip through. I've never had a problem with airport security. The pouch has a velcro closure. I don't use the small, zippered interior pocket. I place my passport, essential phone #s, extra credit cards, and other essentials in a small, ziploc freezer bag. I keep most of my currency in another freezer bag. Both fit easily in the money belt. It rides comfortably around my large waist; no bulk. I keep "daily-use currency" in an exterior pocket or purse so I rarely need to access the money bet. When I do, I find an inconspicuous place (restroom or corner), bring it out over my clothes, then return it. It tucks in easily; no problems. I find the neck belt too cumbersome and bulky. Note: My passport doesn't go in until I'm done with security. Have fun!

Posted by
104 posts

I use an alternative to the money belt - it's more like a hidden pocket that goes inside your pants. It's by Eagle Creek. It has 2 belt loops, one black and one brown, that you loop through your belt (pick the one that blends in best with your belt) and tuck inside your pants. For me, I secure the pocket to my waistband with a large safety pin since I don't typically wear belts. I wear it close to my hip where my pants pocket would be so it doesn't feel any different then if I had the items in my pants pocket.

Posted by
1806 posts

I have the same Eagle Creek pocket that Beth mentioned. It's very comfortable, easier to remove from your pants. As with Beth, the only issue is, I don't wear a belt..but the hubby does, so he gets it. however, I'm traveling with my daughter this year to Europe, so I will use it- and wear a small belt on my pants. Or attach it to the built in belt on my Prana pants that I plan to wear. Neck pouches seem to bulky for my tastes, and traditional money belts are a bother!

Posted by
23 posts

I bought my neckpouch in 1996 and it still looks fabulous as only a dumb black neck pouch can. I had to choose between having a huge tummy or 3 boobs. I chose boobs. It`s not as weird seeing a woman reach into her blouse as it is seeing her raise her blouse and reach into her pants... Just saying.

Posted by
3580 posts

Neck pouches are good for keeping your stuff handy going through airports. I tried it but prefer keeping passport and ticket in a coat pocket and transfer everything to a waist money belt later. The belt with compartments, like the RS silk money belt, helps keep things from piling up.

Posted by
3551 posts

I choose neck pouch, more comfortable for me and when I sit it does not bunch up.