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Money belt vs neck wallet vs secret belt pocket- an informal survey

Well, we have finally made it to the date that we get to order our "tour kit". We are booked on the boe 21 day trip in Aug-Sept. I didn't realize that we get to choose among these three options. The choice for me is easy, I think the neck wallet, but the question is for my husband. I would like to hear from other men as to their preferences. (my husband can get a bit sweaty in the heat, sorry if tmi :) I am wondering what will be most comfortable for him. What do other men like best? Thank you all for your advise

Posted by
648 posts

Answering for my husband because he doesn’t “read the Forum.”
RS’ Civita hidden pocket. Has 2 loops; one black, one brown, to coordinate with color of belt, but my husband loops both through the belt. Before using, I reinforce the stitches to make sure they don’t come undone.

Posted by
2478 posts

I wear the ‘action shirt’ from Duluth Trading which has the ‘Napoleon pocket’ where I keep my wallet. He might want to consider pants from Clothingarts.com

Posted by
17 posts

Congrats! Hitting those dates are always exciting (at least they are to me). Did this trip last year. Great trip! Have fun! One thing that made this trip fun and easy were money belts. We follow advice we learned here: a small bit of paper money and a few coins for that day go in the pocket, credit card set up in Apple Wallet, everything else in the money belt. Truly all you need.

I thought I would go neck wallet too but I didn't like the feeling on my neck or that I could see it on my neck. Partner and I are money belts all the way.

Passport goes in ziploc bag in the money belt for "dryness" concerns. If more paper money is needed, pop into the bathroom stall to retrieve in private and voila. That said, needing cash/coins was very rare for us.

Just got back from about 2 weeks in France. There were a couple of restaurants where we had to use the physical card but mostly used our phone to pay. Using cash was very rare. We used coins to leave a tip & at a very small market and paper money once for a cabbie. That was it.

Posted by
30 posts

TH - yes, so very excited and counting down. We booked last year so this has been a long countdown.
Thank you everyone for the input.

Posted by
27409 posts

As a woman, I immediately decided against a neck wallet; unfortunately, I only figured out the issue after I bought one! For summer travel (no turtleneck tops), the cord is likely to be visible. Surely that's not a good thing--sort of an advertisement that you're wearing something of value around your neck.

Since I don't wear belts, my only option is to deploy my inner seamstress and add hidden pockets to all my travel pants (which isn't going to happen) or use a money belt. I don't really mind the money belt, and I only use it on days when I'm changing hotels. Otherwise, my extra cards and money are locked in my suitcase in my hotel room. I know some folks find the bulkiness of a money belt annoying. I wear mine to the side, which I think helps; I'm rarely aware of its presence.

Posted by
23464 posts

For 50 years or more my preference is the money belt. I once joked that I worn it in the shower and somebody believed me. How it is worn is more important. I have seen it frequently worn just behind the belt buckle so that it is easier to access. I have always worn mine in the small of my back, fairly high about the waist, over the undershirt and under the other shirt so it is hard to get to even for me.. Most of my shirts come with secured pockets as do my pants so during the day I will have cash for the day in one shirt pocket and a credit card in another. Everything else, including passport, is in the money belt unless I think I will need it that day. In that case it is in a secure pants or shirt pockets. So far we have been lucky, some will say, in that in all of our travels we have never had a theft or encountered a pickpocket.

A lot of systems work so you go with the one that works for you. My wife also uses a money belt in the same manner.

Posted by
1081 posts

I have used the pants and shorts from Clothing Arts for the last 5 years. They are designed with multiple zippers and Velcro fastners that makes it very difficult for anyone to get to your passport or money/credit cards. The plus is that the cloths are made of a nylon that feels like cotton, washes in the sink and dries fast.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Clothing Arts or affiliated with them but I do like their products.

Posted by
11368 posts

I am a woman and never would wear something around my neck or use a money belt.
If I chose any it would be a secret pocket. I might use one when traveling between hotels, but unlikely.
I lock my valuables in my luggage.

Posted by
23464 posts

Not sure what being a woman has to do with it. As I said earlier, you use a system that your are comfortable with using. I would never lock "my valuables" in my luggage unless the luggage was chained to my wrist. But I throw my luggage in the bins on the train and never worry about until we get off.

Posted by
7447 posts

My husband hated the across-the-waist money belt, but he likes the one that hangs vertically down from his belt.

I wear the across-the-waist one and had my adult daughter wear one when she & I did her first European trip last. And she learned our last day on the metro in Rome why they’re so important. She has an “extra experience story” now from our trip instead of a negative, expensive result.

Posted by
8632 posts

I prefer neck wallet, because I always wear a shirt and an outer shirt with collar, and sometimes a sweater. So it's bulky enough that it hides the bulge. And I check to see that the cord doesn't show. The under pants wallet is too uncomfortable but doable. Not tried the over-the-belt kind - not a lot of room there for me.

But the main thing to understand is that it's deep storage - passport, credit card, emergency cash - not for digging into daily while out. If I know I will likely be paying for something during the day, I'll keep some cash and/or one credit card in a secure pocket. I like shirts, vest, or trousers with zippered pockets, for that reason.

Posted by
1853 posts

Hidden pocket. My pants are loose fit so it’s a comfortable combo. Tried the money belt years ago. Uncomfortable and the paper currency was worse for the wear after a day out and about. Some currencies are polymer now so should hold up better.

Posted by
1211 posts

I am a woman who often travels solo, and I MUCH prefer the neck wallet, but here's how I make it work easily: After putting on my bra but before putting on a shirt, I put the neck wallet over my neck and one arm, thus CROSS BODY. I have sewn a large, flat button onto the neck wallet strap at the top of my shoulder, right where it passes near my bra strap and tuck the button up under my bra strap. The neck wallet itself gets tucked under the side waistband of my leggings or pants, also under my shirt. I find this method very comfortable. The neck wallet is thus quite secure on my body; I actually become unaware of it and feel quite confident that no one is going to get to my passport, main cc's, etc., unless they undress me!

Posted by
4594 posts

This is asked often. Use the search feature and you can limit search to '6 months' or one or two years.

Posted by
2908 posts

My first RS tour I used the silk neck wallet. I wore it cross body and tucked it in to my leggings but it was hard to hide the lump when wearing normal length shirts. Thank goodness for long tunics.

Last year I used Stashbandz money belt. With its four pockets it was easy to distribute the bulk and stay organized. Plus because it is stretchy, it’s very comfortable.

Edit: I put everything is snack or sandwich size ziplock bags. What works for me with the Standbandz is front pocket is stashed cash, zipped pocket worn on right side is back up credit cards, back pocket is passport and global entry card, left side pocket is debit card and travel insurance cards. My CDC card now stays in the suitcase but last year I carried it with my passport.
I put nothing in the hotel safe.

Posted by
88 posts

I've used them all but keep coming back to the money belt for the same reasons as others have written.

--Neck pouch - visible cord around my neck. Some people have success with looping it around their bra and letting it dangle, but I've never gotten that to work for me.
--Hidden pocket - my pants must have too low of a rise as everything in the pocket hits me at the hip joint. Plus it'd be too bulky for everything I want to stash so I'd need to wear two.
--Money belt - the key for me is to wear it backwards so the contents sit low and are covered by my pants. While it isn't offered in the RS tour kit, I agree with hosewoofie about Stashbands - I used it for the first time earlier this year and agree its so nice to be able to distribute the contents as best suits. It is very comfortable and I hope they look into selling these in the RS store.

Also agree with with TH that ziploc bags are essential for me to keep everything dry. Passport in one, cash not needed that day in another, and ID/ins cards/credit and debit cards in a third, and emergency info (like the RS Travel Assistance info) in the fourth. That sounds like a lot of stuff, but it's what works for me. :)

Posted by
30 posts

I am sure this sounds naive, but the risk of someone seeing the strap on the neck wallet is that they will rip it off of you if they see it?? I guess I was thinking that money wallets were simply so that a pick pocket could not easily access your pocket or handbag.

Posted by
2147 posts

Horsewoofie & Sue,

The Stashband looks interesting. Have you worn it during the warmer months? Just wondering if it’s hot/sweaty around your waist.

I currently wear a RS money belt, in the back as several people have mentioned. Always open to trying something new!

Posted by
88 posts

Curtis and Jill - my reasons for not liking the neck wallet strap visible are (no particular order) unsightly, advertises I've got something valuable on me, and I find it annoying.

Donna - I haven't worn it when it's been warm so not too sure about the hot/sweaty factor.

Posted by
2908 posts

Donna, last year my trip was late August thru September. Highest temperature was low 80’s. It was very comfortable.

I walked at home to get in shape and get use to the Stashbandz feel. In Arizona, that’s a cool summer early morning temperature of 90*. No sweating more than usual.

I also found that they run large. Size wise I should wear a medium but my waist is small so I exchanged the medium for small.

Oh, and wear it under your clothes. Not over as the picture shows.

Posted by
3821 posts

To answer Curtis and Jill, you wrote
"I am sure this sounds naive, but the risk of someone seeing the strap on the neck wallet is that they will rip it off of you if they see it??"

No. The risk is that THIS will happen: A skilled pickpocket will stand behind you on a very crowded subway or underground/tube, then use a small sharp pair of scissors, wire snips or a knife to cut the neck strap behind your neck. You won't feel it. If you are wearing a shirt without the bottom tucked into pants, the neck pouch will then drop to the floor, where the pickpocket will pick it up. They will quickly exit the subway at the next stop, and disappear into the crowd.*

They are very good at what they do. Watch some videos on YouTube of pickpockets at work. Some who have "gone straight" have even made videos of the methods they previously used.

*P.S. They sometimes work with a partner who distracts you/creates a diversion while this is happening.
They might bump into you or spill something on you.

Posted by
2908 posts

Donna, thank Lo too. She’s been suggesting Stashbandz for several years. We all learn from each other.

Posted by
452 posts

This is kinda like the boxers or briefs question. Whatever floats your boat.

Posted by
4292 posts

I like the belt pocket. I've never tried the other two. The belt pocket hangs inside my pants right wear my front pocket is. I don't even know it's there.

Posted by
3234 posts

I have always used a money belt.
I have an all-cotton one with only one zip pocket, and a stretchy waistband, and with no clips or buckles.
I tried a different type with a buckle closure, and it came undone by itself, nearly dropping down the toilet I was using!
So , I went back to my original one.
I wear it it with the pouch part in the small of my back and don’t even notice it.
I put my stuff in a ziploc bag first to keep it dry.
It’s washable as it’s cotton, and it’s held up for 20 years.
I just take a little walking around money and one credit card in my crossbody bag when out….my passport , bank card and spare cash are in the money belt.

Posted by
531 posts

What an interesting question. For the ladies, is there a reason you don’t just use a travelon purse or something similar, and keep it turned backward and hooked shut when in crowds?

Posted by
2908 posts

KRS, to answer your question: the money belt is for deep storage, things you don’t need but should have in case something happens. My purse with wallet (RS coin purse works great) zipped inside is for immediate money and daily use credit card.
I use a very small Travelon purse that holds my phone, daily money, Kleenex and personal item or two. There isn’t room for anything more, it doesn’t hurt my neck, I can wear it when sitting in a cafe/restaurant without being bothered by something bulky. I leave nothing in the hotel safe so I don’t forget it. My Stashbandz, as I posted above, holds my backup CCs, stashed cash and passport.
If I’m doing a day trip, I’ll take my packable backpack to hold a sweater/jacket, water, snack and souvenirs. But I still wear my money belt and carry my purse.
I now travel solo so try to be cautious and aware. Everyone has to do what’s best for them.

EDIT: I tether my phone on a lanyard inside my purse. I can use it still attached to my purse if I need to access train or sightseeing/event tickets or carry it around my neck if I'm looking at map directions.

Posted by
927 posts

I have used a PacSafe neck wallet for the last 15 years. No issues. It is just as important to be mindful of your location when in crowded public places. Also, make sure that your phone is secure.

Posted by
88 posts

Once again, I agree with the others about a money belt/neck pouch/hidden pocket being for deep storage (those things that will really ruin your day if you lose them). I use to use a Travelon purse but gave it up a number of years ago as it pulled on my neck too much. I use a Dakine crossbody purse for my daily carry items and I keep it zipped up. I believe most thefts are from either reaching in an already open purse, or a snatch-and-run, and a security purse wouldn't help in either scenario.

Posted by
10395 posts

My husband prefers the Hidden Pocket. I use a neck wallet that I place over one shoulder and it hangs down under my arm. I pin the strap to my bra strap for added security. As others have mentioned you wear these underneath your clothes and are for deep storage. Keep what you need for the day in a secure but more accessible place.

Posted by
3234 posts

I just want to add that I tether my wallet and my phone to the inside of my crossbody bag.
It’s more to stop me from putting them down and forgetting them.
I just use those curly stretchy keyrings from the dollar store.
Easy to unclip when you need to.

Posted by
776 posts

When I travelled with my son years ago, he wore a leather belt which had a zipper in the center of the interior side. I have also worn it, although it does look a bit masculine. It has a couple of disadvantages, though. It holds only bills folded lengthwise a couple of times, there is no easy daytime access, and it doesn’t hold passports or credit cards, but it was the only secure storage that he would wear without complaining that it showed or was uncomfortable. On the up side, it meant only one trip to the ATM during the entire trip. I now wear a money belt when absolutely necessary, but I hate that it’s hot and doesn’t fit well inside some of my skirts or pants. And, how fat it makes me look. ( I know, vain.) I’ve found that the neck wallet shows too much — i might as well be wearing it outside of my shirt, so I put up with ithe money belt when I can’t just leave stuff in our apartment or hotel room.

Posted by
10395 posts

I do what SJ does with my wallet. I have another secure place for my phone, but may get some sort of tether before my next trip, more out of concern about dropping it while taking pictures.

Posted by
4174 posts

Thanks for the shout out, Horsewoofie!

I'll just add some info that works for me and may be helpful for others. To start off, both the StashBandz and the purse at the end are unisex.

I started using the StashBandz kind of money belt back when I weighed 50 pounds more than I do now. It worked then and still works now, although I had to replace the old one with a smaller size.

The most important thing to me is that it feels more secure than any of the other types of money belts. Being somewhat busty at any weight, a neck wallet just didn’t work for me any of the ways I tried to wear it. The waist one always felt like it was going to fall off and the buckle sometimes came apart. The belt one was too small for what I needed to put in it.

On trips I always wear some kind of shapewear on the top. There are medical reasons for that. Last summer, I took a black version and a beige version of this Spanx Thinstincts Tank: https://spanx.com/collections/tanks-camis/products/thinstincts-2-0-tank?variant=39774604886227

When you wear shapewear like this it is supposed to go under your panties. So the inside out layering is: bra, shapewear tank, StashBandz, panties, pants, top. If you don't wear shapewear, but do wear a cami or tank of some kind, with or without a shirt or other top over it, the order would be the same with the tank or cami replacing the shapewear.

This is going to sound counter intuituve, but after putting my passport in a sealed ziploc plastic freezer bag for years, I cut the zip section off the bag and just folded the extra over the passport, hoping it would allow the passport to breathe a little. To my amazement it did. The inside of the bag and my passport were both drier after a long day than when it was sealed.

As with so many things, we need to have something we will actually use for the purpose. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out what that is.

About purses, the smaller, simpler and lighter the better for me. I used Baggallini cross-body bags for years, most of which I got at TJ Maxx. I've given many of them to daughters and granddaughters. But no matter the size, I still seem to have a talent for making them heavier than I should. When they have lots of separate pockets and zippers, they start off heavy before I put anything in them. In looking for lighter and more comfortable options, I came upon the UNIQLO Round Mini Shoulder Bag option linked. I wear it with the strap longer than most of the pictures show. I need to do a bit of preparation for travel, but it's working fine at home. Here's the link: https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/products/E457244-000/00?colorDisplayCode=09

Posted by
531 posts

I love how helpful this forum is! I can use a stashbandz just for my regular runs/walks at home, so that's on my list of items to order today for sure. Fingers crossed I love it as much as it sounds like some of you do. Thanks!