Money Belts versus Around the neck security pouches

Could there be that much difference in security and convenience between a money belt and an over the neck pouch? Thanks, we leave in a short time and just want to be safe.

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
360 posts

Don't know if you are a man or a woman. Speaking as a woman, I prefer the neck pouch. It's convenient and comfortable, very easily accessible in a WC and one would surely notice if someone tried to snatch it. Just make sure that it is completely concealed under your clothing.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5619 posts

I think it's personal preference. I use a neck pouch. I shorten up the cord and wear it over one shoulder. It hangs under my arm and the pouch and strap doesn't show under my shirt. I actually forget I'm wearing it. I also use a safety pin to attach the strap cord my bra strap so it can't slip down. Of course this is for deep storage and isn't something you would access in public. If I did need to access it I would go into a bathroom to do it.

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1618 posts

I agree it comes down to personal preference. I like the money belt - I wear it backwards, with the pouch in the small of my back, and sometimes forget it's there. Whatever you choose, don't access it in public. If you're out of your hotel, wait until you have access to a bathroom at a cafe or museum to remove or replace anything you keep in there.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

dzuiker1,

since youre just about to leave, just get something and try it. chances are you will be the first to know how well it works and if you like it or not.

what i like about a neck type pouch is that i can remove it before the TSA screening and put it in my carryon to be scanned. The last time i left it on, it showed up and i was patted down. i have no problem with pulling it out of my shirt to pull $$$ or my Passport from it. Since when im done, it will be down my shirt again.

chances are you will find your own travel style and what you like or dont.

happy trails.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3120 posts

Totally personal preference and both about equally secure. There is NO realistic reason why you should not access it in public, though many people do not feel comfortable doing so. And moneybelts are often not easily accessed without partially undressing so that can factor in. They key for secure storage is to make it nearly impossible for a thief to access your valuables. A neck pouch under your shirt can't be removed or accessed without you knowing (especially if it is slung cross body), so what does it matter if someone else knows you have it? In fact, many women use a travel purse and that isn't "secret."

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5619 posts

If I accessed my neck pouch in public it would attract a lot of attention, as I would have to pull my shirt up. The main purpose of a money belt is to use it for deep storage, not to use it as a substitute for a wallet or purse. I keep my daily spending money accessible but secure in a crossbody bag that has a flap that clasps over the zipper. My small wallet has a ring on the corner and attached to a clip in the bag. Even if someone was able to unclasping my purse and unzip it, they would not be able to just lift the wallet out. Some people think that they can't be pickpocketed because they just stay away from physical contact with people. In theory that is correct, but in reality it is harder to avoid people all together. Metros can be crowded. Lines form at popular attractions. Sometimes you can be in the middle of a crowd just trying to cross the street. Not everything is in your control. Better to be safe than sorry.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
1290 posts

I recently bought a neck pouch and will experiment with it for the first time this year. Up until now, I always wore a money belt in front. I also always wore pants that I could pull out far enough to retrieve it, get my debit card and get cash or get my credit card and pay, then put all back together back in my pants. I have done it numerous times in public places. It didn't involve undressing at all and I neither felt embarrassed nor unsafe doing it. However, I'm female and 68 now, so I'm not self-conscious about much of anything anymore!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3120 posts

The main purpose of a money belt is to use it for deep storage, not to
use it as a substitute for a wallet or purse.

With due respect, the main purpose of a money belt or neck pouch or belt loop pouch or Pacsafe purse, etc... is to prevent a pickpocket from stealing your valuables. If it is secured to your body, even when accessed they can't grab it and run (with the exception of the purse or bag). I've said all along that many people do not feel comfortable accessing it in public, or can't do so without partially disrobing - but that is a personal choice, not a steadfast rule about "deep storage." Secure travel purses, such as from Pacsafe, are a popular and efficient way to go for many women. But those aren't "deep storage" and no one ever claims them to be.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12569 posts

That is ONE opinion about how a money belt should be used or worn. Not the only opinion or necessarily the correct opinion. There have been reports here from people who have used money belts as a hidden billfold - over the shirt and behind the belt buckle - who have lost money or had it taken.

I prefer to wear a money belt as someone else discussed high in the small of my back and under my clothing and never even try to access it in public. What I need for the day in the way of cash, credit cards, etc., is carried in separate pockets that are well secured. For me it is deep storage. For others it may be an easy access wallet. Remember, the easier it is for you to access, the easier it will be for someone else.

Posted by Paul
Morrilton, AR, US
61 posts

Another option is a leg money belt----of course this is only effective if wearing slacks---but very easy access if you need to reach items----------my wife prefers the neck pouch worn cross body and under one arm---

Paul

Posted by Russ
Canton, MI, USA
5 posts

Having experimented through more than a dozen international trips, I have settled on both a neck pouch and money belt. Both, of course under my clothing. I prefer the neck pouch for items not needed frequently like passport, ATM card, extra credit card, drivers license (if we are renting a car), etc. in my money belt is most currency and credit card. I keep money I expect to need, without visiting a WC to retrieve more, in secured pants pockets. I had found that keeping my passport in my money belt was uncomfortable and it got really bent up. I have no problem retrieving my credit card from my money belt which is under my pants. The Rick Steve's money belts have a small front zipped pocket that works very well for credit card placement.

My theory is if I were pick pocketed, which I never have been, what is in my pants pocket would not seriously interrupt my trip. I don't carry my wallet out of the country since most of the contents are of no use beyond US borders. My wife prefers only a money belt. Since she seldom needs to access it, her preference is to position it in the small of her back.

Don't do as I observed a man in a restaurant in Rome a year ago. He had heard that you should use a neck pouch. He had a neck pouch bulging with currency, passport, etc., all hanging outside his shirt!

Posted by Allen
Lafayette, LA
205 posts

In my closet somewhere is a money belt and neck pouch. Haven't touched either one in years. I've taken MANY trips using a very thin nylon wallet in my front pants pocket. If in transit between cities, I have the passport and spare credit card in a buttoned front shirt pocket. Otherwise, it's in the hotel safe. I carry little cash and use the credit card as much as possible. I find money belts and neck pouches to be itchy and uncomfortable especially in hot, muggy weather. And in warm weather when the clothes are much less, those devices are much more obvious. I won't get into details! I'm not necessarily advising this is the thing to do for everyone. But they don't work for me.

Posted by Marc
Detroit, MI, USA
49 posts

As others have said, it's purely a matter of personal preference, and I prefer a neck pouch. I have been somewhere on the scale from overweight to fat all of my adult life, and I don't need anything extra under my pants to make me look even slightly larger than I am. I also dislike having to find a WC to access a money belt under my pants since my personal sense of modesty precludes doing so in public. The neck pouch works well for me, and I have no qualms about accessing it in pubic if necessary.

To be honest, the last time I used the pouch was in the years before TSA security screenings, so the issue of being scanned, patted down, etc. didn't come up. I'll have to remember the tip about transferring it to my carryon bag for security screenings during future travel.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7825 posts

I go back and forth between a money belt and neck wallet. I think the neck wallet is more comfortable and convenient but feels more awkward when it's warm and you only have a thin shirt on. The money belt, especially when you aren't wearing much, is more secure but can also get sweaty (be sure to get one that's lined).

I tried a leg wallet but the design wasn't right. It has elastic straps that can't be set comfortably above the calf without it slipping down to the ankle (but not big enough to wear above the knee either).

I haven't tried the one that has loops to attach to your belt, then wear inside your pants but that seems like a decent idea too (as long as you are always wearing a belt).

I don't think of it as something that should be accessed publicly. I took some money out of a neck wallet in a Madrid department store and was then followed by a thief until I stopped and stared directly at him (without making eye contact with me, he instantly turned 90 degrees, crossed the street, and disappeared down an alley).

Keep your walking around money in a front pocket and everything you don't want stolen (credit cards, passport, etc.) in the moneybelt or in your room safe.

Posted by Michelle
Tampa, FL
5 posts

You aren't supposed to be able to access the money from your money belt or security pouch in public!!! This defeats the purpose of hiding your money. If someone sees you accessing your money pouch what would stop them from mugging you with a knife or a gun?

Don't think of the money belt/neck pouch as a fanny pack. The money belt/neck pouch is supposed to store money you don't plan to spend that day. Put the money you do plan to use for the day in your purse/wallet. I usually store my cash in a smaller zipped up pocket in my purse so a thief can't just snatch a wallet from my purse. If you carry your wallet in your front pocket or have good zippers on your purse and watch the people around you then you shouldn't ever have a problem with theft.

I've traveled to Italy, France, England and the Netherlands and have never been pickpocketed and I do not carry a money belt or neck pouch because I think they are too hard to conceal under my clothes. I use the same common sense I'd use in any other city. I don't set down my purse in public, I avoid wearing flashy jewelry and clothes in unsafe environments and I am always aware of my surroundings.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3120 posts

You aren't supposed to be able to access the money from your money belt or security pouch in public!!! This defeats the purpose of hiding your money. If someone sees you accessing your money pouch what would stop them from mugging you with a knife or a gun?

There are two errors in this statement. First, and most important, there is LITTLE risk of muggings of any kind in western Europe, especially the sort where you are threatened with a weapon. So rare that it is not of any legitimate concern to American/Canadian tourists.

Second, even if there was a threat of muggings, if they see you access a wallet, then they might mug you anyway whether you have your valuables in it or not. They wouldn't know until after they'd robbed you.

Many people do not feel comfortable accessing their secure system in public (or cannot without shedding their modesty). I respect that as people must do what makes them feel comfortable. But there is no realistic reason not to access credit cards and money and ATM cards and such publicly if you are alert to your surroundings and have a secure method of storing them. It doesn't matter if a pickpocket knows where it is if they can't get to it.

I'm sorry to jump all over this, but there has been an excess of threads and posts here lately about pickpockets and such. Way more than the realities of traveling in Europe warrant.

Posted by Donna
Cleveland, OH
575 posts

It's a personal decision. I've had this conversation with 5 travelers over the past couple of weeks and it seems that everyone has their own opinion and they are sticking to it. I wear a money belt, in the back, for deep storage. I was almost pickpocketed on one of the elevators at the Eiffel Tower a few years ago and I'm convinced that if I didn't have a money belt on, I would have lost my money and passport. I'd rather just wear it and not have to think about it.

Posted by Cindy H
San Jose
122 posts

I hate, hate, hate anything putting pressure on my neck. That's my personal preference and it will be different for another. I like to use the Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket. I'll safety pin the two straps to the waist of my garment and allow the wallet to hang down my leg. I just pull up on the straps to get access to the pocket.