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Wearing money belt on airplane? Confused.

Hello everyone and thank you for the helpful info you provide -- I have been reading lots of forum posts and have a few questions.
1. I am traveling from the US to London this fall, which will be my first overseas trip since 2005 (too long indeed!). I realize you shouldn't wear a money belt or pocket until after getting through security to provide access to passport, etc. Wearing it during the long-haul flight seems uncomfortable and I will have my travel purse with me to store credit cards, passport, etc.

Obviously, you need access to passport when going through immigration. So when & where do you put the money belt on? I will be using a car service to my hotel so no tube/taxi concerns. I hope to drop off bags at my hotel since I should be arriving several hours prior to check-in and want to go explore the city. Is the hotel a good place to reallocate cash, cc, passport -- like in the hotel lobby restroom?

I'm a planner and like to figure this stuff out in advance. Apologies for the long post and I appreciate your tips!

Posted by
3494 posts

I don't wear my money belt on the plane. I bury it in my carry on and lock the zipper on that part of the bag. I am a light sleeper, so I doubt anyone would be able to get my bag, break open the zipper and rummage around until they found anything of value without me noticing. I reallocate what goes where in the arrival airport restroom after immigration check and put the money belt on then and don't access it again until I go to bed that night.

Posted by
5828 posts

A question of security vs comfort and convenience. My answer is neck wallet. Easy access to my passport. It's easier to secure after going through the security check and comfortable enough on the airplane.

I use a neck wallet instead of a money belt. One option you have is - use a neck wallet/pouch at the airport. Put the money belt in your suitcase. Use the neck wallet for transit and the money belt for daily use.
I carry the passport on me at all times, as well as credit cards, debit cards. I don't leave them in the hotel when I'm not there.
One safety option is use a hotel safe or place a luggage lock on your suitcase in the hotel (make it a safe.). Hide your important stuff in a hard-to-see pouch inside the suitcase or disguise your valuables somehow. Store inside the luggage liner if you have a removable liner.
Use your purse or a pocket wallet to carry the days' spending money - no more.
Thanks to ATMs - tourists don't need to carry as much cash in city travel.

Posted by
2766 posts

No need to overthink it. Place your money belt items in your underseat bag on the plane. No one is going to go rummaging around your feet looking to steal things on an airplane. With the way seats are no one can reach it without contorting! If you are really paranoid have it in a small tote you can take to the bathroom with you. But really, overkill.

Put it on in the restroom after passport control if you will be in crowds when leaving the airport (like taking the tube or walking through a big train station). Otherwise put it on in your hotel after checking in - the hotel clerk will probably need to see your passport.

Posted by
5697 posts

Sorry, I don't find the money belt uncomfortable -- and I'm a really good sleeper on the plane -- so wearing the passport in the money belt is no problem at any time.

Posted by
1193 posts

I usually put it on when I get to my final destination airport.

I also look for an ATM within the secure area to pull out some cash.

Posted by
2501 posts

I use a belt-loop pouch and it stays buried at the bottom of my purse--with the particular cards and extra cash already in it--which of course goes to the restroom on the plane with me. Once I've landed I hit the nearest bathroom and it goes on my belt and under my jeans. Passport stays in a zipped pocket of my purse until I've checked into my hotel as they often want to see it.

Posted by
2081 posts

Goes around the neck once thru security......and since two of us travel together, nothing valuable is fed thru the screening machines until the other one is thru security and clear (so as to be positioned to grab the valuables on the other side).

I can tell all sorts of funny stories about when a fellow tour-goer grabbed our tote bag which was securely positioned between my feet against the wall (he thought it was his, which looked similar, and when my spouse said: " I wonder who this bag belongs to?" when in a panic to locate ours, did the tour-goer say "oh, that's mine....oops." Then we all laughed (a relieved laugh).

A friend of mine had her seat mate (who was a stranger) accidentally pick up her purse (instead of her own) when exiting the airplane....(they looked similar) her daughter chased her down the concourse, and many apologies resulted.

I remember personally grabbing the wrong RSteves rollaboard when being dropped at the airport with other fellow tour-goers at the end of our tour....thank goodness the owner had an eye on his bag and stopped me or the transport would have moved on to the next gate and two of us would have had the wrong luggage....both were the exact same bag (I now use a big huge pink ribbon on mine and a big blue ribbon on my spouses, along with very distinct name/address tag holders).

I've seen boarding passes with passports placed on the toilet paper holder in airport restrooms and left by the owners (I turn them in at the gate from which they are scheduled to depart so an announcement can be made).

So....if it is all around your neck, it's handy and safe.......then you can rearrange when you are at a secure location once you land or once you arrange at your first destination.

For taxis (other transport) and tips that may be needed immediately upon landing, I put the cash in an outside zip section of my travel purse (which is set inside my carry-on tote bag that stays at my feet).

Posted by
3898 posts

When I need access to my passport particularly when traveling, I don't wear the money belt yet. It defeats the purpose to show everybody out there that I am wearing it if I need to have access to it.

So when I arrive at my destination airport, have gone through immigration, and before I take public transport to my hotel, I go to the ladies room to put on the money belt at a stall. I place my passport, major cash, andspare credit card in the zippered pocket.

Posted by
3090 posts

I use my money belt (leg wallet) for organization more than for defense against pickpockets. I like to separate my financials, so the trip can go on if I lose one batch. If I'm with my husband, I'll carry my back up in my PI as he'd notice if someone was going into my bag if I'm walking around the plane or in the toilet. If I'm alone, the moneybelt and wallet are attached to me, one way or another. I use a tiny crossbody bag as my purse and I just keep it on so I don't have to think. Knowing it is attached to me, I have no issue with my backup container being in there as well. I don't worry about being pickpocketed, I worry about losing my financials so that is why they are attached to me. Once checked in a room, I leave my extras/moneybelt in my suitcase. I think it is more important to have a system than to wear a moneybelt. Just know your system and stick to it. They also have some neat scarves with security pockets that would be a nice alternative to a money belt if you want to keep items in two different locations...I've been thinking of making one of them. It would camouflage my financials in my suitcase nicely as well.

So, personally, I'd be fine with all your items in your travel purse, separated, as long as you take this purse to the ladies room. And when not on the plane, always have it attached to you. I will add that I always have something bright attached to my PI or large purse so I would notice it walking away from me. If once you get to the hotel and you want to put it on in the ladies room, that would be a fine time to do that. Again, just know your system and stick to it. I really think we are more apt to misplace items than have them stolen. Systems evolve. Mine has and so will yours, to fit you.

Posted by
526 posts

I put my money belt, which hold my credit & debit cards, and passport) in my personal carry on to take to the airport. Doing this makes it easier to access when passing through security. I leave it there until I have checked into my destination's hotel. Yes, if your room is not ready upon arrival, then the lobby toilet makes the most convenient/private place to put on your money belt.

Posted by
488 posts

Once I put on my money belt, I only take it off at night when I sleep. Since, for me, it's a security thing-keeping whatever's in there "safe", I certainly don't want to worry about it as I would if I shoved it in my daybag while I'm on the plane or elsewhere. My RS money belt is comfortable enough. I get used to it and it's just there. I'm happy not to have to worry about my passport or credit cards, etc. I wear it right from when I leave home, take it off while I'm in the security line and put in my daybag, then put it right back on (some people go into the bathroom to do this, I just snap it back on and tuck it in). I think you'll have to see what works for you. Have a great trip!

Posted by
12665 posts

I usually travel solo. I don't like to leave my money and cards on the plane in my personal item when I go to the bathroom during the night. I realize the likelihood is low that someone will actually be able to access it but it makes me less anxious to have it on me.

I put on the money belt after I go thru security but wearing it does not bother me at all. In it I have my destination money (usually about 100 whatevers) plus my credit and debit cards. I also wear a small Eddie Bauer Connect wallet and put this on after security as well. In it I have my passport and about 100 whatevers (enough to get me in to town) along with 1 credit card. I also have my US$ in here as I always have layover time at a hub and will buy food/drink there. I also have a 3x5 card with my 1st hotel address typed out and taped on it. I use this when I am filling out my landing card and to give to the taxi driver.

Unfortunately the EB wallet has changed. Mine is soft and has a slot for bills but the new ones are oddly hard and not the same configuration. In any event, I like a small purse that will hold my passport and that will be comfortable to wear all the time on the plane. my personal item (usually a small back pack) I have a quart ziplock bag and in it I put my phone, watch, fitbit, money belt, belt and any jewelry I decide to wear. I load this when I am dressing on my departure day so that I am ready to go thru security. I stuff it and my small wallet/purse down into one of the interior pockets of the day pack to go thru security so everything is zipped inside. Of course I have to show my passport and boarding pass but I want everything else contained/zipped so nothing gets lost. I re-combobulate after I go thru security.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
166 posts

I use the Rick Steves leather zipper pouch and I put my money & credit cards in it, then I always wear “clothing” pants or shorts which are designed to be pick pocket proof. This is easy because I can travel light by taking two pair of pants and one pair of shorts and 5 shirts in my backpack, their all made of a nylon material but feel like cotton, wash in a sink and they dry in 4 hours. I’m not affiliated with the company I just like products that work!

Posted by
2788 posts

In going to Europe yearly for the last 17 years, I put on my money belt containing my passport and vital items at home before leaving for the airport. I remove it, now a neck style type, at the checkin desk to show things that are necessary to check in and then return it to and bury it in my carryon bag until I get thru security. I go to a restroom to put the neck pouch back on. I keep my passport and boarding pass in a zippered shirt chest pocket until clearing whatever takes place in our landing country in Europe. If I know ahead of time that the place we are staying wants to make a copy of our passports, lots do, I keep the passport in my zippered shirt pocket until we are in our room where I return it to my chest money belt. I keep my passport with me during my entire trip in Europe. I have read numerous stories about folks being pickpocketed in Europe but have never read a story about anyone having their money belt pickpocketed when worn properly.

Posted by
2713 posts

"I re-combobulate after I go thru security."

What a great description!
That's what I do too, while I'm putting on my moneybelt in a closed restroom stall.

Posted by
5257 posts

I have never worn a money belt. I don’t bother and have never had a problem. I carry everything in my backpack.

Posted by
2349 posts

I don't mind a waist money belt, and use it for most things. On travel days I add a neck pouch for my passport, boarding pass and hotel info. The passport is in the waist belt the rest of the time. Then to add a third place I have my credit card and cash in my small wallet that I keep tucked in my bra. My girl pocket. This is where it lives in my normal life. The waist belt just keeps the bulk of cash, back up cards, and passport.

I do as Pam does, and toss the phone, wallet, money belt, etc into a zip lock bag during security screening. After screening, I don't worry about putting the money belt on in front of others. What are the chances that someone with great pickpocketing skills will see that and be close enough to me while I sleep on the plane? And no one after security will hold me up at gunpoint, right? No guns!

Lately I've started using a binder clip to hold my driver's license and boarding pass together for domestic flights. I've twice dropped the license without realizing it.

Posted by
18864 posts

For my first trip to Europe (2000) after discovering Rick Steves I acquired a money belt. The first time I tried it at home, I discovered that it was very uncomfortable for me, so I also bought a neck wallet. I started out on the airplane with the money belt. Before I got to Europe, I had replaced the money belt with the neck wallet, and I've never looked back. Now I wear the neck wallet from the time I leave home (it goes through security in my suitcase). I even wear it now for domestic trips. I just want everything with me in a more secure place than my pockets.

Posted by
11 posts

When we went to Italy in February, I wore this scarf around my neck the entire time except for sleeping or going through security.

It held my passport and wallet and was easy to drape so you don’t notice anything is in it. I still would carry a bit of cash in my pockets so I didn’t have to fumble around with it at a checkout counter, but I felt my items were very secure,