A money belt can be important to wear when you’re visiting a place where tourists are often the victims of theft. While it may not help you in extreme situations, it is handy to have for the more common pickpocketing and grab-and-runs that travelers encounter. It can give you peace of mind that your passport, credit cards, and cash stash are safe if your bag gets stolen.
The first time I tried out a money belt was for a high school choir tour (I know, I know) to Italy. I wore it for a day or two before relegating it to the bottom of my suitcase. While I was in Italy, I witnessed a ballsy purse snatching at an open air restaurant and heard tales of fellow tour members being distracted by one gypsy while another stole a bag from them. But I still never wore my money belt. It was bulky, sweaty in the humid Italian summer, and totally indiscreet with its big flap and loud velcro closure. Which is another thing– when you wear a money belt, you don’t want to announce to everyone around you that there are important things to be found under your clothing.
While preparing to go to Southeast Asia last year I knew I couldn’t pull off my usual “keep my mouth shut and pretend to be a local” thing. I heard that tourists in Southeast Asia were prone to pickpocketing and guesthouse staff rummaging through their luggage (true, mostly in Cambodia). I decided I needed to get a money belt I would actually use.
I found a money belt designed specifically for women, the Body Pocket by Design Go. This is about as close to a perfect money belt for women as you can get. It’s made out of thin lightweight lingerie material and it breathes which makes it great for humid climates and being active. You can easily fit a passport, cash, and card in it without it looking bulky on the outside of your clothing. The strap that goes around your waist is basically a bra strap which is adjustable and stays put. It has a zipper on the top which makes it easy to access things when you need to (not so much if you’re wearing a dress though). There were times when I pulled it out and people asked me why I was pulling my underwear above my pants– it’s pretty inconspicuous! I wore it just about every day and even slept with it on during overnight train journeys with sketchy doors and locks. Carrying important things right above your crotch is never fun, but this is the best and comfortable option for women!