One of the questions that travelers often ask is how to carry money when traveling. There are plenty of options when it comes to wallets, clips, belts, etc., and there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. But here are my thoughts …
Money belts and clips
When I first traveled internationally on my own in the late nineties, I wore an Eagle Creek money belt everywhere. I remember reading about them in travel books, and they seemed like the safest way to carry money around. Though when I think back, I remember how uncomfortable they were to wear in the hot and humid weather. They were also inconvenient to use when pulling money out to pay for things.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I didn’t know how to use the money belt correctly. I was wearing it correctly, but I was using it as an actual wallet. The correct way to use a money belt is to keep it out of sight at all times and to only load what you need into your pockets. I recommend accessing your money belt while in a bathroom or when out of normal sight. Basically, the money belt’s purpose is to keep your passport and money safe, not to be a wallet.
I personally like to keep my passport and money in a hotel safe and just carry a wallet in my front pocket. Carrying a wallet in your back pocket just begs to be stolen by a pickpocket!
Bellroy Card Pocket Wallet
If I’m traveling to a country where electronic payments are more prevalent, then I’ll generally carry my normal wallet, which is a Bellroy Card Pocket Wallet. This is a great wallet, especially for folks like me to have a ton of credit cards to maximize purchases and points. It’s super small, high-quality, and durable. In fact, I’m a huge fan of all Bellroy products! They are an Australian based company that is obsessed with creating convenient and elegant options for carrying our cash, cards, and keys.
See our in-depth review of the Bellroy Card Pocket Wallet here.
Mitchell Leather Money Clip wallet
When I travel to countries where cash is more commonly used, I choose to carry a more traditional wallet. My preferred wallet for these scenarios is the Mitchell Leather Money Clip Wallet. I used to carry this wallet as my normal daily wallet. Though since I started to use less cash in my daily life, I decided to use the wallet as my primary travel wallet. It’s a fantastic wallet for cash. The notes are easily accessible, while still maintaining a slim profile.
What I love about this wallet is that I can pull cash from the wallet from anywhere in the cash or notes stack. For example, if I want to pull the second bill from the stack, I can do so without having to pull out the entire wad. In this case, it functions even better than a normal money clip since it has less exposed visibility. It also helps that it’s made from premium leather, which smells and feels amazing!
Lastly, I’ve heard and seen people use a minimal binder clip in lieu of a formal money clip or wallet. While it’s definitely effective, I prefer to have a real wallet. Plus, I like that my money clip wallet helps me to discretely pull cash out.
If you plan to use a money belt, make sure you treat it like a portable safe rather than a wallet. And if you’re looking for an awesome travel wallet, I highly recommend any of the Bellroy wallets and the Mitchell Leather Money Clip Wallet.
And more importantly, always be careful and aware of your surroundings. I’ve never been mugged while traveling, but I have traveled with friends who were pickpocketed. It’s a horrible feeling to have your money, or even worse, your passport stolen while traveling. Always exercise caution!