Leather belt with zip

A leather belt with a hidden zippered compartment made by L.L.Bean.

A traditional money belt (the kind that goes under your clothing) should be on every traveler’s packing list, but let’s face it; sometimes those things just get annoying. Whether it’s bulging out from under your clothing, or making you hot and sweaty, wearing a money belt is simply not a pleasant experience.

However, if you’re going to forgo wearing your money belt, it’s still important to find other ways of hiding your excess cash. You never want to be carrying everything in your wallet because should you lose it or happen to get mugged, you’d have lost everything.

I’ve talked before about stashing money in your sandals, which is a great option if you’re casually dressed. However, if you need to dress up (say, on a business trip) a leather belt with a hidden compartment could do the trick. These belt, like the one pictured above, have a zip running along the inside, where you can insert folded-up bills. Of course, like a traditional money belt, you wouldn’t be dipping into this every time you had to pay for something, but it’s great for safeguarding excess cash (after you make a withdrawal from an ATM for example) or for carrying around more money than you think you’ll need for the day (in case you spontaneously decide to go shopping).

While other belts, like the Eagle Creek version pictured below, also have a handy hidden zipper, I particularly like the leather belt because I don’t think anyone would ever guess it was hiding anything. That said, I’ve included the sportier belt here (as well as an option for the ladies) because I think it’s important to pick the version that best suits your style of dressing – there’s nothing like an ultra casual backpacker with a shiny, spiffy belt, or a businessperson in a suit with an “all terrain” belt, to make you look twice.

Leather money belt

The inside view of the leather belt. Conceal extra cash by folding it and tucking it away in the hidden zippered compartment.

Sporty belt with hidden zip

A more casual travel belt with a hidden zip made by Eagle Creek.

A belt for women

An alternative belt style for women from Magellan's.