02 Dec Our Favorite Alternatives to Travel Wallets
Travel Wallet Alternative 1: FlipBelt Review
The best hidden travel wallet is actually a runner’s belt!
Pros of Flipbelt:
- Great design and color/size options.
- Holds a lot of different items securely all around the belt and not it one place
- Holds items flat against someones body to help conceal items
- Has a dedicated key ring/clip
Cons of Flipbelt:
- Not adjustable or one-size fits all (not a big deal if you’re the only one using it)
Can you believe that one of our favorite travel gear items is a hidden travel wallet? Well it’s not even suppose to be that, but we sort of repurposed a runner’s belt and use it for travel in countries and areas where safety is a concern. Oh, and we still use it while running as well. We love multi use travel gear.
My brother actually sent a link for the FlipBelt to me on Facebook one day, asking me if I used one. I didn’t. Apparently, he wanted to start running and was looking for a way to hold his valuables securely when he didn’t have pockets. So he went out and got one and was amazed that it did exactly what he wanted – and also was big enough to hold his massive Samsung phone. I was sold.
The other travel wallets on the market
I have owned two hidden travel wallets in the past and the problem with both were that they were uncomfortable to wear. The typical travel wallet you might have seen out there hangs from your neck and hides underneath your shirt. The feeling of the wallet against the skin of my chest always felt scratchy and annoying. Also, because it was a bit bulky, it wasn’t truly hidden unless I wore really, really baggy clothing.
The around-the-waist versions of hidden travel wallets are better (and there are runner-friendly versions too), but the issue with these is that you can only put your items in one central pocket. In other words, if you are carrying your passport, cash, etc.. it all has to stack in the same spot. Forget about holding your phone too because, again, you’ve got a massive bulge sticking out from your mid/crotch section – which is not only awkward but defeats the whole purpose of a hidden travel wallet.
Back to the FlipBelt.
What I love about this belt is that it does exactly what I need it to do:
- It holds a variety of items pretty flat to my body in different areas (see video).
- It has a great design to prevent items from falling out. You simply flip the belt so the openings go against your body and not facing outward (again, see the video).
- There are a couple of different colors but they generally blend in with what you are wearing to stay as undetectable as possible.
- Easy to care for. It’s washable and holds its shape.
The only critique I can think of (and it’s small) is that it is size specific. While it’s stretchy, it’s not adjustable. That being said, this shouldn’t be a big issue because if you’re getting one it’s probably for your own use and not an item you would share a lot. Fortunately for us, Michelle and I can both fit the Flipbelt we have.
If you’re like me and you like to be cautious when traveling (which is not a bad thing), then a hidden travel wallet might might be a good purchase for you.
A hidden travel wallet does not guarantee that things will get stolen, but it does help reduce the risk significantly, as most pick-pocketers and petty theifs go for pockets and bags. They’re all about crimes of opportunity. Take away the obvious, easy opportunity, and you’ve quickly dimished your chance of becoming a target.
This runner’s-belt-turned-hidden-travel-wallet is one of the best ways we’ve found to protect our valuables on the go.
FAQs about Flipbelt
Are there different colors?
Yes. Get Black or Carbon to blend in, or any number of bright colors to stand out.
Are there different sizes?
Yes. XS-XL (measurements are listed on the site for each size).
What’s the biggest thing you can hold comfortably in there?
A large smartphone is the biggest thing I’ve carried. You’d probably want to avoid cameras, tablets, and computers.
Will it hold my dog or cat?
Umm….no. This will work best with flat, inanimate objects.
Travel Wallet Alternative 2: Hidden Pockets
Since we’re on the subject of alternatives to hidden travel wallets, sometimes you don’t even need an accessory to carry your valuables. You can find activewear and travel clothing that come with hidden pockets built in.
Note that I’m not talking about outward-facing cargo pants pockets. Cargo pants are great for carrying a lot of things, but they’re no deterrent to a pickpocket. I’m talking about seamless, hidden pockets that only you can access easily.
When we served in the Peace Corps in Jamaica, Michelle actually had hidden pockets sewn inside the waist of all her skirts and capris. This way, she could carry a key, credit card, and/or cash without anyone knowing. With the pocket located between her belly button and hip bone, just inside the waistband, it took very little to retrieve the item without drawing attention.
Fast forward a few years and we’ve finally found clothing that already has this feature included. There are a number of outdoor gear, activewear, and travel clothing companies that are incorporating hidden pockets. For our recent trip, Michelle purchased a new pair of black capri pants by Lucy, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.
Pants by Lucy activewear were originally recommended to us by Michelle’s Mom and Aunt, who both wear the black adjustable pants for their trips abroad and daily activities at home. When she came across a pair at REI while looking for some all-purpose travel pants for our three months in S.E. Asia, Michelle was won over by the hidden pocket feature.
Pros of Lucy Get Going Capris:
- Lightweight fabric to keep you cool when active
- Moisture wicking and quick-drying, which is perfect for travel
- Designed for yoga so they’re comfortable and stretchy in the right places
- Hidden, stretchy interior pocket at the waist fits small smartphones
Cons of Lucy Get Going Capris:
- Fabric starts to pill after a few washes
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