by Walter S.
Let’s start off with the basics and move on from there...
A money belt comes in many different types and styles, but most of the time it's a belt with an attached pocket worn under a shirt to protect your travel necessities. There are other forms which can be a normal looking belt but with an interior zipper pocket or a hip bag with the same feature. All of them are designed with the same thing in mind; to keep safe and secure travel documents and money. Two things you can’t go without when on the road. Losing either of them could ruin a trip quickly. Having lived a traveler lifestyle myself, and still doing so as much as I can, I can tell you from experience it’s worth getting at least one type of money belt.
My first trip to Guatemala was one of the most memorable trips of my life. While there I made a weekend trip to Livingston, a small town you get to only by boat. I had finished lunch and realized my friend and I were running low on cash, so we went looking for an ATM Machine. At the time there was only two in town. Neither of them accepted our debit cards and the boat service only accepted cash. We were stuck.
We spent hours stressed out calling our banks trying to get the cards working instead of enjoying our trip. Minutes before the last boat left another traveler overheard our desperation. A very kind women offered us $20, enough for two boat tickets. She gave us her email to let her know how everything worked out when we arrived at the other town. We took the money, thanked her graciously, and quickly hopped on the boat.
Luckily everything worked out perfectly. We got off the boat and headed directly to the first ATM machine we could find. Our debit cards were magically working again. Relieved, we went to write the women an email and pay her back. It's in these types of situations when a Travel Money Belt would have saved my butt. In the very least it would have allowed me to continue enjoying the trip instead of passing hours of anxiety trying to find a solution to the dire problem.
That experience is why Atitlan Leather started making a variety of money belts. Our goal was to create a collection that provided functionality and style. We offer three principle types of money belts; the original money belt that hides under your shirt, a leather money belt and a leather hip bags including a leather fanny pack. I’ll quickly go over the details of each one letting you know how to get the most out of each belt and their respective pros and cons.
I have to say; the Waist money belt is the most secure way to keep your passport and other important belongings while traveling. The leather money belt isn't wide enough to keep your passport and the leather waist bag options are no secret to anyone. If you can tolerate the strap resting on your belly and want to be 100% certain your passport is safe, this is the product you want. It has a lot of storage space and isn’t seen by anyone unless you remove it. That’s why we highly recommend you use it as a deposit for large withdrawals and always keep some spending cash on hand. This way you only have to removed it in private.
The only draw back is there is no reason to use this belt when you’re not traveling abroad. So if you don’t make international trips very often then you’re not going to get a whole lot of use out of it.
I'm not going to lie, the leather money belt is my personal favorite. No one likes to be labeled as a tourist on their trip, and by appearance leather money belt is the least noticeable way of securing emergency cash and a copy of your passport. It’s also a better value for your dollar because its use extends beyond just traveling. It's a great looking casual or semi-formal leather belt you can wear every day. With the interchangeable buckle feature you can personalize the belt with your own buckle. It comes with two types of belt loops, one in steel to match the buckle and the other in leather to match any buckle you end up putting on. There are a variety of colors and it even comes in two types of leather, suede and full grain vegetable tanned. Leather colors include different shades of brown and black. If you would like the belt in a certain color, we would be happy to make it for you (just send us an email). The interior zipper pocket is made with a great quality YKK zipper which is 19’’ long. Folding the bills long ways will allow you to fit $1,000 - $1,500 quite easily. It fits the style for both men and women and is certainly the best bang for your buck. I highly recommend them.
The draw back is you’re not able to keep your actual passport inside the belt as it’s only 1 1/2” wide. A copy is a good idea to keep on you so that you can quickly get a replacement if need be.
It's a tie between the Leather Hip Bag and the Suede Fanny Pack. While there is no secret you're carrying valuables on your waist it's a sure way to keep them from getting lost or stolen. Unlike your backpack or purse that has chance of being forgotten somewhere or picked up while you're distracted; the waist bag doesn't run those risks. Another great feature is that they are both large enough to fit other valuables such as your phone.
In the end you should go with at least one type of money belt on your trip. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down. Actually, don’t be shy, you can get two if you want. In fact, with this promo code, travelmoneybelt, you can buy one money belt and get the second one for 25% off.
by Walter Steele
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