Nothing ruins a once-in-a-lifetime trip quite like losing your wallet, phone, or passport—yet many tourist destinations are rife with talented pickpockets. Luckily, you can defend your stuff with everything from secret underwear compartments to shoes with built-in money slots. Here are seven truly genius hacks for hiding valuables while traveling.
Disguise Your Money Belt
Forget about the fanny pack-esque money belts of yesteryear. Leather smuggler’s belts like this Duluth Trading Co. option have inner zipper-closure compartments perfect for hiding emergency money and spare keys. This versatile men’s option comes in brown and black, and boasts a 19-inch hidden pocket. It costs $70, but there’s no telling how much trouble it could save you on your travels.
Stealthy Bra Pouches
For women, a secret bra pouch is the better option. Eagle Creek’s Undercover Bra Stash is affordable and easy to hide under clothes. Throw your cards, cash, and keys in the silk pouch and fasten it safely around the center of any bra. It’s washable, comes with a lifetime warranty, and can comfortably fit small valuables in its three-by-four-inch interior. It’s also a wise investment for just $14.
Stash Cards in a Phone Case
Consolidating your phone and credit cards into one easy-to-hide case will lighten your load and keep your most important cards out of sight. Incipio’s Wallet Cover doubles as a kickstand case for watching videos on the plane, and is on sale (at time of publication) for just $16. It also comes in an array of colors and sizes.
Bury Your Beach Items
Beach safes aren’t always the most discrete way to hide your wallet and other valuables, but one that you can bury right beneath you will put all your items out of sight. The Beach Vault is meant to be hand-drilled into the sand under your blanket, so even the most observant thieves won’t be able to locate any of your personal items. It comes with a beach towel and pillow, and costs about $49.
If the age-old trick of hiding emergency money in shoes is more your style, stop stashing cash in your smelly socks and get some summer-friendly SlotFlops. These travel flip flops have a built-in section big enough for your cards and money, and come in an array of colors for about $30. As an added bonus, you can get a card-sized travel tool that includes a metal wrench, saw, ruler, bottle opener, and sun compass. Just be careful about where you take this—the TSA could confiscate it from your shoe or carry-on, but it’s perfect for fishing trips and camping.
For a sturdier shoe with compartments, try the original sneaker made with an outer money pocket: KangaROOS. The hidden compartment is big enough for some emergency bills and a spare key, and thieves won’t notice the tiny outer pouch beneath the ROOS logo. Selling (at time of publication) at $25, these durable walking sneakers will last long enough to prove their worth.
Make a Decoy Wallet
If all else fails, it’s smart to have a decoy wallet handy in the event that you get pick-pocketed or held up. Thieves will probably go for any old wallet you pack with old gift cards or cardboard junk-mail cards from banks. You can throw or hand over a decoy wallet in the event of a mugging, or keep one at the top of your bag in case a pickpocketer strikes.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Breaking Down the Pickpocket Scheme
- One Brilliant Way to Hide Money While Traveling
- This New Travel Scam Hacks Directly into Your Phone
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.