Whenever I travel outside the U.S. I wear a money belt. You never know when you’ll have to look out for pick pockets, scam artists and muggers, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I use my money belt for my passport, my credit cards, larger amounts of cash, train or airline tickets, and any other card or paper items of value. I always keep out enough cash to use during the day in a zippered pocket of my pants or skirt, or in a zippered pocket of my backpack, that way I’m not getting in and out of my money belt throughout the day, and if someone steals my backpack, they’ve only gotten that $50 in cash. All my important documents and excess cash however, are tucked away in the money belt. More than anything else, I feel better when my valuables are in my money belt and not in my bag.
My backpack was zipped open while it was on my back in San Jose, Costa Rica once, but all I had in there was a water bottle and a Lonely Planet Costa Rica guidebook (and neither were stolen!). Money belts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can go around your neck, around your waist, hook to a bra, strap to your leg, or even be used as a regular belt (but with a hidden compartment for rolled up cash). They come in a variety of comfortable fabrics too. My advice: protect your valuables and get extra peace of mind when you’re traveling with a money belt.