Photo: Yakobchuk Olena

How To Choose a Wallet for Adventure Travel

Travel wallets and organizers do more than the everyday billfold.

For one, they’re often designed to hold more stuff than you might normally carry (think: passport, airline tickets, and other travel documents you, or your group, need handy). They’re also designed to keep said stuff safe when you’re far from home, where losing key documents and identification could be more than just a big headache. Here’s how to choose the right one for your next adventure. 

Organization

Travel wallets range anywhere from more durable versions of small pocket or purse wallets, to larger folios designed to carry an entire family’s worth of passports and documents. Start by thinking about the items you would like to have on-hand during your next trip:

  • Passports and/or IDs
  • Cash
  • Credit cards
  • Physical airline or other travel tickets
  • Printed itineraries
  • Medical or emergency documents like immunization or insurance cards

Also think about who you’ll be carrying these documents for. You’ll need less space for a solo trip than you would as the guardian of a bunch of students or children. It’s probably wise to carry important documents for them so they’re less likely to lose them.

Lots of travel wallets have pockets specifically for passports or cards, and dividers to organize papers from cash. Once you know what you’ll want to carry inside, look for internal features that make it easy and quick to access items when you need them—you won’t want to be fumbling through a wallet or bag to pick out your train tickets with the conductor standing over you. 

Don’t depart with an overstuffed travel wallet, either. Leave some room to collect other important items, local currency, or notes as plans change mid-trip.

Photo: Yakobchuk Olena

Safety

With all those critical materials gathered in a single piece that needs to stay with you during your travels, security cannot be overlooked. To start, do some research on your destination to be aware of any unusual risks or concerns: Are pickpockets or purse-snatchers common? You might want some added features.

Many travel wallets come as large folios that fit comfortably into a bag or purse. Look for one with a lanyard or attachment point that you can fix to a strap or key clip inside your backpack or purse—that extra connection makes it tougher for someone to snag without you noticing. Wear purse straps on the opposite shoulder of the bag itself so they’re harder for thieves to grab and run. And wear backpacks over both shoulders, ideally with a clipped sternum strap, for the same reason.

If you’re not carrying a separate bag, consider a travel wallet that hangs from your neck. That placement makes it easier to access and more difficult to grab, plus it’s within your line of sight at all times. Wearing one so that it hangs underneath your clothes also helps to conceal it.

Finally, money belts feature compartments that hold your valuables and place them close to your body, ideally under your clothes as well, which makes them incredibly hard to steal, but also more difficult for you to access. 

Materials

Regardless of the style you choose, consider getting a travel wallet with built-in RFID protection, which prevents anyone trying to steal personal information from electronic scanning items like credit cards and IDs that can transmit sensitive information via radio frequency chips. Depending on how you wear or store your wallet, waterproofing may also be important to keeping your valuables from being ruined in a storm. 

Finally, look for a wallet made of a durable material. Travel is hard on gear and you won’t want to discover a small hole or tear in your wallet that allows valuables to escape. Look for wallets made from leather or nylon, which has the added benefit of being cheaper and more easily waterproofed.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.