Since I’m a perpetual traveler, I am always on the lookout for better ways to haul my necessities. After going through several different travel wallets, I finally settled on the perfect piece of gear to hold my passport, credit cards, cash, loose change, hotel key, etc.
I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia and ran across a stall in the market that was selling wallets, purses, and bags made out of recycled concrete sacks. The Tyvek material is perfect to make wallets out of because it’s durable and water resistant. While there are many types of these wallets on the market, they just can’t compete with one made from an old concrete sack. I ended up buying two of them for around five dollars.
Five Things to Look for in a Good, CHEAP Travel Wallet
#1 A good, cheap travel wallet needs to have a slim profile. Why? Because the bulge of a wallet is one of the first things crooks look for. I used to have a nice, big passport wallet. I quickly realized that it created such a profile in my pocket that it might as well have been a billboard telling the crooks which pocket to target. It had to go. My new travel wallet has a very slim profile, even when stuffed with my passport, credit cards, and a few other items.
#2 A good, cheap travel wallet should have some type of waterproofing properties. There was a time where I merely carried a ziplock bag as a wallet. Perfect if it starts raining, but not so subtle when you pull it out and go to digging through it. You’re basically putting all of your items on display for whoever is in the immediate vicinity. The new travel wallet has water-resistant properties but doesn’t let everyone see what you’re carrying.
#3 A good, cheap travel wallet has to have is a zipper! I can’t stress this enough. Zippers are a necessity for the security pocket on your pants and for your wallet. Zippers keep stuff from falling out when you’re not paying attention. If you pull out a regular wallet and accidentally drop it on the floor as you go to pay for a bus ticket, the contents will explode in five different directions. If you’re in a border town, you’re not getting those contents back. If the thing is zipped up, the contents aren’t going anywhere. You can quickly put your foot over it and safely bend down and grab it before someone else does.
#4 A good, cheap travel wallet shouldn’t look fancy or fit the typical profile of a wallet. A black wallet looks, well, like a wallet. It’s a beacon to thieves in itself. It immediately gives the perception that it contains money. My travel wallet is made out of an old concrete sack. It doesn’t even resemble a typical wallet. It looks like a poor man’s change purse. It doesn’t rate much attention.
#5 A good, cheap travel wallet should obviously not cost you a fortune. I paid less than five dollars for two. I’ve been using them for about a year now and have purposely put them through the paces. So far, that five dollar investment was definitely worth it. I use the larger one to keep my passport, credit card, and other sensitive items in. It never leaves my pocket. The second, smaller one, is used for keeping local currency and coins. That way, when I go to pay for something, I don’t pull out any sensitive items. If someone snatches the smaller one and runs, they’ve only got my cash.