Keys, wallet, phone. When you head out the door, that’s all you really need. Heck, sometimes when you travel, you don’t even have a set of keys or your phone. Truly minimalist travel and carry on packing is all about getting rid of the gear you don’t need and slimming down the stuff you can’t live without. And, like it or not, every traveler needs a wallet.
Stop lugging around a subway sandwich loyalty card-filled monstrosity. Streamline your travel wallet, and who knows‚ it might streamline the rest of your life. Here are a few tips to help you pick out a great lightweight, functional travel wallet that can protect your valuables, take a beating, and look great doing it.
Best Travel Wallets
When it comes to travel wallets, there are basically five styles and sizes to choose from:
- Money Clips
- Coin purses
These travel wallets come in a number of different fabrics—leather, carbon fiber, aluminium, canvas, and even a waterproof paper called “Tyvek”—and promise features like RFID blocking, easy credit card access, hidden stash pockets, tons of room for your cash and cards, and even water-resistance all in an ultralight, ultra slim package.
However, when it comes to picking out a great travel wallet, all you have to ask yourself is, “What do I need for my trip?”
Travel Wallets for Every Destination
The kind of travel wallet you get should really be determined by your destination. Europe uses a lot of coins, same goes for Australia, so unless you want $20 rolling out of your pocket every time you sit on the train, think about getting a travel wallet with a dedicated zipper pocket. In South America, cash is king, and ATM fees can really add up, so you’ll want to carry a travel wallet that’s slim enough to fit in your front pocket (aka theft proof), yet big enough to carry a reasonable amount of cash.
Even the best travel wallet is a compromise between size and function. Do a little research into the currency of your chosen destination before you buy something that you won’t use. Like a money belt.
Without further ado, here’s a list of the best minimalist, passport-sized, coin purse, top-end, money clips, and every other kind of travel wallet worth buying. Luckily, none of these will break the bank.
The Best Minimalist Travel Wallets
This sleek, minimalist wallet is the epitome of “less is more.” Designed around the idea that most travelers use one card everyday, Nomatic created an easy access tab for getting to your most used card. This wallet is great for every day carry, but it’s really designed for digital nomads and savvy travelers. You have your one loyalty card (that thing that gets you free flights), and you use it everywhere. Keep it handy with this minimalist wallet.
The stash pouch is also great for your AirBnB key or valuable coins when you’re abroad, and the main compartment holds an additional 3-4 cards with room for cash. I’m a big fan of front pocket, minimalist wallets, and I’ve been rocking this wallet for a while, and while it’s a bit of a squeeze, I dig it. Keep your nicknacks, photos, and souvenirs where they’re safe—in the cloud.
Check out this video about it:
Another great departure from bulky bi-fold wallets that just don’t fit in your front pocket, it’s got six card slots, and another dedicated “everyday” card slot. Plus, there’s a window pocket for your ID, so you don’t have to dig it out all the time.
The RFID blocking is a big plus over other minimalist wallets, and it adds a significant amount of capacity without a lot of bulk. The wallet weighs in just under 1 ounce (depending on the material you choose). I’m a fan of the cork fabric for the ultimate lightweight, resilient travel wallet.
If you’re looking for a great budget travel wallet, the Casmonal Elastic Travel Wallet is a steal. The design is similar to the Nomatics Basic, with slightly more give and capacity thanks to the elastic band. Stuff up to 6 cards in the main compartment with room for your cash
and other small items. These wallets are interesting, light, and a great way to flaunt your minimalism… if that’s even possible. The wallet comes in 20 different color combinations, so that might help.
It features one main stuff pocket that stretches to accommodate up to 10 cards (although you won’t want to fit that many), and a cash pocket, which is small. This is a great wallet for weekend travel or for the digital nomad that lives in the cloud.
I picked one of these futuristic durable paper wallets up a few years ago, and I loved it—while it lasted. Yes, these wallets are durable, but they just don’t last as long as other wallets. And that’s ok.
These wallets are incredibly thin (just 3mm!), stupid light, and they’ll last for a few months of heavy use.
But the best part is that they come in a wide rage of awesome colors and styles, so go nuts and get one that really highlights your travel persona. I loved mine, and I remember it all these years later. That’s saying something.
Best Money Clip Travel Wallets
Each wallet is unique, since they’re made from actual firefighter hoses, and they can obviously take a beating. Woven with T-90 nylon thread, and with room for 4-8 cards and cash, these wallets can take anything you can dish out.
With over 241 reviews, and a 5-star rating, what are you waiting for? Also, did I mention they’re made out of firefighter hoses? Oh, I did. Cool.
Best RFID Travel Wallet
According to the Django Products description, this heavy duty wallet is built to “solve problems.” And it does. This minimalist powerhouse holds up to 12 cards while still looking slim and feeling light thanks to the anodized aluminum hardware and silicon band/cash strap.
Finished with premium leather and built-in RFID blocking, this wallet looks like it can kick your old wallet’s ass.
Best Passport Sized Travel Wallet
Looking for an RFID wallet that fits your passport perfectly, while also providing room for your ID, Global Entry Card, credit card, boarding pass, and cash? Look no further. The Dash passport wallet is exactly what you need—no more, no less.
Best EDC Wallets
This every day carry wallet from Dash, one of the bigger names in the wallet industry, features all the comfort and slim design of other minimalist wallets, but manages to tack on a third organizational pocket. One for cards and cash, another for small items, and a third for change. The strong elastic band keeps everything in place without taking up any space. Yes, sometimes I rhyme. Sometimes.
This every day carry wallet bears a striking resemblance to a moleskine notebook, and that’s no accident. The ultra minimalist design of a single piece of leather, folded
over with an elastic clasp makes this a great wallet for anyone who’s gone cashless. The Clamshell wallet boasts insanely easy access to all your cards, and a heck of a simple approach to organizing your finances.
Best Zipper Travel Wallet or Coin Purse
I’m a big fan of this “fanny pack” of travel wallets. As a surfer, I appreciate the zippered construction and nylon material, as well as the key ring. This wallet/coin purse is perfect for keeping your wallet and keys together. Always.
Ideal for travel in Australia, New Zealand, or Europe, especially if you’re a budget traveler trying to keep track of every one of those precious coins.
Best Premium Travel Wallets
I’m not a huge fan of spending all your money to get a fancy wallet, but if you can afford weekly trips to Ibiza, you might as well look the part with these sleek, stylish travel wallets.
This stylish leather wallet is all about sleek minimalism. The microfiber lining, herringbone patterned elastic band, and leather exterior make this one of the coolest minimalist wallets you can own. Guaranteed to start a conversation, if that’s what you’re pulling your wallet out for.
It doesn’t get cooler than a minimalist wooden wallet. It just doesn’t. Perfectly designed to hold 6 cards and cash, this masterpiece even features a hidden pocket for a spare key or coins. Seriously, this wallet is beautiful. It comes in cherry or walnut.
Check out the video:
Bellroy is the cadillac of travel wallets. Made from premium grade leather, packed with features like internal pull tabs, 4 easy access card slots, a hidden coin pouch,
flat bill section room for 12 cards, and RFID protection it’s no wonder everyone wants one of these. Everything they sell is also backed by a 3-year warranty. Bellroy makes a great travel wallet.
Best Budget & DIY Travel Wallets
Most of the wallets on this list cost less than $20, but if that’s still too much for you, there are always some sweet DIY alternatives.
Yes, you can make your own duct tape wallet. Just follow these instructions, and you’ll be on your way to hipster saintdom. Honestly, these wallets work just fine, but building them is a pain in the ass, and they don’t hold up well to weather or heavy use. Just spring for an actual travel wallet.
A slightly better DIY travel wallet is the old binder clip wallet. This guy has a decent YouTube tutorial on it, but essentially, you clip your cards together in the main section of the clip, then wrap your cash around those cards, securing it all with the clip “ears.”
I’ve used one of these for a few months, and it was fine, but the clip really doesn’t handle too few cards very well, and it’s not the easiest wallet to use. You’ll probably lose a card or some cash, and if nothing else, you’ll scratch up your cards and ID. Not highly recommended, but still pretty neat if you need something in a pinch.
Travel wallets are all about getting rid of clutter, keeping your valuables safe and organized, and making sure you enjoy your trip. Less is more when it comes to carry on packing and digital nomadism. Nowhere is that more true than your bulky, unsafe, outdated wallet.
- Front pocket wallets are the most theft-proof
- RFID blocking technology is affordable and valuable
- Cash is still king in many countries—know before you go
- Minimalism is amazing
- The best travel wallet might just be a binder clip if you’re savvy