Make A Secret Pocket In Your Pants!

Create a Secret Travel Pocket
My Secret Pocket in Action
Travel Tips

Learn how to make a secret pocket in your pants for hiding your money & a passport. An easy and effective way to protect against pickpockets while you travel.

There’s a small chance you might get robbed or pick-pocketed while traveling in foreign countries. I’ll be the first to say that the odds of this happening are pretty slim.

But I believe you should always be prepared for the worst. Having your wallet stolen when you’re in another country can be bad.

It’s much more difficult to replace things when you’re 4000+ miles away from home. Spending a few bucks to sew together a few secret pockets on the inside of your pants or shorts will save you a lot of inconvenience should it ever happen.

Money belts are uncomfortable & awkward to wear.

Plus most thieves know about them — you’re not fooling anyone. A well-hidden secret pocket on the inside of your clothing is more comfortable, and because it’s permanent, it’s impossible to lose it.

How To Make A Secret Pocket

To create your secret pocket, find a local seamstress or tailor who will sew one into all the pairs of pants & shorts you plan to bring with you. Depending on where in the world you hire this person, it can cost anywhere between $2-$10 per pocket.

If you know how to sew, you can always do it yourself too.

My pockets are 7″ by 5″ with a velcro strip at the top to keep it closed. This size allows you keep your passport inside if you need to (I only keep my passport on me when I’m actually traveling between towns, otherwise it stays locked up in a safe or locker at the hostel).

Waterproof Secret Travel Pocket
Waterproof Your Cash & Documents

Why Should You Have One?

Most days I use the hidden pocket for my driver’s license, passport (or color copy of it), $100 in emergency cash, and my ATM card. If I’m going to be near water, everything is kept together in a small waterproof ziplock bag so I can swim with them if needed.

I often keep a day’s worth of local currency in a separate dummy wallet, along with an expired credit card, business cards, and an older driver’s license. This way if someone ever tried to rob me, I can hand over the dummy wallet and walk away without losing everything.

The $100 can be used as emergency money to hire a taxi to the police station, buy food & water, rent a cheap hotel room, etc.

Staying prepared for the unexpected will make your travel experiences much more enjoyable and worry-free. Odds are good you’ll never be robbed, but if it happens you’ll be ready. ★

Travel Planning Resources

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

RentalCars.com is a great site for comparing car prices to find a deal.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

READ NEXT: Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

How do you hide your money on the road? Any other suggestions?

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my journey.
Matthew Karsten
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37 thoughts on “Make A Secret Pocket In Your Pants!”

  1. Love this article. I have already done this to 1 pair of pants I am traveling with. I can’t wait to do it to my other pants. Thanks for the tip!

  2. This brings to mind the old couple in the movie “Casablanca” who unknowingly get pickpocketed. It ca happen in Casablanca or in Europe. A single all purpose combined social security card, drivers license and credit card with photo and other idenfications would solve the problem.

  3. I did this about 25 years ago. I cut off the feet from tights or thick nylons and hand sewed one side of the opening of the foot to the inside waist of skirt or shorts. The thin (no bulk) and stretchy fabric of the tights held what I put in it snuggly and no need for velcro.

  4. Best hiding spot for spare cash is in those “liner” pockets in a bra. That only works for cash or paper. I also don’t carry a wallet which I find bulky. Some cash and the necessary credit & id cards are easily held with a binder clip.

  5. My first big trip was to China in 1995. One of the ladies on the trip gave me a white fabric simply sewn bag and advised me to use a safety pin and place it inside my pants. Has worked like a charm for passport, money, credit cards. Passport will get a little bent, but so what. I do use an old-fashioned diaper pin so that I don’t become injured if a regular safety pin pops open. It is easy to undo the pin and take the bag out of my pants! I have since traveled extensively and have never had a problem.

  6. I’ve had three pickpocket attempts, but none of them succeeded. I’ll definitely do the hidden pocket thing, but being aware of what is happening near you is also recommended.

  7. I did this while backpacking for three months in Europe. I didn’t even go to a seamstress just cut the pockets out of some old pants had a friend with a sewing matchine sew on the Velcro and hand stitched them to the inside hem myself I was never robbed by a pick pocket ( only taxi drivers) but it gave me pice of mind and a care free attitude that allowed me to enjoy my travels.

    • I’ve actually had a guy try to grab my wallet once, from my back pocket. Luckily it was a zippered pocket. It’s good to know that most of my money was in the secret one. :D

  8. This is great advice, I used to have some jeans with a hidden pocket, that I used when travelling, but will use these in the future.

    About the expired credit card, I recommend one of the ‘charge up’ type credit cards, keep a low amount on it, say £20 or $ not so big a loss and if you get forced to an ATM, then can take the lot, you are only a poor vagabond traveller after all ;-D

  9. I’ve seen similar advice and I agree its a good idea but I see two problems:

    1. how the heck do you get to he pocket if its in your pants? Unzip? What about those cargo pants with multi pockets (and most of them are zippered and would be a bit hard to pitpocket without being noticed (I don’t put anything in my rear pockets because A) uncomfortable and B) I’ve lost things that way and C) a lot easier to pitpocket.

    2. Thieves are only going to get smarter, so they figured out the money belt the when everybody starts dumping money belts for hidden pockets pretty soon we’ll be robbed naked! (not trying to be melo-dramatic!).

    I have asked about safegaurding my passport at bootsnall and everybody says I should keep my passport ON me, not doing so would be like breaking the law as in you don’t have your driver’s license in your home country.

    Having a color copy is a great idea, though you’ll need to replace that copy once in awhile as it gets tattered. I bought another type of money belt but meh!

  10. A common sense approach – thanks. There is a lot of stupid, expensive and unworkable solutions around: a secret pocket is a good approach. Also consider attaching a wallet or purse to a belt (etc) via a strong cord loop or mini elasticated bungee – this reduces the risk of it being mislaid . . . ***Thinking*** about security is the very first step – many ready-made items are poorly thought through and rarely tested in the real world. Gd Lk Allykid [45 years of travel and not a single problem anywhere!]

  11. I was looking for something like this and I wish I had read this post earlier since I just came back from Barcelona. I had my handbag across my body, underneath my jacket for 3 days!

  12. Why go through all this bother when all you have to do is buy yourself some Stashitware Pocket Boxer Briefs and then you don’t have to sew anypockets on anything. Just wear your underwear everywhere you go and you will have a 6″ x 12-14 inch pocket for all your traveling needs.

    • Interesting concept, although what happens when I need to give my passport to a police officer?

      It’s going to be easier (and less embarrassing) to flip my sewn pocket out from the side of my pants to reach my ID than it would be to reach down into my crotch. :D

      But I may try a pair out anyway.

  13. One thing that worries me about keeping an expired debit or credit card is that here in South America, some of the robbers will enter your taxi and you’ll be driven to an ATM to withdraw your daily max in cash.

    If you have a card, but can’t withdraw $$ from it, that could frustrate them. They might think you’re holding out on them. I’m not trying to be paranoid, but I’d rather not put myself in that situation if this kind of robbery were to occur.

    I only take an ATM card out when I need to take out cash or make a big payment with it, otherwise I leave it with my passport at the hoste/hotel.

    I wish I could still use money belts like I did when I was first in Europe, but they’re not comfortable under jeans, and annoying in tropical heat. I prefer to carry a wallet with the day’s cash, and maybe tuck some in a shoe too.

    • I actually do the same with my ATM card, and don’t bring it with me unless I really think I’ll need it.

      Good point about the expired credit card, never thought about that. But I still think having my wallet taken is a lot more likely then getting kidnapped, and would rather let the robbers think they got something of value and let me go rather than search me more thoroughly.

  14. Maybe it’s a dumb question but as you carry around only copies of important documents when you travel, where do you leave the real documents, like passports?

    I’m asking cause we’re going in Thailand next May and I don’t know what’s the best strategy…Keeping passport on me or not? Trust an hotel/hostel safe?

    Thanks for the advice about secret pockets, it can be really useful!

    • I only carry my passport on me when I’m actually traveling to a new place. I normally keep it in a safe or locker otherwise. I keep a color photocopy of it on me all the time though.

      If you get stopped by police and they insist on viewing your actual passport, you just tell them they have to come back to the hostel with you to see it.

  15. I keep thinking of doing this, but so far I’m in a comparably safer places. Thanks for reminding me though, I think I need to actually do this for my next trips. You are right, money belts are not very comfortable and it’s kinda bulgy too (too bad, it was not that cheap to buy).

  16. Mmmn… posted a comment once – maybe I deleted it before posting..

    Well, I have been robbed when I left money in a hotel. So the big decision for me is whether to keep the main stash on me or to leave it ‘safely’ in the hotel. I use a belt. I recall someone I met who had a thing like a shoulder holster under his jacket. It looked a bit too obvious to me. A pocket sewn in is a good idea as long as you can get to what you need – to show a policeman on a bus or something – without getting half-undressed.

    My favorite hotel rooms are those with big hasps for my own padlock, no way for someone to unscrew the hasp, and solid walls and ceiling.

    Keeping all my money on me is a damper for some adventures but it also keeps me from getting too drunk or senseless to take care – leaving it in the hotel keeps me anxious about what may be happening back there.

    • Hotel security is another problem. I’ll be posting about how I deal with it in the future. I like to bring my own hasp.

  17. This is a really good idea. I’ve never been pickpocketed (knocking on wood right now), but I have had a bag stolen when it wasn’t on my person. I was lucky to still have all the important items–such as my passport, credit card, and cash, but it would not hurt to prepare for the worst in the future.

    Thanks for posting :).

  18. i was robbed once when i was travelling, and i couldnt go back to my hostel coz i didnt have money to go there. i had to walk and i was fortunate to get help in the end. i agree money pockets are a great addition. also dont walk with any valuable documents only copies

    • I’ve never been held up, but I’ve had things stolen. Swimming in the ocean at night in Honolulu, someone went through our stuff on the beach. Losing a credit card, ATM card, or ID can be a big pain in the ass when you’re away from home. That’s why I swim with them from now on! :)

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