Having a secure place to keep your travel documents, passport, credit cards, foreign currency and your phone—things you might literally be lost without—can make the difference between a seamless journey and a chaotic one. After all, how many times have you found yourself digging around for your passport buried deep in your carry-on, misplaced your boarding pass on a long layover or had to borrow a pen from your seatmate to fill out an arrival card?
We asked savvy, seasoned travelers—from travel advisors to hoteliers—about the wallets that help them stay organized and looking sharp while on the road (or in the air).
This chic snap wallet is a favorite of Henley Vazquez, a New York City-based travel advisor because it “looks like a clutch, but functions like a wallet.” The versatile design makes it ideal for trips: The larger clutch keeps your passport and boarding passes secure with a snap closure in transit, and you can use the removable interior zip pouch on its own when you just need to carry cards and cash. The wallet’s natural unfinished leather also gains a beautiful patina with use that “just gets better with time,” according to Vazquez.
Travis Levius, a travel journalist and hospitality consultant who splits his time between Atlanta, Ga., and London, found this clever faux leather wallet while looking for a solution to keep track of different currencies, city transportation passes and SIM cards, in addition to his credit cards and travel documents. He praises this thoughtfully designed RFID-blocking wallet for streamlining his travel routine at a reasonable price. Eight card slots, a passport slot and even a SIM card slot for switching to a local carrier while abroad plus a pen holder and a key ring for extra convenience lets you store and see all your essentials.
Security is top of mind for travel host Nathan Fluellen of World Wide Nate, who has been to 74 countries and counting. That’s why he prefers Leatherology’s Zip Around Travel Wallet because “instead of misplacing things in a different pocket or risking something important falling out of my pocket, I can focus on keeping just my wallet in my possession.” It’s made of full-grain leather, which can vary in texture from finely grained to pebbled. He also praises the wallet’s spaciousness, noting that “you can store your passport, credit cards, pen, cash, coins and plane ticket” inside. It’s a great choice for couples or families traveling together, since reviewers say they’re able to fit up to three passports inside while zipped, and the exterior has a slip pocket to keep an ID or boarding pass easily accessible at the airport.
For the perfect marriage of style and function, Vazquez recommends this wallet from Lo & Sons, an Asian-American-owned family business that she loves to support. At 7 inches by 4 inches it’s even big enough to hold a checkbook in addition to other essentials and boasts 7 pockets and 10 card slots. Vazquez says it has held up well after years of traveling. For environmentally conscious shoppers, the wallet comes in a leather-like material sourced from nopal cactus in addition to more traditional saffiano and nappa leather. Coordinate it with your luggage by choosing from 21 color combinations and gold or gunmetal hardware.
For once you’re at your destination, Fluellen recommends this simple cardholder-style wallet, especially for warm-weather locales: “Most shorts have smaller pockets, and a big wallet can look bulky,” he notes. At only 3 millimeters thick, the wallet can hold cards and cash, but the ultra-slim profile means pickpockets “can’t tell which pocket the wallet is in,” keeping you from being an easy target, according to Fluellen. He also likes that the RFID-blocking capability “prevents tech-savvy scammers from trying to steal my information.” Available in 21 colors, this compact wallet also fits easily into a sling bag or small purse.
If, travel gods forbid, you do become separated from your wallet while traveling, this smart option can help you locate it. Los Angeles- and New York City-based actor and model Leo Chan, creator of men’s fashion and travel blog Levitate Style, suggests this faux leather upgrade from your usual wallet because the clever design features a holder for an AirTag, which can also be taken out and put into the included keychain to track other items, like your luggage. It can also hold your passport.
A product that pulls double duty is always a plus, and this pick from Smythson has proven to be worth the splurge for Siobhan Reid, a Barcelona-based travel writer. “It’s sleek and discreet and fits comfortably in your hand like a clutch, says Reid. “In fact, it’s so chic I recently wore it to a black-tie wedding on Île de Ré).” Best of all, according to Reid, are the wallet’s labeled compartments for tickets, passports and boarding passes, “which really help a sometimes-scatterbrained traveler like me stay organized!” The wallet comes in five colors like Lapis and Peach, all in luxe crossgrain calf leather, and transitions from airport to business lunch to formal function with ease.
Originally designed for flashing your proof of vaccination at travel hubs, this clean design from Royce lets you display a driver’s license, work badge, loyalty card or other identification without having to remove the card from your wallet. It’s Reid’s “go-to travel wallet for business trips and city getaways.” Royce is known for making simple, beautiful and functional leather travel accessories, and Reid notes on this sumptuous Nappa Leather wallet that “the craftsmanship is next-level.” With free monogramming, it also makes the perfect gift for the traveler in your life. In fact, Reid received hers as a present from a friend and loves how well it pairs with all her monochrome travel uniforms.
Rugged yet stylish
If you’ve traveled to a destination where cash is king, you know the necessity of not only a bill compartment, but also a coin pouch. Rather than stash foreign change in your pocket, Chan recommends taking along this Tumi bifold: “The coin pocket [is] perfect for new foreign currency that you’ll inevitably get on your travels,” he says of the minimalist pick. The wallet has two bill compartments sized for international currencies so you can keep currencies separate on your trip. The wallet’s exterior is made of durable ballistic nylon, great for road warriors and frequent travelers, while the inside is a smooth leather.
Despite the trend toward minimalism, you may want more than just a wallet to keep all your various travel documents in order. Paul Salmon, the New York City-based founder and owner of Rockhouse Hotel and Skylark Resort, both in Jamaica, learned this the hard way when he lost his green card while traveling. Determined to never lose it again, he chose this simple yet effective documents holder from Travelon. The design with pockets stacked on top of one another allows him to always have eyes on his essential documents and the size (5 by 9 inches) is big enough to hold immigration cards and boarding passes without bending them. The strap allows him to wear it around his neck or crossbody for hands-free carrying. It also has a hidden zip pocket for currency. “I always keep some Jamaican cash on hand for tipping and a roadside Red Stripe,” Salmon says.
This uber-sleek Ted Baker number in textured black leather scores major points on looks alone, and it’s also three wallets in one. There’s the standard exterior and interior slots for passports and other travel documents, as well as two removable pieces: a zip pouch for cash and a folding slim-line wallet. Both can be used separately from the larger trifold clutch, giving you a lot of flexibility on your trip.