After spending a year indoors, we can’t help but get excited at the prospect of planning our next holiday. But we’d almost forgotten just how much planning and paperwork you need before jetting off.
Whether you’re planning on travelling stateside or to the land down under, you’ll need to obtain some type of visa. Then there’s the matter of a GHIC card for insurance purposes, and it’s highly likely we’ll all soon be required to carry vaccine passports, too. In a nutshell? It’s time to invest in a new travel wallet, to keep all your documents safe and in one place.
Of course, when we were putting these travel wallets to the test we couldn’t jet off to far-flung destinations – the local supermarket was about as fancy as it got. But we did our best to recreate the circumstances and push these wallets to the limit.
We squeezed in various documents, IDs and even the odd bit of tech. But we needed our wallets to do more than hold our paperwork – for us, the best wallet would also allow for easy retrieval of essential items such as passports, but could be closed quickly and securely ensuring nothing was lost in the process.
And while we still love a good zip, we quickly realised that the right type of press stud, strap or magnetic closure can work just as well. Security-conscious travellers should consider RFID (radio-frequency identification) for added protection.
Above all, pay extra attention to the closure – more specifically, whether it will still close securely once it’s been filled with everything you’re planning on cramming inside – which may or may not include the kitchen sink.
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Emily Brooks toucan travel wallet
Nothing screams “holiday” quite like this gorgeous travel wallet did. It features two big-billed toucans against an acid-green background with that design continuing on the inside, only against against a sea of pink. But more than looking good, the hands-free design earns this wallet top marks.
It’s easy to flip open, and snaps shut securely thanks to the presence of a hidden (but surprisingly strong) magnet. The thoughtfully-designed interior is a hat-trick of the three types of pocket we love to see most: two close fitting envelope-style slots for travel documents and currency (both of which are labelled), a looser slot perfect for boarding passes, and a wide zippered pocket designed for loose change. We could carry everything safely, get to what we needed with ease, and could imagine travelling with this in our pocket being an absolute breeze.
Aspinal of London travel wallet with removable inserts
We loved the versatility of this luxurious travel wallet, the highlight of which was a removable section comprising a cluster of pockets engraved with the words “tickets”, “passport”, “documents” and “other.” The ability to simply slip out the section containing the most important items is a godsend.
Boarding passes also slip into the clearly-marked opening at the front of the wallet, next to the generously-sized zip pocket engraved with the words “currency.” Despite the lack of a zip, this wallet felt wonderfully secure, thanks to a wide, long strap which tucked snugly under a narrow loop on the wallet’s front.
Noble Macmillan travel wallet
This is a beautiful, ultra-soft suede, roomy travel wallet which makes a brilliant present for jet-setters, thanks to Noble Macmillan’s personalisation service. The extra-wide flap, held in place with a magnetic press stud, keeps documents secure and the four, generously sized, dedicated compartments inside are easily accessible. There’s also a wide zippered pocket at the front which was great for stashing money should you need to get it quickly. The main feature we fell for (and wish we saw more of) though was the set of elegant metal protectors on the wallet’s corners – the areas most likely to succumb to wear and tear – we felt this wallet would survive many trips for years to come.
Caroline Gardner pink/rose gold travel wallet
With its blush-pink exterior offset with a dash of rose gold, this beautiful wallet had us at hello. Ideal for travellers who prioritise accessibility, the extra-deep, slip-style pocket is just the right size for passports but sturdy enough to keep them securely in place. Inside there are six slots for cards, and we also appreciated the extra-wide zippered pouch. On the back you’ll find a wide, deep pocket at the rear which is perfect for boarding passes. But our favourite bit was the closure – a strap of leather which clamped onto a hidden magnet to keep the wallet firmly closed, but easily openable.
Fjallraven kanken gear pocket
Having a separate pocket for passports and another one for loose change isn’t the be all and end all. We love this rugged pouch because it’s big enough to carry a passport but small enough to deter us from filling it with clutter – it’s the perfect size for a passport, boarding pass and vaccination record. We also love the addition of a waterproof label, on the inside, on which we could write our contact details, and the thick loop which allowed it to be dangled from hooks.
The North Face women’s liberty travel wallet
In a perfect world, all passport wallets would be adorned with wanderlust-inducing pictures of snow-flecked mountains. Although we’re not generally fans of passport holders – they’re often too snug a fit, which leaves us fumbling to extract our passport while a bored-looking customs official rolls his eyes – this one is the exception. There’s room for six cards as well as two passports, making it perfect for the dual-passport jetsetter, and the tough material provides extra protection.
Matt and Nat sevalg large travel wallet
Though this one may not be much to look at, we fell in love with its practical design. It’s A5-size document holder, which opens across the top and contains a roomy zippered pocket and slots for 12 cards, is ideal for handling all the documents you’ll need in one trip. The additional wider slots either side of the zippered pocket are perfect for boarding passes, and the wide handle at one end is a brilliant addition which allows it to be kept close.
We reckon it’s just the right thickness to dangle from the spring-loaded coat hooks you’ll find in economy class, and large enough to sling carelessly over the slightly larger hooks you’ll have if you’re lucky enough to travel in first. Maybe not the prettiest, but certainly practical.
Lifeventure RFID protected document wallet
This is the kind of travel document we wish we saw more of. There’s a wide range of pocket sizes and styles, including seven card slots, separate slip pockets for boarding passes, passports and currency notes, and what Lifeventure refers to as a smartphone stash pocket.
Security conscious travellers will love that it’s got RFID protection – which prevents the electronic scanning of items such as bank cards – but our favourite part was the simple addition of a pen loop. We liked the idea of it reducing the risk of having to borrow a stranger’s sticky biro to fill in those dreaded disembarkation forms. Despite its Tardis-like interior, the wallet has a slimline, compact profile, and we loved the splashes of bright blue – another reminder that travel document wallets don’t have to be boring.
Eastpak kai black ink leather purse
Eastpak describes this as a purse, but it’s clearly been designed with travel in mind. Inside you’ll find eight card slots, an extra-large zip pouch and a detachable hanging hook. We could easily fit two passports into this wallet, which is made with buttery-soft leather and adorned with Eastpak’s famous globe logo.
We liked the way the central zippered pouch nestled between the two slip-style pockets we used for our passports, as well as the sturdy sides, which meant we could happily stash this pouch into the most cramped corners of our backpacks without risking damaging any of our important documents.
Fenella Smith Noah document wallet
With its sleek, no-nonsense profile, this A4-sized travel wallet will certainly appeal to business travellers, but it’s perfect for leisure travellers, too – especially those with a gaggle of dependents in tow. The huge main compartment is ideal for stashing items such as boarding passes, visa paperwork and the Covid passports we’ll probably be carrying sooner or later, and passports slipped easily into the five oversized card slot-style openings. A pocket at the rear, complete with a restraining strap, will happily accommodate an iPad.
House of Disaster by the sea palm travel wallet
This palm tree-flecked travel essential is the next best thing to a one-way ticket to paradise (almost). There are pockets galore in this wallet, which has an ocean-inspired colour scheme on the inside and a deep, wide envelope-style opening with a press stud closure.
Two slip pockets are ideal for stashing boarding passes and passports, and there are several card slot-style openings which are perfect for stashing holding items such as receipts, too. Once again we were impressed with the presence of a pen loop – even more so by the way we only needed to partially open the wallet to access it.
The verdict: Travel wallets
Emily Brooks’ Toucan Travel Wallet injects a much-needed burst of colour into the world of travel document wallets, and its fantastic design means it will serve you equally well on short haul city breaks as well as multi-week transcontinental adventures.
A special mention goes to Aspinal of London’s Travel Wallet as it is both luxurious and functional – and it was the only one with a removable insert, which now tops our list of travel wallet must-haves. For its understated glamour and ease of use, we’re also recommending Noble Macmillan’s Travel Wallet, which was easily accessible, stylish and secure.
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