You’ve got your Clever Travel Companion pieces in order to keep the bulk of your cash, credit cards and identification hidden away, but what about the rest of your belongings that you carry around and don’t want to lose or get stolen? When you are off sightseeing, you will need a day bag that is secure and doesn’t scream “tourist!” A backpack is one of those bags that brands you as a tourist or a student. Also, almost all backpacks have exposed zippers and pockets that are easily accessible to thieves. Usually, you can’t feel a slight tug and things being pulled out. Having a smaller and more manageable bag can help you keep tabs on your items while you’re out and about.
Claire, from Texas, traveled to Europe with her friend. The friend was carrying a backpack out sightseeing and had exchanged some money before leaving their hotel for the day and put the bills in her backpack pocket. While she was walking behind Claire through crowds in Paris the pocket was unzipped and the money removed without the friend even noticing. She didn’t realize what had happened until they got to their first stop and she went to get make a purchase. The zipper was still closed, but the pocket was empty.
Robyn, who always carries a money belt, also learned that carrying a backpack was not the safest bag to carry on vacation. While walking across a bridge in Turkey, she was stuck behind a man walking really slowly. Being annoyed that she couldn’t get around him, she was unaware of the second man behind her opening up the pocket on the front of her backpack and lifting some of her items. Once she made it to the other side of the bridge, she went to take out her prescription sunglasses and found them missing, along with a calculator. Though she could get the glasses replaced, it was still inconvenient to be without them and had to be replaced once back home. She had been lucky enough to have her camera in her hand at the time.
Make sure the bag you choose fits securely against your body and has a durable closure. Look for a zipper that is not exposed. There are many bags that have zippers that face your body, making it nearly impossible for anyone to get into it without you noticing. Don’t keep your phone, camera or spending money in an outside pocket either. It may be a little more inconvenient for you to get to items each time, but it will also make it much safer from thieves. You will never lose items from an inside pocket either, because there is no way they can fall out accidentally. Double security is better than easy access any day.
Many bags now have slash-proof construction in the body of the bags and straps, too. Often thieves will just cut open the bottom of the bag and catch what falls out or cut the strap and take the whole darn thing. With a thin mesh lining, their knife can’t penetrate anything but the outer fabric. It’s always better to have your bag maimed than totally destroyed. It may need replacing, but all your valuables will still be inside. Once you find a good day bag, it can last you many years and trips, so look for durable construction and weigh the amount of use you will get out of it before balking at the price.