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Ironore88

Anti theft bags

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Good morning all,

I am looking for advice on anti theft bags, both crossbody and backpack or similar size as we will be in Rome and Florence prior to our cruise.  
Thanks again for any input you can provide.

Have a wonderful day😊😊

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1 hour ago, Ironore88 said:

Good morning all,

I am looking for advice on anti theft bags, both crossbody and backpack or similar size as we will be in Rome and Florence prior to our cruise.  
Thanks again for any input you can provide.

Have a wonderful day😊😊

PacSafe is great - have a purse that I wear crossbody. https://www.pacsafe.com/

There are other options: https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/travel-bags/anti-theft-travel-bags

I carry my passport, credit card & money in a passport wallet worn crossbody inside my shirt/sweater.

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I assume you've already decided to purchase one of these bags, but just know that they are not really necessary. I have been traveling to Italy quite often for the past dozen years -- just spent 10 days in Rome in November and a week in Florence the previous year (and two weeks in Naples preceding that) -- not to mention numerous shorter stays.

 

I've never had any type of anti-theft bag. I just take what I consider reasonable precautions: 

  • I use a cross-body bag, always worn across my body and with either my hand resting on the point where the strap meets the bag (and covering the zipper), which is comfortable for me, or if I need both hands, I keep my arm pressed against it.
  • I do not carry my passport ashore unless I am expressly required to carry it on me by local authorities. If I do, it goes in a "secret pocket" that I then pin to the waistband of my skirt or pants. There are other options, but I find this one comfortable.
  • I only carry a small wallet and in it I have: limited cash, a debit card, and one credit card. (Onboard ship or in my hotel safe I leave: a second debit card, an additional credit card (different account), and any larger amounts of cash not needed. I will take my driver's license as I have successfully used it as ID in some places that require you to leave an ID or passport in exchange for rental of an audioguide unit. 
  • The wallet stays in an interior pocket of my bag, which is then zipped and the zipper is pinned shut with a safety pin.
  • If I sit down to have a coffee, eat lunch, or whatever, I do not take off the crossbody bag. It stays on my person all day.
  • I try hard not to look like an easy "tourist" target -- when going from place to place I keep my camera hidden (or use my phone), I use my phone to navigate and I don't pull out the guidebook or notes until I am actually at the place/site where I'm headed. 
  • Areas where there is a crush of people are usually the most dangerous. Be particularly aware of your immediate surroundings when you are using public transportation (bus, train, metro), including when you are entering/exiting the building or vehicle.  But also places like Trevi fountain or the area around the Colosseum are usually rife with opportunity for pickpockets.

I realize that for some, the seemingly extra security of anti-theft bags help give you greater peace-of-mind. But in my opinion, they are not something that is "required" but more "optional"....

 

Something to keep in mind is that these bags are easily spotted and may lead pickpockets to assume you are carrying something worth stealing. It's not unknown in Italy to have pickpockets on scooters who will zoom by and grab your entire bag from you. If this should happen, the best thing to do is quickly ditch the bag. The injuries that can be sustained are not worth it.

 

Finally, do some reading on popular "scams" in places where you are traveling so you can spot them:  the "mustard/ketchup/bird poo" scam, the baby toss, the fake petition, the "found" jewelry.....

 

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My theory on the Pacsafe handbags is that they are very recognisable, not just to me or my fellow tourists, but to pickpockets as well.  I live in hope that an aspiring pickpocket will see my Pacsafe handbag, decide that it’s too much bother, and target someone else. 😊

 

The one time I’ve had my pocket picked, I was standing on a bus wearing a small crossbody bag, with my hand on the top of it.  The pickpocket gave me an almighty shove from behind, so that I lurched into the seated passengers and had to take my hand off the bag in order not to fall onto someone.  Just that quick, she had her hand into my bag and out of it, taking only the Euros, not the Sterling I also had, right next to the Euros, nor my passport or credit cards.  Pickpockets are jaw-droppingly good, and I think if one of them wanted to get into my Pacsafe bag, they probably could.  I just count on the annoyance factor.  If the bag is difficult enough to get into, hopefully a pickpocket will turn to an easier mark.

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I do everything cruisemom42 does, with my Pacsafe bag.  I like that it locks, in case something like what lisiamc mentioned happens.  I like that you can lock/unlock the strap so I can weave it into a chair for those times I don't want to wear my purse while eating.  As an added measure, it's safety cone orange.  NOT a color I would use at home, but I've heard of bags being taken at security screenings (such as to get into the Eiffel Tower) and it's harder to walk away with a bright orange purse.

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I have a PacSafe bag that I have used as cruisemom describes, but I don't always take it, depending on what I want to carry with me and the time of year.  In the fall, winter and early spring when I'm wearing a coat I use hidden inner zipper pockets in my coats to carry money, passport, credit & ATM cards.  If I want to bring anything else I'm more likely to use a small backpack to carry things like tissues, guide books, etc., stuff I'd be okay losing if someone got after it.

 

I do tend to use the PacSafe bag for warm weather travel when I have fewer options inside my clothing.

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I bought a Pacsafe bag for our first Med cruise and barely used it as I found it awkward.   Instead, I use a leather shoulder bag.  Mine has a thick strap that can be extended so the bag can also be worn crossbody.  I follow the same precautions that cruisemom42 mentioned. 

 

My leather bag closes with a zipper and in crowded areas I use a carabiner to secure the zipper to the strap.  The carabiner is the same metal as the buckles on the strap so it doesn't stand out. 

 

 

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The absolute easiest safe way is to wear a money belt with credit card ID and cash.   Use a waist one or pocket one, not one around your neck that is easily visible.  Then there are zero worries,  we also carry a small amount of easily accessible  cash like 50 Euros or less.   We have seen backpacks, Fanny packs etc thrown in Garbage cans.  The pickpockets are amazing.  Doing this over decades we have only been pickpocketed once and they got our throwaway wallet.   But my husband noticed it and was able to get even that back.

Edited by bennybear

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