Europe and much of the rest of the world is safe when it comes to violent crime. Not so much when it comes to petty theft: bag-snatching and pickpocketing are rampant in places where tourists gather. Thieves target Americans because, to paraphrase bank robber Willy Sutton, that’s where the good stuff is. Loaded down with valuables, jetlagged, and bumbling around in a strange new environment, we stick out like jeweled thumbs. These are some of the products I use to protect my money, electronics, and the like.
1. Belt-loop Travel Wallet. Available in black for jeans/dark pants or white for lighter colors, this wallet attaches to your belt (it comes with two belt loops, for use with brown or black belts) and tucks inside your pants. It is zippered, and big enough to hold a passport (which is what I use it for, along with my extra credit card and some local cash). And although I’ve never ever met someone who’s been a victim of electronic theft, it also blocks RFID signals.
2. Chained travel wallet. Husband likes his slim leather billfolds. But he leaves them at home when we are on the road. Instead, he uses this model to carry his credit cards and cash. The chain clips to his belt to prevent a nimble-fingered pickpocket from making off with it. His only complaint? It doesn’t protect against one of my shopping sprees! 🙂
3. Cross-body bag. Clutches? Satchels? Shoulder bags? I rarely carry them when traveling; too easily snatched by a teen who can outrun me or his buddy on a motorbike. Cross-body is the style I prefer—always zipped, never buckled or drawstring. And while I confess a weakness for Prada’s nylon models, there are many lower-priced bags that do the job just as well. Bric’s and Baggallini are available in different colors, are big enough to hold a tablet, and are made of tough nylon and have thick straps, both difficult to cut.
4. IPhone case with strap. I use my phone’s GPS to navigate. That means carrying it instead of keeping it in my bag. The bumper corners on this case (available for iPhone and Galaxy) not only give it more protection in the case of drops but allow you to attach a wrist strap for added security (against drops as well as thieves).
5. Personal Stash. I don’t like neck wallets or money belts. The bulges make me look fat and like, well, an American tourist. On those occasions when I don’t want to carry a bag (elephant polo in India, sand-surfing in the UAE), I wear this small bag around my neck. Enough for a credit card and some cash without any bulge!
6. Infinity scarf with pockets. Another option for when you’d rather not carry a bag is a scarf with zip pockets. There are many options out there; here is a print and a solid. Most are big enough for a passport and slim wallet.
Never want to miss my travel product recommendations? Want to receive all my writing and travel news at once, delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to Scribbles from Twist, my free monthly newsletter; all you need to do is click here.