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Shoulder purse vs. Daypack?

I have been following the moneybelt vs. neck pouch topic and would like some advice on whether a shoulder purse worn crossways over the shoulder is more comfortable, more secure, and perhaps more fashionable than a daypack.

Posted by
4693 posts

While I usually bring both a purse and daypack with me, I generally carry the purse because I usually don't carry much with me when I sightsee (small camera, pages torn out of the guide book, map, money for the day, bus ticket, etc. Additionally, many museums will allow a small purse but make you check a daypack (some museums also make you check a purse). I also like to think that I look less like a tourist with a purse, but I am probably just fooling myself.

Posted by
1806 posts

Check into the PacSafe line of products. I just bought the Metro 200. It looks like a shoulder/guide bag/handbag. Not too big, but with big safety features. Zippers that lock, mesh in the outer bag that cannot be cut and a shoulder strap with wires that cannot be cut.

My daughter bought the CitySafe 200. Looks like a handbag with a shoulder strap...same features...mesh in the front and back panels, wire in the shoulder strap and zippers that lock.

Check them out online, and look for them at your local luggage store. They are not available on yet..I've looked. I found mine at REI.

Posted by
75 posts

For me, it depends on WHERE I am going in Europe. In big cities, I use a Longchamp bag.The "Pliage" series was created for Europeans for people who need a collapsible purse. In the country or on transportation days, I use a LLBean Stowaway, which also collapses when not in use.

I also use Rick Steves Veloce bag, which tries to strike a balance between the two. I use it when space is at a premium, as it is heavier than a lightweight pack, and looks less like a purse than a real one.

I tend not to worry about thieves w/knives. After living in Europe (twice!), it feels much safer to me than the US. I try to stay away from dangerous, lonely places, and places w/huge crushes of tourists. If I am going to a crowded place, I carry my bag of whatever type in both hands and make certain nothing of real value is inside.

Enjoy your trip, whatever you decide!

Posted by
84 posts

I personally prefer some kind of shoulder bag that can be worn on the shoulder or across the body. Backpacks drive me nuts...too hard to get in and out of that thing all the time and it's too hard to tell what is going on behind you. With a shoulder bag, I can keep the bag close to me.

Posted by
36 posts

If you're going to be out all day, a backpack is the most comfortable way to carry your lunch, water, perhaps an extra sweater or light jacket, camera, and whatever else you like to have with you when you're out and about for hours at a time. I use the small day-pack which zips off my travel pack, and lock the zippers when I'm walking in town.

Posted by
46 posts

Some travel sites recomend just safety pinning the zippers on your purse. May take you a few extra seconds but it will take a pickpocket even longer. To be honest, I'm 14 and I am sooo not wearing a fanny pack in Europe.

Posted by
25 posts

This may not be fair, but i have my husband carry a daypack with our light jackets, water, guidebook, and camera and I enjoy sightseeing with nothing weighing me down :) I do all the planning he carries the stuff. A packpack just looks less touristy on a guy.

On days were moving cities I do typically carry a purse crossways so i can easy access to items I may want on the train and such and to have a small amount of cash with me.

Posted by
67 posts

I agree with Brandy from Phoenix - backpacks DO look less "touristy" on a guy and I don't like my stuff behind me where I can't keep an eye or hand on it. My husband usually carries one with "day stuff" in it and also wears a money belt. I carry a shoulder purse (either across my body or tucked tightly between my arm & body and have NEVER had a problem anywhere I've traveled in Europe. You just have to be aware - I generally carry the credit cards & some of the cash and am vigilent about rechecking everything whenever I open things up in a shop, station, etc. I like to keep some of the local currency in a pocket (coat or jeans) so I don't have to open anything for small or street purchases. I also carry one of those backpacks that folds up into a tiny pouch (usually about 3 inches and just a couple ounces) to carry unforseen purchases or a purchased-on-the-fly picnic. They fit in a pocket, purse or backpack or clip to something you're already carrying until time to use them.

Posted by
104 posts

I have used both a purse that goes across my body and a backpack in Europe. I usually decide which to use based on the country I visit and the rules for checking bags at museums and sites. When I was in Paris, I read that large bags or backpacks would need to be checked at many sites, so I wore a purse/small satchel so I wouldn't need to check it. It was big enough to hold my guidebook, camara, and other daily stuff (money belt held everything important!).

In the UK, I didn't find the baggage check rules to be as restrictive, so I used a backpack that was specifically meant to hold SLR camera gear and lenses, plus other odds and ends. This fall, I am gonig to Italy where large bags and backpacks will need to be checked, so I will go back to the purse/satchel.

I don't really care what's more fashionable. I find both to be equally comfy. As to what's more secure, I always keep a close eye on my purse or backpack.

Posted by
97 posts

I usually wear a money belt and then carry a bag crossed over the shoulder. If that gets stolen all I have to replace is my camera or jacket. I have heard too many stories about backpacks. Althought I do carry them on occasion, I will carry them in front.

Posted by
705 posts

I always take a purse and never a back pack. I have to agree, rightly or wrongly, that a backpack does say 'tourist'. I also don't like the fact that everything is behind you and you can't always know if someone is trampering with the pack. Often I don't wear my purse across my body but over my shoulder jammed under my armpit and holding the staps. This seems to work for me and I have never had a problem.