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Bag security on long-range EU trains

Will be traveling light during our planned 30-day EU trip. On several days we will be on trains most of the day. Reading the RS article

"Outsmarting Pickpockets and Thieves"

I found the comment "...If you're sitting down to eat or rest, loop your day pack strap around your arm, leg, or chair leg. If you plan to sleep on a train (or anywhere in public), clip or fasten your pack or suitcase to the seat, the luggage rack, or yourself....".

MY QUESTION: Would it be considered rude or insulting to the European public to use a small luggage cable/lock to secure our bags to the luggage racks at the end of the rail car (or overhead rack) when we get up to stretch our legs or get a bite to eat?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BVG45V1B/ref=sspa_dk_detail_10?psc=1&pf_rd_p=0d1092dc-81bb-493f-8769-d5c802257e94&pf_rd_r=DHSS1N21TAETWV5HMKNC&pd_rd_wg=Dtgwk&pd_rd_w=BIDrL&content-id=amzn1.sym.0d1092dc-81bb-493f-8769-d5c802257e94&pd_rd_r=083bd817-5c8b-4239-8578-020cdf4c8d25&s=hi&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9kZXRhaWwy

I don't want to come across as another nut-job, ugly American, but I would like to keep our bags secure.

Posted by
27279 posts

Yes, it's a problem to do that, because others may need to move your suitcase to get access to theirs or to make space for theirs.

Posted by
7926 posts

Would it be considered rude or insulting to the European public to use a small luggage cable/lock to secure our bags to the luggage racks at the end of the rail car (or overhead rack) when we get up to stretch our legs or get a bite to eat?

No big deal as long as you manage to not block other passengers from storing or getting their own bag.
But I wouldn't eat the food served on the train when you can just bring your own (better quality and cheaper) and eat it at your seat.

Nonetheless, keep your money passport, credit cards on you (under your clothes) and never in a locked bag that can still be cut opened.

Posted by
1836 posts

Luggage theft form trains is about as common as luggage theft at airports. I leave my suitcase at the end of the car without second thoughts. Heck, I even leave my shopping there (but that is Switzerland)...

Thieves will be after your purse, or your backpack. So keep that close to you.

Posted by
20300 posts

Luggage theft from trains is about as common as luggage theft at airports.

And that is most often a case of mistaken identity. As the public announcements blare "Many bags look alike, so please confirm it is yours before exiting baggage claim."

Posted by
7051 posts

Based on my reading on here I actually brought a small cable lock with me on my last trip to Europe but ended up never using it. I was a 68 year old female traveling solo so I was a bit concerned. However when I traveled on the trains, which was a lot over 5 weeks, I decided not to be paranoid and worry about it so I just put my suitcase on the rack when I boarded and went to my seat. I kept my purse and day bag with me at the seat and took them along when I used the restroom or stretched my legs. Occasionally when the train made stops and lots of people were getting off, I did try to keep an eye on the luggage rack to make sure my bag didn't disappear but everything was fine. As mentioned before I figured nobody wanted my clothes. Just relax, keep your valuables with you, and don't spend a lot of energy worrying about your luggage in the rack.

Posted by
10255 posts

Yes, it's rude. This is a shared space and someone may need to budge yours to accommodate theirs. Just keep an eye on yours at stops.

Posted by
4574 posts

Not necessary. If your bag is black, then add something to identify it. Distinctive ribbon, luggage tag or buckled luggage strap. This reduces chance of mistaken luggage.
I use the end of carriage luggage storage for my Canadian train travel, light rail to train stations, Indian and Thai trains (recently), European trains over numerous years.
Where I am careful with luggage is local buses in Ecuador. Even locals keep an eye on their stuff as known thieves ride the buses .

Posted by
101 posts

Thanks to all for the responses. Most were helpful.

Posted by
7365 posts

You mentioned that you’re traveling light. I bring a carry on bag, and a personal bag and have ridden a lot of trains in Europe. I just place the carry on in the overhead ledge above my seat, and I wear my personal item crossbody if I am walking around or sleeping. The storage racks at the end of the trains holds the bigger suitcases. The overhead ledge doesn’t usually have anything to thread through for a cable lock.

Posted by
15383 posts

I travel a great deal solo on trains. I also conferred with the Man in Seat 61 about this.

Here's what I do...

1) Thieves don't want your clothes. I'm not very concerned about someone stealing my main carry on.

2) If I do get up to go to the loo or get something to eat, I take my valuables with me which are in my personal item. Sometimes I don't even bother because.....

3) I only get up between stops. Never while at a stop. If someone steals my bag between stops, I'd alert the conductor immediately. What are they going to do....jump off the train.

Posted by
101 posts

Thanks to Frank II for a complete, very helpful, and comprehensive response - I should have thought to check with Man in Seat61. I agree, probably few problems when between stops.

My primary concern is the potential interruption to our travel plans. We have friends who lost luggage on the out-bound leg of a 2-week trip. Not a happy start to their holiday experience.

While checking other online resources, by chance, unearthed this article: https://metro.co.uk/2024/03/15/thieves-picked-almost-14-000-luggage-trains-20473599/?fbclid=IwAR2nK1FPRejMIR9unnFz_6cPdJTXV8vRaAq_D9x01fn-rqUimzhIVVh7Hfo_aem_AaszDzetzOlTMr5lZa3Oh18Gg3sW5243HU95izO_1ZBvHlPk3qL1Nr8BBTcGcHVHHKxSsMcYoQSAintyi20nIjTL

Fake news? Maybe :)

Thanks again for the timely responses.

Posted by
250 posts

Fake new or not, Lessons learned from the link as everyone here already knows are:

-Passport, cards, money, phone stay on your person at all times.

-Electronics, other expensive stuff stay in close contact with you at all times.

-If you can't afford to lose it, leave it at home.

Posted by
250 posts

Posted by Jim (Las Vegas) on 03/29/24 04:04 PM "Outsmarting
Pickpockets and Thieves"

I found the comment "...If you're sitting down to eat or rest, loop
your day pack strap around your arm, leg, or chair leg. If you plan to
sleep on a train (or anywhere in public), clip or fasten your pack or
suitcase to the seat, the luggage rack, or yourself....".

I remember a RS show on PBS where he was sitting on a train and commented that he had his bag in the overhead and it had a cable attached to the rack. The rack was above his head behind him, not to the side like on a plane.

But Rick always has a money belt with the really important stuff in it.