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Cell Phone Security

Any tips for carrying your cell phone securely? I don't plan to use it often, so it can be stowed under my clothing, like in a money belt, but I'm worried it might be too big and bulky. Given that I plan to bring an Android tablet and am considering buying a cheap international phone, I wonder if I even need my main cell phone at all. Thank you in advance!

Posted by
2616 posts

I carry my phone either in an interior zipped pocket of my cross-body bag, or if I might be using it to take photos I put in a zipped jacket pocket. More often in my purse. Generally I am very protective of it since it's truly my life-line, with info I may need, and am cautious about holding it up to take photos in crowded areas--Rick's books warn about thieves snatching phones that way, and I really don't want to deal with a lost phone while in Europe. If you don't think you'll use it while out and about you could lock it in your suitcase.

Posted by
5697 posts

I saw somebody in Switzerland who had an around-the-neck phone holder (plastic loops around all four corners, so if dropped while taking a photo it wouldn't drop far) But I haven't found it for sale anywhere.
I don't use the "phone" at all -- but use the "camera" function every day and the "Wi-Fi device" function every evening in the hotel and the "GPS" on occasion, so the phone is in my purse all the the time, usually in a zippered compartment.
How do you plan to carry your tablet?

Posted by
7965 posts

Just me: I use a regular camera; a cell phone seems unnecessary to carry out in the day on the town in a foreign country not unless you are going somewhere remote where you may need to be rescued.

Posted by
15525 posts

Since a cell phone today is more than just something needed for rescue--camera, gps, maps, guidebooks, look up hotel/restaurant/other information, call for reservations, etc., I have found a way, I think, will help deter theft.

I have a silicone case for my phone. On the back I attached a phone ring stand and then use a Tyny Tools Key Clip Bungee to attach the phone to a belt loop. The phone rests in my front pocket.

People will see the bungee but think I have keys on the other end as that is what they are usually used for. And yes, I use this at home.

One other benefit of the phone ring stand, besides being used as a stand, is you can put your finger through it while holding the phone to help prevent dropping it.

Posted by
2768 posts

If you are planning to use smartphone features (apps, maps, internet browsing, email, phone, etc) you will want it easily accessible. In your pocket or daybag is best. Yes, it can be stolen but everyone and their great grandma has a smartphone so it won't mark you as a specific target in Europe. Keep an eye on it, don't set it on the tabletop where someone can grab it - common sense. These devices are useless buried in some safe storage, so if you aren't going to use it don't bring it.

If you just want the basics, buy a cheap local phone. If people at home need you give them that number.

Posted by
4535 posts

Smart phones are certainly targets for theft. A friend almost had theirs stolen while it was sitting on a cafe table (I didn't realize they had put it down like that or would have warned them). They are stolen regularly here and in Europe. But I never worry about someone grabbing and running. It happens but it's more rare.

If using it regularly, such as for the camera, it needs to be fairly secure but accessible to you. If not using it much but needing it with you, keep it more deeply stored in a bag. If not needing it much at all, leave it in your luggage back at the hotel.

I keep my phone in my belt loop pouch. It's one reason I love the belt loop pouch. It hangs on the outside and all of my valuables go in it. Secure from thieves but pretty easy for me to access.

A cross body or Packsafe type bag/purse also works well. And those are good solutions for storing other valuables.

An inner jacket pocket works good if it's not summer.

A pocket (front or back) is not secure at all. You run a higher risk of having it picked, but I wouldn't obsess over it too much unless its loss would be a significant issue for you.

Posted by
891 posts

Since we only travel to Europe in the fall after it has cooled off, or in spring before it gets warm I wear a Scotties lightweight vest. It has multiple interior zipped pockets, one specifically for a cell phone. Very convenient and I can relax and not worry.

I like Frank's idea too!

Have a great trip!

Posted by
32241 posts

I normally carry my iPhone in an Otterbox belt clip case, the same as I do at home. It's hidden behind my travel vest so not really visible to thieves. In more "high risk" locations such as the Metro where thieves could find it "by touch", I take it out of the belt clip and store it in one of the inner pockets of my Vest. The rubber case makes it difficult to easily get the phone out of a tight fitting pocket. I use cameras for photos so there's no need to retrieve the phone frequently when out touring.

Posted by
1080 posts

I use my Iphone as a camera and GPS when walking around and touring, I also download RS travel books and maps so I keep mine with me at all times when traveling. I was also concerned about losing or having it stolen so I use pants and shorts from Clothing Arts (pick pocket proof pants), these have a triple security feature that I like, I'll be going on the RS Greece tour in 4 weeks and plan on just taking two pairs of their convertible pants (the legs zip off) and 5 shirts so packing is fairly easy. I'm not affiliated with the company, I just like their products.

Posted by
208 posts

We use our iPhones (smaller 6S) for everything... GPS, camera, communication, etc. So, we detinitely need easy access. What we've done (for when in our hands) is, I have attached a wrist strap, that previously came with our "point and shoot" cameras. We keep our phones in a very thin, rubbery/silicone-type cover. I attach the strap via its tiny attachment string (made of kevlar or nylon, I think) to the little section of case material that bridges the openings by the lightning port and the speaker. The wrist strap holds the phone remarkable securly to my wrist while taking pictures or when walking around with it in my hand. It saves it from falling overboard on our cruise ships too! It makes me feel especially secure when taking "selfies", as that often requires holding it precariously, with a higher chance of falling out of my hand.

Otherwise, I keep mine in my (very small) Travelon purse (which never comes off, while out), and my husband his in a "cargo" pocket in his pants.


Posted by
347 posts

I have a wrist strap attached to a very simple case. This is what I use whenever I am out in public in case I drop the phone or someone would try to snatch it from my hand.

Posted by
1625 posts

My cell phone lives in my purse when on vacation, just like at home...same pocket, same location. I would never pull out my cell phone out while riding the metro. I am a huge believer of using established habits on vacation same as home. You get a fancy new purse for vacation, nothing is familiar, your fumbling around for this and that and you make yourself a target for bad guys. I can reach into my purse in the dark and pull out whatever I need.

Posted by
15525 posts

Yesterday, on the tube from Heathrow into town I saw examples of what not to do--and from one person.

The train was very crowded. There had been signal delays at Heathrow so between the people and bags it was virtually impossible to move.

One young lady was standing and had her cellphone more than half out of her back pocket. Easy pickings for a pickpocket if one was nearby. A few stops later, she found a seat, took our her phone, and a credit card, and made a call. She then proceeded to read her credit card information into the phone.

I just stood there and shook my head.

Posted by
11294 posts

Wow - phone in the back pocket and reading out her credit card numbers in public! What did she do next - tell everyone her date of birth and her mother's maiden name?

Posted by
3237 posts

As soon as I arrive at my first destination after the flight, my US Phone goes into my suitcase. It comes out before my flight home as I don't want it in my suitcase when luggage is checked. I use my iPod with wifi in Europe. I usually don't bother with a phone in Europe, if I'm touring around as my iPod works fine.