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I really don't want to buy a pacsafe purse..ideas for securing the one I have.

I will be using waist wallets and neck pouches for my deep storage, and don't plan on accessing it during the day. I purchased a really nice lightweight Bagellini travel purse to wear cross body. Since my real valuables are under my clothes, I think I can get away with this purse, don't you? I will most likely just carry things like:

Maps
readers
lipstick
30-40 euros
sunglasses if need
Any tickets we need for something for that day (touring tickets..but I have them on my phone, too)
Oh...my phone.

The only thing I don't like about his purse is it has 3 little outside pockets with zippers on them. NOTHING will go in there. What I don't like is that there is not a zipper lock...so need to find something to lock that. anyway...it was only $27 and I'd rather not spend $80+ on a pacsafe if I'm deep storing the real valuable, don't you agree? But I would like to figure out how to secure that zipper. I suppose I could safety pin it. I imagine I'll be wearing my purse in crowds alot towards the front with my hand/arm securing it. I hate to be so paranoid.

Posted by
3936 posts

Not knowing what the purse looks like, perhaps you could use a carabiner clip...? Or an s-biner (double clip). If there are two zippers that come together (like on a suitcase) you could safety pin or carabiner them together. Or perhaps carabiner the zipper to the strap. I hope this makes sense!

We actually have a pacsafe bag that we use (metrosafe 200 or 250 I think) - got it off ebay for about 2/3rds the price of a new one.

Posted by
439 posts

Hi,

The safety pin is a good idea. I think that and putting your arm or hand over the zippers should work too, that is what I usually do. If the bag is stolen and there are not any real valuables in it, it isn't the end of the world...you can buy another lipstick or sunglasses. I'd say the worst thing that you would lose is the reader. You may want to make a copy of the tickets if you are travelling with someone, have them carry it as well.

Have a good time.

Mary

Posted by
2145 posts

Makes sense to me, Nicole, as that's exactly the way I secure the zipper pockets on my purse (also a cross body Baggilini) and my backpack when I carry one. There are some fairly tiny s carabiner clips available at REI and Dicks here in Colorado. I feel safe using these but you have to make sure the two zippers have a way to join. For one of my purses, I had to also attach split rings. I do also use a money belt for "deep storage".

Posted by
506 posts

I am not sure where you are going, but I think you are being way too paranoid. If you have important things in a neck wallet under clothes that is enough. Even the locals in Europe carry a purse. I love anything I have ever bought from Bagallini, they are expensive and well made bags. I think you have enough. Just make sure everything you carry is in the front of your body and hang on to your bag in a crowd. Otherwise what a drag to spend your whole trip worrying about thieves. And don't leave tote bags just sitting around or zippers open.

Posted by
14226 posts

We have a Pacsafe and love it but as long as you have the bulk of your valuables deep stored, you can just secure the zipper on your bag any old way that works.

But please don't walk about with the thing very obviously clutched to your front: it's a dead giveaway that there's something in it worth taking. The more nervous and vulnerable you visibly appear, the more attention you may draw so put on that confident form and face!

Posted by
983 posts

I love my pacsafe but find the Travelon bags to be much more affordable and just as good.

I bought the super-duper sized pacsafe hobo to use as my side carry-on and both dh and I will be carrying two different sizes of travelon cross body bags. I bought the smallest crossbody and it will hold my big ol' ecig, sunglasses, lipsticks, phone, cc's. and cash and is so lightweight that I never find a need to take it off to rest my shoulder. I now use this bag on a daily basis to replace the suitcase of a purse that I used to carry!

Since these bags only have one locking zipper at the top I went to Michael's craft store and bought extra clips. I attached them to the original clip and I can now secure that back zipper pocket as well. I may just use heavy duty paper clips for our big bags as ARGH!!! the RS zipper pulls don't have holes in the ends for securing together.

I think you will be fine with that purse since you are carrying the valuables on body. Just be aware, keep your hand over the zipper pull in crowded places, and don't take the bag off and lay it aside where it can be snatched.

Posted by
4535 posts

You have your valuables secured. Your purse can be pretty standard for everyday items. Leave the paranoia at home and enjoy your trip.

Posted by
3696 posts

If you are going to worry about it the whole time, then just buy the thing. However, most people travel safely to Europe over and over.... Do what you feel you need to, then just forget about it.
I carry a small cross body Maruca bag that has my passport, money, credit cards and phone in it at all times. Another small bag might have my camera, water bottle, maps etc. If I were feeling particularly threatened the Maruca bag can be shoved down my top. When I sit at a restaurant it ends up in my lap. I always know where it is. With a money belt I am not sure why you would be so worried. (I would not wear a money belt... way too uncomfortable.)

Posted by
3777 posts

I have several Baggallini crossbody bags in different sizes, colors and styles. (Thanks, TJ Maxx). I use them the same way both at home and on trips. I don't add any special security.

Sometimes I turn the zipper side toward my body, no matter where I am. That makes the open pocket easier to access for maps, lip balm or whatever, while making any zipper pockets more difficult to get to.

With their bags, Baggallini often provides a little coin purse with a strap that has lobster clasps at each end. I always use those. The little strap is long enough that I can pull the coin purse out but still leave it attached.

When sitting in a restaurant, I slide the long strap down over my arm so it is around my waist and position the bag in the safest location for where I'm sitting.

Overseas, my important stuff is in my moneybelt, so I feel very comfortable with those limited precautions. At home my most valuable stuff is inside the zipper pocket deep inside every Baggallini bag I own.

Posted by
715 posts

I keep my passport, credit cards, extra cash in my money belt.

I keep my iPad mini, camera, sunglasses, notes etc. In a simple small Patagonia Mini mass messenger bag. I never had a problem.

Posted by
524 posts

We are going to Italy and from what I've been reading, it's not unusual to be pickpocketed. What I'm trying to do, I suppose, is to take care of these things now....so I won't feel so paranoid when I'm over there. My purse doesn't have to zippers that come together, just one long one. The zipper is on top, but the sides of the purse sort of come up over it. I will have to take a look at the binders to see if they are long enough to attach to the zipper and the hardware...which is up much further than you think. I might just have to take to the safety pin.

Posted by
51 posts

I have been to Europe every summer for ages. Never had a problem with a regular purse that I wore cross body. Especially if you are storing your valuables in a money belt. Just be careful. I know that people get pickpocketed, but there are also many more that do not. I would not mess with a zipper lock, really it sounds like if they get in your purse then there won't be much to steal anyway.

Posted by
3696 posts

There are so many scare stories I am surprised people still go:) I think there are probably way more people who have not been pickpocketed than have! I have been over 30 times and not a victim yet.... just had someone try the gold ring scam on me in Paris:))

Posted by
14226 posts

I've never locked or otherwise secured the zipper on my shoulder bag either but I don't carry anything in it that would be a real pain to lose. Mine does have one of those small zippered pouches which is attached by a tether to the inside that I keep buried at the bottom with a small amount of cash.

Posted by
2364 posts

I'm in and out of my purse often enough that using a zipper lock would just be silly. I have a belt pouch inside my jeans so not worried about my important stuff. I don't bring my usual wallet on vacation and instead use a zippered pouch with a loop that is then clipped or pinned to a ring attached to the inside of my bag--I can access it but it can't be removed without my knowledge. I travel with either my Coach leather cross-body with a zipper closure, or a canvas messenger bag that hold more things like map, book, etc. Your proposed light-weight bag sounds just fine to me.

Posted by
9363 posts

Because my important stuff is secreted elsewhere, I just carry a regular, lightweight nylon purse like I would at home. No safety-pinned, carabinered, clipped, locked, secured anything. Locals don't look like they are on lockdown every minute. To me, seeing someone all locked up draws more attention to them. Students carry backpacks, local women carry purses and open totebags on their arms. Sure, use reasonable caution in crowds, but don't go around like the paranoia poster child.

Posted by
1926 posts

Just got back from 17 days in Spain. Like Nancy, I just use a lightweight nylon bag. Mine is a shoulder bag that I use everyday, so I'm used to the way it feels. I deep storage anything I can't replace. We wandered through The Ramblas, the rest of Barcelona, Lisbon and Madrid without any problem. I will say, it looked like I'd missed the line where they issued cross-body bags as it seemed like everyone was using them.

Posted by
5137 posts

If you don't want to spend $80 more, then you're still ahead if you lose anything less than $80 to a pickpocket. : )

Enjoy your trip, knowing that you have your major valuables secure & safe in your moneybelt. Do you need a waist moneybelt AND neck pouch?? Moneybelt contents are usually just your passport, ATM & credit card & some large Euro bills. I usually just have 20E in my purse during the day, knowing that I can access my moneybelt anytime I'm in a bathroom. To me, a safety pin, etc. would be annoying but do what's comfortable for you.

Posted by
247 posts

If your bag has the option to do it, you can secure the zipper using a twisty tie. I have a black bag so I use a black twisty tie I salvaged from a recent camera purchase (some of the cords were conveniently held together with a black twisty tie). They're very small and barely noticeable, but just enough of an inconvenience to make a pickpocket move on.

I use the twisty to hook the purse zipper to the little metal "D ring" that links the bag shoulder strap to the purse. The twisty is not too difficult to un-do and is just enough to deter any unwanted hands from slipping inside. This also works well if your bag has a closure with two zippers... you can simply use the twisty tie to hook the two zippers together.

If your bag has a zipper on the side (as well as the top) just flip the bag so the side zipper is to the inside (against your body).

Posted by
7110 posts

Simple solution, twist ties. Yes, those things you use to secure your fruits and vegetables in plastic bags in the supermarket.

I love them. Always take some when I travel. Can secure a button to a blouse, linked together as a key chain, secure a zipper lock, and in a true emergency, hold your eye glasses together when that teeny tiny screw pops out!

Posted by
524 posts

Jean...good point about the price of a new purse vs what the $$$ of my possessions stolen would be!!!! Probably more the inconvenience then anything, but your point is well taken. I also like the idea of getting a lightweight fabric "wallet" and securing it inside my purse where it can't be lifted out. My purse doesn't have one attached, so I can DIY it. Thanks for that idea..I like that.

I like the twist tie also, just don't think the zipper is close enough to any hardware on the purse to be able to do that. But I will keep it in mind for anything else we have that it can be used on.

Posted by
2262 posts

As for buying a pacsafe purse, well they seem to have accomplished the first goal in their sales plan "make the potential customer scared to death" but it numerous trips to Europe I have never seen a need for one of these type of safes.

I travel with a purse like OP describes at least once a year. I have never even considered needing to "lock" the zipper. I just keep it close to me and pay attention.

Posted by
14226 posts

My husband usually carries the Pacsafe. Ours is generic enough not to look like he's carrying a lady's purse! I carry other stuff in my shoulder bag that we might need for the day, and would be no great loss if lifted.

Posted by
3936 posts

Kathy - my husband caries the pacsafe as well because I carry the camera stuff.

I actually quite like the layout of my pacsafe...(and the fact that the one we have is generic looking so hubby will carry it)...our extra money that many would carry in a money belt...is behind the credit cards/ID, which is behind a zippered compartment, which is underneath the flap that goes over the whole bag (we have the metrosafe 200 or 250)...we'll carry the change and what we think we may need for the day in the back zippered pocket. If we need to get any extra euro, then we don't have to worry about fumbling with a money belt. I also keep the passports in that area. Short of someone pulling it off my husband, I'm 99% sure no one would ever get into that compartment with 3 layers of 'protection'. And we can lock the zipper to that compartment if we felt so inclined (but we usually don't). If someone did manage to get into the back zipper with our daily cash without noticing, they wouldn't come away with much. A lot of pickpocketing is opportunity - with where our money is hidden, they would have no idea it was there (unless they were watching) but it seems pretty inaccessible and I imagine they would move on to an easier, more distracted mark.

Posted by
698 posts

There are SO many great day bags/purses out there and it's total personal preference. I LOVE the Tom Bihn Medium Cafe bag. I learned about Tom Bihn back in January on these RS forums. It secures very well with a sturdy buckle, but what I like most about it is that it has several D-rings in it & you buy separate 4 or 8in straps with the bag and strap everything in the bag to the D-rings -
I strap in my wallet (it is a pac safe W150 wallet that i got at AAA or amazon- i really love it), my camera, my little Tom Bihn organizer bag w/lipgloss, sunglasses, etc, I have a Tom Bihn Double organizer pouch with all our papers, tickets, plans strapped in also . . . so everything in my purse is secured to my purse- so no one can take anything out. My husband does wear a money belt w/most of our cash and Credit Cards in it . . . but we have traveled without money belts too without any issues.

The Tom Bihn website is very user friendly, the Medium Cafe bag is under the TOTES tab. There is a video to watch about it and many photos.

Posted by
1179 posts

Hi Lulu,
The Packsafe is heavy and bulky which makes it a poor choice for light travel. I secure my regular cross body bag with a micro-lock S-biner from NiteIze. I clip one end to the purse hardware that attaches the cross body strap to the bag. Then I clip the other end into the zipper when I want to "lock" my bag. It takes two hands to open the purse - one hand to hold the biner and the other to twist the lock. It quick and easy. The smaller size of the s-biner makes it a harder target for thieves. I've put locking s-biners on all of my purses. I leave them on the purse hardware where the cross body strap attaches. They are small and unobtrusive. You get two for $5.
Here's the link:
http://www.rei.com/product/860182/nite-ize-s-biner-microlock-keychain-2-pack

Edit: I noticed that this is for the side zipper. You can go to the fabric store and find a small ring finding. You can also buy a set of small lobster claw findings. Sew the ring on to the bag near the zipper. Attach the lobster claw section on to the zipper.

Posted by
66 posts

Lulu, you baffle me. You spend all this time ordering and returning shoes, but don't want to invest in a secure purse.

In my four trips to Europe, I have had pickpocket attempts on 3 trips, in .france and in Italy. Pickpockets abound. Be especially careful in and around train stations and subways.

I think you have had good suggestions. Yes, a safety pin will work fine. Or a clip. The main thing is that the zipper is not easy to open.

We were on the 4 subway in Paris, headed to Montmartre. My friend had our backpack in her arms in front of her. The train was very crowded. At one stop, a bunch of people got off, and then a hand reached high over the exiting people holding her wallet, and passed it back into the train! Someone had reached inside the backpack while she was holding it in front of her, and taken her wallet. And someone else saw it, snatched it back and passed it back to us. Nothing was gone. That was scary. Another time we were at Gare du Lyon and someone was talking to her about directions, and had his hand in her waist pack at the same time. I saw it from down the platform and started yelling.

You have to be alert and mindful, but not worried. Just pay attention. Avoid being in crowds. Avoid people getting too close when they are chatting. Do carry a money belt or neck wallet. And safety pin your zippers. All should be fine.

Posted by
80 posts

After spending months in Europe I never had anything stolen by a pickpocket-not that it is impossible, but I have been thoughtful and lucky.

So, your money belt will have your passport, back up cards, and any large amounts of cash you are carrying. Your wallet should therefor only have some cash for a day or two (100 Euro?) and one card for any large or automated machine purchase. Your bag will also have your phone, a camera, and sundry items you may need, as mentioned above. What are you worried about exactly? Your money belt is secure, your daily cash isn't much, and you know who to call if your card gets taken. And your phone is just a phone, secure it but it is Just A Phone. Don't get me wrong, I would be extremely upset if I lost my phone especially since it has my email (with ticket info) and other info, but it's just a hiccup and the trip would go on.

Now, think like a pickpocket. First of all, pickpockets are the main problem, not purse snatchers, so you will not lose your tickets, maps, sundries. If he or she has to unclip, lift a flap, unzip, and reach down up to his elbow, then most likely whatever is in the bottom of that bag won't get taken. If you don't need your phone, bury it in your bag under the maps and books, and put your wallet down there with it. Keep a few euro coins in one of the zipper pockets for bathrooms or quick drinks. Pull your bag in front of you when you are in crowded tourist areas, set it on you lap on public transportation, put it between your feet at a restaurant (a pickpocket won't crawl under the table), and just be conscious of what is going on around you. Do a bag check with your travel companions, making sure all zippers are zipped and everyone's bags are closed when you leave a place. You will be fine, and nothing irreplaceable is in that bag, and if those few coins are taken, well you have the best story to post on the forum.
Remember, there are tons of helpful, honest Europeans too. Someone above mentioned a wallet being taken, but also BEING RETURNED by another person who saw what happened. A small bag fell out of my backpack, and an Italian couple picked it up and came after me to return it. Keep an eye out for those people, too.

I know you will have a fantastic trip! Bon Voyage!

Posted by
14226 posts

A couple of comments to the last post (and these are personal preferences)?

We don't use moneybelts. Neither of us can stand them, and our methods (Pacsafe, small cloth bags pinned inside our waistlines; little bag tethered and buried to the inside of my shoulder bag) have worked just fine.

We do not travel with a phone. All of our communication is via free wifi on an ipad mini or itouch. I know this doesn't work for people with kids at home but it works for us, and we do no not always carry those during the day. We check our email every morning and every night. We use paper maps. Not having to worry about losing a phone is a big stress reliever.

We keep change and small bills in our pockets: never had it lifted.

The bulk of our cash and cards are locked in the hotel-room safe. No need to haul all that around.

We don't look as if we have anything worth taking. We don't dress expensively, and don't walk around clutching a bag to our chests: dead giveaway that there's something there worth taking. We're (clean/tidy) jeans and t-shirt people who can walk with confidence, and not draw attention to ourselves.

We NEVER place bags beneath our feet.

But yes, being aware of one's surroundings is always a good idea!

Posted by
1994 posts

If you're looking for horror stories, you'll find plenty of people willing to accommodate the need. I suggest you do whatever makes you feel comfortable, and focus on planning an enjoyable trip rather than worrying about a potential loss.

I've spent months in Europe and the Middle East over a number of trips. I keep the things I can't lose in my money belt. Finally, a year ago, I did have my wallet taken – on arrival in Venice, on a very crowded vaporetto, during stormy weather, when I was tired and distracted. It wasn't a problem worth worrying about; it took anout 15 minutes to cancel one credit card and walk to an ATM to replace €100.

Posted by
64 posts

Lulu, It looks like you've got everything covered. Wow! Both a waist wallet & a neck pouch? Like you, I prefer a Baggellini crossbody, as Pacsafe is too heavy for me. How lucky you are to have found one at only $27! I keep a hand on my purse when in crowds (often with the front pockets toward my body) & have never felt the need to secure the zippers. The only time I was ever robbed in Europe was when I was foolish enough to place my Baggellini inside a daypack (worn on my back in a crowd). The culprit unzipped the pack & ran away with the purse. So, securing the zippers on a daypack/backpack is a good idea, but probably not necessary for a purse. Using the safe in your hotel room is also smart, so you don't need so much deep storage around your waist/around your neck. I don't want to add to your paranoia, but if you really feel the need to wear a neck pouch, please be sure it is completely hidden...Otherwise you will look like an inexperienced & vulnerable tourist. Be safe & have fun!