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Security Purses

Are the anti-theft purses like Travelon and PacSafe worth the time and expense?
What about the anti theft wallets RIFD wallets?

Posted by
3696 posts

You will get a variety of answers... those who buy them must think they are worth it, but I am one of those who would not purchase something like that. I have been to Europe more than 30 times with no problems. I would not use a moneybelt, but I always have a small crossbody purse that I am aware of at all times. It is lightweight and I only carry what is necessary. I would not want the extra weight of one of those anti-theft purses. If I feel I am in a sketchy area I would put my passport, xtra money in a neck wallet under my shirt. You need to do what you feel comfortable with... but that is why I would not wear a money belt... too uncomfortable:)

Posted by
9363 posts

RFID wallets are a solution looking for a problem. They are not necessary.
Whether or not a purse like PacSafe would be "worth it" is a matter of preference. I don't carry a purse much in Europe, but when I do, it's a regular leather or nylon bag. Most people there carry cross-body bags, but that doesn't work for my particular body. I just stay aware of my surroundings, and rarely get into crowded situations where I can't keep an eye on it. PacSafe bags are heavy and expensive. You probably run a greater risk of leaving it somewhere than of having it slashed without your knowledge.

Posted by
23418 posts

Nancy said it. Just marketing. My wife finally does not carry a purse. Took about ten years or so before she realized that she really didn't need it. But we worked our way to that - big purse to small, small to fanny pack, fanny pack in back, fanny pack in front, finally no fanny pack. The few items that she needs are carried in a small, book bag size, day bag. Save you money.

Posted by
4535 posts

The RIFD wallets are of no real value. Do you even have cards that use RIFD technology? Many people don't and for those that do it tends to be gas station or transit cards.

Secure purses can be of value if that's how you want to keep your money/cards and passport safe. The main thing they offer is security from easy access. Unlike a regular purse that might unzip on the top or have a simple clasp. Those purses are easy pickens, no matter how you carry them, pun intended. But if you have or find a travel purse with multiple steps for access, or inner pouches that require steps to access, your pretty safe because they can't be easily accessed while you are distracted. The KEY with any purse or bag type, is you cannot be careless with it. No slinging it over chairs, setting it down at your feet, etc... Not all women are good at keeping it on their body at all times, and for them I don't recommend it at all.

Posted by
92 posts

I have 2 PacSafe purses, and while I don't really think I need anti-slash fabric and whatnot, they are handy. I like the pockets inside the bags, the durable fabric and that they have a good warranty. (My first one had cabling coming out of the strap, and PacSafe just mailed me a new one. They didn't even want the old one back, which is why I have 2 purses!)

Honestly, I bought one originally because they had a display at the AAA store and it looked like it would hold up well. I'm sure I could have found a similar crossbody purse elsewhere for less, but I wasn't sure where to even look for one.

Posted by
1221 posts

I picked up a Pacsafe purse a few weeks ago- hate belts in general, and not a big fan of stuff around my neck either, so it seemed like a good idea. I'll usually pay $60-$100 for a handbag, so price seemed pretty average to me, and I don't find it to be overly heavy either. I think the weight complaints come because it's easy to cram a bunch of stuff in there. In addition to wallet and such, I can also put a DSL camera with smaller lens and a tablet in there and still have room to spare, and this is supposed to be a medium-sized bag in their line. Construction looks solid, and I've been happy with my purchase during a local try out of it.

Posted by
1221 posts

If anyone in the USA wants to give Pacsafe products a try at a discount price, discontinued product or colors sometimes show up at for good prices- generally half off original retail and they'll run sales for additional discount pretty consistently. I have no affiliation with the site- just a satisfied customer who gets bags and apparel from there from time to time. Only annoyance is that they require registration to see their products, and they send out sale e-mails to you maybe a little too often.

They've got a few purses up right now, though the 'berry' color looks hideous.

Posted by
792 posts

I always choose purses that have a zip closure for the main compartment and multiple zippered inner compartments. Money/credit card/passport go in the inner compartment. Maps/snacks/water bottles go in the main compartment. You don't need to get the antitheft purses to have these features. This is my opinion. Just keep your hands on your purse and don't set it down.

Posted by
55 posts

I don't know if you have seen credit card sleeves that are RIFD protection. I found a pack of 3 at REI today for $10. It will not prevent you from putting your card in any slot you normally would. It doesn't add bulk or weight. They also have one that is the size of a passport if you have a new one that needs protection. After taking one trip for 10 days-Venice, Florence, and Rome I got very tired of carrying a bag on my shoulder even though it was very light. I bought a very small backpack so at least both my shoulders will carry the burden sometimes. It will also keep my hands free for hiking the Alps the my next trip. Good luck

Posted by
3240 posts

I have a pac safe bag. It is a style that my partner does not feel foolish carrying if necessary. I love the organization of the pacsafe and the amount of items it holds for such a small space. We can fit all our electronics, except our DSLRs, in it. I don't always bring it to Europe as it depends on my plans; i.e., if planning on riding the subway/metro/tube, etc. or train system I will use it. I also used it a lot when I was commuting on the subway here at home. On public transportation, you often do not have a free hand to hold your purse and hold on if the conveyance is crowded, and I say that as someone who is skilled at riding the subway, etc. There's a peace of mind knowing things are locked up well with this bag. I use other bags and clip zippers closed sometimes, but when everyone can't help touching you in a crowded subway, you won't notice someone in your purse. I also don't find $60.00-100.00 terribly expensive for a bag, because good bags last for years. Money well spent if you have any hesitation at all, IMO. One less thing to worry about...

Posted by
1194 posts

No, they aren't worth it in my opinion. I had a PacSafe purse. I no longer use it.
* It is heavy - goes against packing light
* It is stiff so won't pack well in my carry on bag when I'm trying to go one-bag
* All that security takes away space in the inside of the bag
* It's kind of ugly
I would suggest the following instead. First, keep your passport and other important stuff in a money belt. You can't accidently leave it behind somewhere. Then create a working wallet which contains money for the day. If you need more money just duck into a toilet and get more money out of your money belt.
Next, I would buy a light packable cross body bag. Something around 10" by 12" will hold all you need for the day - a packable rain jacket, a sweater, your working wallet, a small water bottle, a smartphone. Make sure your cross body bag has a zipper closure. Get a small size 0 "s-biner" and attach it to the zipper. Then clip the zipper to the shoulder strap hardware when the bag is not in use. That will secure the bag against casual thievery. When you are in an iffy area just swing your cross body bag forward in front of you, or clamp it under your arm. My favorite cross body bag has a small zippered pocket about 1/2 up the inside of the bag. It's a great place to store the working wallet and smart phone. The wallet can't get lost in the void. It is also suspended making it almost impossible for purse slashers to access. I've never had a problem with purse slashers and really soft bags, BTW. The soft bag catches the knife and snags it.

Posted by
19 posts

our last visit to Paris and Barcelona, we saw castoff purses here and there - when I started to pay more attention, I could see tourists that were aware of their surroundings and possessions, and those that were completely clueless. Basically, don't fret, just be aware. Enjoy yourself! Enjoy the sights! Just wake up that little corner of your brain that keeps tabs on your goodies while you're staring slackjawed up at Sagrada Familia (or Notre Dame) Have a fun trip!

Posted by
5697 posts

Re: RFID wallet - I saw one at a thrift store for $1 so SOMEBODY didn't think it was worth keeping.

Posted by
873 posts

I took a PacSafe messenger bag on my last trip, and while it looked nice and had convenient pockets, I don't think I came across any situations where a regular messenger bag or cross-body purse wouldn't have done the trick. I used that bag as my main bag at home until it died of old age some years later. This time, I'm just bringing my regular cross-body purse.