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How do men keep their phones safe?

I’ll be taking my 2 son’s fir the first time to Italy. I’ve told them they can’t just walk around with their phones in their front pockets or place it in a table at a restaurant. It’s easy for me, I just keep mine in my locked crossbody.

They won’t be carrying anything, except their money belt hidden. I’ve seen things like a wrist cord. I can keep their neck wallets in my bag and when we sit for lunch they can put them in their around their necks, I just see a theft ready to happen, and am trying to figure out the easiest way to help them.

Posted by
1425 posts

Be sure they are using a passcode on their phones in case it is lost or stolen.

Posted by
4160 posts

Certainly don't place a phone on the table, at least not outdoors (curious, would you do that at home? If so, you live somewhere really safe!). However, carrying a phone in the front pocket is actually OK in my opinion, as long as crowds aren't too thick and the pocket isn't too loose. Never had an issue doing so.

Posted by
2742 posts

My husband just keeps his in his front pants pocket. Probably not the absolute safest, but better than a back pocket or backpack. Making it too hard to access won’t work, assuming the phone is often used as a camera, it needs to be easily accessible. A purse works for women but most men don’t want one. I suppose a cross-body bag would work, but the phone needs to be in an easily accessible pocket.

Totally agree about the table - they need to keep the phone on them, not somewhere a passerby could just grab it and run.

Posted by
4698 posts

Nobody wants somebody else’s phone. Too much hassle. I carry mine in my pocket everywhere I go.

Posted by
866 posts

Balso, yes our city is relatively safe and we set phones on tables all the time!

Posted by
21852 posts

Do they really need constant access to their phones? I would be tempted to strongly suggest leaving the phones locked in a suitcase in the room. Could you carry the phones in your bag? Phones are not that big.

PS -- As someone who still uses a real camera, I had not thought about the camera angle. I can see that. Go for the front pocket but keep a hand on it in crowed situations like a bus or subway. Lots of posting here about front pocket losses. Best one was the gal who lost the money clip from her bra.

Posted by
1954 posts

You've heard me tell before about how I witnessed a theft one morning when a young man seated outside left his phone on the table when he went inside to get a refill and some napkins - he briefly gave chase, gave up. 'Why did you leave the phone on the table?' 'My hands were dirty and I didn't want to get it on the phone.' Oh, well.

Posted by
1023 posts

I'm with Balso. I don't care how safe the city seems, placing a phone on a table in a public place invites sticky fingers. Use the phone, then replace it in its regular storage place, be that a man bag or a pocket.

Posted by
5648 posts

My husband keeps his in his front pocket at home, which has resulted in several pairs of jeans getting holes, where the rounded corners of the phone case poke against the fabric. On the past several trips, he’s used his front pocket, or mostly the zippered pocket of the KÜHL brand pants he takes.

I’ve found it fascinating that so many people in Europe, I’ve assumed locals, not tourists, put their phones on the table at restaurants and cafes, usually right on top of, or next to, their pack of cigarettes.

Posted by
295 posts

Wow. I guess I've been lucky over the past near decade living and traveling in Europe.

I don't use a money belt. I don't use a crossbody... what? Pouch? Bag? I don't use a neck thingy.

I just stay aware of my surroundings and, if I'm in a dicey area, I move my phone to a chest pocket in my vest or jacket and my wallet to my front pocket. If I'm in a very dicey area I keep my hand in my front pocket on top of my wallet.

And I wouldn't put my phone on a table at a restaurant. Stick it between your legs on your chair. Not likely to be lifted there, unless you frequent more interesting establishments than I do.

Posted by
1955 posts

Even though we are not currently traveling, my spouse and I have discussed what would be done with phones when do we (eventually) resume travel (or even resume getting out among dense crowds here at home, which sadly has become a place of pickpockets). My husband always puts his phone in his front shirt pocket, which in my eyes is not the safest place, especially for likely pickpocket situations.

For traveling, I think it would be best placed in the back (open) pocket of the ole Rick Steves' neck wallet, then worn under his shirt. Somewhat easy to pull out of the open pocket without having to unzip, and somewhat easy to pull up from his buttoned shirt, maybe just unbuttoning one or two buttons. Of course, I am SURE my spouse would consider that a pain when the time actually comes......but what is the bigger pain? losing the cell phone in another country or dealing with the neck wallet storage?

But, that said, in reality, when traveling, I know he would want his phone in his hand, ready to take photos at any point in time (other than when on public transport or moving thru dense crowds), as likely your sons would be.

One person above suggested having the phones left in the hotel safe, but if your group gets unexpectedly separated, the ability to communicate via text would be easier vs. trying to find the "lost" person(s). And, access to translation devices, maps, etc. on the phone would be comforting.

Is there such a thing as a cord device that can be securely attached to a phone to allow easier access than a pocket in a neck wallet? If so, I am all ears....................

Posted by
3346 posts

First, how old are your sons? If they are teens or older, they're old enough to be responsible for their own neck wallets and phones.

Front pockets will work. Front pocket with their hand in their pocket will work in crowded situations.

DH has both travel pants and shirts with zippered pockets. The zips are in a hidden pocket in the pants and under a placket on the shirts.

Posted by
11440 posts

I have a different method. I put a phone ring on the back of the phone. (You can put your finger through it hold the phone more stable. It can also be used a stand.

I then attach a cord with a fastener on each end. One end clips to the phone, the other clip to my belt loop.

So, if someone tries to grab my phone, I'll feel it.

Posted by
646 posts

Front pocket seems pretty safe to me

My husband carries a Tom Bihn CoPilot Bag all over Europe - he loves it- he’s had it over 15yrs

Posted by
902 posts

My kids used cell phone neck lanyards. They were easy enough to access for photos, and gave me some comfort level that the phone wouldn’t be dropped over the side of the vaporetto, or off the side of a cliff.

Posted by
2680 posts

I'm from Barcelona, the pickpocket capital of Europe, I have always carried my mobile in my front pocket without incident, the back pockets are actually the dangerous ones!

Posted by
672 posts

I am hyper-alert, probably paranoid about losing the phone, which would be a disaster. I clutch it tightly in one hand at all times while upright; sitting, it goes in a front pocket. I am looking at wrist loops that tether the phone to one's hand, to preserve security while giving my fingers a break.

Posted by
18377 posts

I have the best solution. I simply do not use a cell phone, not in Europe. there is nothing important that I would do on a cell phone, that I can't do using the Internet on my pad back in my room. People today have an addiction to cell phones, but they are not really that necessary. The human race has existed for hundreds of thousand of year, maybe millions, without cell phones.

Posted by
492 posts

No thief could ever get the chance to steal my phone because it's never not in my hands and hold on I just got an instagram notification gotta check and see what that's all about and omg have you seen this tiktok it's hilarious and wait my ex won't stop texting me for some reason and gimme a minute that's my mom facetiming me anyways what were we talking about?

Posted by
255 posts

My phone stays off and in my suitcase for the entire trip. Recommendation is to take a couple of your old cell phones and install local SIM cards with data. Download WhatsApp for use to stay in contact with each other or folk back home. Then just be careful. At least you minimize the loss of a newer prized electronic device. Your concern is warranted. Opportunist are out everywhere - at home and abroad. But don’t let it consume you. Have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
6788 posts

I usually have pants, jacket, hoodie, or shirt, with zippered pockets. With loose clothes, a neck pouch works too.

Posted by
3081 posts

Balso, yes our city is relatively safe and we set phones on tables all
the time!

Same here. As I read Balso's comment on my laptop while dining at one of my favorite local restaurants (La Taverna!), I looked over at my phone lying on the table. 🙂

Honestly, my phone is on the table at restaurants in my town far more often than it is in my pocket! It's one of the perks of living in small southern US city!

Posted by
11440 posts

Good idea, Frank. Like a bungee type cord?

You could use that. I use something like the long looking gray things in the photo:

https://www.touchofmodern.com/sales/tyny-tools/tyny-tools-starter-bundle-large

Except the company has gone out of business.

I do the same for my wallet in my other front pocket. I rarely take it out in public without t

I now leave my tablet and laptop at home. I just take my smartphone. It has made my travels so much easier.

Posted by
3081 posts

By the way, I'm generally a front pocket guy with a hand on the phone in higher risk places (crowded Berlin subway), but I'm not often in super high risk areas. I have a small Pacsafe backpack that I used for high-risk places when visiting Italy way back in 2015.

Posted by
2412 posts

I keep it in easily accessible in my front pocket because I use it as a camera. My travel pants of choice are Eddie Bauer First Ascent with a zippered pocket below the main front pocket. This is where I'll keep it if I'm not needing fast access.

I too, have no issue leaving my phone on a table at a restaurant while home, but wouldn't dream if it while in Europe, only because of what I've read on this forum.

Posted by
358 posts

Instead of using their smart phones why not buy cheap “burner” phones when you arrive? Useful for keeping in touch with each other and you and for taking photos but no great loss if it is lost. My phone is an old IPhone, last used it three years ago in Greece. I used the camera, but deleted all other Apps, especially double checking that those that had banking info were removed. I also had my IPad with me that had all the Apps Iuse regularly on it and that stayed locked away in my room.

Be sure the boys know about data costs that can accumulate rapidly if they use the phones for more than quick calls - will you have roaming through your provider?

Posted by
866 posts

The phones are an extension of their arms, so they won’t be trying them in for old phones, etc. plus, it’s their first time to Europe and it will be used as much as a camera as anything.

I guess the easiest solution for them may be to have them in their front pockets with their hands on them. When in riskier places, perhaps use a wrist cord or when sitting at a restaurant, look it around a belt loop. They will need a decent locked backpack to wear on trains.

Posted by
494 posts

I think, given all the advice and warnings...if they are careless and lose their phones, they are SOL. Sorry boys..no phone.

Posted by
177 posts

I think Sammy makes a good point about staying aware of one's surroundings. It's my observation that many cell phone users are oblivious to what is going on around them or where they are walking.

Posted by
7698 posts

Nobody wants somebody else’s phone. Too much hassle.

Unfortunately, thefts of iPhones in the metro here are a real problem.

(Nobody wants MY phones because I have old crappy ones. But a friend of mind ended up bruised when she tried to keep some thieves from wresting her iPhone away from her.)

Posted by
1666 posts

Kathy, thanks for the Koala tether link. It looks like it will be helpful tethered to my purse or walking when I don’t have pockets. My new iPhone 13 Pro Max popped out of the plastic belt holder, landed in the gravel and cracked the screen saver the second week I had it. Always use a screen saver.
I just found this similar tether on Amazon but the tether is coiled.
The other Kathy

Posted by
214 posts

Amazon has products that are used to wear one's phone around the neck. Other vendors do too. If your sons think it's not a fashionable look, then tell them they will be buying their next phone themselves!

Amazon: Gear Beast Cell Phone Lanyard - Universal Neck Phone Holder w/ Card Pocket and Silicone Neck Strap - Compatible with Most Smartphones, Clear

Posted by
1955 posts

Lulu, thank you for posting this question, and thank you to everyone who responded. Some VERY good ideas here that will also help my household.
Have a wonderful trip! How lucky your sons are to soon see Italy! VERY NICE gift of travel they will remember for life!

Posted by
99 posts

Scottevest makes polo shirts and vests with hidden pockets. They aren't cheap but might be worth considering.
Amazon sells clips that attach your phone to the inside of your pants pocket- less bulky / obvious than a holster.

Posted by
38 posts

I’ve got a good idea. Don’t have a phone in the first place.

Why do you need one?

Posted by
978 posts

"Why do you need one"

A whole slew of reasons - it's my camera, I use Apple Pay, I store my airline boarding passes, my train tickets, I get bank alerts everytime I use my credit card, or someone else uses my credit card - NEXT?

Posted by
38 posts

I have a camera. I don’ t use Apple Pay. Everything else I keep in my wallet.

So I now have 2 things instead of one but I can never remember an occasion when I wished I had a camera and did not have one,

Posted by
38 posts

Also I do not need bank alerts every time I use my credit card. I admit it is useful to know if someone else has used my card but it has never happened in 50 years

Posted by
214 posts

Saw lots of folks in Paris and Strasbourg (women mostly) wearing a phone lanyard around neck. Appeared to be locals mostly

Posted by
12980 posts

"Why do you need one?" I don't need the phone, certainly not in traveling solo around Germany. Mainly I carry it just to placate the family. I much rather not carry it at all, can get along very well effectively in Germany without one. I carry it in the front pocket as I don't have any use for a day pack or back pack when out and about.

Posted by
13716 posts

I do the same in Europe as I do at home under similar circumstances. Phones aren't big targets any longer. That includes leaving it on the table at times. Others might be right about that risk, but I just can't get into the habit of worrying about all the negative possibilities.

In the last 2 years in Europe I have left my phone in a taxi once and dropped it getting out of a taxi once and had to walk back two blocks to find it. I observed a few people seeing it stepping over it and going on. Oh, the taxi was a long way off before I could contact him, so he dropped it off at a restaurant I know and I picked it up later.

No one tried to grab it off my table, but there were better phones out on other tables and I suspect they would get nabbed first.

Posted by
13716 posts

Which does bring to mind something related. If your phone is gone, so are the phone numbers so even if you can borrow a phone, you have no numbers to call. This happened when the taxi left with my phone. We overcame it, but now I carry phone numbers in my wallet. Just the essentials: hotels, guides, taxi service, massage establishment, airline, any one I know in town or country.

Posted by
245 posts

Front pocket is good enough

Also JamesE comment above.

In Lisbon i saw a young gentleman walk around with the phone partially jutting out of his tight jeans front pocket. Even i could have stolen that - in a crowded space.

Posted by
1126 posts

"Also I do not need bank alerts every time I use my credit card."

Fortunately, or unfortunately, some credit card companies will decline a charge if it is made overseas (at least for the first time). If I want the charge to go through, I have to get a text or email and then respond. I generally like the system because it has caught at least one instance where a thief was attempting to make charges using my credit card number (I still had the physical card). And before someone says, notify the bank before you go, the bank in question stopped taking notifications of foreign travel, presumably because it had the automated system of flagging "strange" charges and sending a notice.

As to the question of needing a phone at all, this one has been hashed over and over numerous times. If you proudly travel without one, congratulations. I find mine to be too helpful, and, to me, even necessary, to think about going without one.

Posted by
11440 posts

Which does bring to mind something related. If your phone is gone, so are the phone numbers so even if you can borrow a phone, you have no numbers to call.

Not necessarily if you have a second device and use an app that backs up into the cloud. I use Google's app and can get all my contacts on any device I am logged into with my Google account.

Posted by
13716 posts

I get it.. I'm backed up too,, and i have a laptop safe at the hotel,, but; Standing in the middle of nowhere watching your cell phone drive off ... the cloud doesn't help much;

"Excuse me, can I borrow your phone, download my cloud app, enter my password and search my files for the number and then call him back" vs, "hey he just dove off with my phone, would you be so kind to call this number please".

Just cheap insurance.

Robbing a phone is not the most common heist in Italy. Though Italy is in my opinion by far the nation in Europe where most hits and scams for tourists exist, robbing either a phone or something else is not the most common thing. In Italy I would be more careful about prices of anything anywhere, there's usually a different price for tourists and most things have no price tag! Even restaurants and cafes use lots of tricks for overpricing meals and drinks to tourists.

Posted by
978 posts

It's never a great when you have personal property stolen from you, never, but I do take some solace in today's smartphone technology. Having an iPhone I can use Find My iPhone to see, if it was in fact stolen or I just misplaced it, and if it was stolen I can set it as such and wipe my bank cards off the phone, although if you have sign-in security set the only thing the thief can do is sell it for parts.