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Lisbon Pickpockets

I have a travel day pack I’ve used for 10+ years. Today a Lisbon pickpocket opened the main compartment. She pulled the zipper apart despite the pull being locked to the bag and another pull. I felt the tug and kept her from taking anything. She pulled from the end opposing the zipper pull, so the zipper is now ruined and the bag useless except for a day hike bag back in CO.
I’ve always heeded lessons from RS and the forum. And I thought I was in good shape. Be diligent! And watch all your zippers!!!

Posted by
7512 posts

Was there anything in there that you would miss if the pickpocket had gotten away with it?

Posted by
4 posts

2 pullovers, reading glasses, my note cards for Portuguese phrases …. So, no. But I’m on the hunt now for a new bag.

Posted by
1038 posts

Take a look at Pacsafe bags, I use the Vibe 325 and they are very secure, and are built to stop theft. For my main travel bag I use they’re Venturesafe 45L and it’s perfect for carry on only travel.

Posted by
1254 posts

I'm so sorry to hear of your experience, but glad that there was nothing of value to be stolen on your back.
My shoe repair folks have replaced a zipper for me on one of my beloved purses. It might be worth asking if it's reasonable for you, and not too expensive.
I'm a fan of Travelon cross body travel bags with their little zipper clips to slow down pickpocket attempts. It certainly worked for me in the Paris Metro when my bag had drifted to the side as I walked up the stairs. (Now I make sure to keep it front at all times with my hand on it.)

Posted by
2101 posts

Barbara, I'm so sorry the pickpockets targeted you. Especially since you had your backpack locked, which should have been a deterrent and sent them on to easier targets. Any idea what she used to pry open the zipper? It's a lesson for all of us who carry a day pack, lock the zipper and think we're "safe".

I looked at my day pack to try to figure out a way to lock the non-pull side. Only thing I can think of is to put safety pins inside across the zipper at various intervals so the zipper can't slide. But what a hassle that would be to unpin it to fully open the main compartment.

Posted by
3643 posts

now that I use a crossbody bag, I keep it on my side or on my tummy. A nice older man in London warned me on the street when he saw it had slipped onto my back.

Posted by
8500 posts

Wear a cross body bag, not a back-pack. If you get a satchel type bag, you can keep it on your lap while in restaurants, all of your items are easy for YOU to get, but not for others.
I would never wear a back pack in any city in Europe.

Posted by
76 posts

Thank you for sharing this experience and I'm so sorry that you experienced this. We are headed to Lisbon and other parts of Portugal in 2 weeks. I have never had an issue when traveling in other countries but I have been anxious about pickpocketing in Lisbon in particular and your story has made me decide to order a new bag now for our trip.

Posted by
61 posts

Avoid pickpockets--I wear LL Bean travel shirts and keep my phone/tickets/small items comfortably in shirt zip pockets. If I have my light backpack on, it contains only tissues, h2O, city map, & other personal items.

On a recent RS Tour, another traveler carried (I noticed, but not my purview) a phone visible in a fancy travel pants leg-side pocket. At the metro turn style, phone out while traveler inside.

BUT--this is a Rick Steves site--where is your neck pack (which I have and wear inside my shirt &/or jacket) ; your belt pack inside your pants? To get to these, a pickpocket would have to buy me 10 dinners and entice me elsewhere as I'm not undressing for another to reach them. (Not really--I'm not cheap or foolish).

Don't be a target by thinking It couldn't be me. ab

Posted by
3763 posts

Barbara, about how old was this piece of garbage pickpocket?

I'm a fan of Travelon cross body travel bags with their little zipper clips to slow down pickpocket attempts.

Me too. I bought a Travelon Crossbody after an older woman tried to rob me in the Vienna u-Bahn several years ago.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks all for comments and concern. The bag is a Travelon with the locking zipper pulls. It’s 10+ years old. But the zipper is nylon and the young pickpocket and her older handler pulled the zipper apart from the opposite end. Again, the bag had my pullover, my RS guidebook pages, lip balm…. not critical items. Just highlighting that the zipper can be pulled apart opposite of the latch.