A few years ago, while sitting on a Paris Metro (my backpack pressed firmly against the wall), I watched a young Parisian woman slowly unzipping the handbag of a lady standing in front of me (her small bag slung ’round to the back of her body). Luckily for her, I reached out and grabbed the bag, and the would-be thief jumped off the train at the next station. Obviously, the woman whose vacation I heroically salvaged was unaware of Paris’ reputation for pickpockets and other unsavory types.
Paying attention to one’s surroundings, whether traveling overseas or closer to home can mean the difference between a good time and a bad one; but so does having the right travel purse. A good travel purse can be large or small, casual or elegant, depending on where and how long you’re traveling, and how much stuff you’re willing to drag around. Personally, I can usually make do with a cell phone, a lipstick and a credit card. I’m low maintenance, but if you’re not, not to worry as there’s a bag for you beauty queens, too.
Typically, for a one to two week trip, I always bring one carry-on bag with wheels, and one camera bag with shoulder strap and compartments for a wallet, phone, and other essentials. This way, I can get around quickly and easily and still have two hands free to either buy a soda or fend off perps. I also carry a small flat (about 6″x8″), leather shoulder bag that fits those essentials above, and still has room for my passport, cash, a comb, pen and notepad, and not too much else. I can wear it under my coat, a sweater, a shirt, etc., and it’s virtually undetectable. Yes, you can also stick money in your bra or socks, but it seems a bit tacky to stick a hand down one’s shirt when the bill arrives. (The waiter could get the wrong idea!)
These days, travel bags and purses come in a wide variety of styles and designs so even the most fashion minded among us can find something suitable. Practical can be stylish, too. It’s a good idea to consider bags that are travel-safe, which means they also have lots of compartments to keep your valuables organized, so you don’t become a target while digging for your keys or coins for the pay toilet. (The right coins in the right currency? Such a pain!) Theft-proof features include wire-enforced shoulder straps (that can’t be cut with scissors), slash-proof nylon, and pocket zipper pulls that lock (something the woman on the Paris Metro could use since I can’t always be with her).
Leather and nylon are the most durable materials, but also consider a bag that’s waterproof if you’ll be at the beach or in London. Also, choose a bag that’s lightweight with convertible handles (look, it’s a clutch, no, it’s a handbag, no, it’s a shoulder bag) for obvious reasons. A body pack is great when you only need an item or two for the day, especially since all thieves know about money belts (which can also be uncomfortable, especially if you’re packing a few extra pounds around the middle).
Traveling to a wedding, class reunion, or some other event that requires wearing your finest jewels in order to make others jealous? Then consider a travel jewelry roll to secure your family heirlooms. They’re available in a variety of sizes to fit your purse or suitcase. Really want to make them green with envy? Then go for the travel jewelry case-and a hotel with a big safe. Happy trails!
Whether you’re heading to Paris, Costa Rica, or Timbuktu, you’ll find what you need for your next adventure.
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