Best anti-pickpocket handbag?

(25 Posts)
Euphemia Sun 24-May-15 19:14:13

DD and I are going to Paris in July and I've become alarmed by stories of the gangs of pickpockets which target the city.

Any recommendations for an anti-theft cross-body bag?

I've been to Paris and other big cities many times and never had a proble!m, but there seem to be particular issues in Paris at the moment.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 31-May-15 12:18:57

I was pickpocketted in Paris angry

Bags must be closable ideally, with and additional flap over the toptop (mine was zipped but I frequently didn't bother with it). You should keep your wallet in an inside zipped pocket. Attach bells to purse and bag flap. Make sure you purse doesn't scream "here I am" in your bag (mine was large pink with a great big flower on so I could grab it easily from my bag). Try to look like you are not a tourist or someone who might be easily distracted (eg by your special needs child in a wheelchair. I'm not bitter no really)

Basically do everything not to look like the "soft" target

Euphemia Sun 31-May-15 12:31:53

Thanks - I'm pretty vigilant, but I think extra caution is needed in busy tourist areas! One tip online was "Don't wear shorts - Parisians don't wear shorts. You'll stick out as a tourist." grin

I'm busy planning some non-touristy outfits!

Purpleball Sun 31-May-15 12:42:02

Agree the flap over. Preferably a zip too. Keep your bag at your front and put a hand in it in crowds.
Men should keep their wallet in their front pocket too.

specialsubject Sun 31-May-15 12:42:55

Parisians get pickpocketed too.

if it is that bad, don't carry a bag. Wear some clothes with zipped internal pockets. Y'know, like men do.

more difficult in summer than in winter when you can wear a coat, but still possible.

Bunbaker Mon 01-Jun-15 20:57:07

I agree it is easier in cooler weather. If it is coat weather I carry a bag, but keep my purse and and phone in an inside zipped pocket.

I know they are hideously unfashionable, but bum bags (with hidden safety pins clipping them to your clothes) are very practical.

Millymollymama Tue 02-Jun-15 11:11:06

I would actually suggest a man does not carry a wallet in any clothing. Use one bag for both of you with lots of inner zipped compartments. My DD was pickpocketed years ago in Paris. The big mistake was talking to someone who approached him asking if we were enjoying Paris - this person had a perfect English accent. His wallet was taken by someone else during the brief conversation as DH was distracted. It was in an underground station as we were buying tickets. Concentrate at all times.

Accross the body bags work well but you don't both need money and cards - unless you intend to split up of course. DH always kept the carnet of tickets in his wallet too. Don't do this because you have to get it out every time you get to a station. Just put the tickets in a zip pocket on the outside of a bag so they are handy and you don't have to search for them. Losing a few tickets is way less hassle than losing a wallet. DH was so pigheaded about continuing to get out his wallet - he learnt the hard way.

Purpleball Tue 02-Jun-15 12:47:24

That's a good point too. There's a lot of begging pretending to raise money for Africa which they use to distract you.

Ignore them all. Just keep walking

worldgonecrazy Tue 02-Jun-15 13:08:53

I have always used a cross body zip bag whilst in Paris. It has two ties on the zip which keep that secure, or I just keep my hand on the zip closure when out and about. It has pockets on the outside for tickets, or I stick those in the front pocket of my jeans (skinnies so no one is going in there without me knowing it). I always hold my bag in front of my body too.

Although you're on holiday, don't relax or worry about being rude if you think you are being targeted. Use shop windows to check for people following you and give them a rude glare if you do spot anyone. Hopefully they will back off and choose a softer target (of which there are plenty).

Be aware of the more common scams - being given a rose or having a friendship bracelet tied on your wrist, the ring scam, etc. Take extra care when taking cash out of ATMs - get one of you to act as look out whilst the other gets the cash.

At restaurants, place your leg through the strap of your bag and keep it on your lap or between your knees. Take extra care on escalators and in crowded situations where personal space is being encroached on. If it's warm, be wary of anyone carrying a coat over their arms, it's a common trick to hide any stolen purses/wallets quickly.

Keep a few euros and small change in one pocket to pay any street musicians, buskers, etc.

And mostly try to relax and have fun. It is good to be vigilant but an eternal state of paranoia will spoil your holiday.

Artandco Tue 02-Jun-15 13:11:58

I always keep my card and money inside blazer or coat pocket. Same with phone. Have actually had pockets added to several jackets just for this purpose.

iwantgin Tue 02-Jun-15 14:14:27

I have read good reports on Travelon bags. They are supposed to be lined with some metal meshstuff which can't be cut. Ditto the straps are special.

The best advice though is just to be vigilant - and only carry with you what you might need that day. Lock the passport and bulk of cards/cash in the hotel safe.

I'm not averse to using a bodybelt under my clothes when travelling through larger cities until I get to the hotel.

Some good tips upthread.

Euphemia Tue 02-Jun-15 18:05:03

I lived in provincial France for a year so I'm used to being hard-nosed with the beggars, street sellers, etc.

It'll just be me and DD, so I plan to carry as little as possible with me and leave valuables in the hotel safe. I have a few cross-body bags but I'll think about getting an anti-theft one.

mmgirish Fri 05-Jun-15 15:19:58

I was bought a small pacsafe bag as a gift once. They are very safe. www.pacsafe.com/about/pacsafe-advantage Check them out!

museumum Fri 05-Jun-15 15:27:29

Always take one credit card out and leave one in the hotel. Don't carry much cash.
Credit card companies are good with theft. Have your numbers written down and the theft reporting number.
Empty all the rubbish you don't need from your purse.

The only really valuable thing is your passport, keep that closest to you.

Theas18 Sat 06-Jun-15 22:12:18

Pacsafe metro safe 2000 is utterly bril. Mines worn out at last but it's been many holidays use. Heavy though. I'm torn between replacing it and using my kipling defea and a small carabiner to clip the zip to the base on the handle. Once a quality zip is clipped in a carabiner you Are pretty pick pocket proof - or at least much less easy to pick than the next 2 tourists and you only need to be " less easy a target" and they'll not choose you!

It's also slash safe but ive not seen any bag slashing happening.. Been to Paris and Rome this year and seen pick pocketing in Paris.

Don't wear shorts is daft advice. You ARE a tourist. Unless you speak the local lingo fluently and have a local look then everyone knows you are foreign anyway!

Behave confidently. Wear bags cross body well protected by your arm , split your cash/ cards between the stuff you Carry and the hotel safe and you'll be fine what ever. ( keep passport in the safe, carry driving licence photo card as Id ).

Dd was in rome for 2 months. She said you might get pickpocketed if you weren't cAreful. If you were targeted by the " crowd of kids " mobbing you ( usually Roma ) thrn you will loose things - but if there are a Few euros/ loose change in your pocket then thryll probably take that and scarper rather than trying harder. The other scan was the beggars with cardboard signs thry flap at you and pickpockets beneath - babies/ bundles of baby time rags are used the same. I guess the thing was to be aware.

Theas18 Sat 06-Jun-15 22:16:04

I live in brum. Ive not felt that ive felt that the " risk level" in Rome or Paris was worse than at home- I always keep my bag zipped etc. Oxford street when crowded always feels the most likely pickpocket area.

Euphemia Sat 06-Jun-15 22:20:12

I speak French very well but I am a pale redhead and very obviously British. grin

ginmakesitallok Sat 06-Jun-15 22:23:47

I've been pick pocketed on train to Barcelona. You need to make sure that your bag is less attractive than all the rest, so a flap, with a zip, carried at the front of you. Agree with not carrying all your cards/ cash with you.

Euphemia Sat 06-Jun-15 22:39:31

I have similar to this in black and in brown - zip across the top and zipped section inside. Would one of those be good?

Theas18 Sun 07-Jun-15 09:54:12

That bag would be fine

www.millets.co.uk/equipment/104597-go-travel-small-karabiners-pack-of-three.html

Something like these to clip the zip shut and you are done.

Trickydecision Mon 08-Jun-15 16:21:48

I agree with mmgirish, the Pacsafe range is excellent. We have a 12litre travel safe, ideal for holidays. They are very strong with invisible metal mesh inside yet do not weigh much.

Toffeelatteplease Mon 08-Jun-15 17:18:34

No not that bag. The front pocket has only a flap and the back pocket only a zip. Ideally you want both

Fluffyears Wed 10-Jun-15 21:00:31

I use a Kipling Alvar it has a zip pocket inside and I have a strap on my purse and phone case which a attach to my bag so they can't just lift my items. Get s purse with a wrist strap the tie the strap to your bag.

cliffsuss Mon 21-Nov-16 11:47:40

Opps i.just saw this thread! Anyone used the bobbybag before?

Kirriemuir Mon 21-Nov-16 15:19:58

I was targeted in Barcelona too. To this day still no idea how but the managed to get a shopping bag off my wrist and out of a grocery basket too.

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