The Best Purses for Travel to Avoid Theft

15 May 2013

Let me start by saying the probability of being robbed when you are abroad is very slim. As long as you use common sense, keep an eye on your things, and avoid bad areas you won't have to worry. So I just want to make it clear, even though I will be talking today about theft I don't want you to become paranoid and think it is the norm when traveling. I personally, as a solo female, traveled all over Europe and China and never once had any incidents.

But that's not to say it doesn't happen either. While sitting at the beach and enjoying a lovely day in Barcelona, my friend had his backpack stolen. It was literally sitting right next to him and was gone in mere seconds. He ended up losing his passport, wallet (with money and two credit cards), Iphone, and two cameras. Not only was it a hassle to get all his paperwork sorted out so he was allowed back into France but it was also emotionally distressing. He told me that if I hadn't been there to calm him down he probably would have had a panic attack.

So today I'm going to tell you my tips and tricks for looking less like a target and not worrying about theft while abroad, all based on your travel bag choice! You'll know you've found a good bag if...

It has cross-body straps
A bag that has a cross-body strap is your best choice when it comes to selecting a purse. Bags that go over one should and clutches can easily be grabbed from you if a robber decides to become forceful. Another theft trick I've heard of is riding by on a scooter and grabbing women's purses right off of them. A Cross-body strap won't allow someone to take your purse quickly and, honestly, if you don't look like a quick target, a thief will move on to someone who looks more vulnerable. Also this sort of bag will allow you to free up your hands and not have to worry about it.

It doesn't have dainty straps
Another easy target for theft are purses with dainty straps. If the strap of your bag is just a thin piece of material it will be easy for thieves to snip it and walk off with your purse. Choose something that's thick and sturdy like leather. Not only is this safer but it's also more durable and will be able to stand the wear of travel.

It looks hard to get into
Anything that looks like the slightest bit of a challenge won't be worth a thief's time. If you're carrying an open top tote, for example, a thief can easily slip their hand in and be gone. A purse that has a flap on it, however, will acquire a little more time. I've found that purses with zippers and buckles (even if they are decorative) have deterred any attempts of theft.

You can keep an eye on it
I know many travelers choose backpacks but I can't stand them. You can't see your things and they're an easy target for theft (just ask my friend- while traveling Pisa she went to open her backpack only to realize that all of her pockets had already been opened and emptied!) If you can't see your belongings, you've just made yourself into an easy target. Keep your bag close to you and in your line of vision. If you're in a crowded space (museum, subway, etc) and can't see your bag I've found that one protective hand across the top of my purse has stopped any attempts of theft.

Do you have any other tips? What's your go to bag for travel? 

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  1. My brother is sitting here reading this over my shoulder and he said that as a guy who just carries a wallet when he travels & wears his camera hanging around his neck to never put your wallet in your back pocket - always the front pocket. The front pockets typically go down deeper and someone would be hard pressed to steal it without him feeling/seeing it. I know this was more of a purse based post for females but thought I'd put a guy's perspective out there ;)

    1. Thank you so much! As a girl I never carry just wallet so I appreciate the tips for guys!

  2. Awesome tips! Ironically, during our family trip to Europe last summer, my dad (who was the most paranoid) ended up the only on getting pick-pocketed.

    1. Bahaha, wow. I'm so obsessive I could never be robbed. I always have my hand resting on my purse.