Category: Beat the pickpockets

Travelon bag winner

It’s our pleasure to announce the winner of the Memorable Destination/Travelon anti-theft bag loaded with security features?

The classic Travelon bag is at the forefront of a new-generation of travel products that are making life difficult for pickpockets.

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We put this bag through rigorous testing during a recent review – and it emerged with top marks.

Read our detailed review: 

Thanks to Travelon, we had a classic Anti-Theft Travel Bag, in black, to give away to a lucky reader.

The winner is enthusiastic traveller, Shannon Wallace, shown here with her prize.

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Enjoy the security of the bag Shannon and thank you for following Memorable Destination.

Made from slash-resistant fabric, with a cable-reinforced shoulder strap, anti-scanning pockets and lock-down zippers, the Travelon bag gives peace of mind for travel or everyday use at home.

Watch this site for additional giveaways.

 

Safety series: Passport Security Socks

In the past couple of months, we’ve taken a close look at the issue of personal security for travellers.

We’ve examined a new generation of anti-theft backpacks, shoulder bags, security clothing and convenient personal alarms.

And we tested and reviewed some of the leading products before making recommendations on their suitability and advisability for travel.

In the course of the series, one of the most creative personal security ideas that we came across were Passport Security Socks from Zip It Gear.

These are ingenious – high quality, comfortable socks for both women and men, with a hidden zippered compartment to store valuables.

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Photo courtesy Zip It Gear

A great idea born over a beer

It’s often said that the best ideas are born of necessity and Zip It Gear admits that this was certainly the case with the Passport Security Socks.

The concept came after inventor and owner, Evan Papel, was pickpocketed while travelling in Europe.

Over a beer and what cash he had left, came the idea of the security socks.

From a personal security point of view, it was a moment of brilliance. Unless thieves are crawling along the ground, this is truly a great way to keep things safe.

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Our review: The security aspect

We tested the size of the hidden pocket and found that it quite easily held:

  • a Passport
  • coins and notes
  • a credit card
  • ID (driver’s licence)

No rubbing against the leg

Initially, we were wary that valuables put in the pocket might irritate the wearer or hamper movement.

However, after extensive road testing, our concerns were eased: the pocket is designed to sit above the ankle and didn’t rub against our legs at all.

We even added a key to the pocket, but still didn’t feel it.

And, despite a lot of walking and cycling, we found that items in the pocket didn’t slip down or interfere with our movement in any way. The socks have a non-slip top which keeps them in place.

No excessive bulge

We also found that items in the pocket didn’t bulge noticeably and the zipper blends in with the material and is not obvious.

The pocket in Zip It Gear’s Passport Security Socks, to all intents and purposes, really is hidden.

It’s also clever that the zipper itself is made of nylon to avoid problems with airport metal detectors.

This is part of a series of reviews we are undertaking on personal safety products for travellers – especially fellow senior travellers.  wallet-cash-credit-card-pocketWe are particularly focusing on the new-generation of innovative features and products that are rapidly boosting security for travellers.

The functional aspect

Okay, so the socks got top marks for personal security – but we asked ourselves whether they were also practical?

What would be the point if they didn’t also function well as plain old socks?

Well, on this point, we got a huge shock.

Comfortable and light to wear

As well as security, the Passport Security Socks were clearly designed to be particularly comfortable.

Soft and light, the socks have a form-fitting arch and extra padding on the sole and around the toes to help prevent blisters.

Zip It Gear says ‘Holofiber’ in the sock may also reduce feet swelling.

No sweat

In our test, we worked up quite a sweat walking and cycling, but found that the socks seemed to breath particularly well; stayed dry and cool; and didn’t smell.

The maintenance aspect

But how do you wash them while travelling?

We did both a machine wash and a hand wash – without any problems.

The Passport Security socks emerged unscathed from both the washing machine and a low tumble dry.

And for hand washing, we turned the socks inside out soaked them in soapy water, rinsed thoroughly and hung them to dry inside.

As claimed, they dried overnight, which is also great for travelling.

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Photo courtesy Zip It Gear

Summary

There’s a lot to like about the Zip It Gear’s Passport Security Socks.

  • They’re great for securing your Passport and other essentials while on the road.
  • The zip pocket is a good size, doesn’t look bulky and does not slip down to hinder movement.
  • And, as well as their nifty security role, these are also first rate socks: comfortable to wear and well padded to absorb impact; light and dry even during hard exercise; and odour absorbing.

We put them through torrid testing and could not fault the functionality.

Overall, Zip It Gear’s Passport Security Socks are another relatively simple and affordable way of helping travellers outwit pickpockets and thieves.

Add these to your travel planning, or even when exercising at home or at the gym. We thoroughly recommend them.

They perfectly complement other personal security products that we’ve reviewed, such as:

the Presli Anti-theft backpack
the Travelon Anti-theft bag
Travelon’s clever anti-theft scarf.
The Wrist Personal Alarm

Additional information about Passport Security Socks

Zip It Gear is a prominent travel accessories brand that distributes across the US and to a number of countries world wide. As well as security socks in several colour schemes and sizes, the company also sells a range of other innovative products.

See if you are able to order online

Disclaimer: Zip it Gear supplied Passport Security Socks for this review but, as always, the views expressed are ours and ours alone.

Main Photo courtesy Zip It Gear

 

Safety series: The Wrist Personal Alarm

If it looks like a watch and sits on your wrist like a watch, then it probably is a watch – right?

Not necessarily so.

And therein lies the magic of a new type of personal alarm ideal for travellers of all ages.

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The Wrist Personal Alarm looks like a watch and fits neatly on your wrist like a watch, but doesn’t show the time.

Instead, the wearer needs only press a black button on the face of the ‘watch’ to set off an ear-piercing alarm – with the aim of warding off threats or alerting help.

Drawn to our attention

This clever idea was pointed out to us by a reader of our current series on travel security.

She asked if the idea was a feasible alternative to the more commonly available pocket or handbag alarms.

So, we contacted the specialists at The Personal Security Company, a leading online retailer of safety products.

They told us that the wrist alarms were proving popular largely because they were unobtrusive and left both hands free.

The Review

And that’s exactly our conclusion, after putting one of these new-generation personal safety devices through its paces.

For a start, the Wrist Personal Alarm is functional.

Only slightly bulkier than the usual watch, it is surprisingly light and sits unnoticed on your wrist.

In fact, we found that it usually slipped out of sight under the shirt cuff.

But, even if it is on show, the silver-coloured wrist personal alarm looks stylish and smart anyway.

Convenient

Secondly, the alarm is convenient.

If you feel that your security is threatened, or you want to attract help, there’s no need to dive into your pockets or the depths of your bag looking for a personal alarm.

You simply push a black button the face of the ‘watch’ to activate a 130 decibel siren. And, believe me, that’s loud!

We found that the alarm attracted attention as far as 300 metres away.

A concealed button on the back turns it off.

Hands free

Thirdly, the ‘hands free’ nature of the watch alarm is a huge plus because it doesn’t hinder day-to-day activities.

This makes the Wrist Personal Alarm ideal not only for travellers, but also for joggers, walkers, hikers, cyclists etc.

The nylon band would fit most wrists and the alarm has a velcro release.

Unlikely to be accidentally set off

With such a loud alarm, there’s always a fear of it being bumped and accidentally sounding.

However, we found that the Wrist Personal Alarm is cleverly designed so it takes a deliberate push of the small black button to set it off.

Merely bumping it against something is unlikely to sound the alarm.

Conclusion

Overall, the Personal Security Company’s wrist alarm is yet another clever, simple and affordable way of helping travellers turn the tables on pickpockets and street thieves.

It neatly complements other personal security products that we’ve reviewed, such as:

We give the Wrist Personal Alarm top marks. Put simply, it does what it claims.

How much does it cost and how can I get one

The alarm costs AUD $14.99, with an additional AUD $5 for postage.

It can be purchased online only. See how to get one.

Personal Security Company says it sends orders within 24 hours.

Disclaimer: Personal Security Company supplied a Wrist Personal Alarm for this review but, as always, the views expressed are ours and ours alone.


This is part of an ongoing series of reviews we are undertaking on personal safety products for travellers – especially fellow senior travellers.  wallet-cash-credit-card-pocketWe are particularly focusing on the new-generation of innovative features and products that are rapidly boosting security for travellers.


Socks with a pocket

Watch for the next review in our series – on anti-theft ‘Pocket Socks’ sold by Zip It Gear.

Safety series: Travelon Anti-theft Travel Bag

One of the biggest security improvements for travellers has been the anti-theft everyday carry bag.

The development of these has been remarkable: converting the humble shoulder bag into a smart-looking personal safe for valuables that you carry with you.

But, are these bags also practical and functional, especially for older travellers?

Here, we take a close look at one of the most popular among travellers, the Anti-Theft Classic Travel Bag by Travelon.

See the Travel Bag’s features on this video courtesy of Travelon:

Q: What are the specific anti-pickpocket features of this bag?

*  It’s made from slash-resistant chain-link fabric * The shoulder strap is reinforced to resist cutting. * Credit card and passport pockets have RFID protection against scanning of information.* A ‘Lobster claw’ locking feature holds each zipper in place, making it extremely difficult for anyone to secretively open the bag.

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A big advantage

As well as these particular features, an enormous plus for Travelon’ s Anti-theft Classic Travel Bag is its overall design – a simple style, but containing heaps of detail.

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This allows the user to be especially well organised and to have everything in its own space – rather than the bewildering jumble that some carry bags can become.

This organisation alone puts you at a big advantage over pickpockets because there’s no need to become oblivious to your surroundings while you search for things from the depths of your bag.

Q: Is the bag stylish?

Yes. The Anti-theft Classic Travel Bag looks smart without drawing excessive attention to itself.

Q: With all these security features, is the bag heavy?

No. It is surprisingly light, again thanks to the clever design.

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Q: Does it hold much?

There’s heaps more space inside than you think at first look. The bag is divided into three cleverly-designed compartments – each with locking zippers.

For example, we used the front compartment for our iPhone – to give easy access.

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The next one held credit cards, passport, a notebook, pen, other papers and cash in a zippered section.

And, the largest compartment easily held an iPad Mini, hair brush, keys, a Travelon safety scarf and all the usual purse items,

This section also contains a special loop and clasp for holding keys, with a handy LED light attached.

These interior pockets allow almost every item to have its own place. It’s surprising just how much fits easily into this bag without it becoming bulky.

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Q: Is the shoulder strap easy to adjust?

The strap is comfortable, readily adjusted and long enough to wear either across-the-body or over the shoulder.

Q: How is the strap slash-resistant?

The Travelon shoulder strap has stainless steel cables running through the fabric to deter pickpockets from cutting it.

Q: How is the body of the bag slash-resistant?

The Travelon Anti-theft Classic Travel Bag is made from reinforced panels that feature a flexible, high-tech steel mesh to counter any attempt at slashing.Yet, when you look at it, you’d never know that it is so strong.


Tip: many pickpockets are young girls and boys — usually 10-16 years of age


Q: How can the bag prevent identity theft?

Travelon’s RFID blocking pockets prevent thieves from remotely scanning and reading your personal information. These sleeves are designed for holding credit cards, passports etc.

Q: Does the Classic Travel Bag have space for a water bottle?

Yes. There are adjustable side pockets, one of which is capable of holding either a water bottle or an umbrella. If not needed, the pocket folds down and effectively becomes invisible.


Tip: pickpocket hotspots in many countries include metro stations, overnight trains, bus stops and similar crowded tourist areas,


Q: Is the bag useful for senior travellers?

Yes. Besides the personal security measures, the light weight of the Travelon bag, its great organisation and easily-adjusted strap make it ideal for seniors.

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Q: Is the anti-theft bag suited for travel only?

No, the smart look of the bag and its tidy design are perfect for both travelling and everyday use. It is made from Polyester that should wear well and retain its stylish appearance.

Q: Does the bag come in other colours?

Yes. Travelon’s website says the Anti-theft Classic Travel Bag can be ordered in black, stone, midnight or olive colours.

Q: Warranty

Our review bag came with a five-year limited warranty against defect.

Q: Do we recommend this bag?

Absolutely!

Carrying this bag in crowded places will certainly provide peace of mind about personal security and help turn the tables on pickpockets.

We couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Q: Where you can get a Travelon Anti Theft Classic Travel Bag?

Ask to be shown this exceptional bag at Strandbags, Myers, and other leading luggage retailers, both online and offline.

Keep watching our Safety Series for your opportunity to win one of these exceptional bags. Details coming soon…….

Disclaimer:  Travelon supplied an Anti-theft Classic Travel Bag for this review. However, as always, the opinions are ours and ours alone.


This is part of an ongoing series of reviews we are undertaking on personal safety products for travellers – especially fellow senior travellers.  wallet-cash-credit-card-pocketWe are particularly focusing on the new-generation of innovative features and products that are rapidly boosting security for travellers.

 

 

Safety series: The clever travel scarf

Since we launched our review series on travel safety products, we’ve tested some innovative and practical ideas.

But, it’s fair to say that few of these products have been as fashionable and stylish as the Travel Scarf produced by Travelon.

While travelling, you see people of all ages wearing scarves.

It’s logical: they look nice with just about anything – and a large, pashmina-style scarf is perfect for using as a wrap or blanket while in airports, planes, trains or other public places.

What a great idea!

The genius in Travelon’s Travel Scarf, however, is that – as well as being an elegant accessory – it has a smart additional purpose, designed specifically to help beat pickpockets and thieves.

Its secret is a hidden pocket in the scarf that can carry things like your coin purse, ID, credit cards, boarding pass, passport and perhaps even a mobile phone.

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The hidden pocket features RFID-blocking to ensure that your identity is protected by preventing scanning of credit cards, driver’s licence etc.

Unbelievably handy – yet it doesn’t detract at all from using the scarf as a multipurpose item of clothing.

Put whatever you need in the scarf’s security pocket; zipper up; throw the scarf around your shoulders or neck – and you have a combination of safety, fashion and versatility in one stylish item.

Outsmarting the pickpockets

Travelon’s Travel Scarf is part of a world-wide trend that is turning the tables against pickpockets.

As well as old favourites like personal alarms and under-clothing money belts, travellers can now arm themselves with special slash-resistant safety backpacks and lock-zipper travel bags.

And, there’s now a whole range of ‘clever clothing’ such as the Travelon Travel Scarf – with concealed pockets, zippers and a host of other tricks.

See the Travel Scarf’s features on this video courtesy of Travelon

And, in line with advancing technology, some of this personal safety clothing – again like the Travel Scarf – has included RFID blocking as an additional security feature.

As well as a remarkable leap forward in personal safety, these new-generation clever clothing items and bags have also evolved quickly to look stylish and elegant.

Travel safety meets style

That’s definitely the case with Travelon’s Travel Scarf.

It’s a step-up on the money belt, but is still a particularly usable, attractive item of clothing that can be teamed with just about anything.

The scarf’s size, of 65″ x 57″ (165.1cm x 144.8cm) also allows it to be used as a handy travel blanket or a shoulder wrap on those coolish evenings or in air conditioning.

Travelon’s attractive grey and raspberry-coloured travel scarves are 100% Polyester, which gives an especially light and soft feel. It can be hand washed and hung to dry.

RFID blocking for added security

And, of course, it has the added advantage of being RFID-proof.

In today’s world of cyber technology, stories abound about the risk of personal information from your credit cards etc being scanned and downloaded as you innocently walk by.

To help ease your mind, Travelon has made the hidden pocket in its Travel Scarf RDIF-proof to block transmission of personal information.

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Yes, the scarf’s hidden pocket is just that – hidden. It is extremely difficult to see and even the zipper is the same colour as the material, blending in perfectly.

Great gift idea for travellers

In summary, the Travelon Travel Scarf is a functional and fashionable way of helping keep your valuables safe.

It can serve several purposes, which is ideal when you are travelling; neatly complements other safety clothing; comes at an affordable price; – and is a great gift idea.

Like all safety precautions, Travelon’s Travel Scarf obviously can’t guarantee that you won’t have things stolen, but it will certainly improve your chances of keeping your valuables safe.

How to get one

The Travel Scarf can be purchased online.

Disclaimer:  Travelon supplied a Travel Scarf for this review. However, as always, the opinions are ours and ours alone.


This is part of an ongoing series of reviews we are undertaking on personal safety products for travellers – especially fellow senior travellers.  wallet-cash-credit-card-pocketWe are particularly focusing on the new-generation of innovative features and products that are rapidly boosting security for travellers.

 


 

Review: Beat the pickpockets with Presli anti-theft backpack

Who hasn’t heard horror stories of thieves opening or slashing backpacks in a crowded area?

It’s a thought that plays on the minds of travellers everywhere.

Well, we recently had the pleasure of testing a new backpack, the Presli Voyager, that is designed specifically to thwart pickpockets and give you piece of mind.

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Like many older travellers, we’ve been using backpacks for decades, largely because of our preference for low-cost, independent travel and the sense of authenticity that this gives.

We’ve seen backpacks change dramatically over the years – and we were, therefore, delighted to test the latest design in the form of the Presli Voyager.

Some background

Marcus Holmquist-Pollock, founder and CEO of Presli, says he noticed that, although there were plenty of “fashionable, up-market and clever backpacks on the market, none incorporated anti-theft design”.

So, he decided to design his own anti-theft backpack.

How does it perform?

Although the Presli Voyager is anti theft, which is the key point of the design, it still needs to be a functional backpack. And it certainly is!

The Voyager is practical; usable; nice looking; and light enough for even our old shoulders.

In keeping with its status as a new-generation backpack, Presli Voyager has a distinctly corporate look, in smart black or navy fabric.

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It might sound a trite snobbish, but this backpack is right at home with the most slick and eye-catching modern luggage. It looks so nice that we were a little disappointed to discover that the Voyager comes in two colours only.

And, the Voyager is surprisingly big inside, despite measuring just, 45cm high, 29cm wide and 15 cm deep – well within worldwide cabin baggage requirements that are generally 56cm x 40cm x 25cm.

Anti-theft features

The anti-theft design of the Presli Voyager is smart and effective, incorporating many of the benefits that prompt travellers to wear often-uncomfortable money belts.

The stylish exterior of the Voyager camouflages a range of anti-theft features, from hidden zippers to slash-proofing.

In fact, we’ve never seen a backpack this focused on security.

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For a start, reverse-design zippers are located snugly against your back, designed to stop anyone coming up behind you and easily opening the pack.

To further frustrate thieves, the Voyager is made from slash-proof and water resistant material.

And,  there are also two clever pockets tucked into the straps at the front to allow you to keep credit cards and transport passes secure yet easily reached.

Even Sue – a perennial worrier about security on the road – says the Voyager’s anti-theft measures make her feel calmer and confident.

Inside the Presli Voyager

For a start, the backpack is voluminous at 20 litres.

As well as the remarkable amount of space, we love the separate padded pockets to keep the laptop and tablet safe, as well as the pouch to store unfolded A4 documents.

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The roomy interior pockets comfortably fitted our daughter’s 13 inch MacBook Air and our iPad and iPad Mini tablets. Perhaps these could have benefitted from a top flap to keep them from moving, but our devices didn’t budge throughout testing.

There’s also multiple pen slots and business card pockets.

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Added interior smart features of the Presli Voyager are an easy-to-find key clip and two internal zipper pockets for storage of things like passports, mobile phones, charging cords and wallet etc.

Wearing comfort

The backpack is well padded and comfortable to wear.

Presli Voyager is easily adjustable to cater for a range of heights. Shoulder straps can be readily extended or shortened to give a snug and secure fit. This means that, with minimum effort, you can truly adjust the backpack to your stature for maximum comfort.

Side pocket and handle

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The Voyager also has a material side pocket ideal for storing water bottles and the like – and a a convenient ‘grab and go’ handle.

Summary

With the current trend toward travelling light, finding the right backpack is an important decision. And it’s nice to relax in crowded areas, knowing that your backpack is designed to keep valuables safe.

Overall, the Presli Voyager is a classy-looking, well constructed and roomy backpack with the added benefits of clever anti-theft features.

These features are invaluable for travellers of all ages, along with light weight and practical simplicity.

What we particularly liked

  • Voyager’s safety features give peace of mind.
  • It looks very nice. Certainly not your average backpack
  • Roomy with intelligent use of space
  • Padded pockets for tablets and laptop
  • Light weight, comfortable to wear and easily adjusted.

Based on our experience, we have no hesitation in recommending this backpack for travellers of all ages.

It would also serve just as well as a school bag – and as a smart-looking backpack for commuters.

Additional bags

Presli Voyager is the first product in Presli’s lineup of premium bags, which was successfully funded through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.

Marcus Holmquist-Pollock says the company aims to produce two new bag designs later this year.

Presli Voyager can be purchased in navy or black online here

Presli accepts PayPal and credit card. Australian customers can expect their bag in 2-5 business days, while international orders take approximately six business days for delivery.

Disclaimer: Presli was kind enough to provide a Voyager for this review. However, as always, this has not influenced our comments. If the product was poor, we’d tell you. This one certainly isn’t.

Latest ways of beating pickpockets

If you are planning to travel, it’s wise to give some thought to protecting your valuables.

Thankfully, there are a host of different tips and tricks – not to mention some quirky clothing ideas – that give you the edge over pickpockets.

With secret pockets, hidden pouches and anti-slash straps, these items aim to keep travellers safe from bag snatchers and thieves the world over.

New-generation backpacks

Because backpacks are often a target, we like the look of the new-generation of ‘smart packs’ such as the Presli Voyager (main photo)

These packs smartly position anti theft, reverse design zippers to sit snugly against your back, and are made entirely from slash-proof and water resistant material.

Added smart features include an easy to find key clip and two internal zipper pockets for safe storage of passports and a wallet.

Business travellers will love the padded pocket for their MacBook Pro (up to 15”), multiple pen slots, business card pockets, and a pouch for A4 documents to store unfolded.

An external water bottle pocket, and two zipped pockets forward on the shoulder straps are for easily accessible, and secure stowage of credit cards, transport passes or an office access swipe card.

Pickpocket-proof pants

There’s also quite a range of travel pants designed to make life difficult for pickpockets.

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With a host of zips, velcro strips and flaps to ‘double lock’ your pockets, these trousers provide many options for keeping valuables safe.

Clever underwear

If you want to get really clever, there are many types of security underwear available for travellers.

There’s also T-shirts and vests with hidden pockets and the Braza Secret Stash, which allows a woman to put valuables in a pouch that sits on the central part of a bra.

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Clever and cunning socks

Some travellers swear by the use of special socks with a built-in compartment for storing valuables.

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Multi-pocket vests

Vests and jackets with as many as 42 hidden pockets are now common among travellers, as are slash-proof carry bags, handbags and similar accessories.

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And, there are also anti theft bags such as those made by Travelon with shoulder straps  reinforced by cable and anti-slash material.

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That brings us to a topical subject: protection against illegal scanning of credit cards that have radio frequency identification technology, or RFID.

RFID protection

There is debate about whether not not these cards can realistically be scanned through your purse or wallet.

Even though scanning apps are apparently easily downloaded on the web, it would apparently take substantial computing power to lift information from an RFID card.

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However, there are still plenty of handbags, wallets, carry bags and even individual sleeves that are designed to protect your cards against identity theft and tracking.

Broad, general steps

And, of course, there are general precautions that you can take to further turn the odds against the thieves in public places.

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These include:

  • Keep your wallet in a front pocket instead of the back. Consider taking a dummy wallet as well.
  • Loop an elastic band around your real wallet, which will help prevent it from sliding out smoothly.
  • Spread your valuables instead of keeping them all in one place. Thieves are not stupid and are well aware of money belts.
  • Remain alert and don’t allow anyone to divert your attention or distract you.
  • If you are using public transport, keep your bag with you at all times – in contact with your body
  • Be naturally suspicious. Don’t accept food or drink from strangers.
  • Carry a back-up ATM or credit card.
  • Consider a slash free carry bag with lockable zippers – and keep it with you at all times.
  • Consider a dummy camera.
  • Before travelling, research any particular scams that operate where you are going
  • When in public, don’t stop to get out money or other valuables. Assume that pickpockets are watching you.