Have you ever purchased and worn a travel vest with all the inside pockets on a trip? After my husband was pickpocketed in Brussels a couple of years ago, we want to be as careful as we can possibly be this summer. I have seen these vests advertised for men and women. They have lots of inside pockets for travel documents, phones, cameras, money/credit cards, etc. Some of them cost over $100, so I am trying to find out if any of you have ever tried one and whether or not you thought it served its' purpose.
If you use some other type of way to secure your valuables, please share them, too. I appreciate all advice.
Never tried or even heard of the travel vest. I have used the hidden travel waist belt (fits inside the pant waist) for money and credit cards. It works fine. It's like a fanny pack, but flat and smooth. The only thing I don't like is that I basically have to reach into my pants via the waist to get to stuff. A bit awkward looking, but very safe. Another item that has worked well for me is the travel pouch (flat and a little larger than a passport) that is worn around the neck and then just rests on your chest. The neck strap is supposedly made out of kevlar or something, so not easily sliced with a knife or scissors. I've used that successfully as well, but always feel like the consummate tourist wearing it, plus it sort of advertises, 'Hey everybody, all my stuff is right here around my neck,' though not easily grabbable (word?). You could tuck it down the neck of your blouse, I suppose. I have used these two items successfully in the past when I first began traveling. In more recent times (past 5 years), I just use a small purse that I hug to my body. It's designed to not easily get into. I find that unless I am downright mugged (physically attacked), the biggest threat from pickpockets is where they watch you to see where you keep your money (in a wallet in a pocket or a big purse with a large opening), and then proceed from there. To combat this, like I said, I keep a flat profile purse made of good leather and strong straps and zippers(!) that is not easy to get into and held close to my body, and I always try to have money and or tickets at the ready - in hand (I get it ready in a non-public place) so that I'm not watched to see where I'm reaching for my wallet, or else make sure that I have enough smaller bills for the outing so that I can make exact change and not have to get back in to my purse to put the change away. So far, so good. I probably underestimate the skills of a good pick pocket, but I figure that the harder I make it for them, the more likely they are to go on to another customer. And that's the trick, I think: just be a less easy target than the guy next to you.
I've been using my 2" x 8" x 10" flat, rectangle leather purse for three years now in very touristy places in Europe, and so far, so good. When we got hoodwinked in Naples many years ago, my mom had an oversized bag with no closure, and the guy watched her reach in for her wallet. He knew what he was doing. Also, I think it helps to always be looking around you and carrying yourself with an air of confidence that basically communicates, 'I'm in charge.' Otherwise, with the element of surprise on his/her side, the criminal thinks he/she is in charge. Looking around you is also very important in this day and age where terrorism is concerned.
Sorry I digressed away from the vest, but I hope this helps.
I've heard of the vests but haven't tried one. There's a lot of talk about them on Fodors.com.
I also have a neck pouch which I never have worn... still in the packaging. (And, yes, they are meant to be worn under your blouse! )
You may want to check into some of the Pacsafe products. I have this purse but only used it for one trip as it was just a bit too small for my things. And it seemed to pull at my polo knit tops.... although others I've talked to did not have this issue.
I end up using my regular old purse but only carry one ATM card, one credit card, and just as much cash as I need for the day. The rest plus passport, etc. are in my hotel safe. My camera (point and shoot, so nothing terribly expensive) and maps, etc. are in a deep canvas shoulder bag that no one could reach into.
I bring a cross-body messenger type bag ( a purse I bought in Italy, not very large) but never seem to switch to it! Good to use if you keep the flap against your stomach/hip instead of facing out. And, the zipper zipped, of course!
That's exactly what I do, Nhm. Flap against my hip and zipper zipped. It is a small purse, but I carry very little. That's pretty funny (or to be honest, rather pathetic) about me and my neck pouch. Like the guy in bermudas with dress shoes and white socks. I can always spot an American just by looking for white cross trainers. Hello!
I can only say that first of all, I don't carry a wallet (so don't have any cash in one). I carry cash in a money clip that goes in one of my my front pockets. Whenever I am in close proximity to a gathering (read as: crowd) I always walk with my hands in my pockets. I never have anything in a back pocket. I carry my credit cards in a small holder that also holds my license, etc. It's about the size of an actual credit card with 4 'pockets' to hold the cards and a center section for other docs and fits in my other front pocket. With my hands in my pockets, nobody ever has the chance to pick my pocket. When we go out, my wife never carries anything so I have control of the cash and cards. We have never had an issue.
For a camera, we also have the 'keep it simple' camera, so if I lose it, I'm out about $100. Like pluto, my pics probably look the same as what we spent for the cam.......!
One other option is clothing offered by on-line retailer Travel Smith. Sport Jackets have zippered inner and outer pockets as do men's pants. The pocket sizes on the jackets easily accomodate passports, wallets, etc. In addtion, many if not most of their items are wrinkle resistant. My wife and I are both fans of their products and they run a number of sales througout the year.