I heard recently that it’s NOT a question of IF your identity will be stolen….it’s a question of WHEN…. I find that fact a little unsettling. 😦
However, my hope is to do all I can to make that ‘when’ NOT when I’m on vacation (i.e. ‘out of touch’ and difficult to be notified or to take care of it)
I learned of these anti-theft/security bags while planning an upcoming trip out of the country complete with red-eye flights and overnights in busy airports. I wanted more security than our current bags/backpacks offered.
So….here’s what I’ve learned…and what I purchased.
in both of these brands… 🙂
- Cut Resistant Technology
- Shoulder straps have cable inside to stop strap slashers.
- Side and bottom panels have wire mesh inside to stop bag slashers
- Lockdown Hardware
- Straps can be attached to poles, posts, chairs, etc….
- Locking zippers prevent pickpockets
- RFID Blocking Technology: pockets for credit cards and passports with RFID blocking materials to block ID Thieves. Thieves can easily purchase chip readers that enable them to simply walk past you… and scan personal information from credit cards/passports INSIDE your purse/wallet…without ever making contact with you or your bag. Men’s wallets in back hip pockets are especially susceptible. The RFID blocking material protects your personal information.
And….these bags are actually quite ‘travel’ stylish. There is a line of leather products, though that was more than I wanted to spend so I opted for the less expensive lines…but that IS available if that’s your preference. 🙂
**Read below for other options on RFID blocking materials (even a way to MAKE YOUR OWN) if these bags, wallets, etc… are not in your budget. These aren’t necessarily the ‘best’ option….but they will work – if that’s what you need to do.
These two brands (Travelon and PacSafe ) are comparable in price and security features. Beyond that, our decisions came down to design and usability…I preferred the Travelon bags for myself. My husband, who prefers to travel with a backpack, chose the PacSafe. Now….neither of these brands are ‘cheap’….However, some small discounts are out there if you are willing to jump through the necessary hoops.
I began my research on the company websites (my recommendation…). That’s where I found accurate information on dimensions, etc…. (As you may know, info on Amazon may or may not be correct) and which bags had the features we each wanted. Once I knew what bags I was interested in, I compared prices on other sites – Amazon, eBags….and strangely enough, Kohl’s which carries a SMALL inventory of these bags. (Target sells a FEW of their wallets). Prices really don’t vary much among these sources, but with Kohls coupons/Kohl’s Dollars or discounts with Amazon, there may be some savings. TJ Maxx and Marshalls occasionally has a small inventory of Travelon items though I’ve rarely found the bags…and of course, their inventory is constantly changing….
For myself, I was looking at TWO bags – a cross body purse for traveling days or days touring crowded public places AND a carry on for the flights. My husband was in the market for a backpack.
Purse: I wanted something cross body, small and lightweight but still large enough to carry wallet, passport, cell phone/cord, and a few personal items. I found what I wanted in the Travelon Anti-theft Classic Essential Messenger Bag on Amazon. With discounts/reward points I ended up paying around $25 for it.
Carry On: My carry on was a tough decision –
because I had so many ‘requirements’. It had to accommodate my laptop and a binder notebook. I wanted a secured front pocket (locking zipper) for smaller items and an easy access slip pocket for boarding passes, luggage tickets, etc… I also needed a sleeve on the back to slip over luggage handles once we picked up our checked bags. Finding all of those features – in a bag that was just the right size….took some time…. but I finally found it. I got the Travelon Anti-Theft East/West Weekender Tote. I purchased it from eBags using reward point earned from buying my husband’s back pack the month before. I think this particular bag has been discontinued as they constantly update their inventory, however, with every bag they discontinue, they introduce another ‘better’ one to take it’s place. ha!!
NOTE: When buying multiple things from eBags, buy the most expensive item first. When the reward points for that purchase post, (30 days later) buy the next most expensive item on your wish list applying that credit…and so on and so on…down your list. Their reward point system is VERY NICE!!! 🙂
BackPack: My husband chose a backpack from PacSafe. In addition to all the security features, he wanted good back structure/support. It also had to accommodate his DSLR camera and all it’s ‘toys’…. He found what he wanted in the Venturesafe X30 Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack. This now has a rain cover which wasn’t available when we purchased…and would have really come in handy in Alaska.
These bags held up very well on our trip. They were really nice to have on our red-eye flights and long layovers where we definitely snoozed a bit. Being able to lock pockets and secure our bags to chairs or posts gave us a little more security…and more ability to relax a bit.
I expect these bags to be around for years to come.
There are multiple YouTube videos on testing RFID blocking properties. Here’s what I found on a quick search: RFID Blocking Testing When watching these, confirm you’re watching from independent sources and not from a company that’s just promoting their own brand while discrediting their competitors. Travelon and PacSafe (and a few others) produced successful test results.
Now….What if These Products are OUT of Your Budget:
Well, you may not be able to get the ‘slash-proof’ features, but you CAN address the RFID issue less expensively.
- RFID blocking wallets – Travelon, PacSafe or ID Stronghold brands tested well.
- RFID Blocking Sleeves: These can be purchased from Amazon. (and possibly Marshalls or TJMaxx if you happen to catch it just right) They are sleeves to slide credit cards and/or passports into. Buyer Beware: Not all sleeves are the same. Read reviews carefully…with special attention to reviewers who have actually ‘tested them’. There are sleeves that ‘work’…then there are sleeves that are ‘pretty’….and some reviewers leave you scratching your head when they write reviews saying: “I LOVE my RFID sleeves. They’re so pretty…all my friends commented that they wanted some too.” Go figure!!! *sigh*
DIY Test for RFID Blocking:
How can you be SURE these really work? Insert a work badge…door badge…or any card that is scanned into the sleeve/wallet/pocket and try to use it. If you can’t use it, then you know it’s adequately blocking. OR….you can just trust the reviews on Amazon….just look for MULITPLE people saying the same thing. Of course, Travelon, PacSafe or Identity Stronghold are reputable companies that bring with their name a sense of ‘trust’…. 🙂
I purchased a pack of sleeves (12 credit card; 4 passport) from Amazon. They’re nothing fancy…nothing pretty, but they do the job. I was pleased with them and we are still using them.
Make Your Own
You CAN make your own RFID blocking sleeves using aluminum foil. These homemade varieties passed the testing when made with THREE sheets of Heavy Duty aluminum foil. Check out YouTube videos for instructions on how to do this (and watch several videos/techniques to gather the best ideas from everyone).
As you might imagine, these homemade sleeves are only a TEMPORARY fix…as they will require care when inserting or removing the credit card to keep them from tearing…but if an RFID blocking wallet or bag is not in your budget, this CAN work…