I’m the kind of person who travels for the sake of traveling – seeing the sights, learning the culture and eating the local food. I don’t travel to show off my clothes to people who I will never see again in my life. In fact, I usually have only one handcarry luggage as I do not like the idea of the airline losing my luggage on the way to my destination. So when I’m out and about exploring a new place, I only use a messenger bag – no matter where I am and what I do. That’s what I’m mostly comfortable of using but of course it depends on the traveler. So which bag should you use while traveling?
As per my experience, a messenger bag is probably the safest to use. Here’s my comparison:
1. Backpacks – poses a higher risk of pick pockets or getting your bag slashed by a razor since you don’t see the bag while you’re wandering around. And if you carry your backpack the other way around (in front of you) you not only look like an idiot but it screams “TOURIST!!!” and you’ll attract more attention from the pickpockets. The idea is to blend in among the locals and by putting your backpack in front of you, you’ll just stand out from the crowd.
2. Shoulder bag or hand bags – easier to grab by a passing motorist which is rampant in South East Asia. On top of that, does it not annoy you when you can’t use both of your hands properly because you’re too concerned to protect your handbag/shoulder bag from bag snatchers? I’m not sure about you but whenever I travel I want to have both hands free to hold my passport or tickets, grab onto the railings inside the train, to use my camera whenever I see something interesting or probably eat my gelato and a slice of pizza while walking the streets of Rome. Lol.
3. Body bags / messenger bags – unlike backpacks, messenger/body bags are in front of you and you can easily see it. Unlike shoulder bags/ hand bags, you have both your hands free to do all the touristy activities you need to do and it will be harder for bag snatchers to snatch it from you. I’d probably recommend for you to go for dark colors such as brown or black which can go with a lot of ensemble and won’t show stains too much as well. Pick something with flap closures over a zipper for more safety. If it’s not at all possible, always go for zippers over flaps. Bear in mind that if it’s easy for you to access the insides of your bag then it won’t be much different as well for pick pockets.
4. Fanny packs – if you’re not concerned at all with style (or if you’re in your 60’s probably) and what you’re after is just purely the safety of your valuables then go for fanny pack. It also screams “TOURIST!” though but I doubt that pick pockets will be after you if you’re wearing a fanny pack, they’ll probably just make fun of you.
Basically, the rule of thumb while traveling is to be aware of your surroundings and to be able to blend in with the locals as much as possible. So whichever bag you’re comfortable of carrying with you as you trot along the roads of a city you’re exploring then you should go for it.