Bum bags: protector of all travel documents and money, or target for thieves? When deciding whether to wear a bum bag/fanny pack while travelling, it pays to consider the following tips.
Deciding whether to wear one of these fashion monstrosities while travel can be a tricky decision to make. Some countries require travellers take more caution, and no one wants to be stranded in the middle of a foreign country with no money, passport or identification.
Before rushing out to buy one however, consider where it is you are travelling. When visiting European cities or other Western countries, then bum bags or anti-theft travel bags can potentially mark you as a target to thieves. Security bags are black, use an inexcusable amount of Velcro and zips, have never, ever been in fashion and stick out like a sore thumb.
Many anti-theft bags have reinforced, concealed metal straps. That is a great feature, but can inadvertently cause problems too. More than once I’ve had people tell me stories of a thief slipping a knife down their side, thinking one easy slash to the strap and the bag is theirs. Instead the thief ends up repeatedly slashing at the bag and the victim ends up with multiple cuts around their stomach, chest or shoulders, and an unexpected tour of the hospital.
No one wants to be robbed, but no bag is worth more than your life. This is one of the reasons to buy adequate travel insurance.
For many destinations, I would advise to bring a well-designed, everyday purse that blends in with the locals.
The key is finding a bag with the right balance of security features that looks so commonplace passersby will hardly glance at it. Key features to keep an eye out for include:
Alternatively, ditch a bag altogether and simply keep essentials, like keys or cash, on your body. Rohan offer surprisingly versatile trousers with hidden zips that can take travellers from cities to mountain tops with ease. Patagonia also offer a wide variety of trousers with lots of pockets for women.