The One Item I Never Travel Without–Worth Its Weight in Gold!

It’s spring break time for many families right now, including my grandsons. In my area, spring break starts next week. Do you have plans to travel for spring break or this summer? After the last few years of everyone staying home so much, I have a feeling this is going to be a huge summer for travel.

If you’ve been reading BNOTP for a bit, you know I love a beautiful handbag, especially wicker bags for summer. But when it comes to travel, my priorities and the features I look for in a handbag completely changes. Of course, I still want any bag I carry to look attractive, but this is one time where convenience and built-in safety features take prominence over everything else.

When I first began traveling back in 2015, this was the bag I purchased.

 

 

This bag includes a lot of great safety features, like straps that can’t be cut through with a knife by a bad guy riding by on a motorbike. Sections of the bag are slash-proof so they can’t be cut through with a knife. That actually happened to a BNOTP reader once while wearing a fanny pack/bumbag on vacation. Her hubby chased the perpetrator down who, fortunately, ended up dropping everything in her attempt to get away.

 

The safety features continue inside with RFID protective pockets for credit cards. Those prevent a bad guy from scanning and stealing credit card numbers.

 

This bag still exists only it’s been improved since I first purchased it. The two small pockets up front are now one nice large pocket that will hold a lot more than the two smaller pockets did. I like that much better because I always had trouble remembering which pocket held what, in my original bag. Notice how the zipper hook latches to the little metal ring on the left. That keeps a bad buy from unzipping it when you’re not looking. Love that!

 

Best Travel Bag, RFID Pockets, Safety Features

 

This bag still has a large pocket across the back. That’s a great place to stick a cell phone, maps, or a guidebook.

 

Safest Travel Bag

 

This diagram below shows all the built-in safety features that make this bag so awesome! I still think it’s an excellent choice for travel. You’ll find it available in 5 colors here: Travel Bag in 5 Colors.

 

Features of Best Travel Bag

 

 

My Second Travel Bag

As I continued to travel, I ended up taking a couple of trips to countries where it’s advised visitors do not drink the water. I realized I needed a bigger bag or at least one that was large enough to hold a water bottle. This was the bag I purchased and it’s the one I’ve been using for travel ever since. Pockets are located on each end of the bag and they are the perfect size for holding a water bottle or some type of drink.

Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag for Travel

 

Here’s how a pocket on one side looks with a standard water bottle inside. Update: As Nancy mentioned in the comments, the side pockets are also great for carrying a small umbrella or sunglasses.

Best Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag, Holds Water Bottle

 

This bag was perfect for my trips to Morocco and Egypt. Since the bag is easily worn crossbody, you forget you even have it on, so I never had to even think about where to put my water bottle. This bag is available in 6 colors here: Travel Bag with Pockets for Water.

Camel Riding in Giza, Egypt, 2018

 

It’s so, so important when traveling to areas where crime is sometimes an issue, that you’re carrying a bag that is specially designed for travel. The bag above saved me from having my trip to Egypt ruined and that’s no exaggeration! While walking through a popular market in Egypt, a scammer attempted to scan my credit cards with a device like this.

 

She failed miserably because the bag was doing its job protecting my cards from being read. She ended up giving herself away because when her evil card scanner wouldn’t work, she crept closer and closer thinking she wasn’t close enough. She ended up bumping into me and that’s when I caught her in the act. You can read more about what I did when that happened in this previous post: How I Foiled a Pickpocket Their in the Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar in Cairo. Needless to say, I will never travel to another country without this bag!

RFID Pockets, Travelon Travel Bag

 

If you don’t have a bag with built-in protection for your credit cards and passport, consider purchasing these RFID protective sleeves. They are very inexpensive and will protect your cards from being scanned at home and abroad. I use these here at home in my regular handbags and they give me great peace of mind that someone isn’t going to sidle up to me in a crowd, scan my debit card, and wipe out my checking account.

 

RFID Pockets Protect Credit Cards & Passports

 

They also have colorful ones that are color-coded in case you carry several cards and want an easy way to tell them apart in your wallet. Those are available here: RFID Protection for Credit Cards & Passports.

 

RFID Color-coded Pockets, Protect Credit Cards, Passports when Traveling

 

 

These are the two bags I have used and recommend when traveling abroad or even at home:

1st bag I purchased: Travel Bag in 5 Colors.

2nd Bag I purchased with pockets for water/drink: Travel Bag with Pockets for Water.

 

Do you have any trips planned this spring or summer? I’m not sure if I’ll travel this summer or not since I’m trying to save right now for bathroom renovations. I would much rather be traveling! 🙂

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Comments

  1. I have your “second purse” in black and I love it for travel! The water bottle pockets are also a great place to stash a small umbrella or your sunglasses.

  2. franki Parde says

    Still using “crefit card holders” you recommended! franki

  3. I have the same bag that holds water bottles. Love it! I have also encountered pic pockets. I was with a group waiting to board a train in Amsterdam and a man approached a member of our group who was wearing a backpack. He had a coat draped over his arm and with the other hand he was reaching under it to get in her backpack. I reacted instantly too by swatting his arm with my a rolled up magazine I had in my hand. He took off fast!!!
    With so many people using cell phones to bank and with Apple Wallet, Amazon app etc…..makes even more sense to have your phone put in an RFID protected bag.

  4. I have the same purse that holds water bottles, thanks to your post Susan. I read the post when you were going to Egypt and read about the purse you would be carrying and why. When it came time for me (I don’t travel a lot) to go on a huge trip with friends, I got the purse. I knew we would be in big cities, Nashville and Memphis-Waco was a tame little town, so I knew I wanted a slash prof purse, that also locked and protected my cards and I knew which one I wanted, the one you showed! It has served me well on my few trips. So thank you! Hugs, Brenda

  5. Susan, the blue purse is not a good one to purchase because it has the easily unlockable catch on the strap. Someone can pinch that, pull the bag off of you when you are distracted and be gone in a flash.

    My other thought is yes the RFID sleaves are good but I would never take a debit card overseas. It is wise to only carry one credit card and cash for (only) that day in your purse or money belt. Passport goes in money belt with spare credit card(s) and cash. Or leave the spare credit card(s) locked up in your luggage with copies of your important documents.

    • Are you sure because it shows that it latches closed securely in the ad. That’s one of the features that they highlight.
       

      I do take my debit card since that’s how I withdraw money from an ATM if I need to. How do you get more cash if you need it without your debit/atm card? I also keep my debit card inside a protective sleeve here at home in my regular handbags.
      Do you have your Passport in an RFID pocket so it can’t be scanned? Those can be scanned, too…since they have a chip in them.
      I never leave credit cards locked up in luggage. I’ve actually had my luggage broken into in Italy when it had a lock on it. I usually only take two cards when I travel, my Amex and my debit which is also a Visa.

  6. I would double check with Travelon as to how the catch works.

    I have a Bank of America ATM only card.

    I have had my purse stolen off of my back when coming out of a Talbot’s store years ago. I got the guy’s license plate #, went to court twice and the gentleman had to pay me restitution. So, my thought is if someone is determined to steal your purse they are going to get it. Passport use always require visual id by customs or others. In terms of scanning a passport or your cards, always keep your purse in front of you or on your lap when dining. Fraudulent credit card charges are easily contested. Give your emergency backup a paper copy of all of your important documents and cards.

    • Your cards and passport can still be scanned even if your bag is in front of you. Yeah, fraudulent charges can be contested but I would never want to have all my credit cards canceled in the middle of a vacation and have to spend time calling credit card companies to contest the charges. Just better to prevent the issue from the start so you don’t have to deal with any of that. I was really thankful I had mine in a safe place (my travel bag) when the thief tried to scan them in the market in Egypt.
      The whole point of their bags is safety, every feature is designed around that, so I’m sure that’s why they are highlighting the way the strap is connected in their ad. You can see how it locks into place. Many of the locks on their bags, even on the compartments, are designed that way. Their bags are also slash-proof and the straps can’t be cut. Definitely worked as it should this time: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/how-my-travelon-bag-foiled-a-pickpocket-thief-in-egypt/

      Regarding my debit/ATM card, that’s the only time I use it when traveling is to withdraw cash from an ATM where it requires a PIN. The rest of the time I’m using Amex since there are no foreign transaction fees.

    • Elaine, did you already go on your trip to Egypt? Were you able to find a spot to purchase the carved limestone tablets?

      • No, I hope to make the trip this coming winter after the new Grand Egyptian Museum opens.

        • I can’t wait to hear about it after you go! I wish the new museum had been open when we were there. You are going to have so much fun…I was in awe the whole time we were there!

  7. Cyndi Raines says

    Thank you Susan for posting these great travel purses again. I have wanted one since you posted the first time, but since I haven’t been out of the country, only traveled here in the US, I put it off. Of course theft can very much happen here, but just put it off and traveled with what I already had and was thankful no issues. So tonight as soon as I saw the first one , I hopped right on it and ordered one in the ocean color. Came back to finish reading the post and realized the second purse does have the convient side pockets and it actually cost less. Argh, But for now, I’ll stick with purse number one. Hope I don’t regret not getting #2, lol. Yes, I hope to finally get to Maine or South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore both have been on my list for several years. Keeping fingers cross no more major issues to stop travel.

  8. Barb Reid says

    Hi Susan, I bought bag#2 with the water bottle holder….it was perfect for our trip to Egypt and allowed me to have my hands free. This purchase was based on reading your Blog. Thank You, now hopefully we will be able to travel the world again??

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