Is using a backpack in Europe safe?

Old Mar 4th, 2013, 06:22 AM
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Get something cheap-looking, preferably second-hand and you are very unlikely to attract attention.
Unless you plan on hiking or mountaineering I would suggest something large with wheels plus a small light day pack. Leave the iPad at home.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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Since the OP mentions she has a Coach backpack I believe she is referring to a day pack, commonly called a back pack, not a full blown hiking back pack.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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I can't walk around all day carrying something on one shoulder -- the part of my back from shoulder blade to shoulder blade would be killing me. I can carry a small cross-body purse, or a backpack. At home, I don't carry my purse around all day, so it's okay. (I also do not, anywhere, wear a money belt)
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Backpacks are great walking in the country; we've done lots of miles this way.
In the city they're a menace.
Even in Rome, I carry money the way I do at home. Only been pocketpicked once, and that time I threatened the pickpocket and got my money back — and a little extra!
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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I have been sightseeing with people wearing back packs, and honestly, it drives me nuts. Every time they want something, like their camera, tissues, water, map, or guidebook, they have to take it off. So, there they stand, trying to figure out where to set the bag down to get their selected item. Then the bag goes back on. 5 min. later, they have to take it off again, to put said item back. In several hours, they have taken this back-pack on and off about 100 times.

People think they are being careful with their stuff, but they aren't. I get hit in the head all the time on the trains, and I see stuff get knocked off of shelves in stores and tables in restaurants. When you sit down to eat, most of the time the back pack comes off and gets hung on the back of a chair. When you sit down on a train, again, you have to take it off.

Easiest is to wear a messenger bag, cross body. You never have to take it off to get anything out of it. You don't even have to take it off to eat, as it just sits in your lap. It has the weight evenly distributed, and is easy on your neck and back.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Backpacks make sense if you're walking in the country in the US. You get to the top and all one has is a great view.

In Europe, you get to the top and there will be a cafe.

If the OP uses this back pack at home instead of a purse or messenger bag, then carry it while on vacation. I use the same purse I use at home. My husband, like most men, seems to have all he needs in his pocket.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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A backpack-style purse is much different from (and much smaller than) the hiking/traveling backpack many of you are visualizing.

I have used both a backpack-style purse and a cross-body purse on different trips and at home. They are both very convenient and comfortable as long as you're not trying to carry too much stuff.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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in answer to the question is it safe. yes. Use common sense and awareness of ones surroundings. A backpack is mandatory for me due to the type of degenerative spine I have.. I wear a backpack purse all the time or a hip belt.. its a matter of being conscious of those around. When I am traveling to and from the destinations my purse backpack goes in luggage and I wear a daypack which protrudes 3 to 4".. some folks who are overweight take more space than that. lol. I've been one of em. I am very small and the backpack helps me from getting knocked down by other esp tall non backpack wearing people.its kind of a buffer. they still manage to take me out once in a while. money belt is always needed in any situation
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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I wear a light day pack around when I am out sightseeing all day, particularly if a train trip is involved. I don't have to take it off every five minutes, it really eases the back strain if you are walking for very far. I don't carry guidebooks with me, either, but I may have an umbrella in it, some kind of reading material for downtime on the train or cafe (ie, a newspaper or magazine), and perhaps a water bottle, true, and some tissues or a few other things, maybe sunglasses, and perhaps a lightweight sweater or wrap. I actually do use a waistpack for money, rail tickets, etc., I don't put anything of any value in my daypack. It is not structured at all, it is just nylon, I guess, and I can carry it as a tote or adjust the straps to be a backpack. I do not carry a purse in addition to that.

Lots of people do this, actually, I do not carry it on my back on the metro or places like that, but if I am walking from a train station into town a couple km, I certainly have it on my back, or even sometimes other areas and around town if I am out all day. No one has ever tried to get into it, but there isn't anything of value in it. I don't carry cameras usually. Men wear them a lot, of course, as they don't have purses.

My backpack isn't anything like what people are talking about that could hit people and if you are talking about something the size of a large purse, you aren't either. I think you should take it, you may be glad when you are walking around a lot, just don't put anything of value in it.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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I always wore a back pack till I decided to travel lighter.
be careful, don't carry passport, money, or anything your backpack, thieves are clever can get into it without your knowing. riding the Metro and buss remove it from your shoulders. I've been hit on the head so many times .
Some women wear these light back packs that don't hold much so they are never a broblem, they are like large handbags but

mine could hold a change of clothes if my luggage was lost and other necessities and reading stuff like books and newspapers.
Have a wonderful trip
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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I wear a backpack (day pack size) or a shoulder bag all the time in Paris and carry all my most valuable possessions in them: cell phone, wallet, carte de séjour (I live here) and anything else of value I may have with me. I like having all my possessions in one place so there's only one place I need to watch for. I take my backpack off when I am in a crowded RER or métro and hold it in front of me. I've never been pickpocketed and I've actually never even seen a pickpocket in four years of living here. Tourists are more at risk of being pickpocketed than locals so maybe that's why it's never happened to me and why I've never seen a pickpocket. I never put anything of value in my pants pockets (both front and back) nor in a jacket pocket. If a jacket has an inside pocket I will use that to put my wallet or other small valuable items if I don't have my backpack or shoulder bag. Be courteous and don't hit people with your backpack and no matter what method you use to carry your valuables none is foolproof if you aren't aware of your surroundings and using street smarts/common sense.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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LSky, I interpreted it as having luggage to get from point A to point B and using thr backpack for day trips which is what we do. I'm like others, I can't carry my normal handbag around all day, my back and shoulders ache. We carry a small backpack with a guidebook, water etc in it. It's good for things like a day trip to Versailles.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 03:20 AM
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Wearing a backpack in the front is a flashing red light to a would-be mugger and says please rob me. Your center of gravity is well forward and would make it simple to strip off your pack from behind or push you down and you would not be able to fully extend your arms either to stop a fall "or" to fend off an attacker. Here's a tip. Leave the bag at the hotel or check at a train station, relax and enjoy your time in the city. 99% chance you never put things in or pull things out of it. Dump the "rob me" light and enjoy your time. You really don't like wearing it anyway. Your own your own.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:05 AM
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There are some strange people out there. I've been tripped up by someone towing a suitcase far more often than I've ever been bumped by someone with a backpack. Especially those with suitcases large enough to stash a body.
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Old Sep 27th, 2014, 02:43 PM
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Christina, is your light daypack a brand I might be able to pick up at an REI or chain luggage store? My husband wants to buy something to use as you have described.

I am considering replacing the medium size black microfiber tote I have carried for years as it gets so heavy on these overseas trips and I was considering a backpack that would be slighty bigger than a daypack to carry my ipad, water, snacks, magazine, umbrella and small crossbody purse while traveling by plane and train. Now I am afraid I would become one of the criminal backpack bashers if I did that!!!

Someone suggested the messenger bag.......never thought of that. I guess I will look at those tomorrow.
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Old Sep 27th, 2014, 07:46 PM
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no, I have two light backpacks, the lightest is one I bought in Paris once at a luggage store, so not a US brand. I looked at it and it doesn't even seem to have a label on it, which is odd. The other one is really old that I did buy in the US somewhere. The brand is Golden Bear, which I bought in a Big 5 Sporting Goods store in California many years ago when I lived there. I looked online and they don't sell anything like it now, their backpacks are more structured. That's the way it goes, day packs are now all fairly structured, as I've looked, even the "lightweight" ones.

You might consider one of those Adidas nylon tote bags that have cinch straps. I have one of those I just got on sale but haven't used it yet. I just got it at JCPenneys. It's like this one:

I just checked and they don't seem to have it at REI but do at Dick's Sporting Goods. As I said, JCPenney has it where I live
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