We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

TOM BIHN Forums Statistics


Topics: 14,998   Posts: 193,789   Members: 6,896   Active Members: 241
Welcome to our newest member, Kimiko.


No announcement yet.

Carrying passport in shoulder bag safe?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Carrying passport in shoulder bag safe?

    Does anyone carry their passport in their shoulder bag, such as a Cafe bag, while in western Europe? I'm trying to decide if I need to bother with the hidden pouch thingy.

    hi btw-nc!

    i carried my passport in my field journal notebook during my last trip outside the country.

    you could certainly carry it in a cafe bag or in the co-pilot. i would suggest you carry your bag with the shoulder strap across your body and the bag positioned in front of you. if you're using a cafe bag, place the passport and other sensitive documents in the zippered pocket of the cafe bag.


      Well, I live in Western Europe (Scotland and Spain) and I carry my passport all the time in Spain (you almost can't buy a ristretto in a café without one these days). You are always conscious of the risk from pick-pockets both in the tourist city of Edinburgh as well as Murcia or San Javier, but due to a serious spinal injury, I find trying to retrieve things from my pockets very difficult, so I carry a shoulder bag. I've just got my Tom Bihn Ristretto, so a small pouch on a key-strap in a zipped pocket, under a warrior buckle, with my strap over my chest should be perfect. Till now, I've always just used a zipped pocket inside my non-TB shoulder bag - and I have many in all materials from canvas to cordura to ballistic nylon to leather. My wife says I must be gay - the way I collect bags and shoes!

      I suspect that if you behave the same as you would in any US city, you'd be quite safe here - in the 234 years since we parted, some of us have become almost civilised!

      I hope that helps!


        I don't use a money belt myself, and I've made dozens of trips abroad. For the most part, I think that the zippered parts of cafe bags are just fine, especially if you wear them buckle side towards your body, and shoulder strap across the body. As long as you are paying attention to your surroundings, I think a cafe bag or imago is going to be sufficiently secure.

        In super-pickpocket-ridden areas like Las Ramblas in Barcelona, I keep my passpost wallet in an inside jacket pocket that is zippered and clipped with a big safety pin. Probably more security than necessary, but then again, I'm risk averse.

        So just watch...I'll probably get pickpocketed next time I go abroad, right?
        Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.


          I have often placed my passport inside a ziploc bag, inside a security pouch worn underneath my clothes, however this becomes awkward when you are required to whip it out to check into hotels, etc.

          The last time I gave up on it mid-trip and placed it inside the security pouch, and the pouch inside my Synapse

          Some of the men in my group just stuck their passports in their pants pockets (not a good idea without first putting it in a ziplock bag, mind you!)

          The only problem I think you would have with placing your passport inside a shoulder (or other) bag is the case where someone actually runs off with your entire bag!


            This is an area in which I have some expertise and first hand knowledge.

            I'm a former tour director and have taken more people than I care to think of on sightseeing tours.

            I'm also a certified travel goods specialist with the Travel Goods Association.

            My take on moneybelts.......I NEVER leave my home city without wearing one. I've seen too many people go through the hassle of trying to get their passport replaced when they've been pickpocketed. You will lose, at least, one day of sightseeing dealing with the bureaucracy.

            My suggestion is this: Wear a moneybelt. On the days you may need the passport, put it into a TB pouch and clip it to one of the "O" rings inside your shoulder bag. When done with it, put it back into your money belt. (And remember, the money belt is not to be taken out in public. No one should know you have it.)

            Pickpockets are pros. They don't just try to put their hand in to take things. They might cut the bottom of the bag so that everything falls out and they just grab and run. (That's why I suggested clipping it to an O ring.) Others might just cut the strap and run off taking the entire bag. Another is that you might let your guard down when at a restaurant or cafe and put the bag down. Out of sight and it's gone. Even if you put it under the table. Pickpockets often work in teams. One distracts while the other one helps themselves to your belongings.

            I also suggest you take a photocopy of the "information" page of your passport--and keep it separate from your passport. Perhaps in your main bag. With this, it will be a lot easier to get a replacement passport. Having a couple of passport photos will save even more time.

            BTW, when I use the term moneybelt, I don't just mean the type you wear around your waist. There are numerous additonal ones: worn around the neck or messenger bag style under an arm, a hidden pocket that attaches to your belt (my favorite) and hangs down inside your pant leg, or the type worn around your leg.

            I usually laugh when I read about people who say I never wear a moneybelt and nothing has ever happened. I usually add....."yet."
            Last edited by Frank II; 11-13-2010, 04:19 AM.
            Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

            Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.


              I make my own trousers, and always sew in a secret zippered pocket especially to hold my passport. The zip is located half-way down the normal pocket and it takes 2 hands to open it. The pocket can also hold a Tom Bihn wallet when necessary, but if I do that I stuff something unimportant and a little bulky into the non-concealed pocket to hide the bulk of the concealed pocket. A Mini Pouch with a lot of coins is often the easiest.

              I've done a lot of travel and only had a TB Mini Pouch containing cough lollies pickpocketed from me without my noticing. (It was camouflaging my secret pocket in the main Brussels train station at midnight in winter during massive delays.) My grandmother had a bag slashed when I was with her on a tram in Hong Kong but she was lucky - they only took her coin purse and missed her main purse and her passport. After that, she wore a money belt.


              (I'm Australian so I call a wallet a purse, and a purse a handbag.)


                Originally posted by falconea View Post

                (I'm Australian so I call a wallet a purse, and a purse a handbag.)
                I speak English too!



                  hi everyone :

                  I always keep my passport in my pants lol

                  Had so many bad experiences with carrying anywhere else... lost it twice.. just trouble :/

                  if you really wanna carry it in a bag make sure the bag always is directed in front of you.. so you can make sure no one tries to open it from behind..

                  i hate that.. we need a little chip under the skin


                    Carrying Passport

                    I always carry my passport in my money belt safely under my clothes, except for the times when I need access to it frequently, such as airports or hotel check-in.

                    In these instances I put it in a Tom Bihn pouch and clip it into the front zipper pocket of my Large Cafe Bag.

                    For other small items that I need frequently, such as a little cash, subway ticket, etc.; I put tham in my Tom Bihn wallet and carry it clipped into the front pocket of my pants. I sewed little rings into the bottom of my front pants pockets and I clip my Tom Bihn wallet into the rings to make a harder target for pick pockets. I also have a 16" keystrap that keeps the wallet clipped into my pants when I use it, in an attempt to be a harder target for a snatch and grab.
                    Tristar in Steel/Solar with Absolute Strap. Large Café Bag in Black/Steel with Absoulte Strap. Assorted packing cubes and pouches.


                      I put two safety pin horizontally inside my pants, just under the belt, and I hang an TB Passport Pouch http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB0931 making the safety pin go through the rings, like a T bar.
                      Like that, I dont have to wear an extra belt and I can remove my pouch without trouble.

                      It put my passeport an my money in (banknotes only). In my pant's front pocket I just put coins and a banknote.

                      Of course, it would be easier to have set a bar buttons to sew in I my pants because it's sometimes difficult to find the right size of safety pin.
                      Last edited by ratdeau; 11-26-2010, 12:23 AM.


                        Travelsmith used to make a nice microfiber blazer that had four zippered inside pockets, including one that extended from breast down to the base of the jacket. That long pocket was so convenient for secure carrying of long items like boarding passes, but it was also great security in carrying thin wallets with credit cards and passports, since you needed to stick a hand in nearly up to the elbow to extract smaller items from the pocket. The other thing is, they were absolutely wrinkleproof, looked professional, and could be washed in a sink in a pinch and dried overnight. Unfortunately, they ruined a perfect product--first cheapening up the fabric, then eliminating the long inside pocket and making the other inside pockets too shallow to be useful. And then they discontinued the thing entirely.

                        I still have four of them that I travel with to this day, and I will weep bitter tears when they wear out.

                        And a final thought on moneybelts and pickpockets: it depends where you are going and what you'll be doing how careful you need to be. I travel a lot on business and to conferences, and I don't worry about pickpockets in those environments. Likewise, when staying with relatives in non-touristy areas in England, I think the odds of being pickpocketed are vanishingly small. On the other hand, if I am in a touristed area, I am much more concerned with personal security. Pickpockets congregate where the easy pickings are, so when I'm in such areas, I take extra precautions.
                        Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.


                          What I ended up doing (and it worked fine) was to carry the passport inside the large pockets of the Ex Officio shirts I took along. Sometimes I had it inside the zippered section of the Cafe Bag - this was mostly at security when I had on a jacket and was wearing the Cafe Bag over the jacket.