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Purse etiquette: How to keep your purse and its contents

By September 23, 2015 No Comments

Think about the last time you couldn’t find your purse.
Go ahead, close your eyes and picture it. Where were you?
At home?
Heading back to work from lunch?
How did you feel?
Did you panic?
Now imagine you’re overseas… You can’t find your purse…

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had friends get pick-pocketed by someone slashing the side or bottom of their purse.”

So many bad examples

So many bad examples

Somewhere between prevention and awareness is the travel sweet spot where everyone comes home with all good memories and all their personal belongings.

So let’s apply this to you and your handbag. What can you do to keep your satchel with you for the entirety of the trip?  A friend of mine who travels extensively had the advantage of a mother who flies for United and thus was drilled early in the “school” of purse etiquette.  “I’m amazed at how careless people can be with their bags” she says.  “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had friends get pick-pocketed by someone slashing the side or bottom of their purse.”

Not all purses are created equal. Here’s what you should look for in a bag.

Purse checklist:

  • By the Louvre

    By the Louvre

    Zipper shut is best.

  • A latch or fastener is better than a magnet or no means of securely closing it at all.
  • Avoid huge bags or overly attention grabbing purses; ie, blend in. *More tips here on blending in
  • Look for a strap you can put over a shoulder.

But what can YOU do to keep your goods from getting ganked?

Checklist purse behavior:

  • Fail, fail, fail

    No, sir. I do not want to keep my belongings.

    Close it when not in use.

  • Zipper closed with tab in front of you – not in the back where you can’t see it.
  • Strap crossing your body over your head is best, definitely not dangling in your hand.
  • Especially in crowds, (metro or otherwise) clutch the bag in front of you with one arm over and one arm underneath. It’ll be 15 minutes later when you notice that someone slashed the bottom of your bag, so covering the bottom is key.
  • Set it down next to you not on the ground. If you have two people set it between you not on the outside of you.

*Hint – these rules apply at home as well.

Textbook purse etiquette

It’s a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.

We’re dealing mostly with prevention here; but what about if you’re stuff’s been bogarted already? Obviously you wouldn’t be scanning blogs, but you can read right now my series on what to do if you’re robbed.
Choosing your travel purse well, showing good awareness to your surroundings and having proper purse placement will drastically improve your chances of returning home from your travels with zero horror stories AND all your belongings.

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