There’s safety in zippers: My top picks for foiling pickpockets

“There’s safety in zippers: My top picks for foiling pickpockets”

by Christopher Elliott via “The Washington Post

Little things sometimes make a big difference when it comes to travel safety. Like a strategically placed zipper.

Consider what happened to Aaron McHugh, who was recently exploring Glasgow, Scotland, after the last leg of a sea kayaking trip with his brother. “We were not familiar with where sketchy parts of the city might be,” he remembers. But halfway through a 14-mile, self-guided tour, the duo found themselves in Springburn, a neighborhood with a reputation for drug crime. McHugh suddenly felt vulnerable. He clutched his credit cards, passport and cash and quickened his pace, hoping to make it to a safer area without incident.

That’s a familiar feeling to a lot of travelers, who are too often unprepared for threats to their safety. Just ask the professionals. In a recent survey of corporate travel managers — the executives who oversee companies’ travel departments — safety was ranked the top priority. The study, by European travel safety consultant BCD Travel, ranked security higher than efficiency, satisfaction and environmental and social impact.

Fortunately, McHugh, a podcaster who lives in Colorado Springs, had prepared by dressing the part. He wore a pair of pickpocket-deterrent pants developed by a company called Bluff Works ($93). His cards and important paperwork were shielded in a zippered internal pocket.

“That pocket gives me a lot more security and comfort than a pair of jeans or any other pant I own,” he says. As a decoy, he carried a messenger bag over his shoulder that he says screamed “Take me!” The Bluffs were his camouflage.

He made it through Springburn without incident.

I’ll be the first to admit it: Zippers don’t make for exciting reading. But isn’t that the point? From inconspicuous pants to ties that make your checked bag harder to break into, the gadgets that can keep you safer on the road are completely unremarkable — until you need them. If you’re traveling somewhere for adventure this summer, you’ll want to pack these accessories. . . . .”

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