Tougher security is changing personal travel luggage

In June Liz and I are going on a Mediterranean trip that will include several days in Rome and a day in Pompeii. Naturally I’ve been reading up about those places and I’ve discovered that since 2015 there have been severe restrictions on the size of a pack or bag you can carry. The maximum size is now 30 x 30 x 15cm. That was a problem – we need something to hold essentials on our days out, but even the daypacks we bought for our Alaskan cruise were too big.

Google research on how people get around the problem revealed that there’s a new type of bag called a crossbody bag. They have one shoulder strap and the bag can rest on your back or your front.

If you have the pack on your front, it is much safer when pickpockets are around, and around they certainly will be in Pompeii and the Vatican.

Pompeii bodies

No danger from this lot, but Pompeii is one of the world’s worst places for pickpockets. (Credit: National Geographic)

We watched a YouTube travel advisory that mentioned a woman who ventured out with a handbag and when she got back to her hotel, she found five cuts in her bag strap. What saved her was a thin metal cable built into her strap.

My favourite Chinese online emporium, AliExpress, had dozens of crossbody bags. Many weren’t buyable because they had prominent naff branding I wouldn’t be seen dead with, but I chose the one below, which cost me NZ$34 including postage. It is 30 x 20 x 12cm. The wide webbing strap would be hard to slice through in a hurry.

Crossbody bag

The crossbody bag I ordered from AliExpress.

It can be my aircraft carry-on bag too, so I’ll leave my backpack behind and travel lighter than usual. The backpack was essential when I flew with a full size laptop and thick paperback novel.

My crossbody bag is much smaller, but it will easily contain my inflight essentials: eight-inch tablet, Kindle, Sansa MP3 player, battery pack, cable, folding Bose noise reducing headphones, hand sanitiser and paper tissues.

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