My daypack is free, doesn’t attract thieves, and is recycleable

A dumpy shopping bag. Never had anyone try to snatch one. Sometimes I pair with a local newspaper. Plenty of countries I will never blend in, but shopping bag plus newspaper at least looks like expat rather than tourist target. Sometimes if I am in a showy mood I carry a durable, flexible Target bag in hometown pride.


And how to carry a sweating, cold water bottle? Double bag and use the middle layer.

Spills are easy to deal with, just get a new bag.

Traditional daypacks have their place out in nature but are a flashing “rob me” sign in urban areas.

If you have too much stuff for a shopping bag for a day of city sightseeing, then it is time to slim down. Sharp objects can pose a problem but can be tucked inside something else.

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14 Comments on "My daypack is free, doesn’t attract thieves, and is recycleable"

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Great tip! Thanks.

The Weekly Flyer

Free is free. Great advice on how to avoid becoming a target because of a bag.


Great advice! I always feel wary about carrying a backpack around in large cities.


now this is what I call stupid.

Rapid Travel Chai

@jason – care to elaborate with your recommendation?


I recently used an ABC store bag as a purse while in Honolulu for the night. I was on a mileage run and only packed a rollaboard and a backpack. It was the perfect cheap fast fix and I blended in perfectly!


I use a reusable freezer tote as my shopping bag when travelling. It will keep my water or bottles of soda cold for me. Is not heavy and it looks like I went shopping for a few groceries for lunch or dinner. It has zipper to keep everything corralled. A newspaper stickng out of it looks like you are a local not a tourist.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Wendy – that’s a great idea!


Hi Stefan,

What cities were you especially concerned about being targeted for theft?

Rapid Travel Chai
@Craig – it has been my longstanding practice so I don’t discriminate, most major cities have sticky fingers roaming major tourist areas, so I default to this mode. I happened to think to post while in Brazil because there does seem to be high risk in major tourist areas. At one street-side restaurant the waiter scolded me for putting my sunglasses on the tableside near to the street and sure enough minutes later a kid came by begging for money, reaching over the low fence. That said, I have had no issues in Brazil and what I hear about the… Read more »
Paddy in BA aka Quickroute

this is actually great advice. My mother-in-law asked me to accompany her to the bank in Buenos Aires as she needed to withdraw u$d10,000 for a real estate transaction so I assumed I was the distraction bait but she put the money in a small chocolate (havanna) bag and walked on the street with it. Her logic was a thief would ask for her purse or money belt so the moral of the story is – carry yer wares where nobody cares ..or would expect them to be..


Its always an option. =) However, if you see my purse then you’ll realize why the bags never last and just gives me “plastic burn” on my hands after a while….

Michael W. Travels

Funny but useful advice. What if you want to go hands free. Do you have a convertible plastic bag? 🙂
If I carry a backpack around while traveling, I’ll wear it in front of me in crowded areas.


I have tended to do this, I admit. The other thing I tend to do, if carrying a map around and constantly using it, is to hold it inside a local newspaper.