Pacsafe Travelsafe X15 anti-theft portable safe
Holidays and travel are hopefully a utopian experience. Unfortunately, opportunistic criminals can quickly wipe away the smiles and good times if a traveler is not focused on safety. In a hotel room or other accommodation, that means securing your valuables when you are not there to watch over them. But how?
True, many nicer hotels (three star and above) have safes, but they are tiny at best (room for cash, credit cards, a passport or two, and perhaps a small tablet) and not as secure as one might think. And for hostel travelers, the accommodations traditionally offer lockers (although you will need your own lock). But what about those times for example you are sleeping on a train, in a guesthouse, using Airbnb, or staying in a hotel that doesn’t have a safe? Or just hanging out in a train station, coffee shop or airport waiting, working or socializing?
Those are the times when the Pacsafe Travelsafe X15 ($99.95) shines. The 16-liter Travelsafe is a lightweight (1 pound, 9 ounces), padded, EVA foam-laminated bag with a soft brushed polyester lining (to protect against scratching your electronics). But it is much more than just a bag. It is a portable safe because it features an eXomesh steel mesh security system sandwiched between the lining and the outer fabric that is combined with a strong cable and a heavy-duty TSA-accepted combination lock (included with the bag). It is in fact also a backpack liner for added security too.
When traveling to, from an around China, we used the water-resistant bag as an over-the-shoulder tote and “personal item” carry-on on trains, planes, buses and taxis for extra stuff (things that didn’t necessarily need security). Then, in the hotel, that tote became a secure safe into which we placed two Macbook Airs, one iPad Pro, one iPad mini, a video camera, a large DSLR camera, several backup drives, a wallet containing SD cards of photos, our passports and cash. Yup, all that fit in there, although you did have to layer carefully.
It is important to realize the Travelsafe is not going to be 100-percent effective against determined thieves. Professional thieves will have bolt cutters and other equipment to crack all but the most hardened security measures. But using the Travelsafe is the best security a traveler has against opportunistic criminals or even those few unscrupulous hotel workers tempted by crimes of convenience – such as snatching a computer simply because it is charging on the desk in plain view – or a hostel traveler who wants more than holiday memories.
When you go to lock your Pacsafe Travelsafe, be sure you secure the attached cable to an object or bar that is permanently attached to a wall or floor, such as pipes or built-in furniture. The more immovable the better, of course. We were forced in one situation to use the heavy wooden support bars of a large desk (above crossbeams so someone couldn’t just lift the desk, slip off the cable and make off with our goods). We’ve also used heating pipes, water pipes, radiators, and even the drainpipe below a sink. On a train, use the bars on a luggage rack or the arm or leg of your seat. Bottom line: You just want to be sure anyone with criminal intent has to have serious tools and be forced to work really hard to make a getaway with your valuables – that alone will deter the vast majority of thieves.
The lock that comes with it attaches to a loop on the bag when not in use. Do not have a brain-dead moment and secure it on the other snap loop, as we did once. Luckily, the loop did not come unsnapped, which would have resulted in a lost lock. Also, there is a short learning curve in figuring out how to thread the cable through the top to secure the bag closed. We highly recommend the video on the Pacsafe website to jump you over that hurdle.
All in all, though, we love our Pacsafe Travelsafe and what it offers. Thus, in recognition of great design and outstanding portable security in our travel lives, we’ve bestowed the HITT Seal of Approval without a moment’s hesitation.
More anti-theft gear and traveling advice
We believe that to travel smart means to be equipped with the best anti-theft gear you can, like from Pacsafe. Read our reviews of the Pacsafe Camsafe Z16 anti-theft camera laptop backpack, the Pacsafe Camsafe camera bag compact and secure, and the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30: Versatile anti-theft advenure backpack.
You’ll also find excellent traveling advice on travel security and the gear we rely on in this article Travel security gear we rely on anywhere we go.
And because we know that no matter how good the traveling tips are and how well you plan, things can still go wrong, be sure you are covered with the right kind of travel insurance. Read our story Travel Insurance 101 – Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation, Evacuation.