Europe traveling – camera bag or sling

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by PatrickNSF, May 14, 2015.

  1. PatrickNSF

    PatrickNSF Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Sep 30, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Patrick
    I'm traveling from the US to Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome for a few weeks this summer with the family. I'm keeping my kit light – E-M1, 12-40/2.8, 14-150, and either 17/1.8 or 25/1.8 for evening. Also bringing a Canon G7 X or Stylus 1 as a backup/supplement.

    When out for the day sightseeing in these cities, is it best to travel with a camera bag, or am I fine with the camera on a sling? I plan to only head out with one of the zooms and one of the primes, depending on what we're doing that day. I never use a bag while traveling in the US, and will have access to my spouse's small backpack for the extra lens.

    I have that small Olympus soft case for the E-M1 I can use, but it rarely seems worth the trouble. http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/om-d-e-m1-soft-camera-case-cs-42sf-black.html

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  2. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I do not get what this question is about exactly. Is a security concern? Living "here" I consider these to be like the safest cities in the world :)
    Anyway I think that a camera bag is as recognizable as a naked camera for someone "in the business".
     
  3. Kalifornier

    Kalifornier Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Apr 29, 2014
    California
    Perhaps a combo i.e. sling style messenger bag?
     
  4. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I'm similarly confused as to what the OP asking for. Seems like a personal preference as to whether you'd rather carry a bag or use a sling (or both).
     
  5. PatrickNSF

    PatrickNSF Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Sep 30, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Patrick
    It was a security issue raised on the travel forums we've been frequenting while doing research. I'll assume there's no issue, then.
     
  6. Cocoamedia

    Cocoamedia Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    May 4, 2015
    UK
    Dave Fowler
    I personally wouldn't flash any tech in any major city in Europe or the U.S. (I live in the UK), just as I wouldn't keep my wallet in my back pocket. I worked in Moscow for a couple of years and haven't met a warmer more welcoming bunch of locals but I wouldn't wander about the city with even my phone in my hand.

    I would take a small messenger bag, and try to keep my money and passport on another part of my person. I would wear the messenger over my body, not just on one shoulder... All this is my preference, maybe I'm paranoid and should chill out, but then I've never lost any kit to thieves... yet!
     
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  7. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Since you're traveling with your family, my assumption is that you'll primarily be in the "touristy" areas and will not be out too late at night. If those assumptions are true, I wouldn't feel security would be a major concern. Just be aware of your surroundings and employ general "street smarts" and you should be okay. I see that you are from SF, so I assume that you'll be fine.

    In my experience security concerns on online travel fora are generally WAY overblown.
     
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  8. PatrickNSF

    PatrickNSF Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Sep 30, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Patrick
    Thanks for the feedback. I live in San Francisco and travel to NY frequently and never use a bag, but wasn't sure if there was something I'm not considering (e.g., like having to check a bag when visiting a cathedral). For example, I didn't realize that shorts weren't permitted in many (most?) churches and cathedrals.
     
  9. PatrickNSF

    PatrickNSF Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Sep 30, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Patrick
    Thanks for the advice. I've been researching what I'll need for the trip in Rick Steves' Europe forums, so I wasn't sure if the concerns voiced there were warranted or not.
     
  10. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin Mu-43 Veteran

    329
    Jun 10, 2013
    Dublin, Ireland
    well, any tourist hotspot in the world kind of needs the same precautions - pretty much only concerning pickpockets if you're milling about in crowds.
    From the top of my head I'd say keep your wallet/passport/etc. in a zippered inside pocket. Keep your personal belongings in sight (you might prefer a bag that's at the front of your body rather than a backpack.)
    But generally there's no need to feel concerned about 'safety' in any of these cities.
     
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  11. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    PatrickNSF: On my April trip to the US east coast, I took a small Tenba DNA 8 messenger bag and my OpTech sling strap. I used the messenger bag just a few times and mostly walked around with just a sling strap setup. See this post: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/75774/page-2#post-766582 I usually used it with only one lens pouch clipped to it. Since you mentioned a sling, you're familiar with the idea.

    However, I found out that changing lenses required three hands, or being really careful. Using a lens exchange pouch, like this http://store.lowepro.com/lens-cases/s-f-lens-exchange-case-100-aw, would have made lens changing easier and safer. That's where a messenger bag would be handy. Someplace to put your lens while you're changing lenses, or to carry a spare body and lens.

    Since it was fairly cool, I wore a windbreaker much of the time and to keep my camera hidden, I wore the sling cross body under my windbreaker. The OpTech neoprene camera cover kept the camera dry and protected against light bumps, and hidden from curious eyes.

    I used a camera sling bag on a trip to Japan. But, you're safer over there than at home. :) In other countries, having valuable gear sitting on my back out of sight would make me nervous.

    BTW, the tour guide for our east coast trip cautioned against fanny packs. He said they are favorite targets and very vulnerable. Not sure why they would be more vulnerable than say, a sling or backpack, but that's what he said. Maybe because women would use them instead of a purse or people wore them in back. He also said men should carry their wallets in front pockets and not to put all valuables in the same place.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
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  12. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Rick Steves offers a lot of useful advice on European travel, but in my estimation his followers are probably not the most "worldly" folks. I picture his "average" viewer as a 50-something empty-nester from Iowa who's decided to go see the world. For someone who's spent their whole life in Dubuque, the ways of a big European city are likely to feel intimidating. [Note: I'm admittedly painting with a VERY broad brush here and don't wish to offend any Iowans or anyone else for that matter]

    In my experience the way you carry yourself and a little common sense about where and when to visit particular locations will keep you in good stead nearly anywhere in the world. Yes, bad things can and do happen, but I don't think that's necessarily more likely in the major European cities than it is anywhere else. Just my two cents.
     
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  13. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I wouldn't assume there's no issue, but reasonable precautions should suffice. :)
     
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  14. PatrickNSF

    PatrickNSF Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Sep 30, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Patrick
    Tread lightly – I turn 50 the day before we board our flight to Paris! Ugh...

    Fortunately, our son turns 13 this summer, so the nest won't be empty for a while. Can't say the same for the wallet.
     
  15. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I'm only a few short years from celebrating my golden birthday myself. :eek:
     
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  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    When I travel I use a messenger bag and insert. My camera is in my bag unless I am actively using it. However, none of the cities that you are traveling to are particularly dangerous, I think that the posters concerned security are overthinking this thread. OP - why are you taking the 14 - 150? That lens seems to be awfully long for those cities.
     
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  17. PatrickNSF

    PatrickNSF Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Sep 30, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Patrick
    We're traveling for about 2-1/2 weeks, so we have a couple of day trips planned for areas outside of the major cities. I'm not sure what's on the agenda for those days, so I'm considering packing it just in case.

    If I end up bringing the Stylus 1 as my backup/supplement camera, I'll likely just leave the 14-150 home as the Stylus is "good enough" in decent light. If I bring the Canon G7 X, I'll bring the 14-150.
     
  18. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I can talk for the Italian cities you mentioned and I think they are generally safe. None of those cities has a bad reputation here. Obviously there is a little "home" bias here. Even if are not huge cities, like Paris, the center is crowded with tourists and obviously there is a small risk (theft, scam, etc.). Even at night, in summer, there is good lighting and a lot of people around. Airport surroundings, public transports, etc. require more attention.
    One thing that surprised me about big cities in other countries is that you can be in a nice central district, turn around and suddenly find yourself into ad ugly and scary alley. Here moving from the center to "bad" neighborhoods is more gradual and distinct and usually not required.

    When I travel I use a small s-biner to "close" the backpack/waist pack zip and I have a pac-safe wallet chained to the belt (more to not forget or drop it around than anything else). If you do a travel insurance it usually covers this things too even if I probably wouldn't do it to travel in Europe.
     
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  19. GnedTheGnome

    GnedTheGnome Mu-43 Regular

    Does Rome still have issues with street kids picking tourist's pockets? The last time I was there (admittedly, many years ago) it was common enough that I saw several instances during my short stay. At the time, their favorite trick was to use a large piece of cardboard to distract the mark and force their hands up, while a smaller friend slipped underneath and emptied the tourist's pockets and bum-bag. It was nothing, though, compared to Morocco, where I had all my pockets turned inside out within 5 minutes of leaving the ferry terminal, and I never felt a thing. Fortunately, I had all my cash and documents in a bag inside my shirt.
     
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  20. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I have no doubts that this still happens but I just cannot do a proper comparison with other uber-touristic cities. I live in Milan but obviously foreigners get a completely different treatment. I've almost been a victim of this multi-person style theft in Valencia: a kid comes near the table with a cardboard with a generic help message and places the cardboard so to cover the smartphones sitting in the table to pick those from below. Another girl was moving around probably to get the bags hanged across the chairs.
    I've met a con-artist in Bombay asking for help because he had just been robbed. I've heard a first hand account of a smartphone stolen out of the hand in the underground while the doors were closing in Milan, but I'm sure we all have a couple of horror stories to tell.
    Rome is the worst of the three cities from this point of view: street kids or more complex schemes involving a few persons with different roles (offering help, asking informations, pouring something on the dresses, etc.) do happen. I did a quick google search about Rome and the result was not very nice but with google searches is easy to find anything you are looking for. I did the same search for London and Paris and the result was just a little better.