Tuesday Travel Tools: Portable Travel Safe

What is a Portable Travel Safe?

A portable travel safe is a relatively small, relatively lightweight (around one or two pounds, depending on the size you opt for), usually steel-mesh bag with a locking cable that you can attach to a permanent fixture in your room to protect your valuables from theft.

Travel safes come in a variety of sizes, from small (fitting a passport and money and not much else) to backpack-sized and complete with straps (fitting a laptop, camera, and anything else that might need protecting).

I have the 12L version from PacSafe, which fits a 10-inch tablet, camera, money, and my passport.

Why get a Portable Travel Safe?

the TravelSafe x25

If you travel with electronics, your passport, and/or cash, you want to keep that stuff safe.

Many lower-end hotels and most hostels don’t provide safes for their guests to use, or the safes that are provided are too small or questionable-looking.

Even if you’re staying at a high-end hotel, you probably do NOT want to trust the provided safe.

Because my husband works in the security industry, I’ve seen firsthand how easy it is for anyone with momentary access to your room to break into a hotel safe, and just how frequently it happens. Because most hotels have policies that you are responsible for your items (whether in the safe or not), if someone steals all your conveniently-conglomerated valuables out of the safe that you assumed was safe: you’re out of luck.

Why I love my Portable Travel Safe

Travel Safe

I’ve been using the PacSafe Travel Safe for years now, and it’s a must-pack on pretty much any trip (except for when I’m traveling with my theft-proof, lockable backpack: PacSafe VentureSafe).

I’m a major worrier, and my portable travel safe gives me peace of mind and allows me to let go of my anxieties and enjoy the trip.

Downsides of a Portable Travel Safe

A travel safe takes up space and adds weight, important considerations if you like to pack light (like me!). It is one of the bigger, though not necessarily bulky, items you’ll have in your bag, and has at least a pound or two of heft to it, depending on the size you opt for.

Other options

the 120L backpack and bag protector

A portable travel safe isn’t the only option for keeping your stuff secure while you travel. Here are a few other options I’ve tried:

Cable and lock

A cable lock is a more low-key, cheaper, lighter alternative. Yes, it’s less secure, but with a bit of creativity and luck, you can make a safe out of stuff in your room. For example, if your closet has handles, use the cable lock to lock them shut (wrap the cable through any existing holes as tightly as possible, and lock).

You can also lock your bag (for the most secure situation, it’d be hard-shell luggage) to something secure in the room (a bed frame, a toilet, etc), though this won’t prevent thieves from cutting into the bag, it will deter them from an easy score.

Combination lock

At the very least, keep your bag locked up with a combo lock when you’re not in the room. Don’t go with a lock-and-key. Trust me. I learned the hard way, and the only thing to get me out of that jam was a helpful friend and some super strong bolt-cutters.

Theft-proof lockable backpack

When I’m traveling with a bunch of electronics (especially when I know I’m going to need to be working or doing school stuff while on the road, so I have my laptop), this is the way I travel. I am absolutely in love with my PacSafe VentureSafe.

Mesh pack protector

If you’ve got a big bag, tons of gear, or unusually-shaped stuff, a pack protector could be perfect for you.

This post was not sponsored, endorsed, or encouraged in any way by PacSafe or any of the other brands mentioned: I just love their stuff!

Pin it for Later: Top Tuesday Travel Tools – The Portable Safe

Top Travel Tools: Portable Travel Safe



A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

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