Security Luggage Racks

Security Luggage Racks

I don’t know about you, but I get very nervous on trains when I have to leave my luggage on those racks at the end of the carriage. When the train is full, or I can’t actually see my bags from where I’m sitting, I have to jump up and make sure they are not being ‘accidentally’ removed during station stops en route.

Of course it is possible to carry bicycle locks or similar, for peace of mind, but you never know when you are going to need one, and usually I never realise it would have been a smart idea until too late.

So I was very happy to see this locking device for suitcases, on the NEX train from Narita airport into Tokyo. It also made me laugh, because Japan is probably the last place in the world where you could leave your bags unattended without stress, but also probably the first place to think of making life that little bit easier and more convenient for travellers. The service is also completely free of charge.

Essentially, you heave your bag onto the rack, and use one of the curly cords to secure the handle to the rail. Set your own combination and you are free to relax until your destination. The only trick is remembering the code to remove the cord in time to get off the train. And as Japanese trains tend to stop for seconds only at most intermediate stations, there is no time to be messing about with this. If you forget the number or it is the 3rd possibility you try, you will probably find you have either missed your stop or need to continue to the end of the line before rail staff are available to help you unlock your bag.

Oh, and as this is Japan and the status quo hinges on everyone being polite and considerate to everyone else, do please remember to reset the lock to zero for the convenience of the next user…



Security Garter

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This little gem was tucked away towards the back of the Silk Air in-flight shopping magazine. Retail opportunities at 38,000ft always provide me with great entertainment – there’s stuff in there you really have to raise your eyebrows at, especially the prices.

But this actually looked like it might be an interesting buy. I mean, there are nights out when a handbag is a positive annoyance, and (as daughter #2 would tell you) even having your valuables safely zipped away inside one is no guarantee you will not have them pinched in a night club crush.

So, a lacy garter with multiple pockets for all your essentials, including phone and keys, seemed like a neat solution, and something a lot less likely to be accessed without you noticing. Obviously, you’d have to be wearing a skirt long enough to cover it, but it still strikes me as a promising idea. A snip at S$55.

High Security Cheese

Category : Food


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There was a time, in the middle of an economic crisis, when such high value items as steak and sliced smoked salmon were given security tags in British supermarkets. If the big firms were experiencing a profit-trimming wave of shoplifting, then this made perfect sense.

Never, however, have I seen security packaging as elaborate as this, and on processed cheese slices at that! (Mind you, the meat in this particular store was behind glass counters, and you needed a staff member to weigh and wrap it for you – it would have been a lot harder to pinch.)

I won’t specify which major city I saw this in, except to say that it was somewhere in SE Asia where a lot of ordinary people struggle to get by. It was especially striking because other, and to my mind more tempting, items were left unsecured.

It’s a funny world where you have to guard the type of foodstuff which often contains so many additives it is hard to see it as a natural product. This particular item is French, but appears very like an American version which is apparently so far removed from the cheese it purports to be that it has to be labelled as ‘pasteurised process cheese product’. There are even on-line videos which show similar slices blackening like plastic rather than melting like actual cheese.

In America, adverts claiming that this sort of item was highly nutritious and packed with implausible amounts of calcium were banned a long time ago. It’s possible that – sadly – the message has not filtered through elsewhere.

Firearms Not Allowed

Category : Other

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I hadn’t been out and about in Manila more than 10 minutes before I started to worry. Ducking into a nearby supermarket for water and snacks, I was astonished by the security procedures just to get through the door. Armed guards watched as I was patted down and the contents of my bag inspected, then my bag was x-rayed, airport style, whilst I went through a metal detector. A sniffer dog stood by.  It swiftly became clear that every commercial place I entered required the same manoeuvres, and every time I arrived at my hotel in a taxi, the underside and trunk of the vehicle were searched as well.

After this experience, I began to see guns everywhere. Quite apart from the police on duty, security guards clustered at every bank, hotel and mall – even small stores had them. But what about the guns I could not see? A quick spot of research revealed that probably 4 million firearms are also held by civilians, with a licence to carry concealed weapons fairly easy to obtain.

Which is why these signs cropped up all over town. I have to say that luckily I did not spot any guns other than those carried by uniformed guards, but the whole issue made me a lot more cautious than I usually am when visiting somewhere new. I’m sure there is a lot to like about Manila, but it does not top my list for a return visit.

Security Undies

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Keeping your valuables safe is a real worry when you travel, and it is a rare holidaymaker who has not had something stolen from a backpack or hotel room. Heart breaking as it is to lose all your photos when a camera, phone or laptop goes missing, the real nightmare is when your money, credit cards or passport are taken.

Many travellers swear by a ‘bum bag’ or the sort of pouch which can be slung round your neck or carried under your arm. The trouble is, their obvious bulge is a clear target for pickpockets or muggers as well as making you look fat. And whilst you can buy belts with a secret compartment to hide away emergency cash, I am always afraid I will accidentally throw mine into the wash along with my trousers.

What I do like, however, is these travel underclothes with zippered pockets designed to hold passport, cash and cards securely and out of sight. Use these, and you can carry just enough money for the day in your pockets or a normal bag, whilst your main stash stays safe. The vest and shorts I have are comfortable, wash well, and are just the thing when you need to take a lot of cash for your trip. I bought them online from for S$41 and S$34 respectively.