A travel bag that’s stylish enough to work with your outfits yet just right for travel is essential if you travel a lot.
Although you can probably use any handbag for your travels, the right travel purse is vital to hold your important travel documents and valuables when you’re on the go. Here are tips on how to choose the best travel bag and 10 of my favorites.
How to choose a travel bag
First, let’s talk about what you should look for in a travel purse:
1. Low key style.
For safety’s sake, it’s usually good to leave your designer handbag at home, unless you’re in Monte Carlo or somewhere where everyone is walking around with an expensive handbag so yours won’t stand out.
A non-flashy travel purse is less tempting to thieves.
2. Comfort and ease.
Choose one that’s lightweight, somewhat weather proof and easy to clean. Nylon is a good option because the material meets all three requirements.
How will you carry your purse and is the one you’re looking at comfortable? Wider straps will make the travel purse more comfortable on your shoulders.
3. Holds everything in an organized way.
You may carry more than normal when traveling, so choose a travel bag that has plenty of pockets and compartments to sort out all your items.
4. Is theft-proof.
Although no bag is completely theft proof, choose one with zippers and snaps to prevent thieves from having easy access to your items.
Choose a bag that sits close to your body, like a cross-body style. Wider or heavy duty straps make it harder for someone to cut the straps and run away with it.
There are also bags specially designed to prevent thieves from being able to cut through them. Some of those are in my top 10.
A convertible travel purse, where the straps can be changed around, is helpful when you want to carry your bag in different ways.
Some are expandable to carry more items when needed. The more versatile your travel purse is, the more likely you’ll use it often.
You may want to take one larger travel bag and one smaller travel purse on your trip. The size of the one below, as worn by Carole is ideal if you just want to slip your smartphone (to take photos) and your credit card in for a quick sightseeing trip.
Travel purse ideas: 10 of the best travel bags to choose from
These travel purses are designed just for travelers. I like them most because they are still stylish enough to use everyday to complete your outfit.
1. Travelon bags – anti theft bag
Travelon bags are some of the most highly-regarded and best reviewed travel bags out there. That’s because not only do they tick the box for low-key style, but they also have some pretty smart anti-theft features too.
The Travelon bucket bag is a classic shape, which looks like an ordinary handbag, but which actually has a slash-proof strap and lockable compartments. It will easily fit in an e-reader or small i-pad if you’re planning on some vacation reading.
“This is the most user-friendly bag I have ever owned.” – momof4
2. Crossbody travel purse
Or, you could opt for the Travelon crossbody travel bag instead, which has a whopping 2,029 reviews, giving an average of 4.5 stars.
It comes in 24 colors so you’re sure to find a shade to match your travel outfits.
“This is an amazing travel bag. I’ve been to many different countries, and this is the best bag I’ve ever found. I love that two of the main compartments have locking zippers (take a look at my photos), and that the bag strap is slice-proof.” – Samantha
3. Pacsafe bags
Another good brand to take a look at is Pacsafe, which has all kinds of bag and luggage options, from backpacks to portable safes.
One of the best reviewed Pacsafe bags is the CS100 which wins praise for its anti-slash straps and the turn and lock security feature, which allows you to lock your bag to a fixture to stop anyone grabbing it while you have lunch, for example.
I bought this to use while I was in Spain two years ago. I loved it so much, it’s now my go-to bag for travel and accompanied me to Egypt this year. It fits my iPad, iPhone, passport, small notepad, wallet, and chargers without being weighted down or looking too bulky.” – Kate
4. Crossbody bags for travel
The Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag, $85 is a hobo style travel bag with lots of pockets. You can fit an iPad in the interior one. It has card slots, ID windows and is made of heavy nylon. I love that it comes in 6 colors!
“Bought this bag for a trip to London in the spring. Knew we’d be walking a lot, and wanted a cross body bag with room for all the essentials. I love this bag so much, I’ve continued to use it, and plan to purchase another.” – Mary
5. The ideal tourist bag
Often, the idea of looking like a tourist is a something we wish to avoid. We don’t want to be hassled by street sellers (depending on our destination) and we don’t want to be a target for pick pockets.
While the Sherpani Jag LE has an urban feel which doesn’t immediately mark you out as a tourist, it is also the ideal small cross body for when you don’t need to carry much else besides your phone and some documents.
But don’t let its small size fool you, you can definitely pack more than just a few things inside. The patterned stitching and the option of grey or black color give it a good, urban-traveler look.
Check out this article for more ideas on fashionable travel clothes that are stylish AND comfortable.
6. Travel backpack
Do you prefer a backpack when you travel? The Tumi Just in Case bag, which has 5-star reviews on Nordstrom, is a good option for use while you are away as you can simply fold it up and pop it into your luggage while making longer journeys.
Then, you have it to hand for your return journey if you end up coming home with more than you left with. The back section fits nicely over suitcase handles making it easy to wheel through the airport.
I love the weight of the backpack and that comes with a carrying case. I will get a lot of use with backpack when I travel.” – betia
7. Leather travel bag
Of course, you don’t have to opt for a travel bag from a specialist travel brand. A leather crossbody bag can make the ideal travel bag.
Not only is it durable, but it will keep your hands free for sightseeing and holding your camera.
Then, when you are home from vacation, you can obviously continue to use it for day-to-day errands.
The Tory Burch McGraw Leather Crossbody Tote is a classic style perfect for when you just want to fit your essentials in like your smartphone for taking photos, and your wallet.
I am in love with this bag! It is perfect for holding my essentials, i.e., wallet, phone, glasses, keys, and lipstick. It’s a great daily bag! I cannot get enough of it and have gotten so many compliments. Highly recommend.” – MaisieMae
8. Travel bags online – another leather option for you
A good style for traveling can be a classic satchel bag as you can generally fit your tablet or e-reader in lengthways, as well as having enough compartments for other essentials.
This one is made from 100% leather, and I love the vintage feel it has. It has 5-star reviews from 834 people on Amazon.
I definitely think this one could suit those who have a relaxed, natural style.
“It looks like and wears like something I could use while on expedition with Indiana Jones, which, you know… might happen someday. I anticipate using it for years (and years) to come.” – jaylou dub
9. Popular travel handbag
The Ogio Brooklyn is an “Amazon choice” and also has a whopping 1,517 reviews, giving an average of 4.5 stars.
The buttons on the bag make it stand out in its design, and it has a padded pocket for you to pop your tablet or e-reader in to prevent any scratches or screen cracks.
“I got this to use as my new every day purse, especially for lugging around light weight electronics like a tablet/eReader. I thought this purse looked cute, and I was looking for something colorful and casual and less mom-like than my usual bags. This purse is even better in person.” – Brigid
10. Travel pouch
Of course, a handy travel handbag won’t be all you will want for your vacation. To pop in your travel back, you’re likely to want a travel pouch too.
This way, you can keep all your important documents to hand for when you need to hand over your passport at the airport check-in desk, or your driving license for car hire.
The Venture 4th travel pouch is designed to securely hold all of your valuable documents and/or cash in a way that pickpockets can’t get at. If you are traveling somewhere where you think this could be a concern, such as busy market areas, then this could be a great option.
It also comes with RFID blocking technology, which is a preventative measure to keep your electronic data safe.
It has 1,988 reviews on Amazon, giving 4.5 stars.
“I purchased this pouch for a recent trip and I have to say, I LOVED it. One pocket held my passport, boarding pass and luggage claim tickets, another held my cell phone, another held my headphones, and I kept my ID and credit cards in another. It held everything I needed it to with room for more, and with the velcro and zippers I felt like there was no risk for my things to fall out.” – Shelly
Which of these travel bags for women is your favorite? Do you have a special travel purse for vacations?
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Feature image by @carolem_beauty