15 BEST Travel Purses for Savvy & Stylish Travelers in 2024

Reviewed by Mimi McFadden
Last updated:

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TL;DR: The best travel purse is the Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag if theft prevention is your highest priority or the Lo & Sons Pearl if you need something a little more versatile and stylish. The Travelon messenger bag has locking zippers and tons of organizational pockets. The lightweight Pearl crossbody bag has zippered compartments and transforms into a clutch for dinners out. I’ve been testing the Pearl for about three months now and it has become a great everyday purse for my travels.

You’ll rarely catch me on the road without a purse or backpack. They’re essential for carrying valuables and staying organized. 

But there are differences between travel purses and everyday purses.

When traveling, you’ll carry extra items like your passport, laptop, and camera (aka valuables that you should keep a tight grip on!). 

And the right travel purses will help you do exactly that.

The best purses for travel are versatile, secure, and comfortable. Some are anti-theft bags, and others double as carry-on luggage when you’re flying.

As a regular traveler who has tested out a lot of purses over the years, I wrote this article to help you find the best purses for travel in every category–from stylish crossbody bags to the best anti-theft purse.

By the end, you’ll know what to consider when choosing the perfect travel purse for you.

Short on time? Here’s a quick look at the top 15 travel purses.

Travel PursesFeatures
Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote

Product photo for the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote.
Italian leather 
Zips closed
Read Review
Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag

Product photo for the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag.
Simple & lightweight
Wear it around your waist or cross-body 
Read Review
Away the Packable Carryall

Away Packable Carryall
Trolly Sleeve
Folds into a small pouch
Read Review
Lo & Sons Pearl

Product photo for the Lo & Sons Pearl.
Super versatile
Leather or plant-based vegan leather
Read Review
Longchamp Pliage Handbag

Product photo for Longchamp Le Pliage Original Tote bag
Spacious like a canvas tote, but stylish
Read Review
Pacsafe Citysafe Cx Anti–Theft Convertible Backpack

Product photo for the Pacsafe Women's Citysafe Anti Theft Convertible Backpack.
Anti-theft technology
Convertible (backpack to purse)
Read Review
Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag

Product photo for Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag
Anti-theft technology
Lots of organizational pockets
Read Review
Cluci Backpack Purse

Product photo for CLUCI Backpack Purse for Women
Fits a 14-inch laptop and notebooks
Convertible (backpack to purse)
Read Review
Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag

Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag
Zippered middle pocket
Pebble leather helps hide wear
Read Review
Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag

Product photo for the Travelon Women's Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag.
Anti-theft technology
Super durable
Read Review
PINCNEL Waterproof Nylon Anti-theft Rucksack

Product photo for the PINCNEL Backpack Waterproof Travel Purse.
Anti-theft design
Fits an 11-inch laptop or tablet
Read Review
Lola Mae Quilted Crossbody Bag

Product photo for the Lola Mae Quilted Crossbody Bag.
Super cute
Read Review
Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag

Product photo for the Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag.
Anti-theft technology
Lots of pockets designed for travelers
Read Review

Fits 17.3-inch laptops
Slim and professional
Read Review
Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack

Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack
Fits a 13-inch laptop for working parents
Doesn’t look like a diaper bag
Read Review

#1 Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote

Best Stylish Travel Purse

Product photo for the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote.

Size: 13.5 x 18 x 5.75”
Weight: 1.8 lbs
Features: Made from LWG environmentally-friendly tanned leather, zipper top, and zippered interior pocket

The best purses for travel are more than practical, they make you feel glamorous.

Boasting luxurious soft leather, the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote is a simple slim tote bag. 

This stylish travel purse is great for sightseeing because it holds everything you can possibly need from morning to evening.

The main compartment is spacious and you can even add a Tote Organization Insert for more interior pockets.

If you haven’t seen a pickpocket in action, search it on YouTube. The zipper on this tote is essential for detouring thieves.

Additionally, I feel good buying from Cuyana because they don’t feed the unsustainable fast-fashion industry.

Their durable and classic designs look good year after year.


  • Stylish no matter the season
  • More secure than the average open-top tote bag
  • Built to last


  • Only one internal pocket unless you buy the additional tote organizer

#2 Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag 

Best Belt Bag

Product photo for the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag.

Size: 7.5″ x 2″ x 5″
Weight: 6.7 oz
Features: Front zippered pocket, an internal mesh pocket, and a hidden external pocket, adjustable strap, large buckle

Belt bags, aka fanny packs, are hot stuff right now, and the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag functions as a cute travel sling purse or waist bag.

It’s as well-made as any of Lululemon’s other beloved activewear products, which isn’t surprising with the quality. of the Lululemon brand.

One of my favorite features of this bag is the exterior pocket hidden on the backside, which is very important for travel bags.

This means you can easily zip your phone in for easy access without exposing your wallet. 

Meanwhile, the inside mesh pocket is perfect for organizing just the essentials: sunglasses, lip balm, and keys.

Looking for more options? Read our guide to the best hiking fanny packs.


  • Best lightweight travel purse
  • A stylish and sporty option for touring cities or hiking
  • You can wear it in front so your possessions are within view at all times


  • Versatile as a day bag, but not as nice for a fancy dinner

#3 Away Packable Carryall

Best Purse for Carry-On Travel

Product image for the Away Packable Carryall.

Size: 15″ x 19.7″ x 9″ (6.3” x 4.3” x 2.4” when rolled up)
Weight: 0.55 lbs
Features: Zipper closure, spacious interior, and made from recycled nylon

Don’t be that person on your next flight who spills the contents of their bag in the middle of the aisle.

Not only is it embarrassing and frustrating, but it’s a good way to lose something.

That’s why it’s essential to have a carry-on purse or tote that zips closed like the Away Packable Carryall.

Its long handle offers comfortable shoulder carrying or holding on top of your roller bag.

And the trolly sleeve and roomy interior easily make this Away bag the best handbag for flying.

It fits a change of clothes, notebooks, a tablet for watching movies, and snacks.

I also always carry a sleeping eye mask and earplugs while traveling, which fit nicely into the interior zip pocket. 

Because it zips closed, I can slip it under a seat or into an overhead bin. Plus, its clean design will never go out of fashion.


  • Returnable within 100 days
  • Rolls into a small pouch when not in use
  • More of a large travel tote
  • Trolly sleeve
  • Made of recycled nylon


  • Not as much structure as a traditional purse

#4 Lo & Sons Pearl

Best Small Crossbody Travel Purse

Product photo for the Lo & Sons Pearl.

Size: 7.75” x 9.5” x 3”
Weight: 0.9 lbs
Features: Lightweight, clutch or crossbody design, internal zippered compartments, and has a key leash

Ready for your small purse dreams to come true?

The Lo & Sons Pearl has the internal space of a Marry Poppins bag but is just the right size for lightweight travel days.

The Pearl also has two external zippered compartments and a smaller zippered pocket in the center. 

I love this bag for its plentiful, yet uncomplicated organization. It’s one of my favorite travel purses.

It comes in Saffiano leather, Nappa leather, and plant-based Cactus leather. And there are several colors to choose between.

But what really makes the Pearl the best small travel purse, is its versatility. It transforms from a crossbody purse to a clutch. Small but mighty!

Alternatively, you might also like the Lo & Sons Waverly 2, which is a little smaller and comes with a waist belt to transform into a belt bag.


  • Slim but has plenty of space
  • Detachable crossbody strap and clutch strap
  • Available in leather or plant-based vegan leather
  • Sleek and stylish
  • Versatile
  • Plastic-free, metal hardware!


  • Doesn’t fit big wallets
  • Not as secure as travel purses with locking zippers

#5 Longchamp Pliage Original

Best Travel Purse for Europe

Product photo for Longchamp Le Pliage Original Tote bag

Size: 11” x 10.4” x 6.1”
Weight: 7.76 oz
Features: Foldable, leather trim, and has a zipper closure

The Longchamp Pliage Original is a leading brand from Paris that will help you blend in among fashionable Europeans.

A French girl in my self-defense class in Italy actually carried this Longchamp tote as her study abroad purse.

It’s no wonder the Longchamp Pliage has a cult following in travel circles–it folds flat for easy packing. 

Plus, it has a genuine leather handle and a water-resistant coated canvas body with leather trim. 

Set this baby down on the damp ground at a sidewalk cafe without worrying about your book getting wet inside.

Overall, this tote offers a high-end look, zips closed, and wipes clean for day-to-day freshness while traveling.


  • Stylish purse alternative to a generic canvas bag
  • Folds flat
  • Water-resistant


  • Only two organizational pockets inside

#6 Pacsafe Women’s Citysafe Cx Anti-Theft Convertible Backpack

Best Convertible Travel Purse Backpack

Product photo for the Pacsafe Women's Citysafe Anti Theft Convertible Backpack.

Size: 8.9” x 9.8” x 4.3” (purse mode); 13.9” x 9.8” x 4.3” (backpack mode) 
Weight: 0.99 lbs
Features: Expands from a purse to a backpack, locking zipper, and RFID-blocking material

The genius Pacsafe Citysafe Cx Convertible Backpack is the lightest and most versatile bag you’ll find.

I’m always buying souvenirs, books, and snacks while sightseeing. This purse unfolds into a backpack large enough to carry all of your goodies. 

Plus, no worries if there’s a morning drizzle because it’s water-resistant.

Like Travelon bags, the Pacsafe Citysafe Convertible Backpack comes equipped with locking zippers and clips and slash-resistant fabric. 

It’s also made from RFID-blocking material that will protect your credit cards from being scanned.


  • Anti-theft technology protects your credit cards
  • Sustainable materials 
  • Water-resistant


  • A little bulky as a purse

#7 Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag

Best Anti-Theft Travel Purse

Product photo for Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag

Size: 12.5” x 4” x 12”
Weight: 15.5 oz
Features: Locking clips and zippers, slash-resistant material, RFID-blocking pockets, compact, and it has an adjustable strap

The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag is reasonably priced and features a minimalist design for any outfit.

However, what makes this the best crossbody travel purse is its safety features.

This Travelon anti-theft purse has a slash-resistant body constructed from an interlocking mesh barrier, so it can’t be cut open. 

And the adjustable shoulder strap has an internal anti-slash wire and a locking main compartment.

RFID stands for “radio frequency identification.” Some thieves try to scan your credit card information using special devices without ever reaching into your purse.

Not with this purse! The individual credit card slots feature RFID-blocking technology.

The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag can also lock to stationary objects, so no one can snatch it while you’re relaxing at a sidewalk cafe. 

As a purse for international travel, these features are particularly important. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of travel and be taken advantage of.

Travelon’s Mini version is another of the best purses for travel if you want something smaller. 

This anti-theft classic mini shoulder bag is the ultimate secure lightweight travel handbag to slip on before heading out for the night.


  • Travelon anti-theft technology
  • Spacious
  • Lots of organizational pockets
  • Reasonably priced


  • Might not fit your aesthetic

#8 Cluci Backpack Purse

Best Travel Purse Backpack

Product photo for CLUCI Backpack Purse for Women

Size: 13.5″ x 6.25″ x 14.25″
Weight: 2.09 lbs.
Features: Hidden back zipper pocket, adjustable strap for crossbody-carry, and hand-carry straps

Some of the best purses are convertible backpacks. 

The Cluci Backpack Purse is one example–it can be worn on your back, carried by hand, or slung across your body.

Not to mention, Cluci backpacks are cute and stylish. It’s the kind of bag you’ll want to carry around every day.

In terms of organization, it has stretchy pockets on either side, fits a 14-inch computer, and has a small hidden zipper pocket on the back for securing your wallet.

Made of high-quality PU leather, this is one of the best purse backpacks because it looks super cute and can hold up under daily use.

But if this backpack doesn’t feel quite right for you, check out the famous Fjallraven Kanken Backpack (another favorite of mine).

Looking for more versatile backpack options? Read our guide to the best EDC backpacks.


  • Durable and stylish
  • Fits a 14-inch laptop and notebooks
  • Convertible from a backpack to a purse


  • Affordable
  • Zippers don’t come with locks–but luggage locks are cheap!

#9 Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag

Best Luxury Travel Purse

Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag

Size: 12.25″ x 8.75″ x 4.7″
Weight: 2.1 lbs
Features: Zips closed, four internal pockets, fits up to a 13” laptop, and features a pebbled leather

This Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag is elegant and sophisticated whether you’re on a work trip or out for coffee in a new city.

It works well as a travel bag because the top zips closed and it goes with any outfit. Plus, there’s an internal zipper compartment to keep your wallet extra safe. 

Inside, it’s easy to keep everything organized with the internal side pockets. It’s the perfect size for carrying the necessities plus a little more.

Just keep in mind, that it’s a shoulder bag, which isn’t optimal if you prefer crossbody-carrying.

There aren’t any external pockets, but sometimes that’s for the best since everything will be securely zipped inside.

This large zippered tote is made from premium leather for a refined style.

It will look right at home on your European vacation and add to the glamour of your travel pictures.


  • Stylish all day and all night
  • Zipper-protected middle pocket
  • Made from quality materials
  • Fits a small water bottle


  • Pricey
  • Can’t be worn across the body

#10 Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag

Best Purse with a Water Bottle Holder

Product photo for the Travelon Women's Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag.

Size: 9″ x 12.5″ x 3.5″
Weight: 10.4 ounces
Features: Lockable clips and zippers, slash-resistant strap and outer panels, and a key leash with a light

The Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag has all of the same features as the other Travelon bag on this list, but it’s a little bigger and has a water bottle pouch. 

I highly recommend buying anti-theft travel purses or messenger bags if you expect to be in heavy crowds.

This Travelon anti-theft bag isn’t quite as fashionable as some of the other purses on this list.

However, the lockable zippers, adjustable shoulder strap, and slash-resistant material will reduce your risk of being pickpocketed. 

This messenger bag also has RFID-blocking material so that thieves can’t scan your credit cards while standing next to you.


  • Anti-theft technology
  • Water bottle holder
  • Super durable messenger bag


  • The mesh water bottle holder will tear if you overload it

#11 PINCNEL Backpack Purse

Best Waterproof Travel Purse

Product photo for the PINCNEL Backpack Waterproof Travel Purse.

Size: 12.99” x 5.9” x 13.28” (medium); 13.78” x 6.69” x 14.17” (large)
Weight: 1.3 lbs (medium); 1.54 lbs (large)
Features: The main compartment unzips on the back instead of the top for anti-theft protection

The most unique feature of the PINCNEL Backpack Purse is its anti-theft design. 

Unlike traditional backpacks with a zippered front pocket, this pack opens from the back. You have to take it off to reach inside. 

This is important because no one can access your laptop or wallet while you’re standing in line…and we all know how many lines there are while traveling.

It’s also made from waterproof nylon and comes in two sizes and six colors. And it includes internal organizer pockets and a small zipper pouch.

PINCNEL stands apart from the standard anti-theft backpacks, which aren’t quite as cute.

With this rucksack, you’ll have peace of mind, making it a good bag for stylish and safe travel.


  • Anti-theft design
  • Waterproof
  • Very affordable without sacrificing style


  • Max laptop size is 11 inches

#12 Lola Mae Quilted Crossbody Bag

Best Budget Travel Purse

Product photo for the Lola Mae Quilted Crossbody Bag.

Size: 8” x 2” x 6”
Weight: 1.46 lbs
Features: 30 colors to choose from, zips closed, and its internal organization

Being a broke backpacker doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice style. 

The Lola Mae Quilted Crossbody Bag is cute and affordable for every budget-conscious jet-setter.

For the price, you obviously aren’t getting Louis Vuitton leather, but it’s still made from good quality materials and wipes clean. 

This is also the perfect Goldilocks crossbody bag: not too big and not too small. 

While wearing it, you can easily adjust the crossbody shoulder strap to keep your valuables close and secure in the zippered pocket. 


  • Very affordable
  • Looks high fashion
  • Crossbody design
  • Versatile size that’s not too big or small


  • No locking compartments
  • Doesn’t come with the clutch strap

#13 Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag

Best Durable Travel Purse

Product photo for the Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag.

Size: 9” x 13.5” x 5”
Weight: 1 lb
Features: Multiple pockets inside and out, trolly sleeve, water bottle holder, and it comes in unique prints

Crossbody purses feature a comfortable design, sitting against your hip or under your arm and offering automatic theft protection.

The Baggallini Everywhere Bag is a hobo-style crossbody purse built for travelers and anyone who wants an ergonomic purse to carry everything in one place.

Baggallini is a trusted brand known for its durability. This purse is also machine washable, which boosts its longevity by looking fresh again and again.

Additionally, the Everywhere Bag slides onto a luggage handle and features an RFID-blocking lining to protect your credit cards from hackers.

And the exterior pockets are convenient for less important items like granola bars and hand sanitizer.

It’s also super adjustable with a shoulder strap that reaches 52” and an adorable matching coin purse. 

The one downside? Unlike other anti-theft travel purses, the zippers don’t lock. If this is a deal-breaker, check out the Travelon travel purses above.

Overall, this stylish travel purse is for anyone who prioritizes practical features. You really can’t go wrong with a Baggallini purse.


  • Trusted brand
  • Anti-theft technology
  • Lots of colors
  • Multiple pockets


  • A little bulky
  • Not as fashionable

#14 BAGSMART Laptop Bag

Best Laptop Travel Bag

Product image for the BAGSMART Laptop Bag.

Size: 17.1″ x 6.5” (up to 8.7”) x 13″
Weight: 2.31 lbs
Features: Expandable pockets, zippered external pocket, adjustable crossbody strap

This BAGSMART Laptop Bag is practical without looking too techy. It has a padded laptop sleeve that fits 17.3-inch laptops.

The outside is made of water-resistant polyester, and it’s even expandable.

Cushioned straps distribute the weight of a heavy computer to help prevent shoulder pain.

As a travel laptop bag, it’s also very important to note that the main compartment zips closed.

The last thing I want is for someone to reach in and grab important work documents.

Or for pens and sticky notes to fall out when I slip my bag under the seat on a plane. 

Overall, this bag’s large capacity means that it can double as a carry-on and an everyday bag, no matter where your travels take you.


  • Sleek and professional
  • Slim but spacious expandability
  • Comfortable straps
  • Long handle drop is comfortable over the shoulder or carried in hand


  • No anti-theft technology
  • Not high fashion

#15 Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack

Best Purse for New Moms

Product image for the Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack.

Size: 11” x 13.5” x 7”
Weight: 1.75 lbs
Features: Made from recycled materials, with a detachable shoulder strap, grab straps, and everything from stroller clips to a changing pad.

Now it’s time for the best on-the-go travel purse for moms.

Having a baby shouldn’t stop you from looking your best and traveling the world. 

The Dagne Dover Wade Diaper Tote is my favorite purse diaper bag where parents can fit everything they need, from diapers to baby bottles and fruit rollups to swimsuits. 

Its main compartments are spacious, and there’s even a spot for 13″ laptops–not that the baby is coming on business trips, but maybe a “working play date.”

And Dagne Dover has you covered with included features like a washable water-resistant bag for soiled clothes, stroller clips, a mini pouch, and a changing mat.

Plus, the Premium Neoprene and Performance Air Mesh are made of recycled water bottles for sustainable luxury.

The cushiony material is an excellent alternative to leather when you’re around kids. It’s just what new moms need.


  • You can carry it two ways
  • Goes with any outfit
  • Nine pockets, plus plenty of open space
  • Detachable strap
  • Doesn’t look like a diaper bag


  • A little boxy
  • Not the best backpack option

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Travel Purse

Close up of a blonde woman unzipping a small, brown leather purse.

What to Look for in a Travel Purse


While traveling, your purse needs to work around the clock. Choose something that will look good at your most casual and glamorous moments.


If you like to toss everything into a soup of lip balm and pens, go for a big zippered tote. 

If you believe everything has its special place, double-check that there are plenty of organizational pockets.


Travel bags range in style from crossbody to sling, belt, backpack, and shoulder totes. 

Choose something that feels comfortable for your body type and fashion style.


Traveling with a lightweight purse is liberating. Additionally, look for something that fits in your luggage if you don’t plan to wear it every day.


When sightseeing all day, you need a purse with shoulder straps that don’t make your shoulders sore in the first hour.

Consider the types of purses you’ve enjoyed in the past. 

A convertible purse means that you can change the carrying position throughout the day.

Anti-Theft Features

As a traveler, you’re more vulnerable to pickpockets. You’ll be tired, distracted, and out of your element.

This is why it’s good to look for anti-theft features like slash-resistant fabric, lockable zippers, and RFID-blocking pockets. 

Types of Travel Purses

A stylish woman wearing sunglasses, black leggings and a striped shirt sits on stone steps with a black leather purse beside her.

Small vs Medium vs Large

The smaller the purse, the more portable it will be. This is especially important if you like to go out at night.

Medium purses and convertible backpacks are perfect for all-day adventures when you want to carry snacks, a camera, or a water bottle. 

On travel days, large purses are handy for carrying valuables instead of risking having them stolen or damaged in a rolling suitcase. 

If I have the space, I usually carry at least two differently-sized purses with me on my travels. 

I generally pack one small purse for going out at night or to dinner and one medium/large purse for daytime adventures and travel days.


Anti-theft purses come with special features like locking compartments and an RFID-blocking pocket to keep you safe from thieves. 


Luxury bags are the perfect travel purses for France, Italy, and other fashion-renowned places.

You’re on vacation, after all, so why not enjoy being part of the fashion scene? 

Plus, depending on where you’re traveling, you might fit in more as a local and, therefore, not be as targeted by pickpockets. 

Convertible Purses 

The best purses for travel are versatile. I especially like purses that transform into backpacks for carrying my accumulation of souvenirs and brochures.

Tote Bag

Totes are always in style and allow you to carry everything your heart desires. 

Make sure to choose a tote with enough organization on the inside, and keep in mind that all of the weight is carried on one shoulder.

It’s also not as hands-free as a crossbody bag.

Shoulder Bag

Shoulder bags have longer shoulder straps than tote bags. They hang on the shoulder and free up your hands a little better.

Crossbody Bags

Crossbody bags are hands-free and sit on your hip for safekeeping. Plus, the crossbody design helps distribute the weight evenly. 

It’s unsurprising why they’re one of the most popular styles for travel purses. 

Sling Bags

Sling bags are another great option if you want a hands-free purse. They hug your body and sit under your arm for safekeeping. 

Typically, sling bags have a lower capacity, which is perfect for going out but not the best for a carry-on bag.

FAQs About Travel Purses

A woman with a long dark ponytail seen from behind as she walks down a train platform, pulling the handle of rolling luggage, with a large purse on  her shoulder.

What style of purse is best for travel? 

First of all, the best purse for traveling is something that you feel comfortable using. 

I prefer anti-theft crossbody purses because they’re comfortable, easy to keep track of, and overall a very versatile bag.

What is the safest type of purse to travel with?

An anti-theft travel bag is the best option for protecting your belongings. They’re built with safety in mind. 

Most have a locking main compartment and special materials that utilize the crossbody or shoulder bag design.

What type of travel bag goes with everything? 

Black leather is the little black dress of purses. It matches every outfit, activity, and time of day.

Likewise, a medium size purse with a simple design looks good while eating lunch along the Parisian Seine or touring castles in Germany.

What should I pack in my travel purse?

Aside from a wallet, keys, and phone, pack anything that will keep you healthy and comfortable during a long and strenuous day of sightseeing.

This might include:

How do you stop a bag from getting snatched or pickpocketed?

The first and most important rule for avoiding theft is vigilance. Be aware of your bag and surroundings at all times.

Don’t leave your purse where you can’t see it or put a hand on it. Keep it close, in your lap at a cafe, and wear it on the front in crowded areas.

Especially on public transportation, don’t appear too lost in your thoughts or like you don’t know where you’re going.

Once you’ve covered the basics, anti-theft technology can close any gaps. 

Should I even travel with a purse?

I always bring a purse on my travels. You’ll want to have essentials with you even when you leave your luggage behind at your hotel, hostel, or vacation rental. 

Travel purses vs backpacks–which one is better?

I’m a big proponent of backpack purses because they’re the most comfortable for my body.

That said, backpacks are out of your line of sight and therefore more vulnerable to pickpockets.

Some packs, like the PINCNEL Anti-Theft Rucksack, have solved this problem and are well-protected with hidden pockets.

It ultimately comes down to what fits your style and body best. 

Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Travel Purse

Close up of a woman with painted nails holding a small leather purse close to her torso.

So, which is the best pick out of all the travel purses on this list? 

All of the options in this article have their benefits, depending on what’s most important to you when you travel.

However, my personal favorite is the Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag.  

It features a simple design with a ton of interior organization and safety features.

The body and strap are made of slash-resistant material, and each pocket zips closed with anti-theft zippers.

And you can choose between the sleek black, stylish enough to go with everything option, or a pattern, which is tasteful and fun.

This is the perfect bag for carry-on travel or for a full day of adventures when you need peace of mind.

Plus, it comes from a trusted travel brand and will last for years.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an even more stylish purse, I can’t get enough of the Lo & Sons Pearl

This purse comes in leather and vegan leather with 20 color and material combinations to match your style.

There are two zipper pockets for your wallet and phone and slip pockets for lip balm and masks, so it’s great for staying organized as well.

It’s small enough to take on any adventure and big enough to pack all the essentials, plus a notebook for a day of exploring.  

It’s one of the best crossbody bags for looking professional and fashionable. Plus, it transforms into a clutch or shoulder bag when needed. 


Elina Ansary

Elina Ansary

As a visual artist, Elina is a frequent traveler and pathological overpacker who often finds herself transporting lots of objects while traveling–from artwork to art materials to gifts and souvenirs. She’s tried tons of different suitcases, backpacks, purses, and bags in her quest to resolve her baggage dilemnas. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California.

These days, Elina visits artist residencies in locations around the world, including Amsterdam, Finland, Italy, and Australia, and has exhibited her work in galleries and museums in the US and abroad. When she isn’t writing and editing for The Atlas Heart, Elina is pursuing a Master’s degree in Visual Art at Cornell University and splits her time between Ithaca and Brooklyn.

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A young woman wearing black leggings, a white sweater, and a pink backpack looks over her shoulder at a snowy mountain landscape, with the text overlay, "Best Travel Purses."

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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