19 Best Travel Purses for Savvy and Stylish Travelers in 2023

Best Travel Purses

Last updated: January 25th, 2023

Short on time? Our picks for the best travel purses are the Lo & Sons Pearl and the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote.

The best purses to keep your belongings safe on your next trip without sacrificing style.

You will 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 a travel purse and an everyday purse.

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 purse can 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 international traveler, 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.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

A woman in a grey jacket carries a red purse across a remote beach with a snowy mountain in background.

Here’s a Quick Look at Our Recommendations

#1 Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag

Best Anti-Theft Travel Purse

Product photo for Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Shoulder Bag

Our rating: 4.8/5
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. 

And the adjustable shoulder strap has an internal anti-slash wire and lockable zippers on the front compartments.

RFID stands for “radio frequency identification.” In other words, some thieves can scan your credit card information using special devices without ever reaching into your purse.

Not with this purse! The individual card slots and pockets keep you organized but feature RFID-blocking technology. This adds an extra layer of safety.

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 in just a few seconds of not paying attention.

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 to the beach.


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


  • Might not fit your aesthetic

#2 Longchamp Pliage Original

Best Travel Purse for Europe

Product photo for Longchamp Le Pliage Original Tote bag

Our rating: 4.6/5
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.

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

#3 Cluci Backpack Purse

Best Travel Purse Backpack

Product photo for CLUCI Backpack Purse for Women

Our rating: 4.7/5
Size: 13.5″ x 6.25″ x 14.25″
Weight: 2.09 lbs.
Features: Hidden back zipper pocket, crossbody, and it has 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 used as a crossbody bag.

It’s also the perfect size, big enough for a 14-inch computer, but not cumbersome. 

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 and a small hidden zipper pocket on the back for securing your wallet.

While the Pacsafe and PINCNEL anti-theft bags have more anti-theft features, you can modify this Cluci bag with a small luggage lock. 

Lock the dual zippers of the main compartment together and enjoy peace of mind.

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.

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

#4 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.

Our rating: 4.8/5
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 snaps and zippers, and it’s made from RFID-blocking material

The genius Pacsafe Citysafe Cx Convertible Backpack is one of the lightest and most flexible bags 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.

Otherwise, if the whole convertible backpack thing isn’t your jam, check out the Pacsafe Metrosafe Pouch. It has all of the same safety features with an ultra-compact design.


  • Anti-theft technology
  • Sustainable materials 
  • Water-resistant


  • A little bulky as a purse

#5 Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag 

Best Belt Bag

Product photo for the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag.

Our rating: 4.8/5
Size: 7.5″ x 2″ x 5″
Weight: 6.7 oz
Features: Zippered pockets, an internal mesh pocket, and a hidden external pocket

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

It’s as well-made as any of Lululemon’s other beloved activewear products and the nylon exterior gives a sportier feel than other similar bags.

This bag features an exterior pocket hidden on the backside, 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.


  • 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

#6 MZ Wallace Black Small Sutton Deluxe

Best Small Travel Purse

Product photo for the MZ Wallace Black Small Sutton Deluxe.

Our rating: 4.9/5
Size: 9.8” x 5.5” x 10.2”
Weight: 0.85 lbs
Features: REC Oxford fabric with Italian leather trim, thick cushioned straps, and exterior pockets

Maybe the look of leather isn’t your thing. 

If that’s the case, the MZ Wallace Black Small Sutton Deluxe has a casual high fashion feel with almost no leather needed (besides on the trim).

The outside is made from durable recycled Oxford fabric, so it will continue looking fresh through all of your adventures.

I’m prone to shoulder pain, so for me, thick comfortable straps are key. I can pack this baby full without a narrow strap biting into my shoulder. 

Plus, the external pockets are perfect for traveling. They make it easy to access a few coins, lip balm, and a pen. No need to dig through my purse.

If you like this style, but need something roomier, MZ Wallace also makes a Medium Sutton Deluxe.


  • Stylish alternative to leather
  • Small but oh-so spacious
  • Cushioned straps


  • The external pockets don’t have zipper closures

#7 Kate Spade All Day Zip Top Tote

Best Purse for Carry-On Travel

Product photo for the Kate Spade All Day Zip Top Tote

Our rating: 4.9/5Z
Size: 11.4″ x 15.5″ x 5.4″
Weight: 2 lbs
Features: Zipper closure, plenty of organizational pockets, and made from cross-grain leather

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 Kate Spade All Day Zip Top Tote.

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

Inside, there are three compartments for organizing everything, notebooks, a tablet for watching movies, snacks, and a sleeping eye mask. 

This is also the best handbag for flying because it’s convenient to slip under a seat or into an overhead bin. Plus, its clean design and premium leather will never go out of fashion.


  • Quality materials with a lifetime warranty
  • Transforms from a backpack to a tote
  • More stylish than traditional travel handbags
  • Padded laptop sleeve


  • Doesn’t fit larger laptops
  • No trolly sleeve

#8 Tory Burch Kira Quilted Crossbody

Best Luxury Travel Purse

Tory Burch Kira Quilted Crossbody

Our rating: 4.8/5
Size: 6.5″ x 7.9″ x 5″
Weight: 1.3 lbs
Features: Golden accents, you can easily switch from shoulder to crossbody carrying, and a zipper compartment

Rectangular purses are very in right now. Spring 2023 collections that hit the runway in Milan, Italy featured boxy bags that refuse to go unnoticed. 

This Tory Burch Kira Quilted Crossbody is an elegant and sophisticated option that fits that trend. 

It works well as a travel bag because the top folds over and there is a zipper compartment inside.

The chain strap is also a key feature since you can switch from shoulder carrying to crossbody without fiddling with buckles or loosening straps. 

Also, with this purse you can skip the internal wiring that makes other purse straps slash-resistant. The Kira purse strap is a chain.


  • Stylish all day and all night
  • Zipper-protected middle pocket
  • Made from quality materials


  • Pricey

#9 MZ Wallace Crossbody Sling Bag

Best Sling Purse for Travel

Product photo for the MZ Wallace Crossbody Sling Bag.

Star rating: 4.8/5
Size: 19.5” x 2.6” x 8”
Weight: 1.3 lbs
Features: Made from durable REC Oxford fabric with Italian leather trim and it has a decorative draped chain

When traveling on business trips or the ultimate European vacation, I want something that I can dress up with for a nice dinner or pair with jeans while sightseeing. 

That’s why the MZ Wallace Crossbody Sling Bag is my favorite travel sling purse. 

This compact shoulder bag can sling over either shoulder, transition into a waist belt, or work as a crossbody bag. 

It has plenty of internal space with multiple pockets and a zippered external pocket. 

It’s easily one of the best purses for busy people who need their arms free for cute Instagram photos and embracing new friends.


  • Quality materials and construction
  • Goes with virtually any outfit
  • Adjustable strap to make it into a sling, waist, or crossbody bag


  • Compact but spacious
  • The strap is pretty short as far as crossbody bags go

#10 Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote

Best Stylish Travel Purse

Product photo for the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote.

Our rating: 5/5
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

#11 PINCNEL Backpack Purse

Best Waterproof Travel Purse

Product photo for the PINCNEL Backpack Waterproof Travel Purse.

Our rating: 4.7/5
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.

Our rating: 4.7/5
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 straps to keep your valuables close and secure in the zippered pocket. 

The one downside to this bag is that it doesn’t fold down, but you can stuff it with socks and small items when packing it into your suitcase.


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


  • Doesn’t fold down so not as easy to pack in a suitcase
  • Doesn’t come with the clutch strap

#13 Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag

Best Durable Travel Purse

Product photo for the Baggallini Everywhere Crossbody Bag.

Our rating: 4.7/5
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 bags 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. It’s 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.

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

This isn’t the most stylish purse on this list, but if you’re more into practical features than stylish ones, you can’t go wrong with a Baggallini purse.


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


  • A little bulky
  • Not as stylish

#14 Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag

Best Laptop Travel Bag

Product photo for the Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag.

Our rating: 4.9/5
Size: 10.6″ x 14.8″ x 5.1″
Weight: 2.1 lbs
Features: zips closed, four internal pockets, fits up to a 13” laptop, and features pebbled leather

This Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Tote Bag looks good whether you’re on a work trip or out for coffee in a new city. 

This purse is made from soft pebbled leather for a refined sophisticated look. 

And in addition to fitting a 13” laptop, it’s easy to keep everything organized with the internal side pockets. 

As a travel laptop bag, it’s also very important to note that the main compartment zips closed. This is not the case with many computer totes. 

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 it under the seat in front of me 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
  • Long handle drop is comfortable over the shoulder or carried in hand


  • Doesn’t fit larger laptops
  • No anti-theft technology

#15 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.

Our rating: 4.8/5
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 an anti-theft travel purse or messenger bag 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

#16 Tumi Crossbody Wallet

Best Wallet Crossbody Purse

Product photo for the Tumi Crossbody Wallet.

Our rating: 4.8/5
Size: 4.3″ x 7.8″ x 1.3″
Weight: 0.4 lbs
Features: It’s lightweight and easy to consolidate into a larger bag for travel days

Sometimes all you need while you’re out exploring a new city is your wallet, phone, and Airbnb keys. The Tumi Crossbody Wallet is perfect for those lightweight travel days. 

With the simple structure of a wallet and interchangeable clutch or crossbody straps, you can easily carry only the necessities. 

This purse is super cute and the perfect accessory for travel pictures.

However, I don’t recommend it if you’ll be in crowds. The snap closure simply isn’t secure enough. 

On the bright side, it’s small enough to slip into a large zippered tote on those days and the thin strap is detachable.


  • Two-year warranty
  • Stylish and versatile
  • Fits phones without bulky cases
  • Adjustable crossbody strap


  • Closure snap isn’t secure against pick-pocketers

#17 Mina Baie Emmy Midi

Best Purse for New Moms

Product photo for the Mina Baie Emmy Midi.

Our rating: 4.9/5
Size: 11” x 13.5” x 7”
Weight: 1.75 lbs
Features: Made from vegan leather and has a key leash, grab strap, shoulder strap, and backpack straps

Now it’s time for the best on-the-go purse for moms. Having a baby shouldn’t stop you from looking your best when traveling the world. 

The Mina Baie Emmy Midi is my favorite purse diaper bag where moms can fit everything they need, from diapers to baby bottles and fruit rollups to swimsuits. 

Made from microfiber vegan leather, this is the highest quality synthetic leather currently available. It looks and feels like leather, is plastic-free, and durable. 

It’s just what new moms need and perfect for vegans who want sustainable luxury. Plus, it can be carried as a backpack as well.

For those who want more solid backpack options for all their baby gear, the Harper Midi Backpack and the Freshly Picked Stone Classic Diaper Backpack are also great options.


  • You can carry it three 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

#18 Lo & Sons Pearl

Best Crossbody Travel Purse

Product photo for the Lo & Sons Pearl.

Our rating: 5/5
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

The Lo & Sons Pearl is very similar to the Tumi Crossbody Wallet. The main difference is that the Lo & Sons Pearl is a bit bigger. 

The Pearl also has two zippered compartments hidden behind an external zipper and the layered zipper design adds security. 

I love this bag for its plentiful, yet uncomplicated organization. It’s like a mini Mary Poppins bag.

Like the Tumi wallet, the pearl also transforms from a crossbody purse to a clutch.

Alternatively, you might also like the Lo & Sons Waverly 2 which is a little smaller and transforms into a belt bag (aka fanny pack).


  • Slim but has plenty of space
  • Detachable crossbody strap and clutch strap
  • Available in leather or plant-based vegan leather
  • Sleek and stylish
  • Versatile


  • Doesn’t fit big wallets

#19 LeSportsac Deluxe Everyday Bag 

Best Nylon Crossbody Bag

Product photo for the LeSportsac Deluxe Everyday Bag.

Our rating: 4.8/5
Size: 9.75” x 14” x 5”
Weight: 14 oz
Features: Two main compartments, external zippered pockets, and an expansion area

Last but not least is LeSportsac Deluxe Everyday Bag. This is a tried and trusted travel purse brand.

The LeSportsac Deluxe Everyday Bag is the next size up from a small purse. 

With the purse fully expanded, you can carry your phone, keys, and wallet, plus a small water bottle. 

It’s made of recycled ripstop nylon and comes in just about every color or pattern you can imagine. 

I also really like that this purse has two main zipper pockets. I prefer to keep my phone and wallet in a different pocket from my passport and important travel documents.


  • Large enough to carry all that you’ll need for a day of adventuring
  • Well-organized pockets
  • Ripstop material is water-resistant and durable


  • The zippers don’t lock like anti-theft travel purses

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, or 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 different 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. 


A luxury bag makes the perfect travel purse 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. Still, shoulder bags aren’t as secure as anti-theft crossbody bags.

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 purse vs backpack–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, but my personal favorite is the Lo & Sons Pearl

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

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. 

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

It also includes 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. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a larger travel purse option, I can’t get enough of the Cuyana Classic Zipper Tote

Although it features a simple design and not a ton of interior organization, it’s sleek and stylish enough to go with everything, zips closed, and will last for years. 

It’s the perfect bag for carry-on travel or for a full day of adventures when you need to carry a little more with you than what you could fit in the Lo & Sons Pearl bag. 


Elina Ansary

Elina Ansary

Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.

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19 Best Travel Purses for Savvy and Stylish Travelers in 2023

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