Ladies, I’m sure you get it: the right bag is everything, especially while traveling. Not to be dramatic, but the travel purse you take along with you can either make or break a trip. In this article, I will walk you through the best travel purses to buy.
You see, I’ve been on the hunt for the best travel purse for a while now. My main criteria is something that combines style with function, plus anti-theft features for when I’m in a highly touristy or busy place.
The good news is that I’ve scoured the internet to find the best travel purses of 2021 so you don’t have to!
Here are the best ones that are cute, functional, and bound to fit all of your stuff (…because let’s face it, you probably have a lot)!
- 1 Our Picks for Best Travel Purse 2021
- 2 Travel Purse: Comparison Table
- 3 What to Look for in a Travel Purse
- 4 Types of Travel Purses
- 5 Travel Purse vs Daypack
- 6 How to Choose the Perfect Travel Purse for You
- 7 Best Travel Purses 2021
- 7.1 Small Travel Purse for Essentials
- 7.2 Baggallini Pocket Lightweight Crossbody
- 7.3 Big Travel Purse to Fit Everything
- 7.4 On the lookout for new travel gear? Check out our guides
Our Picks for Best Travel Purse 2021
Small Travel Purses
Big Travel Purses
Travel Purse: Comparison Table
|MINICAT RFID Blocking Crossbody||$||3 oz||RFID Blocking|
|Mundi Brady Anti Theft Crossbody Bag||$||6 oz||RFID Blocking | Belt Loop|
|Baggallini Pocket Lightweight Crossbody||$$$||9 oz||RFID Blocking|
|Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag||$$||10.9 oz||RFID Blocking | Locking Straps | Lockable Zippers | Slash-resistant Strap & Body|
|Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag||$$$||9.8 oz||RFID Blocking | Lockable Zippers | Locking Strap|
|Baggallini Pocket Lightweight Crossbody||$$$||1 lb||RFID Blocking | Luggage Handle Strap|
|Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag||$$||1 lb||RFID Blocking | Locking Strap | Lockable Zippers | Slash-resistant Strap & Body|
|Travelon Anti Theft Signature 3 Compartment Crossbody||$$||14.9 oz||RFID Blocking | Slash-resistant Strap & Body | Lockable Zippers|
|Suvelle Lightweight Hobo Travel Expandable Crossbody||$||8.8 oz||RFID Blocking|
|PacSafe Stylsafe Anti-Theft Convertible Crossbody Bag||$$$$||13.1 oz||RFID Blocking | Locking Strap | Slash-resistant Strap & Body|
What to Look for in a Travel Purse
Do you really need a travel purse? Won’t your normal everyday purse do? Well, travel purses have certain features that set them apart from typical handbags.
Here are some key features you should look for in a dependable travel bag.
The first thing to look for is a spacious bag.
Because you’ll be carrying this around with you on your adventures, you’ll want something that’s big enough to fit all of your stuff. And face it, if you’re a typical woman, you probably have a lot to fit in your bag.
That being said, you don’t want something that’s too big and bulky because that’ll be a pain to carry around and will draw unwanted attention.
The key is to find a happy medium: a spacious interior with a discrete, not-too-big exterior.
Look for a bag that’s large enough to fit essential items like your keys, phone and wallet, but also things like a book, umbrella or raincoat, a water bottle, tissues and small souvenir items you may pick up from a day exploring a new city (say no to the plastic bags you’re offered and stick it in your purse instead!).
Pockets and Compartments
A good travel purse will have lots of pockets and compartments to keep your belongings organized and safe inside your bag.
Besides interior pockets, it’s also nice to have zippered pockets on the outside of your purse so that you can grab what you need quickly without opening up and digging around in your bag.
But let me emphasize this again: zippers.
Most of the compartments and pockets in your bag and on the outside should have zippers to keep your belongings safe from theft.
You’re going to want to look for a purse that you can use throughout your entire trip and again on future trips down the road. Picking a versatile bag is essential because you’ll be able to take it along on all of your adventures, no matter when and where they are.
A solid, neutral-colored bag will serve you well because it’ll match a variety of colors and patterns. This way you won’t have to worry about your bag not matching your outfit and vice versa.
A prime component of any good travel bag is built-in anti-theft features to keep your belongings extra safe.
Some awesome anti-theft features you can look for when choosing a travel purse are:
Slash-resistant fabric – This is a special fabric made out of thin steel mesh or wire that prevents thieves from cutting into your bag from the outside. This fabric is super durable and will hold up against whatever thieves may throw at it.
Cut-proof straps – Similar to slash-resistant fabric, anti-theft purses may also have cut-proof straps made from the same material. This prevents someone from cutting the bag off your body.
Locking zippers – Locking zippers are exactly what they sound like, but some bags will have built-in locks to keep the zippers together when walking around or sitting down to eat. This is a great feature to keep your bag safe from pickpockets!
RFID-blocking pockets or lining – Finally, RFID-blocking pockets are a very common component in most anti-theft bags. Having something that blocks RFID prevents someone from stealing your personal and financial information by blocking your card’s radio frequency signal. Some travel purses are even completely lined with RFID-blocking materials which is a great way to keep your personal data safe and protected.
Another thing to look for is a travel purse that’s water-resistant.
Because you’ll be carrying around most of your belongings (many of which are important) in this bag, you want to be sure it’s protected from the elements. Whether you’re caught in an unexpected rain shower or a snow flurry, the last thing you want is everything inside of your bag to get soggy.
Water-resistant material in a travel purse is a serious plus!
Finally, you want to look for a travel purse that’s durable.
You don’t want to end up with broken straps or split seams when out exploring! Be sure to pick a bag that’s made of sturdy materials so that it will last through this trip and many trips to come.
Types of Travel Purses
There are a few different kinds of travel purses on the market these days.
Here are the main ones you’ll come across and their ideal uses.
A crossbody bag is probably the most common type of travel purse out there.
It has a strap that you can wear across your body, with the purse hanging by your side. Crossbody bags are ideal because they keep your belongings close to you. When wearing it across your body rather than on a single shoulder, it’s relatively harder to remove the purse. A crossbody bag is thus a great choice to minimize the chances of grab-and-go theft.
Most crossbody travel purses have a main zippered compartment, with a couple compartments on the inside and (hopefully) a sealable pocket or two on the outside.
Messenger bags are just like crossbody purses, in the sense that you wear them with a strap across your body. However, they differ in the closing mechanism.
Messenger bags typically have a flap that goes over the opening, making it even harder for prying hands to reach inside and access your belongings.
Messenger bags are usually bigger than a crossbody bag and have more compartments as well.
Finally, you’ve got your shoulder bag.
Shoulder bags typically have two carry handles that you wear on your… you guessed it, shoulder! If you go for a shoulder bag as a travel purse, it’s essential that it zips because many shoulder bags just have a large opening that can’t be closed all the way.
In my opinion, shoulder bags make the worst travel purses because there’s no way to secure them to your body, making them super easy to run off with. Plus, they are often lacking many internal organization features like pockets or compartments.
For these reasons, we’ve left out shoulder bags in this roundup of best travel purses.
Travel Purse vs Daypack
So why not just use a daypack, you may be wondering. Daypacks are practical for many occasions and are great if you prefer to wear your belongings on your back.
That being said, because your daypack is worn behind you, it’s much easier for someone to reach inside and access your things than it is if you’re wearing a purse that’s right in front of you.
When visiting crowded places and highly touristy areas, it’s much better to have your belongings hanging at your side than floating behind you.
Plus, wearing a travel purse gives you much easier access to your belongings because you don’t have to take it off every time you want something out of your bag. When your nose is buried in your daypack digging around for your wallet, you’re not paying attention and much more susceptible to theft.
A daypack is a great bag to have for more outdoorsy activities like hikes and treks so you don’t have to feel your bag thumping against your side with every step, but when walking around cities and exploring new areas, a travel purse definitely takes the cake as most practical.
How to Choose the Perfect Travel Purse for You
Choosing a travel purse that’s best for you and your specific needs is key to it being a successful piece of your travel gear repertoire.
Here are some things to consider.
The first step to choosing a travel purse is deciding how much you’re willing to spend on one.
These bags can range from relatively inexpensive to costing a pretty penny. The more expensive bags are more durable and likely to have added anti-theft features. Meanwhile, the cheaper ones won’t last you as long and be more like a typical handbag.
Setting a budget is a great way to get started when choosing the best travel purse for you.
Next, think about what you’ll be using this purse for.
Is it mainly for exploring cities? If so, you’ll probably want something that’s spacious enough to carry everything you’ll need for a day of walking.
Do you want something to take with you on a night out? In that case, you may opt for something a bit smaller and more discreet than a big bag.
Are you planning on taking it to the beach or on other adventures? You better make sure it has water-resistant fabric!
Taking a minute to think about the main use for this purse is a good way to narrow down the pool as well.
Size is a big consideration.
Are you more of a person who likes to carry everything with you or do you like to stick to the essentials? If you like to take everything along with you, make sure that you’re choosing a purse that’s big enough for whatever you may need.
If you’re more of a bare minimum type of gal, you’ll probably be fine with a smaller purse for things like your keys, phone and wallet.
Finally, you want to make sure you’re choosing a style that’s right for you.
The last thing you want to get is a purse that’s super functional but doesn’t match any of your outfits or your personal vibe. We’ve all been there and bought something that made sense for us to have, and then ended up never using it because it was downright ugly.
While function is very important, choosing a style that’s best for you is a huge consideration when choosing a purse you’ll take on all of your travels. It’ll be in photos, after all!
Best Travel Purses 2021
Now that you know what to look for, here are ten of the best travel purses on the market right now.
I’ve separated the smaller bags from the larger ones, so you can read reviews based on your primary use and need for your travel purse.
Small Travel Purse for Essentials
Here are our top picks for travel purses that are made for fitting the essentials. They’re much smaller than the larger travel purses. These purses are ideal for a night out or if you don’t want to carry a big bag around with you all day.
Dimensions: 7.8″ (L) x 1.3″ (W) x 6″ (H)
What We Like: Best-looking | Lots of color options | Two sizes available | RFID blocking
Kicking off this list with serious style is the MINICAT RFID-blocking crossbody, which combines function and beauty in this little travel purse.
There’s so much I love about this bag, which is why it makes the top of the list for smaller travel purses.
Besides being super cute, there’s a middle section dividing the interior of the bag that’s filled with card slots. The material in this section is RFID-blocking, so it’s a great place to store your cards individually or just store your entire wallet!
Besides the interior card slots, there’s also a zippered pocket on the inside and a zippered pocket on the back of the purse. Need more pockets? There’s a hidden pocket under the front flap which is great for storing valuables that you want quick access to.
The bag also has a flap over the main zippered opening, thus keeping your belongings safe and sound.
The straps are adjustable and the bag itself is super lightweight, making it ideal for a day wandering a city or a night out on the town.
Plus, it comes in two different sizes and tons of colors, so you can pick one that fits your personality.
Dimensions: 8″ (W) x 5″ (H) x 1″ (D)
What We Like: Three different strap attachments | RFID blocking | Looks good
Another awesome small crossbody is the Mundi Brady bag. It has a variety of anti-theft features, making it an awesome purse for worry-free travel.
I really love how versatile this bag is! On top of one long adjustable strap, it also comes with a wristlet attachment and a belt loop strap. This means you’ll always be able to find a way to attach this purse to you for safekeeping.
This Mundy Brady purse is so well-designed for travel. On the inside, there are two large zippered pockets, RFID-blocking credit card slots, a small interior zipped pocket, and an outside zippered pocket for a smartphone.
Need to up your style factor? You can choose between black, baby blue, or a tan bag with a floral pattern. This is one of the only travel purses that comes with a pattern, so if that’s something you’re looking for, this is the bag for you!
The only downside of this purse is that the shoulder strap attaches to the back of the bag instead of the side making it a little top-heavy. However, that’s a small sacrifice for the functionality and style this bag offers!
Dimensions: 8.5″ (W) x 8.5″ (H) x 2″ (D)
What We Like: Lightweight | Zippered compartment on the back | 12 color options | Water-resistant
Speaking of function, Baggallini takes the cake with their Pocket Lightweight Crossbody.
Baggallini is known for making some of the best travel purses out there, with tons of anti-theft features and organization mechanisms.
This bag is no exception.
Besides being lightweight and durable, this pocket crossbody is lined with RFID-blocking materials to keep your personal information safe. There’s one main compartment, and then you’ve got two zippered pockets on the front of the bag with a hidden zippered compartment on the back of the bag as well. This is perfect for storing a passport or other valuables that you want to keep close to your body.
Plus, you get to pick from 12 different color options!
This bag is a really good size, and fits more than the first two bags without being too bulky. Take along your iPad mini or Kindle with no problem!
One of the best features of this travel purse is it comes with a little wristlet (that’s RFID protected as well) that you can use separately when you don’t feel like taking your entire bag out.
Finally, I love this purse because it’s water-resistant! Take this anywhere, any time and your things will be safe and dry.
It’s a little more expensive than other options this size, but Baggallini purses are meant to last for many, many years. Think of it as an investment and be amazed at how many trips you can use it for!
Dimensions: 8.5″ (W) x 8.5″ (H) x 2″ (D)
What We Like: Slash-resistant strap & body | 20 color options | Very sleek design | Locking zippers
For literally the safest bag of all time, go for the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag.
Besides its super sleek design and 20 color options (yes, 20!), this bag has the most safety features of any bag this size.
Here’s what you’re getting with this little purse: locking straps and compartments, slash-resistant straps and body, RFID-blocking pockets, and lots of little pockets throughout the entire bag.
The slash-resistant material is made from stainless steel mesh that weighs next to nothing and is between the outer fabric of the bag and the lining. You’ll also be protected from someone swiping your bag while trying to eat a nice meal because you can lock the bag right onto the chair.
When not in use, keep the zippers locked to avoid wandering hands, and keep everything separated in the handy little pockets.
While this isn’t the biggest bag, the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag is the best for nights out and days where you don’t need to take too much with you. And weighing only 10 ounces, you can be sure it will feel like next to nothing hanging off your body.
Our final pick is a small crossbody bag made by Pacsafe, another industry leader when it comes to anti-theft bags.
This purse is super durable with lots of safety features to give you peace of mind while you’re traveling.
The shoulder strap can be clipped to a chair or table while you’re eating out to keep someone from running off with it. Plus, the entire body of the bag is made from RFID-blocking material which is an awesome added bonus.
The bag itself has two spacious zippered compartments for your belongings, and the zippers even lock to keep the insides protected.
Coming in four different color options, this is an awesome travel purse that’s a good size for daily use without being too much!
Big Travel Purse to Fit Everything
Need more space in your travel purse? I’ve got you covered!
These travel purses are larger and ideal if you have more items to take along with you like a camera, umbrella, water bottle, or all of the above.
Dimensions: 13.5″ (W) x 9″ (H) x 5″ (D)
What We Like: Fits everything | Lots of pockets | Luggage handle strap
Need a bag that will fit whatever you need for a day of exploring or wandering around? This big travel purse by Baggallini may be the one for you.
As mentioned before, Baggallini is well-known in the travel purse world for making dependable and functional handbags with some awesome features to boot.
The Everywhere Lightweight Crossbody Bag is particularly good for travel because it has so many pockets. You’ll never fumble around looking for your wallet or cellphone again!
The main compartment is spacious, and inside you’ll find other zippered pockets to stash valuables and other items you’ll need for your day. This purse is large enough for fitting in a book or two, a collapsible umbrella — basically, all of your essentials with extra room for whatever else you may need to bring along.
On the outside, you’ve got three more pockets, plus a hidden zipper on the side.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a bag with pockets, this is number one.
Other awesome travel features are the RFID-blocking and lightweight material, as well as the luggage handle strap to keep it attached to your roller bag.
Honestly, with so many different colors to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong with this purse because it’ll have everything you need and match any outfit while you’re on the go.
Dimensions: 11″ (W) x 10″ (H) x 4.5″ (D)
What We Like: Side compartments for water bottles | Slash-resistant body & strap | Lockable zippers | 19 Colors
Okay, in all honesty, I’m not sure why Travelon named this a messenger bag because the main compartment zips instead of having a flap (the flap in the front doesn’t count!). But there are so many awesome features here, I think it’s alright to overlook the deceiving name.
Like other Travelon bags, this purse has a slash-resistant body and shoulder strap, RFID-blocking slots, and lockable zippers. No matter what kind of thieves you may come across on your travels, you’ll be prepared for them.
The best of all the travel features? The water bottle holders on each side!
I never go anywhere on a trip without carrying a water bottle with me so having a compartment for that is unbeatable in a purse. So stick a water bottle in one of the side pockets and an umbrella in the other, and you’re ready to go.
19 colors, lots of pockets, and nearly 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon — that’s got to be a good bag.
Dimensions: 13.75″ (W) x 11.5″ (H) x 3″ (D)
What We Like: Looks good | Dynamic design | Water & stain-resistant | Lockable zippers | Slash-resistant
If you’re looking for something slightly more stylish without sacrificing function, check out this bag from Travelon’s Signature collection.
This bag is cinched at the top with gold hardware and accents, making it a gorgeous companion to take on your trips. The dynamic shape makes getting what you need quick and easy without exposing all of your belongings to a busy street.
Plus, there are two more zippered front pockets and one on the back of the bag. You’ll definitely have enough room for all of the stuff you usually have in your everyday purse. These outside pockets are even big enough to fit an iPad or Kindle!
My favorite thing about this travel purse is that it’s water and stain-resistant. Eat all the pasta and drink red wine to your heart’s content — whatever falls on your bag will slide right off without leaving so much as a mark.
To protect your belongings, you’ve got lockable zippers, a slash-resistant shoulder strap and a slash-resistant body. Doesn’t get much better than this, huh?
Dimensions: 12″ (W) x 10″ (H) x 4″ (D)
What We Like: Expandable | Lightweight | Water & stain-resistant | RFID blocking | Tons of organization
If you’ve never used an expandable bag, you’re in for a treat with this one.
It’s a relatively narrow bag when zipped up, but to fit that extra sweater or couple of books, just unzip the side panel and BOOM you’ve got more room! This is a great feature that Suvelle added to their Hobo Crossbody to give all you overpacking ladies a little extra room.
This bag is super lightweight, making it an ideal travel companion. Not to mention it’s water and stain-resistant so it can accompany you on all of your adventures.
With this travel purse, you’ve got RFID protection, an adjustable shoulder strap, and so many interior pockets and compartments! This bag looks super sleek but will keep your mess hidden and organized.
Made of nylon, this purse is super durable so you’ll be able to use it for weekend getaways, long-term travel and everything in between.
Dimensions: 12″ (W) x 10″ (H) x 4″ (D)
What We Like: Cool front pockets | Shoulder and crossbody strap | Slash-resistant materials | Water-resistant
I wasn’t going to include shoulder bags in this review but if that’s really the type of purse you prefer, here’s a bag for you.
PacSafe created this stylish convertible crossbody bag for women who like to carry their bags on their shoulder but want to have the option to add a longer strap for extra safety. This purse has one main shoulder strap with an adjustable crossbody strap that can be attached for those times when you’re traveling in busier areas and want to keep your bag extra close to your body.
Besides that, you’ve got a security hook to loop your bag around any chair you’re sitting on, a slashguard strap, and that internal mesh that makes the body of the bag not only durable, but safe from thieves.
Plus, the zippers lock to keep the internal compartments out of reach as needed.
This bag is a really nice size with cool vertically zippered pockets on the front instead of the standard ones that go across the width of the bag, giving it a unique look.
If you’re looking to tote a smaller laptop around, this is a great choice. Not only does it fit an 11-inch MacBook, it’s also made of water-resistant material. This way, you can keep all of your gadgets and other belongings dry in the event of a spontaneous shower.
There ya have it — the best travel purses of the year!
I hope that you’ve found something on this list that suits your personal style and has enough pockets to turn the mess of your bag into at least organized chaos, while keeping everything safe and sound.
Which one is your favorite? Is there one that you’re using that I missed? Let me know in the comments!
On the lookout for new travel gear? Check out our guides
- Ultimate Guide to the Best Travel Cameras (2021)
- Best Travel Backpacks 2021 [Recommended by Real Travelers!]
- Best Women’s Hiking Boots 2021: The Ultimate List
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