Looking for the best purse for international travel? You are the right spot! In this post, I will highlight some of my crucial travel tips while carrying purses abroad as well as some of the BEST travel handbags worth purchasing.
We ladies need our purses and handbags wherever we travel. And I LOVE purses and handbags. Probably my weakness after travel and my husband.
After traveling for over 12 years and taking hundreds of flights, I can safely tell you not all casual and fashionable bags fit the bill when we travel. In this post, you will find the best travel purse as well as some of the key features that you need to know before selecting and investing in a good travel purse.
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Best Travel Handbags – The Top 10!
|Pacsafe Metrosafe LS250 Shoulder Bag
|- Anti theft
- Cross body & shoulder bag
- RFID protection
- Can fit tablet and DSLR
|Pacsafe Daysafe Cross body
|- Anti theft
- Cross body only
- RFID protection
- Carries ID, cards
|Travelon Messenger Bag
|- Anti theft
- Cross body/shoulder
- RFID protection
- PERFECT Size
|Travelon Signature Hobo Bag
|- Anti theft
- Hobo and cross body
- RFID Protection
- Can hold ipad, tablet
|Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Crossbody
|- Anti theft
- Messenger and cross body
- Can fit tablet
- Pretty colors
|Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage
|- Anti theft
- Shoulder and cross body
- RFID protection
|Travelon Mini Crossbody
|- Anti theft
- Mini crossbody
- RFID protection
|The Baggallini Everywhere
- RFID protection
- Machine washable
|Sherpani Tempest Tote
|- Waterproof material
- Versatile bag
- Organised slots
- Can fit laptop up to 15 inches
|Filson Original Briefcase
|- Business travel
- Shoulder bag
- Weather proof
Best Handbags for Travel: Reviewed
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS 250 Shoulder Bag – Overall best purse for travel
Pacsafe is one of the leaders in manufacturing anti-theft travel bags and they are a good investment. Anti-theft bags come with cut-proof and slash-proof technology.
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS 250 Shoulder Bag, just like most coveted Pacsafe bags comes with splash guard material that consists of hidden stainless steel wire mesh in the bag. And this helps protect against slash & run theft especially when you are traveling abroad.
Another feature of this anti-theft bag is turned and lock security hooks – so you can attach the bag strap to a secure fixture to avoid snatch and run theft. With this, by all means, attach it to the restaurant table while you are out and about without worry – problem solved!
The bag comes with RFID safe blocking pocket and material as well which helps prevent electronic identity theft.
Let me tell you, when you are traveling abroad, purses like these – WORKS. It has compartments to keep everything organized and you don’t have to scramble to find change for coffee or train fare or your chapstick.
What I like about this bag is that it has anti-theft properties. It has a long, but adjustable strap and comes in different colors. I recommend using neutral colors so that it can match with various outfits and jackets.
This travel bag is an ideal size where you don’t have to compromise on a lot of things. It is also unisex – so for those time-less photo shots, you can hand over the bag to your Instagram husband. Salil knows what I mean.
About Pacsafe Metrosafe LS 250 Shoulder Bag
- Anti-theft bag – stainless steel wire mesh
- Comes in different colors – black, navy blue, beige
- Compartments for organization
- Can fit a tablet up to 10 inch or a DSLR – comes with padded sleeve
- Made of durable, water-resistant material (premium nylon and polyester)
- It is easy to clean
Verdict: BEST anti-theft bag for international travel – Pacsafe Metrosafe LS 250 Shoulder Bag
Pacsafe Daysafe Anti-Theft Tech Crossbody Bag – Small purse for travel
This is another cross body travel bag with anti theft features from Pacsafe. The reason I have included this in my post is that the sizes between the 2 bags are different. The Pacsafe Daysafe anti-theft crossbody is much smaller than the previous recommendation, and it is meant for essentials only. So if you are carrying just the bare minimum items, this is a bag to consider.
So this crossbody bag comes with anti-theft features, has an adjustable strap with compartments and RFID protection for your cards and passports.
Perfect size to carry when you are traveling in crowded spaces. Hide them under your outerwear jacket when visiting places where bag snatching is common.
About Pacsafe Anti-theft Crossbody Bag
- This crossbody bag is made up of RFID-blocking material
- The strap is designed to deter cut-and-run theft
- Lockable zipper tabs help prevent pickpocketing
- Can fit iPhone 8 Plus or another similarly sized phone
- 2 internal pockets fit a passport and similar items
- 6 internal credit cards and ID pockets
Verdict: Perfect to carry your IDs and passport, phone only. Very discreet – small travel purse
Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag
Travelon is another travel bag manufacturer that produces anti theft bags. This messenger bag is a GREAT size to carry all of your belongings, including a water bottle or an umbrella on the side for sightseeing tours.
The cross body purse has anti theft features so it is cut proof, has sturdy zippers and compartments.
The Anti-Theft Messenger Bag has hidden, slash-proof material and it is pretty sturdy. The strap is adjustable, is cable-reinforced and cut-proof. This shoulder strap is great to protect your belongings from pick-pockets and thieves.
This cross body purse is also very roomy. The main compartment features locking zippers for extra security. A hidden caribeener allows you to secure your bag to a post or chair to prevent passersby from a grab and go. You can also use the two zippered expansion pockets to hold glasses, a camera, or water bottles.
About Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag
- Locking compartments and slash-resistant body construction
- Adjustable shoulder strap that attaches to post or chair
- RFID blocking passport and credit card slots
- 2 mesh expansion pockets to hold water bottle and umbrella
- Comes with removable LED light
- Different colors – black, nutmeg, purple, pewter, rock
Verdict: Perfect travel purse – everything that you need for travel and exploration, good size with anti theft features.
Travelon Anti-theft Signature Hobo Bag – Best Handbags for travel
Who doesn’t like hobo bags? I do. But it is so hard to find a travel bag with a short and long strap and is trendy and has anti theft features. Well, I think this one will fit the bill.
This Travelon anti theft signature hobo bag has anti theft features with cut proof and anti pick pocket technology. It comes with 2 removable straps – one for cross body and one for the shoulder. This makes the bag very versatile for travel as well as everyday wear. It has an outside zipper compartment and a main zippered compartment as well.
About Travelon anti theft signature hobo bag
- Full anti-theft features include surround slash-resistant body panels and shoulder straps
- Roomy main compartment
- Holds an iPad or tablet
- Internal organizer with RFID blocking card and passport slots, wall pocket and zip mesh pocket
- Locking main compartment and lock down strap
- Comes in a variety of colors – Black, blue, smoke and my favorite snake print!
Verdict: HOBO lovers – great size bag and the selection of colors is AMAZING!
Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Crossbody Messenger Bag – Best Travel Handbags
I know another Pacsafe item. But this is a pretty cool cross bag. It comes with the anti theft features like all Pacsafe items does. Has an adjustable strap too. It comes in different colors including black and a multi color option. You can shorten the length to wear like a shoulder bag or cross body.
The size of this bag is a great one. It can fit a laptop of 11 inches or smaller. You can carry a full size iPad as well. And of course, it has compartments for documents and credit cards and a make up pouch.
Look such a lovely emerald green color! Definitely a versatile piece and offers great functionality due to the laptop sleeve that the bag comes with.
About Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Crossbody Messenger Bag
- Anti theft travel purse with hidden stainless-steel wire – eXomesh slashguards
- Wire-reinforced – Carry safe – slash-guard straps with Dyneema help protect against slash-and-run theft
- RFID safe material blocks out identity theft – preventing your credit card and other chip data from falling into the wrong hands
- Turn-and-lock security hook allows the bag to be secured to a table or chair
- Zip Clip allows pockets to be locked down to prevent pickpockets
- Internal pockets keep your gear organized and internal attachment points let’s you secure your wallet and keys
- Includes a laptop sleeve and hidden pockets to keep your belongings organized and accessible
- Comes in variety of colors – black, blue, green, multi color
Verdict: Nice – travel purse for international trips
Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag – Crossbody travel bags
A minimalist design cross body to fit your travel essentials like passport, cell phone, cards and a make up item or two. This bag comes with an adjustable strap and has anti theft features and RFID protection.
About Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag
- Great size to carry your essentials and more
- Main compartment has organizer with RFID blocking card and passport slots, 2 wall pockets, a zip mesh pocket and 2 pen loops
- Front zip compartment has a mesh zip pocket inside and a rear zip pocket
- The strap is adjustable and it can be locked to a chair or post. The strap is sturdy and wide – so that provides comfort
- Strap is also slash-resistant
- Comes in over 26 colors! I LOVE this wine color, how pretty is that?
Verdict: Anti theft classic mini shoulder bag
Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag
Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag is a versatile cross body and shoulder bag. Comes loaded with anti theft features (cut proof and slash proof features) and an RFID protection, this tote is roomy to hold your essentials and more like a tablet, small camera, scarf and more.
This is one of Travelon’s most popular travel bags line – Heritage line.
It also comes in a small purse size – Travelon Anti theft heritage small crossbody travel purse here
About Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag
- A roomy and versatile bag
- Main compartment comes with zippered RFID blocking pocket, 2 open top wall pockets and a tethered key clip with LED light
- Has an easy access, locking front zippered pocket
- Two hidden zippered side pockets. And rear zippered pocket.
- Adjustable shoulder straps ( with removable shoulder straps for customized comfort)
- Comes in different colors – black, navy blue and green
Verdict: Roomy anti theft bag, with easy side pockets
The Baggallini Everywhere – Best cross body bag for travel & lightweight
Designed by 2 flight attendants the Baggallini Everywhere Bagg is a perfect in-flight and travel companion. It is a stylish crossbody bag, that comes in a variety of colors, and is super light weight to carry.
One of the amazing things about this purse is that it is completely machine washable. So even after days or weeks of continuous wear and bumps at the airport carousel, you can keep it clean by machine washing and air drying it.
About The Baggallini Everywhere crossbody bag
- Sleek, nylon bag with a modern/clean design
- Multiple pockets for organization
- It has a sleeve that slips on the luggage handle for ease of carrying
- A removable RFID-protected phone wristlet keeps your credit cards and ID from being scanned and stolen.
- Machine washable
- Water resistant crossbody bag
- Lightweight (1 lb) and measures 9” tall, 13.5” wide, and 5” deep with a 52” adjustable strap
Sherpani Tempest Tote – Best travel handbags
Another Sherpani tote bag to carry ALL of your travel stuff. But this one has no anti theft properties. But it has enough room for a large size laptop – upto 15 inches. It also has additional slots for documents, files making it a great bag for travel.
It has no RFID protection, but you can purchase additional sleeves to protect credit cards and passport.
This bag can be worn in many different ways – from tote, shoulder bag to a backpack. Ideal for business travel.
The purse material is densely woven fabric and it is hand-painted and hand-glazed to have an antique surface.
About Sherpani Tempest Tote
- A very versatile bag – tote – backpack – cross body – ALL in ONE!
- When in backpack mode, simply lift up on the “X” the straps make across the top and carry it as a tote
- Top zipper to secure the contents inside
- Deep main compartment with 2 front zippered pockets; 1 hidden side zippered pocket
- Interior organization: 3 pockets made to fit your phone, keys and glasses or other necessities
- Can fit laptop up to 15 inches (sleeve not included), magazines, books
- Soft microfiber lining inside
- Side cinches allow you to adjust the bag’s size
- Comes in many colors
Verdict: Very versatile and functional. Trendy.
Filson Original Briefcase – Best purse for international travel & Business Travel
Sturdy and stylish bag and briefcase for business travel. The bag material is water proof, but doesn’t include anti theft features. The strap is wide and comfortable. The top handle of the bag makes it very versatile and looks very stylish for a laptop bag for travel. Purchase additional RFID sleeves to protect credit cards and passport.
About the Filson Original Briefcase
- A heavy-duty briefcase comes with sturdy woven fabric
- It is soaked in a paraffin-based oil finish wax, resulting in a highly water-repellent fabric that stands up to the worst abuse
- Large main compartment; 4 stow pockets; 2 interior dividers; 1 interior slotted pocket; 2 interior utility pockets; 1 interior patch pocket
- Adjustable, removable Bridle leather shoulder strap adds carrying options
- Comes in a variety of neutral colors – tan, black, green
Verdict: Best for business travel. Trendy.
How to choose the best purse for international travel
Types of travel purses and travel handbags
There are many types of travel purses available in the market to suit every traveler and budget. I know some of us, prefer cross-body bags and some LOVE to carry the entire house with us in a tote. So select what fits your style, but keep in mind some of the tips that I will share with you – things that you SHOULD remember when you do international travel.
- Anti-theft bags with RFID blocking technology – RFID bags and purses come with anti-theft properties. They can block waves/information from credit cards or debit cards with tap functionality, and from transmitting sensitive passport information. They are also cut-proof and slash-proof, and have strong bag construction to ward off pickpockets and accidental item slip offs
- Weatherproof – Don’t keep expensive items in your purse? But need an all weatherproof bag. This is not a bad option to consider as traveling at different times of the year means being exposed to different weather conditions – rain, snow, and heat. If you carry your credit cards or passport on the go, use RFID wallets or re-usable pouches inside the bag. Water proof or water resistant fabric bags can withstand rains, water, etc. If you travel during offseason months like March or late September where rains are common, or during moonsoon months opt for a water resistent travel bag.
- Business Bags – Traveling for business and want to look chic and sharp, without the bulkiness? We got you covered. I have included business bags in this post that are fashion-forward and has great organizational and protection for your technology on the go.
Bag Styles available in the market
This is the FUN part and probably a heart breaker too. Let me start with a short story – I have always been a hobo and a tote girl (before). I was never happy or contended with minimizing my stuff to a small cross-body or even a satchel. I didn’t like it at all. Also, my wallet was a FULL-size wallet (before). So, of course, some cross body bags won’t fit that at all.
BUT trust me, while traveling abroad or in crowded spaces CROSSBODY bags are the BEST. You can fit all the essentials and more. I just need to creatively do that.
In my crossbody bag, I carry my credit card holder with all cards, a passport holder (passport and other IDs including boarding pass or traveler cheques), small makeup kit, iPhone plus, and my mirrorless camera. So yes you can pack a TON.
Totes with zippers and comfortable straps are great for a weekend trip away, in-flight with your neck pillow and scarves to go on with it. But I usually carry my backpack as a carry on – so the cross body only has my essentials and important documents.
Anti-theft bags are the highest level of protection there is, as it protects from pickpockets or cuts. But if someone is being careless, there is no anti-careless bag, to be honest (sorry but its true). More on that below.
How to be safe when you travel with your purses?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are carrying your travel purse.
Keep your purse close to you – I keep my cross body bag close to my body when I’m traveling and out and about. It includes crowded spaces like market squares in Europe or trains, even in flights.
Keep the zipper closed – This is my husband’s constant reminder for me – to keep my purse zipper closed. Sometimes it may not be theft and it might be carelessness – because the zipper is not closed and things fall out. You don’t want to lose a phone (like I did) or keys or credit cards due to that. This is what I mean by careless (and we have all been there). It happens. I don’t want you to learn the hard way as I did.
Restaurants and Bags – Let’s say you are in a fancy restaurant on a date, no problem – be carefree about your scarf or your bag. But if you are dining in a crowded street café in Paris or hot dog stall somewhere on earth, don’t take off your bag and put that on the ground or table or behind your chair – it is never safe. There are so many stories from travelers about bag snatchers from Spain – you sit to dine and next minute you turn around to pay (and you thought your bag is resting on the chair back) – and the bag’s gone.
Some of the handbags and purses listed above have a lock strap that you can attach to your chair or pole inside a train compartment to extra safety.
Should you carry your passports and travel documents when you are traveling to a city?
My straight answer to this question is it depends. There will be places where theft and pickpocketing may not be a HUGE concern. Traveling to National Parks in the US or Canada, I never had to worry about pickpockets. So if you wish to carry your passports while you are exploring the place – that’s fine.
If the hotel room or the Airbnb doesn’t have a safe, then don’t leave your passport or travel documents behind. Most hotels will say that on the card that they are not responsible for lost or missing goods at their parking lot or premises (which includes guest rooms). You are better off carrying the documents with you. Just keep a few photocopies in your carry-on or luggage, as a backup.
As always don’t leave the bag unattended and keep it close to you when you are out and about exploring.
What’s in my purse?
- Cardholder with all my credit cards and driver’s license (need more room for cash or more cards, use an accordion wallet)
- Passport holder – To store passport, important travel documents, in a minimalist travel wallet
- Cell phone
- Small makeup pouch – Transparent pouch with an eye pencil, lipstick and lip balm, face mist, facial wipes, Advil, pocket sanitizer, and perfume. The cosmetic items are all travel size or travel containers.
- Ray ban sunglasses
- Multi cable charger
- House keys
- My mirror-less Camera with a neoprene sleeve
So, that’s a wrap! These are the best travel handbags and purses for international travel! Hope you found this post useful!
- Essential Travel Items for travelers here
- Guide to buying anti theft backpacks here
- Get your long haul flight essentials here
- Essential packing tips for women
- Guide to best sling bags for travel
- Best travel gifts for women
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