The best travel purse for women

There are things you do with your handbag – and then there are things you don’t do, like loop it over the back of your chair.

But before we get into the how of handbag handling, let’s look at the what. What follows are the best travel bags for women (at least, I think so!)

the 7 best recommended travel handbags 

The table above lists the best travelling handbags for ladies – but it’s just an outline. I’ve expanded on a few individual models below because yes, you need the best travel purse ever. 

How do you find it and which are the best travel handbags for you?

Standard-sized handbags for women

Bagallini Everywhere

Don’t let the rain keep you from exploring. This Baggallini crossbody is also a stylish travel purse, light and water-resistant, so you can take advantage of wet travel days without worrying about your valuables and electronics getting drenched. It comes with a removable RFID-resistant wallet you can pull out of the middle of the bag. For me, this feels safer than having an outside zippered pocket for my cards.

It has oodles of pockets (including one for a water bottle or umbrella), and wonderful color options if you happen to be tired of basic black, brown and grey. That all makes it one of the best purses for traveling in Europe (or anywhere else) when you’re looking for more of an urban vibe.

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Pacsafe Citysafe CS200

Anything I say about this bag is going to be heavily biased… because this is my all-time favorite of all crossbody purses – my best purse for international travel! 

I have two of these, in different colors and sizes. This slightly more compact version has a few extra goodies, like a front zipper that secures under a little loop, a feature I love.

Like most Pacsafe bags, it’s slash-proof, which gives me extra peace of mind in busy city centers, and the pocket with credit card slots features RFID-blocking technology.

My iPad fits perfectly in the CS200, but the Gii is much roomier: if you have a DSLR,  it will easily fit. I carry my Macbook Air in it. So I use the CS200 for daily sightseeing, but the Gii if I’m working. The bag itself is a lightweight travel purse: you can fill it without feeling like you overpacked.

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Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

I’m not sure I would normally include this among shoulder bags for women – it is more of a messenger bag than an anti-theft purse but… I’ve added it to the list because I bought one myself (small size) and used it for a month as I traveled through Eastern Europe. Had I gone for the large I might have even used it as a carry-on.

It has a waterproof flap (rain-tested in Romania by me), enough pockets to keep me happy, especially the external one (which is not available in the XS size). The key strap was also useful given the two cavernous main compartments. Plus compartments for pens, and an internal water bottle.

I absolutely loved this bag! The wide shoulder strap is so comfortable I loaded the Timbuk2 with plenty – but my back was fine at the end of each day. I’m still addicted to my Pacsafes, but this one gets as many kudos from me.

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Small travel handbags – the best travel handbags for Europe

The above four are ‘normal-sized’ travel shoulder bags and will carry pretty much anything you need, even though some bags are smaller than others.

BUT – you may need something smaller. If you’re flying within Europe or on a discount airline, you may find you’re only allowed a single carry-on, handbag included.

The best handbag for flying is a small travel handbag: you can slip it into your carry-on if you’re not allowed a second bag on the flight.

The best small travel purse is the one you’re allowed to take with you on the plane!

Travelon Mini

Travelon bags are much-loved for their anti-theft properties and their affordable price. This is one of the more popular small travel bags: it holds everything you really need (passport, phone, credit cards), and encourages (or maybe forces) you to leave the extras at the hotel. This makes it a great purse for Europe travel. 

Both the strap and purse body are made of slashproof mesh, the straps and zippers lock, and the inner compartment blocks RFID thieves. And I know you could buy an LED light anywhere, but I love that this purse comes with one attached. This is an ideal lightweight travel handbag to slip into your luggage or use for the basics – passport, money, cards, phone…

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PacSafe metrosafe LS100 

Here I go with Pacsafe again! The Metrosafe LS100 is a popular antitheft bag and among the best travel purses for Europe, safe and stylish, if you’re looking for something small and discreet.

It’s smaller and more compact than its counterparts, but you still get all the great anti-theft features (RFID-blocking pocket, locking zippers, and slashproof fabric) Pacsafe is famous for.

It’s also water resistant, which makes it ideal for autumn wear in Europe when the skies open up. It’s not large, but you can fit a lot into it – most of what you need for the day. No laptop but you can fit in a mini tablet. I like mine – I unfortunately have one of the older versions and don’t like the wine color but these new tints are much nicer.

Click here for more information or to buy now from Amazon

lewis and clark mini messenger bag

This looks like a rather fun little purse and one of the few on this list I haven’t tried for myself. But I probably shall.

It’s an anti-theft cross-body bag, so has everything going for it for travel, with a steel cable in the strap and anti-slash protection on the sides. I

t also has RFID blocking for both the lined internal pocket and the outside locking pocket.

This is a small bag for such things as your glasses, papers, phone, keys and the like, and will also hold a small iPad. The strap is adjustable and the exterior is water resistant so rain or shine, your things will be protected.

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And here’s one that isn’t quite a travel purse…

Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 Anti-Theft Compact Backpack

For those of you who prefer daypacks to handbags (you’ll find a selection of great travel daypacks here), this is a sleek, frills-free anti-theft backpack that will fit everything you need for a day trip and comes in red, teal and black. It features a couple of pockets and a padded electronics sleeve: just be aware that laptops larger than 13” probably won’t fit inside it. It’s not particularly stylish, but you’d be able to wear it around both urban and rural areas without raising eyebrows. 

And it has the usual Pacsafe safety features, including the stainless steel wire mesh in the fabric and the wire-reinforced straps, turn and lock security hooks on zippers, and an RFID blocking pocket and main compartment. If you’re keen on a theft-proof backpack, this is probably as close as you’re going to get.

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