Finding the best travel purses for your different trips can be difficult. I feel like I’m constantly changing my style and taste and yet when it comes to practicality, I almost always end up using the same two or three trusty bags.
All of the travel purses on this list are either bags that I’ve owned in the past, bags that I currently own now, or bags that I’ve had on my list to grab up for quite some time.
There are options here for urban travel and countryside exploring. There are carry on weekender bags, small cross-body purses, and backpacks with plenty of pockets.
Most importantly though, they’re stylish AND practical and you’ll probably want to use them after your travels are over, too.
Best Travel Purses for Style and Practicality
1. Coach Crossbody Bag
This used to be the #1 bag that I used to travel. Back before I needed a bag big enough for my DSLR camera, this was my idea of the perfect travel bag. The straps are thick enough to be comfortable, but not so thick that it looks like a backpack strap. It’s adjustable so you can wear it on your shoulder or across your body. It comes in tons of different colors and styles so that it doesn’t have to shout COACH BAG if you don’t want it to. They are easy to clean, especially the nylon styles, and they’re cute and stylish, too.
2. Herschel Cruz
I love Herschel bags for traveling because they are good quality and a reasonable price. I also love the different colors and patterns that the bags come in. This one is nice and small – perfect for those that want a cute travel purse that isn’t cumbersome or crazy expensive. I also like how many pockets the bag has to keep you organized and it has a full zipper to keep all of your valuables safe.
3. Michael Kors East/West Cross Body Bag
Whenever I see this bag on sale, I’m tempted to add yet another one to my collection (I’m not going to tell you how many of these I’ve had over the years). They are durable, stylish, and go with absolutely anything. I love these for city travel – they fit all of the essentials and the chain strap is a nice detail. It has the added bonus of not only being one of the best travel purses on this list, but perfect for using when you’re not traveling (which means you HAVE TO buy it! haha).
4. Koolertron Vintage Camera Bag
I just recently added this bag to my travel handbag collection. I wanted a bag that would protect my camera on day trips around Mexico, but that didn’t look like a camera bag and would also still fit all of my other stuff, too. So far, it’s the perfect travel handbag. I can fit my camera and an additional lens, or I can just take my camera with one lens on it out for the day (I hardly ever change the lens once I’m out and about) and fit my wallet, sunscreen, my phone, and a thin sweater. It comes in a few different colors and fabrics (as well as vegan leather if that’s your thing!).
5. Vera Bradley Carson Mini Saddle Bag
I’ve always been a loyal Vera Bradley customer. Growing up I loved the colorful patterns (and still do) of their purses, wallets, and duffel bags. When I found this leather saddle bag, I knew I wanted to add it to my collection of travel handbags. It’s got just enough detail to make it feel different without being too over the top. It comes in a few different colors, but I love that Wild Berry color (too bad I already have a purse in that exact color!). It looks like the perfect bag to transition from a day of exploring to an evening at a nice restaurant. It also comes in a watermelon print which is almost too bold for daily life, but perfect for a beach vacation.
6. Herschel City Backpack
I’m a big lover of backpacks for traveling, especially when they come in floral patterns. The Herschel City bag is just the right size for fitting a camera, your jacket (and your boyfriend’s), sunscreen, bug spray, a water bottle, and some chapstick. It’s a much sturdier bag than your usual backpacks and you can definitely use it after your travels are over to fit a small laptop or tablet and take it to school or work.
7. Souvenir Travel Bags
No bag lover will get through a trip without spotting one they love on their travels (I’m speaking from experience, obviously!). I love picking out souvenirs on my travels that I can use right away and continue to use one I get home. I’ve bought bags in Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia, and the UK. I love the memories they conjure up when I use them again a few months down the line. Always look out for cute styles in markets and try to by as local as possible.
How to Choose the Best Travel Handbags for You
There are a few things I always try to keep in mind when I’m on the lookout for anew travel handbag.
- Size: I want the bag to fit everything in it that I’ll need for the day. What that entails really depends on where I’m traveling to. If I’m in a city during the spring or fall, that’ll mean that I want to be able to fit a light cardigan or a small rain jacket in there. I always want my phone and some money to fit inside as well. That being said, having a huge bag isn’t great either. It’s cumbersome and can get really heavy if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking while you’re traveling. Be sure to test out your travel purse before packing it for your trip.
- Comfortable to Carry: If you’re going to have this bag on your shoulder (or shoulders) all day long, you want to make sure the straps aren’t digging into you or that they won’t be pressing against your side or back making you super sweaty. This is why I like crossbody bags and bags with slightly thicker straps.
- Weather Proof: If you get caught in a downpour is your camera going to stay dry? Obviously, you want to check the weather of the place you’re traveling to so that you make sure to bring a bag that will suit that weather. If it’s going to be bright and sunny, just make sure not to take something black or with metal detail that’s going to get too hot!
- Easy to Clean: Whether you’re exploring the city streets of Paris or Mexico City or you’re headed riding on the back of a moped in Thailand, you’re probably going to get your bag dirty. No matter where I go, I always end up having to get the saddle soap out or sticking my bags in the washing machine when I get back. That means I’m always on the lookout for a bag that’s easy to clean. I like cloth, Nylon, or canvas bags that are washable or leather which is super easy to clean.
- Proper Closure: When I travel, especially when I’m out and about with my camera and phone and credit card, I like to make sure that my bag has a zipper so that it closes entirely. While I’ve luckily (touch wood) never been pickpocketed or had my things stolen, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of travelers who use bags that just have one snap or a tie closure having their things stolen without them even realizing.
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