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Finding the perfect travel purse can be quite challenging. But, it doesn’t need to be if you use our detailed guide on the 20 best travel purses for 2020. In this article we provide an in depth analysis on 20 of the top travel purses for 2020. From basic purses to anti theft travel purses to small travel purses, large travel purses and even cute travel purses we cover the entire spectrum of travel purses for women. In fact, we guarantee you will find something you like!
Best Travel Purses – overview
The breadth and depth of options when it comes to purses for travel is a little overwhelming. From traditional purses that offer travel specific features to cross body sling purses to laptop purses, messenger bag / retro styled purses and everything in between. In this section, we outline popular travel purse styles and identify the key features and functionality travelers are looking for when purchasing a purse for traveling.
Types of Women’s Travel Purses
The major categories of women’s travel purses include the following list:
- Traditional Purses
- Cross Body Slings
- Anti Theft Travel Purses
- Messenger Bags
- Business Travel Purses
- Laptop Travel Purses
Let’s examine each of these categories and understand how they fit into the travel bag genre.
Traditional Women’s Travel Purses
When we use the words “traditional travel purses” we don’t mean the “mom bag” you probably pictured in your mind. You know, the giant, cavernous purse your mom carried a small Walgreens in. Nope, definitely not. Instead, we are referring to the style of carry, or in other words, a traditional over the shoulder carry purse. And in this case, an over the should purse for travel.
This purse style, which is still quite popular among travelers, is the tried and true purse for over the shoulder or even arm carrying. It may tend to be more functional than stylish, but not always and purses in this category (for travel) run the gamut, often crossing into some of the other purse categories we discuss next.
Cross Body Sling Purses
The cross body sling purse has increased in popularity in recent years especially with travelers. This hybrid between a backpack and a traditional over-the-shoulder purse provides maximum flexibility for travelers which is why many women opt for this model as their go-to travel purse.
This purse style is often not as stylish as other purses and frankly more designed for the traveler who values comfort and storage over style and glam. Travelers who spend significant periods of time on the road and/or who tend to be fairly active during their travels often opt for a crossbody sling style travel purse.
Anti Theft Travel Purses
Travel safety remains a significant concern for many travelers including women who travel (and solo travelers). As such, many popular travel purses now include anti theft features. These features may include RFID blocking (to prevent cyber attack), anti slash material, hidden compartments and locking zippers. These features are designed to improve travel safety and reduce situations where the purse can be stolen, robbed, cut from the traveler’s body (cut and grab) or where the travel might have their identity stolen via a cyber attack.
For example, popular travel purse brand Travelon has an entire product line devoted to anti theft travel purses. In the summary later in this article we share several practical and stylish anti theft purses for travel.
Messenger Bag Style Travel Purses
The hipster scene has popularized the messenger bag style travel purse. This retro travel purse style is very popular with Millennial travelers and even Gen Z travelers.
A messenger bag travel purse combines both functionality and style allowing the traveler to maintain their desired image while traveling. Common attributes of messenger bag travel purses include canvas and leather elements as well as an aged look. Often these travel bags are thrown over the shoulder in a cross body style carry as opposed to a traditional purse carry method.
Business Travel Purses
Business Travel Purses are specifically designed for women who travel for work. These purses will be used by business travelers as part of their carry-on kit which usually includes a high quality suitcase and a travel purse (male business travelers often use a backpack for their second carry-on). Many travelers, including numerous female travelers, do not check their bags when they travel. Thus, they need a purse that is both stylish but also functional and durable.
The key features in this category of travel purse are: laptop storage, durability and style. The business travel purse needs to be durable enough to get stored under the seat back on an airplane over and and over again. Moreover, the business travel purse needs to be able to fit a company issue laptop. Lastly, the business travel purse needs to be stylish enough to match their outfit, but flexible enough to go with several outfits the traveler may wear during their work trip. Female business travelers often own several business travel purses and may coordinate their week’s outfits around travel accessories like a purse as opposed to bringing multiple purses with them.
Laptop Travel Purses for women
Female business travelers are not the only travelers who travel with their laptop. While there is some overlap between the business travel purse and the generic category of laptop travel purposes it is worth noting that a distinction does exist. That said, similar features apply in both scenarios: laptop storage, durability, and, of course, style.
Key Features of Good Quality Travel Purses – what do travelers want?
At the end of the day, a purse is simply a bag to carry things in. However, that sells the idea a bit short. In truth, a purse is much more than that. Certainly, carrying things is a key function, but a purse is also a fashion statement. Style is important. Often, travelers search for a cute travel purse or a stylish travel purse – something that not only serves its primary function but also makes a statement! Finally, a travel purse should be durable enough to stand the rigors of travel. We examine the key features of good travel purposes and share what travelers are searching and buying when they look for the best travel purses.
As noted earlier, a travel purse is designed to carry things and therefore functionality remains the top element when choosing the right purse for travel. This includes several aspects including: space, material, zipper quality, carry-ability, strap design, travel features and more.
For example, finding the right balance between size and space is important. Too big of a purse will become harder to carry making your trip less enjoyable. Too small and travelers won’t be able to bring and store the critical items needed for their trip.
The method of carry is important as well. It is over the shoulder? Cross body? Backpack option? How the purse is carried remains a key function. For example, if your trip involves a fair amount of walking (e.g. touring ruins) you might want something that sits a bit more comfortably on the body.
Travelers often consider style as their top choice in travel purse features because achieving a desired look while traveling is important. After all, humans like to look good (both men and women alike!). A purse is both a functional travel necessity but also a stylish accessory designed to complement a traveler’s look. This, however, is an extremely subjective feature. In other words, what one traveler likes another may find hideous.
A cute travel purse may be top of mind, but how durable is it? Will it withstand the rigors of travel? Stuffing it under the airplane seat back or in the overhead bin multiple times? Going through airport security time after time? Are the zippers high quality for repeated use? If your bag falls off your seat at the airport can it survive? Ensuring that your travel purse is durable remains an important priority. Be sure to read the reviews of each purse you are considering. Here travelers can help you understand their experiences with the bag. Consider the material and fabric quality as well when picking a travel purse that will last.
The prospect of having your wallet stolen or ID hacked is terrifying. Worse, having your entire bag stolen is a thought that none of us want to face. However, today’s travel purses often have unique capabilities designed to combat theft. These anti theft purses offer slash resistant materials, locking zippers and RFID protection – all of which are designed to keep you a little safer when you travel.
Unique New Features common in popular new travel purses
Finally, today’s modern travel purse introduces many new features specifically designed for travel. These often include hidden compartments, expandable pockets (e.g. to fit an umbrella or water bottle in), RFID blocking and even water resistance. Straps may convert from over the shoulder to backpack style and more.
Summary – Best Women’s Travel Purses
We’ve summarized the best travel purses in the table below with links to review and purchase them. Purses are ranked in order base on a combination of popularity, price-to-value, features and durability. In the sections following this table we examine many of these travel purses in greater detail.
This purse didn’t make our top 20 list, but only just barely. This incredibly popular, functional and stylish purse is still worth considering as you search for the perfect travel purse for your next adventure.
Best Travel Purse Overall
We’ve identified the best travel purse overall based on a combination of factors including: key travel features, reviews, price to value and durability. After careful consideration, we believe the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag is the best overall travel purse.
- 5 point anti-theft system
- Size: 11 x 10 x 4.5 inches
- Colors: 10 (including Charcoal, Wine & Stone)
- Material: 100% polyester
- Removable LED light
- Collapsible water bottle & umbrella pockets
This bag is specifically designed with the traveler in mind. It’s both functional and safe while also maintaining its stylish profile. In other words, you can look good while staying safe AND getting the most practical storage out the Travelon Classic Messenger Bag.
Not quite large enough to hold an full sized iPad in a case, although smaller iPads will work and/or a Kindle fits as well. Also, while the bag is featured in 10 colors, none of them are bright and instead the line focuses on more of a softer, darker palette.
Here’s a great video on the Travelon Classic Messenger Bag:
Best Stylish Travel Purse / Best Cute Travel Purse
Obviously this category is a bit subjective and based on our personal opinion. What we like you may not! That said, we think we made a pretty great choice here. The PINCNEL Women Backpack Purse is in the backpack family of travel purses but its style game is very strong!
This cute travel purse is also one of the most popular travel purses right now and is enjoyed by travelers across the world who rely on it every day as part of their travels. It can also be used for school or business use (if your laptop is small enough <13″)
- Size: 13.78″L x 6.69″W x 14.17″H
- Material: PU Leather and Nylon
- Colors: 14 (including Blue, Brown and Grey)
- Can hold a 13″ laptop / 10″ iPad
Incredibly stylish and spacious. Durable leather to withstand the wear and tear of regular travel. Plus, it’s incredibly stylish. Did we mention that?
The backpack style travel purse is not for everyone.
Best Small Travel Purse
For our money, the best small travel purse is Vera Bradley Women’s Microfiber RFID Mini Hipster Crossbody Purse in Charcoal.
- RFID protection
- Small size perfect for quick trips where you need a low profile
- Size: 0.8 x 8 x 6.5 inches
- Material: Microfiber
- Colors: 11 (including Rose Petal and Classic Navy)
Size and cuteness. Perfect combination. We’ve ranked this purse as our favorite small travel purse because it is both small AND cute. While it’s a little on the pricey side, it has a variety of colors that can match almost any outfit. If you are looking to go quick and fast this small travel purse is the right prescription!
The size of this small travel purse is also its weakness. The purse is small (as advertised!) but with that travelers are required to slim down what they carry. Additionally, there are few reports of the strap occasionally breaking.
Best Anti Theft Purse
No one wants to have their ID stolen or get pick pocketed. It’s for these reasons that companies like Travelon have specifically created anti theft travel purses that feature unique capabilities like anti RFID, locking zippers, etc. For our money the best anti theft purse is the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag which including a locking main compartment, anti slash material and RFID protection.
This bag is also pretty stylish and has 17 different color options giving travelers a wide range of choices to match their favorite travel outfits.
- Size: 8.5″ x 8.5″ x 2″
- Colors: 17 (including Charcoal, Stripe and Nutmeg)
- Removable LED light
- Anti slash material
- 5 point anti theft system
- Locking compartment
It’s all about anti theft with this good travel purse. One interesting feature is a removable LED light which can be handy for solo travelers.
This purse is a little small, but still packs a punch!
Best Large Travel Purse
If you need to pack some serious volume in your travel purse but also want to look stylish the DASEIN Women’s Large Tote Travel Purse and Clutch is the perfect solution. It’s so big it comes with a separate purse (clutch, to be specific).
The DASEIN has 28 colors so you literally can’t help but find a style that works for you. Finally, this large travel purse fits a 14″ laptop which makes it a good purse for work travelers too.
- Size: 13″W x 11″H x 6″D; Clutch size: 9.5″ x W-6.5″
- Material: PU Leather
- Colors: 28 (including Black/Pewter, Purple/Black, and Pink)
- Includes a matching clutch
- Fits a laptop sized 14″ or less
Color choices. Literally 28 different choices. The purse also comes with a separate matching clutch which is clever! And, of course, it’s size. You could fit a small child in here (ok, we are joking…).
If travelers don’t need to store a laptop this feature may detract from the overall value of this practical travel purse.
Best Business Travel Purse
Business travelers value functionality AND style and the ZYSUN Ladies Briefcase / Travel Purse packs a punch in both categories. This popular business travel purse is elegant and functional giving travelers enough space to carry on a laptop and even a change of clothes.
Additionally, this work travel purse is pretty darn affordable making it the perfect bag for your next business trip.
- Internal pockets for ID, change, etc
- Designed for business travelers
- Size: 15.3″ W x 4.5″ D x 12.8″ H
- Material: Premium textured saffiano faux leather
- Colors: 8 (including Grey, Black and Coffee)
- 15.6″ Padded laptop compartment
This business travel purse is the perfect accessory for a work trip. It allows a large 15.6″ laptop to be carried while traveling and is also incredibly glamorous. It’s variety of colors allow travelers to match any outfit. For the price, it’s one of the best business travel purses you can find.
The bag also comes in a larger 17″ model as well.
None…other than you don’t have it yet!
Thank you for visiting
That’s a lot of purses, right? Thanks for reading our detailed analysis of the best travel purses. We covered a lot of ground here including:
- Best travel purse (overall)
- Best anti theft purse
- Best small travel purse
- Best stylish travel purse
- Best cute travel purse
- Best large travel purse
- Best laptop travel purse
- Best business travel purse
We trust you found something that piqued your interest! Happy shopping and happy traveling! Be sure to drop us a comment if you feel we’ve missed your favorite purse!
Don’t forget to follow us on social media including: Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard and Instagram. Be sure to check out some of our other great travel related content including the following articles:
- Mileage Runs
- Global Entry for Military?
- IRS Mileage Rate?
- United Airlines Baggage Fees for 2020
- REAL ID for Flying
- What are the TSA rules on Food?
- Cyber Security Travel Tips
- Can I travel with tweezers?
- Under 25 Car Rental Tips
- Useful Travel Gadgets
- Can I travel with vitamins?
- Can I travel with a razor?
- Can I travel with deodorant?
- Where can I buy a hotel mattress?
- Can I purchase a hotel pillow?
- What are the best travel pillows?
- How to use a status match
- What should I bring on my business trip?
- Checked bags vs carry on bags?
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