It can take awhile to figure out which travel purses fit your style. There are companies devoted to creating the latest safety features and you pay for the convenience. Above all it’s important to use what makes you feel comfortable, secure and relaxed. Of all the discussions I’ve seen little about the best features for handbags and purses.
Travel purses and the strap dilemma
I like to travel light and prefer shoulder straps that can be adjusted for cross-body, slinging on one shoulder or can be removed completely. Keeping it simple and lightweight is key. I’m not fussy about purses, preferring to travel with something durable and adaptable. It all depends on the kind of trip. For business travel I may carry a bag with fashion in mind, but that’s not the kind of travel I usually do. This is about finding the go-to bag for a multi-city or country trip with lots of different activities. Often I’ll pack two different kinds of travel purses.
You need to decide what is best for you, where you’ll be traveling and how. Some safety experts recommend that you not wear your purse with the strap crossing your body. The idea being that if you’re connected to your bag, you could be pulled along with the strap. You can be knocked off balanced, making you more vulnerable or end up in a physical altercation with the assailant. If your purse is draped over one shoulder you can easily let go of it.*
It’s a consideration in dicey areas but for safety I use purses with adjustable straps. The flexibility makes it easy to go long or short. At times having a purse slung over one shoulder makes me feel more vulnerable. Thieves look for the easy mark, why give them the satisfaction? Hugging my purse close with the strap across the body just feels safer.
The sports edition:
I was recently given this new, Go Caddy bag to review. It’s been with me on morning treks around Mission Bay where a sip of water is a necessity. I’ve gone hiking around tide pools and through canyons with it and love the narrow profile. Having a water bottle carrier with room for valuables could be handy on a cruise as well.
The bag has several pockets and an inner compartment for a water bottle. It’s shipped with a handy sleeve to keep the bottle cool and dry to touch. There’s a roomy, elasticized pocket for cell phones, maps or pens. The other side has a Velcro flap for more security. I really appreciated the stitching on the strap which helps keep it from sliding off. Most straps are either thick and heavy leather (heavy) or durable nylon (slippery.)
This older Bagallini can hold all you need for a carry-on and still be lightweight. I like having a bag with outer pockets for bottles and items that can be grabbed quickly. These aren’t secure, unless you have a bag with zippers on the pockets, so again it depends on where you’re using it.
I carried this bag all around Rio during Carnival and only lost a bottle of juice from the outer side pocket. The large inner pocket has a strap with a toggle to secure your wallets. You can keep passports, coin purses and cameras safely zipped inside.
If I want to dress it up a bit, out comes everything but necessities and a small, colorful scarf is tied onto the lower strap. It works in any situation where you don’t need to be too dressy or need a smaller bag.
This is a lightweight Bagallini, a few years old and a cloth bag with lots of compartments that sits flat to the body. I’ve seen them in many colors and variations. It works well for a short adventure or urban walk. My chunky SLR camera doesn’t fit inside which means carrying it separately, but the outer cell phone pocket works for quick access and photos.
This little, leather bag is a work horse. There’s only room for a a bit of cash, ID, a comb and lipstick but the cell phone fits well too. Several inner compartments make it easy to find things. The strap can go long or tucked inside if I want a clutch. I’d feel comfy at an Embassy dinner or nightclub with it.
Whatever kind of bag you choose, stay aware of your surroundings, trust your gut and don’t go anywhere you feel unsafe. Having the right kind of bag will make you a more confident traveler.
* The experts at Krav Maga training centers instruct thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives through fitness and self-defense programs.
Many thanks to Go Caddy for the bag to review.
Proudly part of Travel Photo Mondays.
Although not as stylish as other options, I’ve been using a Baggu “Duck” bag. It’s really casual but it is sturdy and you can adjust the strap length if you no longer want to use it as a crossbody. I carry a lot (slr camera and huge water bottle really add weight) so I appreciate that the bag itself does not add any extra weight. As a plus, it doubles as a carryon and shopping bag.
Great points, Matilda. I’m with you and use a bag that’s lightweight to begin with the better to carry camera and water.
My favorite go-to travel bag is my black Longchamps bag. It is very lightweight, offers plenty of room to stow stuff I pick up along the way, and looks as nice at night as it does during the day.
Thanks for the tip, Irene. I’ll have to check out the Longchamps line.
I have a Bagallini similar to the red one shown that I love, but the camera is a dilemma and I wish I could figure that piece of the travel puzzle out. The older I get, the more important it is to keep it light. My shoulders just aren’t what they used to be!
Wow! I could write volumes on this subject. I have many fashionable and expensive bags and would not travel out of the US carrying any of them. For a recent trip to Europe, I went on line and found a great cross body bag that would hold my nice camera, with space for my phone and a lipstick! It is by Jo Totes http://www.jototes.com/collections/all/products/new-allison-black It has moveable velcro dividers and fit my camera and lenses very well. Its fashionable enough…
Your Jo Totes bag sounds like a winner. Will have to check that out!
What a nice array of purses you have presented. I, however, am totally happy with my Marc Jacobs bucket purse with cross body strap. It holds so much, and weighs so much, I doubt anyone could carry it away–especially with me attached. What I like most is that my hands are completely free.
Sounds like you have a lovely bag. I too love having my hands free (to take pictures!)
I generally carry a cloth tote that can go across my body should I feel the need. Inside this tote is a smaller bag with some of my essentials in. Money is in my bra. Though in saying that, a Venezualan friend tells me that is the 1st place that some people look for money. I can’t come at the under clothes strap on though. Some nice bags though.
It seems most of us are comfortable with the cross-body bags. I haven’t carried money in my bra but that and a sock seems a good idea.
This post was timely as I’m in the process of an online ordering frenzy of clothing and other items and actually had a new travel bag on my list. I especially liked the Go Caddy and checked out the link that you provided. Pretty amazing to see all the things you can cram in there!
Glad you found the info about Go Caddy helpful. It’s a smart, practical design and a good solution when you want a water bottle near. I keep a stainless bottle with my most of the time, reducing plastic waste and refill from trusted sources.
What I prefer depends on the situation. I have a very thin, very small pouch with theft-proof straps that I use when I don’t need to carry much other than cash and a credit card. I used it in Barcelona a lot and carried my point and shot camera in my hand. I recently bought a larger Pacsafe that I can fit my digital SLR in. It has a number of secure pockets and side pouches. I like wearing these crossbody. In spite of the possibility of being grabbed, it feels more secure to me. It is also less strain on the shoulder and I’m not always pushing a strap back into place.
You and I are of the same mind about cross-body purses and straps. I also carry my smaller Nikon or phone in my hand when I’m in a crowd.
I use a thin pouch/wallet from Kauai under my coat or sweater. It’s pretty common to see the design made up in all sorts of pretty Hawaiian prints at the farmer’s markets there. I think it cost me $7 or $8. 🙂
I love that idea and being cloth, it must be comfortable. I’ll look for those when I visit Hawaii again.
when travelling I prefer using a crossbody bag. Occasionally I wear a thin pouch underneath my clothes with money/credit cards etc (not so much lately though). A brand I always loved is Kipling because their bags are super light…but when I strive for some style I rely on my Zara crossbody bag (which is heavier though).
Thanks for the tip about Zara. I heard that Pacsafe has some stellar bags. Good idea about the pouch under your clothes too. I need to do that more regularly.