Best Travel Purses – Buying Guide and Reviews

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Best Travel Purses - Buying Guide and Reviews
Best Travel Purses – Buying Guide and Reviews

Update - April 2018

Yaluxe Women’s Owl Print Leather Large Clutch Wallet

When it comes to travel purses, finding something of the right size for you can be a real challenge. Too big, and it’s much harder to travel with, especially as a personal item on a flight. Too small, and it won’t hold everything you need.

This clutch from Yaluxe seeks to make the most of a very small space, meaning that the bag is extremely easy to travel with but doesn’t require all the extra effort that a full sized shoulder bag might.

It does this through the use of a variety of pockets that you might not find in an everyday clutch. In addition to its fairly standard six credit card slots and single ID window, it boasts three full size pockets.

This is great for carrying your phone, your passport, your cash, your cards, and a few other small items like a tiny notebook and pen or a pack of gum.

However, it’s not just the versatility in terms of storage that really makes this bag stand out. It has a few other things going for it as well, such as its corrosion resistant zippers and other hardware, which make it look shiny and new even after a good bit of travel.

Additionally, the Yaluxe clutch features a beautiful owl design that’s sure to attract attention with its diverse color palette, but isn’t too ostentatious for everyday use as well as travel.

Its high quality soft split leather construction is comfortable, beautiful, and durable all at once. On top of that, it’s available at a great price.

I do sometimes wish the wallet was a bit wider in terms of its width, which would greatly enhance its storage capacity, especially when traveling with a family. If you’re looking to carry your kids’ stuff as well, you might need to go with a larger bag instead of or in addition to this clutch.

Overall, though it’s a great small bag that offers lots of storage space, an eye-catching design, and some serious durability–which we all know is very important in a travel bag.

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Vintga Handmade Bamboo Bag for Women

This bag has a serious cool factor because of its natural, raw wood design. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to turn heads but also worries about too colorful a design clashing with clothes–because it’s in a neutral wooden tone, it attracts attention without ever clashing.

In addition, it’s one of the most durable travel bags for women on the market. However, it’s also extremely lightweight, retaining all the best qualities of bamboo.

The bag is also available in two sizes, meaning that you’ll have an easier time finding the right size for you if you like this design.

While I will say the larger bag is a bit awkward to carry on a flight, it’s definitely not too big to qualify as a personal item, and boasts tons of storage space. Of course, if you’re worried about the larger bag being too big, you can always go with the smaller option.

My favorite thing about this bag is definitely its aesthetic appeal. With its natural feel, it’ll create a great contrast at the airport or train station, while fitting right in with its surroundings at the beach.

Although it’s a harder and more durable bag, it’s also highly versatile due to its multiple size options, its ability to match with virtually any outfit and set of surroundings, and its generally very smart design.

This is one of the few bags I’d recommend to just about anyone, from family traveler to frequent business flyer to solo adventurer, because of its versatility and durability. It’s also available at a great price, meaning this bag can easily become a staple of your travel kit while allowing you to go ahead and purchase another bag too, for more specialized purposes like just carrying a phone or a few cosmetics.

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Betsey Johnson Women’s Dip Satchel with Removable Pouch

This offering from popular designer Betsey Johnson brings together a great bit of tradition and a little youthful rebellion in its aesthetics, while also bringing all the functionality you expect from a travel purse.

Its lined interior is great for protecting anything you need from jostling on a flight or train journey, and is also divided into smaller pockets that make storing things of various sizes and shapes much easier. However, these pockets never get in the way of things or make the bag overly difficult to use, which is a big plus for those of you used to bags with just one main storage compartment.

The bag’s storage space is solid, if not extraordinary. While it’s not great for carrying a full size laptop, it should hold a travel laptop quite nicely, and certainly provides for than enough space for a wallet, makeup, and other necessities.

One of the other primary features is its removable pouch, which is great for carrying cosmetics or toiletries. On top of that, the removable pouch looks great, too!

With its comfortable 5 inch drop for carrying by hand and removeable 23 inch drop shoulder strap, it’ll be easy to hold onto and maneuver in virtually any situation. While I do wish it offered just a bit more storage space, I can’t recommend this bag highly enough.

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Komal’s Passion Leather PL 16 Inch Leather Messenger Bag

This bag is great for those who have a bit of trouble traveling light. In addition to its laptop pocket offering enough storage space for a full size device, it features two large front pockets that can easily be used for books, documents, or tablets.

However, it’s not just the storage capacity that helps this bag stand out from the pack. The quality of the leather is exceptional, as well as the understated but very attractive green canvas lining, which gives this travel bag a great mid-century appeal.

In addition to the leather, the straps and other hardware are also exceptionally well made, which means that this bag will hold up to the roughest travel experiences–great for long train journeys or road trips as well as first-class air travel.

The only real downside to this bag is its large dimensions. While it obviously offers a lot more storage space than most travel purses, it can also be a bit more awkward to carry and maneuver–and if you’re not careful, you might load it up with too much weight to comfortably carry.

All in all, I definitely recommend this to the business or family traveler who really needs the extra storage space, but wants to stay fashionable as well as functional. It’s also a great travel purse for longer trips where you’ll need to bring more along!

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Iswee Leather Shoulder Bag

This travel purse simply screams classic appeal with its deep coloration and smooth, shiny exterior, but it also offers the best of the modern conveniences, such as zippered interior pockets and enough space to comfortably fit most laptops.

Because more of the storage space is vertical rather than horizontal, it’s quite easy to carry and maneuver despite its larger size. Also, it offers plenty of smaller storage pockets to help you organize your belongings, and an easy access pocket on the back that’s perfect for keys and spare change.

Even if you don’t think you’ll have the easiest time carrying this travel bag with its 5” drop handles, it features a great removable shoulder strap that’ll make it easy in any situation. The strap and the handles are both beautiful and sturdy, as are the zippers and other hardware.

However, all the storage space and the feature rich design of this bag can lead to a downside: you might load it up with too much weight if you’re not careful. While the bag is durable enough to support it, it’s also fairly weighty on its own already, so it may become difficult to carry.

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Overbrooke Large Vegan Leather Slouchy Shoulder Bag

This slouchier, more casual (albeit still quite beautiful) bag from Overbrooke packs plenty of visual appeal, along with plenty of storage space.

In addition to its great sizing and comfortable vegan leather construction (which also adds a bit of durability to this product), it includes an open top that makes all your items extremely easy to access.

Inside, the piece is again simple yet beautiful and highly functional. While it obviously includes a very large main pocket, it also features a smaller compartment that’s perfect for your phone, your cash and cards, and your keys.

There’s also a handy removable bottom liner that can add some shape to the bag, but can also easily be taken out if you want to help the slouchy qualities of the bag shine. The ease of removing it also makes the bag very easy to clean, which I know is very important for all the frequent travelers out there!

While I do wish the interior was divided up a bit more into smaller pockets to make finding small and medium sized items in the bag easier, I do understand the appeal of a single large pocket for everything–and the quality and aesthetic appeal of this bag make it impossible not to recommend.

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Aimku Large Beach Bag with Top Zipper

This bright, casual, fun bag will look great both on the beach and on a flight, as it brings both functionality and a pop of color to the table. The bag’s simple but eye-catching design will appeal to the exuberance of youth and experience of tradition alike.

In addition, its strongly constructed canvas exterior is both rip and water resistant, meaning your belongings will never simply be exposed to the elements. The top zipper is secure enough to tightly close the bag, but also moves with ease whenever you need it to.

As a canvas bag, it’s extremely lightweight as well as durable, meaning it’s great for all sorts of travel: no matter how far you walk up the beach or how long you wait at airport security, this bag is highly unlikely to fatigue you.

There’s also a sealed pocket that’s great for protecting valuables, as well as your phone and wallet, even more than everything already is by the nature of the bag itself.

However, I do wish there were a few more interior compartments to help you organize your belongings for travel. As a beach bag, it works great, but for really long trips or flying with children you might want something that provides just a bit more in the way of organizational capacity.

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Kemy’s Small Crossbody Shoulder Bag for Women and Girls

This small, lightweight crossbody bag from Kemy’s is a delight in so many ways. From its fun and fashionable exterior to its easily adjustable shoulder strap with a 20 inch drop, it’s not just easy to carry, but fun to carry too.

The cool elephant design in grayscale is plenty attention grabbing, but doesn’t have so much going on that it’ll appear ostentatious or clash with the colors of your travel wardrobe. Additionally, it’ll look great in every single season.

The bright blue of the other portions of the bag is eye catching and cheerful as well!

However, this bag doesn’t have the size necessary to carry most laptops, so it’s not ideal for business travelers or frequent travel writers like me. That being said, it’s the perfect size to include a tablet or notebook along with your other necessities, such as your phone and cosmetics.

Additionally, it’s very lightweight, which increases its appeal as a personal item for flights and long train rides. Between its easy to store size and its low weight, it’s easy to carry pretty much anywhere. It’s also great as an everyday bag in addition to being one of the best travel purses on the market.

On top of that, it also comes with an adorable coin purse, which can easily be removed from the bag or slipped inside it. Everyone knows how handy a small removable pouch is for travel!

While I wish it had a bit more storage space, I’m very impressed with the quality of this travel purse, as well as its low weight and fun design. It’s perfect for the youthful, adventurous traveler, as well as for those of you who are young at heart!

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Chala Crossbody Cell Phone Purse with Adjustable Strap

This ultra compact crossbody handbag is great for stowing the absolute essentials, like your phone and your cash and cards. Additionally, it’s available in a huge array of eye catching designs from the subtle and serious to some that will really pop.

To add to all of these great benefits, it’s also very fairly priced, meaning some travelers may even want to get a few in different designs to use as gifts or wear alongside different travel outfits.

It definitely doesn’t boast much storage space, but makes up for that with a very low weight, extremely high durability, and a major comfort factor. The highly adjustable strap makes it pretty easy for virtually anyone to carry in almost any situation, and it’s also quite comfortable to hold in the hand as a small clutch wallet.

This offering from Chala is also designed with organization in mind, with plenty of internal pockets to secure your smaller travel necessities and keep them easy and quick to find and access.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend this bag to anyone looking for a compact travel purse to carry just the necessities, especially for those on trips where they’re likely to do a lot of walking, such as touring some of the beautiful small towns of Europe.

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Pijushi Floral Designer Handbag

This high end designer travel purse from top manufacturer Pijushi, with a beautiful but subtle floral pattern rendered in an almost metallic shade of purple, is one of the most fashionable travel purses on the market.

Don’t worry, though–there’s some practicality here in addition to beauty. Its fairly large and easy to organize interior, with both a sizeable central pocket and several smaller pockets for anything from your phone to small change to tablets and notebooks, make it easy to use even for long trips.

Its removable shoulder strap with a 22 inch drop means it can easily be used as a crossbody purse or shoulder bag in addition to carried by its handles. Best of all, all of these materials are solidly constructed with 100% leather.

In addition, the bag is designed in such a way that all of its lines and edges stay solid, which increases the durability of the bag as well as its fashionable nature. As soon as you see this bag, it’s easy to see why the designer behind it refers to it not only as a travel purse, but as a work of art.

That being said, this designer bag is only available at designer prices, which may put off some travelers. However, it boasts plenty of durability and capacity as well as its aesthetic appeal, so it does incorporate a lot of value even if the price is fairly high compared to some of the other travel purses I’ve reviewed.

Its storage capacity especially is highly impressive. It can easily hold a 15 inch laptop, but it also boasts enough storage space and organizational pockets to carry the rest of your travel and everyday necessities as well.

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Travel Purse Buyer’s Guide

While all of the travel purses reviewed in this article comfortably sit among the best on the market, every single one of them won’t be right for you personally. Read on for some of the easiest and most important tips and tricks regarding how to find the right bag to fit your needs and your personality.

Sizing It Up

The size of the best travel purses varies widely, and figuring out exactly what size bag you need can be a real challenge. Of course, different sized travel purses are better for different trips, which is why so many people choose to own multiple travel purses–so they’re never caught off guard by any adventure.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both small and large travel bags. Large travel bags allow you to carry more, making them pretty much essential for business travelers or those traveling with children. At the same time, they can be a lot heavier and more unwieldy, which is why many travelers opt for smaller bags.

The secret to getting a travel purse that’s the right size for you is determining what you’ll need to carry in your purse. If you only want to keep the bare necessities in your travel purse, and save larger items like tablets and travel laptops for your carry on bag, you may be interested in a clutch or similar ultra compact bag.

Of course, even if you opt for a larger bag, you’ll want one that maximizes the usability of the space it takes up, whether that’s through smart overall construction or the inclusion of extra features like storage pockets and removable cosmetics pouches.

Durability and Versatility

The materials of which a travel purse is made also play a huge role in its suitability to one travel situation or another, as they affect its durability and versatility, as well as its fashion sense.

Leather and its imitators are more resistant in most cases to spills and similar accidents, but are much more prone to scuffs and scrapes. Canvas, on the other hand, stains much more easily, but is also easier to care for and will not scuff.

Of course, the quality of the materials plays just as big a role as the type. I’ve fallen in love with many leather, vegan leather, and canvas bags, but it all comes down to the quality of raw materials and the workmanship involved. Getting one of the best travel purses mentioned in this article guarantees above average durability.

Versatility is also a big thing. Soft bags or purses with removable components tend to be a bit more versatile than those with harder edges–but the harder edged travel purses often have their uses too, especially when it comes to traveling with laptops, tablets, and other valuables or breakable goods.

As always, a lot of this comes down more to your personal tastes and unique needs than to one approach being objectively better or worse than another.

Caring for Your Travel Purse

Caring for your travel bag is one of the easiest and yet most important ways to protect your investment and keep your new purse traveling strong for years to come.

The most important aspect of properly caring for your travel purse is following all the instructions for care that come along with it. Remember, different materials have a lot of different needs.

For example, most canvas bags are suitable for hand washing and even throwing in the washing machine, while many leather bags can only be gently wiped down (though they’re also inherently a little more resistant to messes in the first place). Vegan and imitation leather bags can vary widely in their acceptable and necessary care requirements.

However, there are some great tips that you can keep in mind that apply to just about every travel purse you could possibly own.

To keep the best travel purses from wearing out before their time or permanently staining, it’s best to clean and inspect them before and after each trip you take with them.

While cleaning is something most people remember automatically–especially when it’s most needed (like when another traveler spills coffee on your purse, which happens far too often), inspecting your bag for damage and wear is vital too.

This is because small incidences of damage and wear, such as a scuff on a leather bag or a tiny tear in a fabric one, are easy to repair. If not attended to, though, these small problems can and will often evolve into much larger issues over time.

Finding the Right Travel Purse to Fit Your Needs

Ultimately, there’s only so much I can tell you about the best travel purses in an article like this. That’s because getting the best travel purse for you isn’t necessarily about finding the best product across the board, but the one that meets your needs best.

For example, the family traveler will need an entirely different travel purse from the frequent business traveler or the solo adventurer.

Think about the things you’ll need to carry in your travel purse, the kind of style that you want to show off at the airport and on the road, and the types of materials you find the most appealing and durable. Your best travel purse should be a reflection of who you are–both in terms of your needs and your personality.

Once you’ve spent some time thinking about these things deeply, take another look at the best travel purses I’ve referenced in this article, and I’m sure you’ll find one that fits your exact needs and specifications.

Have you fallen in love with one of these best travel purses recently? Do you have a great travel story with one of these bags? Let the community know in the comments section.

Husband and Dad of 2 Richard is the founder of Top 10 Travel and loves everything travel related. Born in the UK and now living in Australia he has trekked Annapurna and parts of Western China and also spent time in Europe. As a family they have traveled to the USA several times, Canada, Europe and China. Next Stop is Iceland in September 2018.

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