This post may contain affiliate links! I will receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase something recommended here.
A select few qualities define the best travel bags and purses.
It has to be cute. I mean, it doesn’t have to be. But you spend all this time planning out your outfits and expertly packing everything together while staying under the flight’s weight limit. You deserve to have stylish luggage bags that enhance your travel wardrobe.
When you’re out and about, you need to have enough space to bring the essentials. Even though every person’s definition of “essentials” changes, the point still stands. There are things you will need in your bag to function.
It needs to be safe. It could be the cutest purse in the world, but if it doesn’t zip closed, you’re leaving your valuables in a vulnerable state. Imagine the stress of being in a new, far-off land, and your belongings are stolen. Having great travel handbags is one step closer to getting back home with all of your personal items safe.
Here are my top choices for the best travel bags and purses:
To kick things off, we’re starting with an old faithful, the classic suitcase. This is my go-to for vacation packing. It’s convenient if you’re planning to spend most of a trip living in one place. Depending on the size you purchase, a suitcase makes packing easy. It’s probably going to be your most spacious packing option.
These days, suitcases come in all shapes and sizes, with a few different amenities attached. Some have four wheels instead of two, which makes it much easier to maneuver and takes the away stress of pulling a heavy suitcase around. Some come with a built-in TSA lock or even an integrated weight scale. Never again will you get charged for overpacking!
Pro Tip: Tie colored ribbons or attach a scrunchie to your baggage for easy identification at the luggage carousel.
Next on my list of the best travel bags and purses is a hiking backpack. It’s multifunctional for your travels if you’re packing just a carry-on. It’s large and spacious enough to hold your whole wardrobe. If you’re taking an overnight trip, it’s the perfect size to fit the few things you need. Or, I’ve used this bag to pack for a long beach day, stuffing in my fluffy towel, shoes, and a change of clothes.
My favorite is the Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack. It’s 40L and comes with three packing cubes for easy arranging. I’ve used it for tons of trips, including packing for Europe in the summer.
However, not all durable travel backpacks are created equal. I do not recommend you use this backpack for substantial backpacking excursions. While this bag does hold up to 40L, it doesn’t have a metal plate for back support. Instead, the Kelty Women’s Redwing 40L Backpack is my favorite hiking backpack for long-term backpacking.
Need more inspiration? Check out my guides on the best travel essentials for women, travel gifts under $20, zero-waste travel essentials, and great gifts for friends going abroad!
Living in New York City, I’ve learned how important it is to have a quality day bag whenever I travel. I used to carry a large purse every day but stopped after realizing it was the cause of my shoulder pain. Yes, my purse used to be packed so full, friends thought I was carrying a brick.
Now, I still carry the weight of a brick with me, but it’s distributed between my shoulders! (sorry Mom) Not only is carrying a backpack better for your body, but it also gives you more space to bring a water bottle, snacks, or even an extra change of clothes or shoes depending on your day’s activities. By not needing to return to your lodging for a quick change, you’re free to fill your day with far-off ventures. I found my best ladies travel bag at TJ Maxx, but I’ve linked some similar day bags above.
Giving a quality travel bag is one of my favorite gift ideas for friends moving overseas, too!
Sometimes, you don’t need to carry a day’s worth of stuff with you. All you need are your wallet, sunglasses, space for your phone and its charger, hand sanitizer, and the few odds and ends you need. These are the moments where you just need a crossbody purse.
Truth be told, I wore out my last crossbody purse. Though I brought it with me through my Croatian travels. Alas, it did not make its way back to the United States before totally breaking down. It was my best purse for traveling abroad.
Since I’m on the hunt for a new crossbody purse, these are the ones I like the most so far. Do you have any favorite crossbody purse recommendations?
Finally, the last of the best travel bags and purses you need to bring with you on your travels is a wristlet. This is for your most minimal, going-out occasions. When all you’ll need are your most basic travel style essentials.
When going out for the night, I almost always use a wristlet. I’ve found it to be secure because it’s literally attached to your arm. Plus, you have to hold it as you move, which means you’ll know where it is at all times.
There’s a delicate balance for finding a functional wristlet. Large enough that it will hold the few things you need to bring, but small enough so that it doesn’t feel like you’re holding a full-size purse all night.
While these are the five best types of purses to travel with for me, no matter if you bring one or all five of these different bags on your travels, bring what works for you. May your travel purses be cute, spacious, and secure for whatever your adventures may bring!
What are the best travel bags and purses for you and your needs? Do you have any favorites to recommend?