What Are the Different Types of Travel Purses?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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The different types of travel purses vary in size, shape, style, material, color and the kinds, as well as the amount, of compartments they contain. Some purses designed for traveling have built-in wallets, while others just have a main section with maybe only one extra zippered compartment or open flap. Travel purses designed with special safety features have a steel cord running through the strap to prevent a thief from quickly cutting it and escaping with the purse.

Other common travel purse safety features are an adjustable cross-body strap that is wide and designed to keep the bag's main section under the wearer's wrist and forearm when she is walking. Having the purse close to the body rather than carrying it in the hand or loosely over the shoulder can deter pickpockets. Pockets made to hold passports and other documents securely is another popular feature in many travel purses.

Compartments of different sizes designed to hold items such as a camera, sunglasses, water bottle, paperback novel, keys and cosmetics are often sought after by travelers looking for purses, as this can prevent belongings from becoming jumbled. Separate waterproof sections to store travel size bottles of shampoo or other items that may spill can mean avoiding having all of a travel purse's contents affected. Travel purses with an outer zippered pocket are handy for storing items that may be needed often for easier access.


A travel purse that doubles as a carry-on bag is an especially versatile type for frequent airline travelers. Specific airline requirements would have to be checked before purchasing these bags though to be sure the carry-on travel purses meet each company's measurement limits. Any carry-on bag must usually be required to fit into the overhead storage compartments located above the seats.

While many types of travel purses are designed in neutral colors, some are available in vivid fashion shades such as hot pink. Along with the color, the shape and size of travel purses also varies widely. Some of these purses such as messenger bags are large and square with narrow edges. The strap fits across the body. The messenger bag style is based on the classic type used to deliver newspapers door-to-door.

While travel bags are typically casual, some may be business-like, glamorous or sporty in looks. The materials used for travel purses include leather, microfiber, nylon and canvas. Some purses made for traveling may include a built-in wallet section to hold credit cards, a passport and traveler's checks.


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Post 9

If you have a spouse that loves to travel getting them a nice travel bag is a great idea. I've seen some beautiful travel handbags for women that I wouldn't mind having myself, and there are some really stylish men's travel bags out there as well.

For my husband I picked him up a travel purse that looked more like a small messenger bag, so he wouldn't have to be distressed about carrying something he felt was too girly. I know a lot of guys are sensitive about carrying man bags. I find it funny, but I suppose that I can see where they are coming from.

Post 8

There are a lot of great travel purses for women, but for myself I had to go with one that would keep my tablet safe. I never really worried much about my purse when traveling with just a bit of cash and a cheap digital camera, but now that I have everything in one device I am a lot more cautious.

The travel purse I have holds my tablet for easy access, but also disguises what it is. The strap is extra sturdy, and as it crosses over my body I feel like it would be a lot harder to take off with. Another thing I like about the tablet travel purse is that keeps all of my cards neatly organized without being too bulky.

Post 7

I have a hot pink canvas travel bag, and it makes life on the go so much easier. It has slots for holding my passport, driver's license, and credit cards.

On the outside, a snug pocket holds my cell phone. A piece of velcro can be pulled taut over the pocket once the phone is inside, and this keeps it from slipping out.

There is even a chain linked to the inside bottom of the purse that attaches to my wallet. I can easily unhook it to remove it, but most of the time, I keep it attached.

Post 6

My husband became jealous of my travel purse. He said that he hated the fact that most travel bags resembled purses, so he felt weird carrying one around, but he sure would love something to keep his camera, notepad, and water bottle in, as well as snacks.

It took quite a bit of searching, but we finally found one that more closely resembled a briefcase with a body strap than a “man purse.” It is black, slender, and totally professional looking.

No one has teased him about it yet, and I don't expect them to. He is so happy to have a cart for his stuff when we go hiking or exploring that I'm not sure he would get rid of it even if someone did call it weird.

Post 5

@kylee07drg – It all depends on the individual strap and how much stuff you have in your purse. I would suggest putting it on in the store and pulling down on it to mimic the weight of your full purse. Then, you should be able to tell if it will bother you or not.

When I got my first travel purse, I started out carrying everything I might possibly need and more in it. This canceled out the benefit of having bought a travel purse of lightweight material, and it placed strain on my body.

Now, I only take the absolute essentials in my purse, and I put everything else in a duffel bag and leave it at the hotel. This makes a big difference in the comfort level of my travel purse.

Post 4

I had never heard of travel purses before reading this. I had always heard of people snatching purses, but I did not know that they would actually cut the strap to make it fall off! That steel cord sounds like a great idea.

I will be going on vacation next month, and now that I know about them, I might just get a travel purse. I know that I will be doing a lot of walking through a crowded city, so I would like to feel secure.

My only concern is the comfort level. How comfortable are travel purses? Does the cross-body strap bother anyone, or is it barely noticeable?

Post 3

I always like to stay organized and whenever I switch to a new purse or bag I can never find what I am looking for.

I bought a travel purse organizer that I can use in just about any kind of purse or bag. This way most things that I need on a regular basis are always in the same place.

This has been a lifesaver for me. I just move the organizer from one purse to another and know that I won't be forgetting anything valuable that I need.

Post 2

@SarahSon - It can be hard to find the best travel purse or bag because there are so many options to choose from!

It also depends on how you want to use it. Sometimes you might want a travel designer handbag, while other times you want something that is simple and casual.

I don't like to spend the money on expensive travel bags, and found an Eagle Creek bag that worked great for me. It had a simple design with a lightweight material and just the right amount of storage compartments.

I also found what works best for me is to buy the bag at a brick and mortar store where I can feel it and check it out. This gives me a better idea of what I am getting than when I order something like this off the internet.

Post 1

I have tried several travel purses and bags and still haven't found one that is my favorite.

I know my favorite style when I travel is a bag that will go over my shoulder and across my body. I feel a lot more secure with my money, identification and belongings when I have this style of bag when traveling.

I also like to have pockets and compartments, but have found that too many pockets can be just as bad as not enough pockets.

When there are too many pockets, I can't find anything without checking 3-4 places. If there aren't enough pockets, everything gets thrown in one place and it makes it hard to find things that way too.

The next time I buy a travel bag, I hope to find something that works well. As much as I have spent on them in the past, at least I know what works and what doesn't work for me.

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