Types of Handbags for Travel


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A handbag is like a woman’s sidekick. Whenever we need a little help in our daily lives, we reach to the handbag for help… to get some cash to buy some chocolate on a rainy day, or to grab some makeup when we are about to meet up with a cute guy. We have grown to need our handbags in our normal lives, and it is no surprise that we need to have a handbag on our travels as well.

When I travel, I generally need a place to put my money, little things like chapstick and a hair brush, a map and/or my iPhone, perhaps my camera and even a water bottle. But, what kind of handbag you choose probably depends on the type of travel you are partaking in.

The Daypack:

Most of the time, when I’m backpacking, I just use a daypack as a purse. I usually travel with the Pacsafe Slingsafe 300 GII because it is both small and secure. The famous Pacsafe features, such as the exomesh layer (that can’t be slashed easily), zipper clips and RFID pockets, make this bag one that you can wear on your back in a crowd without the worry of pickpockets having a go, or without getting swiped so easily at a cafe. That’s right, the strap can be locked around your chair or table for extra security.

The daypack usually works for me when I’m truly moving around a lot, am not in cities where fashion speaks louder than function, or when I need to have several items for my day out (like a jacket, scarf, swimsuit, etc.).

The Handbag:

The only times when I travel with a normal, fashionable handbag is when I’m going to another city in my home country. So, I might be partaking in shopping and dining out, but I will not need a place to securely store my passport. I also don’t foresee myself in very crowded, touristy areas where petty crime might be more common.

In this case, your normal handbag may be the way to go.

The Messenger Bag / Camera Handbag:

Now, if you’re the type of person that travels with a DSLR camera, then you may want to choose a bag that can double as your handbag. For example, you can choose a quality messenger bag and then include a camera bag insert in order to both compartmentalize the bag and offer protection to the camera. In that case, the bag no longer looks like a normal camera bag, and we all know that drawing less attention to yourself when traveling is a great idea.

The Wristlet / Wallet:

For those that will be doing a combination of backpacking and city sights, perhaps a wristlet or wallet handbag is the travel bag of choice. A wristlet is great because it can act as a simple wallet, tossed into your backpack or daypack while in transit. Or, it can be worn alone, when going out to dinner for example, looking cute in the process. You won’t be able to fit much into it, so camera phones on those occasions will likely need to suffice.

Pacsafe also makes a great little purse/wristlet with slashproof exomesh and RFID pocket worth considering.

Other ideas for including handbag on your packing lists involve buying one in your destination country that has true local flavor (also a great souvenir!) or packing one that is collapsible/stuffable in nature. Or, you can invest in some cargo travel pants and use the side pockets to store your money and cosmetics. I know, that’s not a very feminine look, but it gets the job done on those more off the beaten path travels.

Happy handbag shopping, but mostly, happy travels!

About the Author: Brooke Schoenman is the founder and editor of Her Packing List – a resource on packing and gear for female travelers. Brooke is a seasoned traveler, having acquired stamps in her passport from destinations such as Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia, and Guatemala to name a few. She blogs and writes for a living, and you can follow the Her Packing List related side of her life on Twitter, Facebookand Pinterest.

Written by Brooke Schoenman of Her Packing List


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