If you are traveling a lot, one of the major concerns is whether you should bring a purse along or not, and if yes, which kind is best to protect your stuff when exploring a new destination? Personally, I say YES to purse, under conditions. Taking the rights measures, you can even take your purse on safari in Africa or when motorbiking and practically anywhere else you go. However, since having it slashed or stolen is a possible scenario when traveling, you need to use the RIGHT purse. For example, an oversized purse is a huge no-no when out and about, especially if there is no zipper to close it and carry it securely. The same applies to a messenger bag, which may be super great to sport in town but is the worse idea when used as a purse just because it has lots of pockets, which means good for travel. Again, no. It is impractical, it is ugly, and you definitely don’t want to be seen in the most chic country in this world (i.e. Italy) sporting one (unless you can withstand the dagger eyes from the stylish Italians!).
Buying special gear for traveling is not as difficult as you may think considering that not all travel calls for radical changes compared to your lifestyle at home. That said, moneybelts seem to be gathering a lot of attention, but I believe that there not that much necessary. Can you picture yourself strolling an exotic beach or the streets of New York wearing a moneybelt and reaching down to your underwear every time you want to buy a bottle of water? Of course, there are exceptions from every rule. So, using a purse at areas considered not safe (with high crime rates) would be a bit naive (at least, be wary if you do). The same applies to the times you are on an outdoor expedition (i.e. hardcore climbing and camping). To be honest, though, on every single occasion, other than the ones mentioned before, my purse has always been on me.
So, Purse for Travel? Yes. What Kind?
If you take a look around, you will find plenty of anti-theft purses on the market. A personal favorite is one by Pacsafe, which comes packed with secret pockets and anti-slash mesh. Now, if you don’t want to spend money on such a purse (it costs $85 on average), it’s perfectly okay. You can still get a regular purse, as long as you make sure it fits the criteria discussed below:
1. Crossbody Strap – It is absolutely necessary to be able to put the strap over one shoulder and not carry it like you do with any purse. Let it hang over the other side so that a potential mugger will find it difficult to snatch it from you.
2. Size – Always have something you can easily manage. You do need to be able to block access to your bag as quickly and easily as possible (using only your hand).
3. Fabric – Anything tough that is hard to slash, such as mock leather or leather is a good option. Yes, you may think that they both can be slashed (technically), it is definitely far more challenging to do so to a thick leather strap, rather than a thin fabric.
4. Zippers – You don’t want anything that has snaps or a bag that can be partially closed. Keep wandering hands from snooping around you and your precious belongings. It is critical you have a bag with zippers.
5. Position – Wherever you go, be it a restaurant, the movies, or anywhere else, never leave it unattended. Instead, keep it hung diagonally across your body between your legs or in your lap.
Nobody will ever tell you that you need to get an expensive bag for travel. Just ensure it is of reasonably good quality. One of the most beloved handbags for the purpose we want them is a leather crossbody Alexander McQueen (12×5 inches and cost me approx. $30). I found it while in London, covered with metal skulls and studs (if you like that stuff, you will love it!).
What NOT to Choose
I am sure you have seen a large bohemian sack sold on every touristy area and every beach town. It is made out of thin fabric and although it is a charming souvenir, it is completely inappropriate for travel as it can easily be cut or slashed quite effortlessly or be pulled off your shoulder in a heartbeat, not to mention that it is super easy for anyone to just slip their hands in it and take your wallet. Better keep that bag to carry your sunscreen and towels (or your shopping) and lock all the important stuff at home or the hotel room. Now, if you can’t part from your Chanel flap, then try to carry it around when you explore the new destination’s night life!
Travel Bags: Top Suggestions
If there is room for some suggestions, I would definitely recommend a Duffle Bag (see Cenzo Vecchio) and a Tote bag (i.e. Samsonite Tote-a-ton). If you own the Cenzo Leather Weekender Bag, then you know that it is the epitome of style and nothing like a gym bag, like most Duffels. It is beautiful to look, highly versatile, and certainly well-made. Also, it is one of the travel bags with the least complains regarding its construction and the leather will outlive you and me combined. However, I would use it on a car trip to ensure it’s not squashed.
As for the Samsonite Tote-a-ton, it is exactly what the name suggests. It is a bag not cut for travel only, which is super great. You can use this alternative to flatter rolling bags just to keep your essentials out of the way (and packed up) or even for moving. Another reason I like this bag is because whatever I put inside stays inside just they way I put it. No items shifting around like they would in a rolling bag.
- Go for a bright color when choosing a travel bag. This will help you to spot your bag on the luggage carousel faster than those looking for standard shades.
- Don’t make your final pick based on style only. Always be informed of the place you are traveling to. If it is a bit more dangerous, you don’t want to show that you can afford a luxury designer bag.
- Make a decision after looking at the interiors. Do you want a bag with many pouches to keep everything organized? Something waterproof? Always look at the added features.