Best women’s purses and handbags for travel

What is the best style of purse for travel? Well, girls going to the beach on Maui will have a different answer than women slumming around on the Paris Metro. A straw tote is perfectly adequate for beach chic, but a gal, on the go, will need a zippered crossbody or shoulder bag that leaves one hand free for dragging her suitcase, and her other hand free for carrying a ticket, an umbrella, or a cup of coffee.

Crossbody Bag for Travel

A crossbody bag (with the strap across the chest) is perfect if the strap is not too long, or if the strap is adjustable, so that the purse can also function as a shoulder bag. And, when shopping for mid-priced shoulder bags, a single strap usually hangs better on the shoulder than a double strap.

A great travel bag must have a zip top. Totes or flap-top purses, with magnetic snaps, just don’t cut it. No lady wants the contents of her bag spilled across the floor, when a quick-witted taxi driver slams on the breaks to back up on a busy one-way street, or the Vaporetto rolls on a huge wake in Venice. Drawstring tops close tightly, but are too much of a hassle because a satchel must be set down to open or close properly.

Leather Handbag Purse

For the best look, a bag either needs to be good-quality leather, or obviously man made, out of something like:

  • Nylon
  • Microfiber
  • Cotton
  • Denim
  • Canvas

Most faux, synthetic leather is deadly dull unless there is some texture or weaving to fool the eye. A wonderfully beat up old leather bag is almost always much better than most fake leather. There is one exception to this, and that is with a sharply ship-shape nautical leather or canvas, which really should look new or well cared for.

Best Leather Bag

A great handbag is made of:

  • Nice supple leather that hangs right
  • Leather of a rich color that will age well

Not all “genuine leather” is “good leather”. However, many second-class leathers are:

  • Good enough
  • More stain resistant
  • Reasonably priced

The one good thing about fake leather is that it can be lightweight compared to real leather. Baby Boomers with neck or back problems, from too many spills on the moguls (skiing reference not casting reference), may prefer a nice synthetic leather with a groovy texture.

LeSportsac Crossbody

Some hipster Boomer Chicks can get away with a cute printed LeSportsac Madison, or something similar, but LeSportsac crossbody purses are best for younger girls. LeSportsac travel bags and totes are fine for all ages, and their men’s duffle bags are great for women.

Nylon Shoulder Bag

An inexpensive and lightweight, but more grown-up look, is a Dooney & Bourke

  • Nylon Crossbody Pouchette
  • Nylon N/S Triple Zip
  • Nylon E/W Triple Zip
  • Nylon Letter Carrier.

For a boost in price, the Dooney & Bourke Calf Letter Carrier or New Leather Letter Carrier is a good value for decent leather.

All of these Dooney & Bourke purses have a nice flat sillhouette, which is great because they don’t add bulk like so many handbags. These flat bags all look smart and organized, and can be used for many styles:

  • Sporty
  • Preppy
  • Nautical
  • Artsy (with the right color)