Pocket for cell phone in a crossbody bag

My Favorite Crossbody Bag for Travel

Why Choose a Crossbody Bag for Travel?

Before a recent trip to London, I began a search for the best crossbody bag for travel. While I love traveling with my North Face Recon Backpack, sometimes it is nice to have a smaller travel handbag for the evening, for day trips, to go shopping, or to keep essential travel items handy.

Woman traveling by train with a crossbody bag

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Yes, I still travel with my backpack. But, I also travel with a small handbag for travel as well. If it becomes an issue at the security checkpoint at the airport or when boarding an airplane, it can be tucked inside my backpack.

While backpacks are one of the most convenient travel accessories, a crossbody bag—or messenger bag or purse or handbag—is a great travel essential too. Since crossbody bags hang in front of the body, it is easy to access all your valuables without having to take the bag off every time you need something.

With options for quick shipping through Amazon, I was ordering crossbody bags up to two days before leaving for London.

The result? While some bags were nice, some were just too big; one did not have a comfortable shoulder strap and another did not have enough anti-theft features.

I was able to easily return all of the unwanted bags when I returned home from my trip. Check the RETURN ELIGIBLE date in “YOUR ORDERS” on Amazon to determine your return window.

What did I end up choosing? The Travelon Heritage Crossbody Bag proved to be the best bag for international travel for me.

Important Anti-Theft Security Features for Bags for Travel Abroad

Beyond being stylish, one of the most important features of the Travelon Crossbody Bag is its thoughtful anti-theft security features.

Be sure to scroll to the end of this article to discover tips on how to be a savvy tourist who knows how to outsmart a pickpocket and avoid being a target.

Would you agree that many travelers focus on security when they travel? How do you carry all of the essentials—your passport, ID, money, credit cards, your phone—and avoid being a target of pickpockets?

The Travelon Crossbody Bag has a number of Anti-Theft Security System features:

Anti-theft features of a crossbody bag
  • Lock-down Straps – these straps help prevent thieves from dashing off with your bag. You can securely unlatch and then strap your bag to a chair or stationary object and lock it in place. The straps are adjustable as well which is great if you need to adjust the straps to fit comfortably over a coat or sweater.
  • Locking Compartments and Zipper Pulls – prevent a would-be pickpocket’s nimble fingers from reaching into your bag. The locking zipper pulls secure the compartments of your bag.
  • Slash-resistant Body – the slash resistant mesh fabric of the crossbody bag prevents slash-and-grab theft.
  • Slash-resistant Straps – prevents a thief from slashing your crossbody bag strap. The strap is reinforced with a stainless steel wire inside the strap.

These are the features YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR when searching for the best handbag for travel in Europe, for travel close to home, for bags for weekend travel, and beyond.

Security Extras

Attached LED light in Travelon travel handbag

Inside the Travelon Crossbody Bag, I was also happy to find a tethered key clip with an attached LED light. The light is perfect for searching inside the bag or for lighting your way in dark places.

The bag also has a small canvas grab-handle on the top of the bag.

Water Resistance

The fabric of the Travelon Crossbody Bag is made of both water and dirt resistant fabric.


With so many options available to choose from on Amazon and in stores, unless you are choosing a spendy brand name, the cost is relatively inexpensive.

Hands-Free Travel Bag

Travelon messenger bag for travel

One of the things I really like about wearing a crossbody bag is that the items inside are easy to access, and I can be “hands-free”.

The nature of a crossbody bag means that you place the strap over your head so that the strap rests on your shoulder and the bag rests on the opposite hip, thus hanging “across your body”. Your hand naturally hangs by your side and rests on the bag.

Because the bag goes on over your head, it cannot be easily pulled off by bag snatchers.

If I need to quickly pull out my iphone to snap a picture (which I do quite often), the zippers on the crossbody are easy to pull. When, I’m done taking the photo, my phone easily slides back into the exterior pocket and zips (and locks) for security.

Now, I would not be able to carry my Canon 6d Mark II DSLR in the crossbody bag, but a smaller point and shoot camera such as my Canon Powershot G1 would fit just fine.

Stylish & Lightweight

I will admit, that I chose the Travelon Crossbody Bag over one other simply because I liked the stylishness of the Travelon Heritage series more. Made from durable cotton canvas, the travel handbag comes in a variety of colors with beautiful brown suede trim and matte silver hardware.

The interior of the bag features a classic striped lining with nicely reinforced seams. For you fashion savvy travelers, it’s a fantastic choice. And in my opinion, it is gender neutral. My husband could slip the bag on and it would look just as great on him.

At 6’4″ to my 5’2″, he would definitely need to adjust the straps!

Couple at sunset at Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland

You want a crossbody traveling handbag that is lightweight as well so that when you have added your essentials, it isn’t a burden to carry.

RFID Blocking

RFID zippered pocket in crossbody bag

The RFID blocking pockets in the Travelon Crossbody Bag help prevent against electronic identity theft with an interior RFID zippered pocket. The RFID gives added security and protection to your belongings.

Lots of Pockets

The Travelon Crossbody Bag has an abundance of pockets:

  • A zippered RFID blocking pocket on the interior that is big enough to fit your passport and credit cards.
  • A lightly padded interior pocket for a 10″ iPad, tablet, or notebook and pen.
  • Two easy-to-access, zippered and locking front pockets
  • One easy-to-access, zippered rear pocket
  • Mesh expansion pockets on either side of the bag that easily hold a water bottle or an umbrella.
Anti-theft features on zippered pocket

A Day at Disneyland Paris with My Crossbody Bag

I really fell in love with the Travelon travel handbag when our family visited Disneyland in Paris. I did not want to be encumbered with my backpack all day long as we raced around the park and enjoyed the rides.

Cinderella's castle in Disney Paris

>> Related: Plan the Perfect Disneyland Paris Day Trip from Paris

I filled the crossbody bag with:

The bag is not meant to be overloaded. It is perfect for a day trip, and at Disneyland Paris, it easily went on all of the rides with me.


What do I carry for snacks? Built Bar protein or granola bars are my favorite. They are convenient, low in sugar, and high in protein. Perfect for an “on the go” snack while traveling.

Do You Really Need An Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag?

Obviously, this is a personal choice; however, if you plan to travel to a destination that is congested with tourists and locals or to a place that has a reputation for pickpockets, I highly recommend getting a crossbody bag.

The nature of a crossbody bag makes it more challenging for thieves to get at your stuff or to snatch and grab your bag.

A great crossbody bag should be durable, functional, comfortable and safe. If the bag you are considering ticks these boxes, then it might just be the best one for you.

Using Common Sense as a Savvy Traveler

These are a few of the tips that I list in my eBook: SUPER EASY Travel Planning  concerning using common sense and having “situational awareness”.

What is situational awareness? Being aware of your surroundings. Showing good sense. Using your noggin.

  • Keep your hand on your valuables in crowded areas. Beware of pickpockets.
  • Don’t keep valuables, cash, your wallet, or your phone “handy” for the convenience.
  • If you are traveling in a group, learn to keep an eye on each other.
  • Carry only enough money for the day; leave the rest in your hotel safe.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If it doesn’t feel right use common sense and leave!
Best travel tips are to start a vacation fund web stories

>> Related: The Ultimate Guide to Plan a Trip

Tips to Outsmart a Pickpocket

Wherever you plan to travel, you’ll likely find people who are adept at pickpocketing, phone grabbing, committing petty theft, and using other means to distract you and rip you off.

Travel is a time when you may be preoccupied with finding directions, feeling overcome with jet lag, rounding up children, or looking at famous tourist sites and not giving your full attention to your surroundings.

Tourists are a target for thieves. And you need to be on your guard at all times. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your valuables secure by USING the anti-theft features of your travel handbag.
  • Always keep your bag in contact with your body.
  • Leave your valuables in your hotel room.
  • Don’t be flashy with your valuables and jewelry—leave your bling at home.
  • Be constantly aware.
  • Create travel habits to avoid misplacing or forgetting items.

Additional Travel Safety Tips

There is little that can ruin a trip faster than finding your cell phone grabbed from the pocket of your travel handbag or having items stolen from you. Consider adding these tips to your travel habits to keep you and your belongings safe as you travel:

  • Remove all items from your rental car at night and place travel bags out of site during the day as you travel
  • Do not carry all of your cash with you when you are sightseeing
  • Keep digital copies of your important documents
  • Use the in-room safe in your hotel room
  • If you are going to drink, drink responsibly
  • Use an ATM attached to a bank
  • If you are traveling solo, do not announce it
  • Try to blend in
  • Consider travel with a tour
  • Use reputable transportation and travel companies
  • Check-in often with family and friends
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with family and friends
  • Stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts

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My favorite crossbody bag for travel

Final Thoughts on My Favorite Crossbody Bag for Travel

It has taken me ten years of traveling and learning and packing to consider something more than a travel backpack. The Travelon Crossbody Bag became my best bag for travel in Europe. I even tried to convince my husband that he would love one too!

As Chris and I began to notice what other men were wearing, there were many sporting a variation of a messenger or crossbody bag. Even GQ encourages men to not overthink the crossbody bag!

As you continue to travel, you’ll find that you change and adapt and look for accessories to make travel easier and more efficient. And you might just find that you don’t need to travel with quite so much stuff. Paring down what you bring with you is good to consider each time your travel.

Since you invest money in having the right travel accessories, toiletries, or luggage, you want to make sure you choose wisely. Learn from the travel experts who have “been there and done that.” For me, my newest favorite travel item is the perfect bag for plane travel, the best purse for traveling, and an awesome bag for weekend travel ALL IN ONE.

That’s when you know you’ve found a “keeper”!

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2 months ago

This bag looks great! I love that it is stylish and secure – ideal for my next city break! Thanks for the great guide!

2 months ago

Thanks for such a great review. It’s hard to find a good travel bag for every day use.

2 months ago

There’s nothing like finding THE best bag for travel. I will have to check this out!

2 months ago

This looks like the perfect bag to take on your travel, love the little light to help see in darker conditions.

2 months ago

I’ve always loved crossbody bags for travel since they feel so much safer and secure, but this one takes it to the next level! Thanks for the recommendation.

Travel A-Broads
2 months ago

This looks like the perfect travel bag. If I hadn’t just started using a new one during my last international trip, I’d look into purchasing this one. Love that there’s so much space and a pocket for a water bottle; that’s something I wish I’d had during all of our walking tours in Scotland and Belgium! Thanks for sharing for future reference 😊. Xx Sara

2 months ago

It looks like a great bag! Now, if only it would fit a SLR… Crossbody bags are my default travel bags though, I find them a lot safer than a backpack.

2 months ago

Nice bag. I too love cross-body bags when I travel as I feel they are more secure and safe.

2 months ago

This is a great post, well researched and informative. I used to go for the cute little bags (impractical) or basket style bags (invitation to pickpockets) but I’m all practicality now. I’d not considered RFID blocking but will do some research. I guess modern technology throws up new problems!

1 month ago

So what bag did you use for the 6D?? I am looking to ditch my heavy camera backpack

1 month ago

I’m on the lookout for a new crossbody bag, these are the only handbags I use for travel. So thanks for this excellent suggestion

1 month ago

Just what I’m looking for. I love travelling with a crossbody bag, and my current very well-used one is falling apart and looks more roomy than the one I have, and that’s what I am looking for. Not heard of this brand before, so I will check them out.

1 month ago

Love cross body bags! Love that this one is big with lots of pockets and not too flashy. Great recommendation!

Linda (LD Holland)
1 month ago

All of my purses are cross body. Having had my purse stolen in Madrid, I always want my bag fully secured across by body. Adding anti-theft protection is another great way to keep a bag safe. Good point about cross body bags allowing you to be hands free. Some great suggestions for people who have not tried these bags.

6 days ago

Nice suggestion! I too always look out for a lot of pockets in any bag. The pockets provide a lot of convenience.

6 days ago

Looks like a great option for city breaks! I particularly love the water bottle compartment and all the security features.

5 days ago

What a thorough review of this bag! I recently started researching different cross body bag options and this one has some great features. Pockets are a must!! Thanks for sharing!

5 days ago

Such a handy bag for traveling. Definitely looking into getting one of these.

Jenn | By Land and Sea
Jenn | By Land and Sea
5 days ago

I also travel internationally with a Travelon crossbody bag! I love the security features. And they aren’t too flashy to catch unwanted attention.

4 days ago

I have one of these also that I travel with – they are the best. Great minds!

A Capone Connection
4 days ago

I love all of the safety features in this bag! It’s a simple style as well. Thanks so much for sharing these tips. Definitely a great bag to have when traveling!