The 16 Best Travel Purses of 2024, Tested on Planes, Trains, and Car Rides

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Including purses, backpacks, and totes for every trip

<p>People / Nick Kova</p>

People / Nick Kova

Whether you’re off to the beach, Europe, or headed out on business and want to put your most professional foot forward, a good travel purse can make your next travel experience easier.

Deal Alert!

Big savings are available on some of the best travel purses. The Portland Leather Leather Tote Bag (with coupon), Portland Leather Camera Bag Purse (with coupon), and Lo & Sons O.G. 2 are all on sale for Memorial Day.

What do we mean by a travel purse? Any easy-to-carry purse, belt bag, tote, backpack, crossbody, or sling bag that's small enough to count as your personal item or underseat bag on an airplane. With a seemingly endless collection of different styles, sizes, and materials on the market, finding the right travel purse, tote, or backpack to take on your trip can be an overwhelming task.

We tested popular travel bags on planes, trains, and, yes, car rides, and asked our team members to share their favorites. After reviewing 30 different travel purses on their capacity, portability, ease of use, design features, durability, and value, we put together this list of the top 16 travel bags, tested by real people.

Keep scrolling to shop the best travel purses, recommended by PEOPLE.

Best Overall: Cheruty Women's Backpack Purse

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Star Qualities

  • Large main pouch for easy access

  • Opening is on the back to keep items safe

Red Flags

  • Doesn't sit on top of rolling luggage easily

Earning perfect scores across the board, this elegant travel backpack from Cheruty was our favorite. Featuring water bottle pouches, small interior and exterior pockets for passports and small devices, and soft, adjustable straps, this travel backpack has it all. Our favorite part, though, features a cavernous main pouch (with access only from the back, keeping your items extremely secure!) with a giant flap zipper opening, allowing you to easily pack your bag with all your items, small or large. Plus, it’s made with vegan leather that’s been coated with polyurethane, making it water-resistant. It also comes in two sizes and more than 25 colors.

It doesn’t include a sleeve to keep it on top of rolling carry-on luggage, but you can keep it strapped on your back while you maneuver your luggage through the airport. While it’s not a name brand, this backpack’s combination of capacity and features for a great price make it a truly fantastic option for a travel bag.

Size: 12.6 x 12.6 x 5.9 inches (medium), 13.7 x 14.7 x 6.3 inches (large) | Body Material: Vegan polyurethane leather | Available Colors: 26

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Dagne Dover Landon Large Carryall Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Super spacious interior with tons of pockets

  • Folds up compactly

  • Has convenient features like a key leash and a shoe bag

Red Flags

  • Doesn’t have any interior dividers

This duffel tote from Dagne Dover also earned perfect scores in all of our categories. Featuring a long zipper offering an easily accessible wide top opening, a cavernous interior, and various straps that allow you to carry it or wear it on your shoulder or crossbody, this bag has it all. It’s super lightweight and folds into itself, making for efficient storage.

While it doesn’t have interior dividers in the main section, it has a ton of pockets — including an interior laptop sleeve, four small interior side pockets, an exterior phone pocket, and a luggage handle sleeve — and it comes with a key leash, a small mesh pouch, and a shoe bag. Plus, it cleans super well — it looked as good as new after we washed it! We absolutely loved this well-made, well-designed travel duffel for any and all travel.

Size: 16.5 x 11 x 9 inches | Body Material: Neoprene, air mesh | Available Colors: 13

Featured On: The 11 Best Dagne Dover Bags for Work, Travel, and More

Best Budget: Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Large capacity despite small size

  • Comes in wide array of colors

Red Flags

  • Doesn't have any exterior pouches

If you’re looking for something more compact that will still hold a lot of items, this trendy crossbody or shoulder bag from Uniqlo is a great option. While only 11 inches by 6.7 inches at its widest points, the side pleats enable it to open up to almost 4 inches at the bottom, allowing you to fit a surprising amount inside. Plus, it’s wide enough to hold a small device like an iPad mini or a small notebook — ideal for travel purposes.

Although it doesn’t have exterior pouches, it also features flat pouches inside to help you keep your items organized. And with an adjustable strap and a wide array of fun, water-repellent colors, we know it can suit any outfit.

Size: 11 x 6.7 x 3.9 inches | Body Material: Polyester | Available Colors: 8

Best Belt Bag: lululemon All Night Festival Bag Micro 2L

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Star Qualities

  • Durable, high-quality bag

  • Versatile design and can be worn several ways

  • Convenient zip pockets in different sizes

Red Flags

  • No slots to organize credit cards

This small Lululemon belt bag is the ideal bag for anyone looking to keep their important items accessible and organized without the bag getting in the way. This affordable and high-quality travel purse features a thoughtful design with multiple zip pockets of different shapes and sizes, making it great for many different uses. The front zip pocket is the ideal size for money, a couple of credit cards, and a phone, so you can easily access the things you need in a jiff. (We just wish it had slots to organize the credit cards.) Plus, it’s made of water-repellent nylon (which is super easy to spot clean!) and has held up remarkably well over the year our tester has had it.

Size: 5.5 x 5.1 x 2 inches | Body Material: Nylon | Available Colors: 3

Best Crossbody: Kavu Sydney Satchel

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Star Qualities

  • Sturdy and well-constructed bag that's easy to clean

  • Comes in fun colors and prints

  • Spacious enough to hold a sweatshirt

Red Flags

  • Style and prints may not be super professional

This fantastic crossbody satchel from Kavu can accompany you on any trip. With enough capacity to hold even a bulky sweatshirt, this cotton purse is great for any time you want to bring along some belongings without it feeling unwieldy or heavy. It’s super easy to clean and quite sturdy and well-made, so it’s great for trips where you might be doing rough outdoor activities, like hiking or enjoying an amusement park. With a large exterior zip pocket, an interior zip pocket, and two small interior flat pockets, this bag is great for keeping your items organized while remaining easily accessible.

Plus, it has a long, adjustable strap and comes in 16 fun colors and prints, so you can find one right up your alley. The prints are rather bold, so this satchel might not be ideal if you need a more professional-looking bag.

Size: 15 x 13 x 1.5 inches | Body Material: Cotton | Available Colors: 16

Best Medium-Sized: Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Lightweight to carry

  • Machine washable

  • Comes in lots of fun colors and patterns

Red Flags

  • Has two pockets but no interior separators

If you’re looking for a travel purse that’s not too big or too small, is easy to clean, and is super durable, the Medium Nylon Crescent Bag from Baggu may be the ideal fit. Made of durable heavyweight nylon (which is machine-washable and super easy to spot clean), this stylish bag featuring a variety of funky colors will hold all of your important items, and you can keep the most essential ones like keys and credit cards out of the fray in the interior zippered pouch. It doesn’t have any interior separators, but the pockets can keep most things organized.

Plus, it's lightweight, so it won't be cumbersome to carry even if it's full. And since it isn’t too big, your items won’t get all mixed up and lost in a dark corner, either. It also has an adjustable strap, allowing you to hold it close to your body, and it zips shut and has no exterior pockets, so you can rest assured your items will be safe while you wander the airport, the beach, or the streets of Europe. And, if you’re looking for something a bit bigger, Baggu has released a large version as well.

Size: 13.75 x 8 x 4 inches | Body Material: Recycled heavyweight nylon | Available Colors: 14

Best with Multiple Pockets: MultiSac Lorraine Women's Crossbody Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Great value

  • Sleek style that's appropriate for more formal settings

  • Ideal size: not too large, not too small

Red Flags

  • Narrow top opening can make it hard to find your belongings quickly

This well-designed vegan leather travel purse from MultiSac is the ideal option if you’re looking to keep many different items organized throughout your travels. It features four exterior pockets — three on the front (two flat, one gusseted) and one on the back (which is extremely secure and can even be a bit difficult to access oneself) — as well as three interior pockets (two small gusseted ones, and one big enough for a small device like a tablet). With this variety of pocket shapes and sizes, you’ll definitely be able to keep all your important documents organized and accessible.

Plus, it comes in various colors and prints, and the adjustable strap allows you to wear the purse crossbody or on your shoulder. It also has a sleek style that's appropriate for more formal settings. This affordable purse is the ideal size for traveling — it’s not too large or too small. One small drawback: The narrow top opening of the purse can make it challenging to find and access your belongings quickly.

Size: 11 x 12 x 2.5 inches | Body Material: Vegan leather | Available Colors: 5

Best Foldable: Away The Packable Carryall

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Star Qualities

  • Lightweight with large capacity

  • Includes storage pouch with loop

  • Has trolley sleeve to attach to luggage

Red Flags

  • Doesn’t have any interior organizing compartments

If you’re looking for a bag that will hold a lot but can be easily stored throughout your trip or while you’re home (or is a great “just in case” bag), you can’t do better than this foldable carryall from Away. Made of water-resistant nylon, this bag folds up into a tiny 6 by 4-inch storage pouch with a loop that can easily be tossed anywhere.

While it doesn’t feature organizing compartments, it has one flat exterior pocket, one zipped interior pocket, and a whole bunch of capacity — ideal for any trip where you want to fit it all in one bag. It also features a trolley sleeve for easy transport in the airport, and it comes in a variety of beautiful, fun colors.

Size: 19.7 x 15 x 9 inches | Body Material: Recycled nylon | Available Colors: 3

Related: The Best Away Luggage of 2024, According to Experts and Our Testing

Best with Shoe Compartment: MINKARS Weekender Bag with Shoe Compartment

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Star Qualities

  • Padded laptop sleeve

  • USB charging port

  • Wide opening and sturdy design

Red Flags

  • Not a lot of color options

With a spacious and easily accessible shoe compartment at the bottom, this travel tote by Minkars is great for any weekend trip. It looks a lot like a piece of Béis luggage but at half the price. It has a super wide opening and a sturdy design that holds its shape while you fill it, so you’ll have an easy time packing, unpacking, and accessing items in this bag. Plus, the shoe compartment is super spacious and easy to access.

This bag also comes with a matching toiletry case and a detachable crossbody strap, so you can carry it however works best for you. This thoughtfully designed bag also has a padded sleeve for your laptop, a trolley sleeve for hands-free rolling through the airport, and a USB charging port that’s available when you need it.

Size: 17 x 16 x 8 inches | Body Material: Waterproof | Available Colors: 2

Best Sling Bag: Patagonia Atom Sling Bag 8L

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Star Qualities

  • Made of durable, easy-to-clean, water-repellent material

  • Has several pockets and pouches to keep belongings organized and accessible

Red Flags

  • Casual bag, so it doesn’t have a professional look

Another travel bag that earned top scores, this crossbody sling bag from Patagonia is excellent for anyone looking to comfortably free up their hands without sacrificing capacity. The bag itself rides on the wearer's back (close to your body), keeping your items safely out of the way without swinging everywhere and becoming a nuisance. Plus, the adjustable strap is padded and designed for comfort — and our favorite part: It features a small zipper pouch on the front for important or heavy-use items like a phone or keys.

We love how spacious this bag is and the fact that it’s water-repellent and easy to clean. The pockets and pouches in this bag are thoughtfully designed. In addition to the strap pouch, the bag features an exterior zip pouch along with the main zip pouch (and inside, there is a separator to keep your items organized), plus straps for carrying something bulkier like a yoga mat.

Size: 13.5 x 9 x 3 inches | Body Material: Water-repellent recycled polyester | Available Colors: 8

Best Lightweight: Longchamp Le Pliage Filet L Mesh Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Compact and easy to store

  • Surprisingly large capacity

  • Comes with long straps to carry on shoulder

Red Flags

  • Contents are always visible

If you’re looking for something unique, versatile, and stylish, this mesh bag from Longchamp (in collaboration with FILT) is the ideal option. With a surprisingly high capacity (think towel, sweater, book, sunglasses, water bottle, and more), this scrunch-upable purse is great for any time you may need an impromptu bag — especially at the beach; no sand getting stuck in the bottom here! And don’t be concerned about your items falling out — we had no issue with this throughout our use. Keep in mind that everything is visible with this bag. It also has both the iconic Le Pliage flap and snap closure and handles as well as a longer set of straps, so you can wear it however works best for you.

Size: 15 x 12.2 inches | Body Material: Cotton | Available Colors: 5

Best Versatility: Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Travel Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Has zipper expander, so you can switch between medium and large tote

  • Can fold into rectangle for easy storage and transport

  • Polyamide canvas material is easy to clean

Red Flags

  • No interior organizational compartments

Another one of the travel bags on our list that earned high ratings, Longchamp’s expandable travel bag is great for so many uses. Even without opening the expansion, this bag already has quite the capacity, but if you’d like some extra space, just zip open the expansion and you’re good to go. Plus, this bag comes with both Longchamp’s iconic leather flap and snap closure and handle, as well as a detachable strap for on-the-shoulder wear.

Like most of Longchamp’s Le Pliage bags, this tote is designed to be folded up into a compact little rectangle, making this the ideal bag for tossing into your suitcase “just in case,” or hiding away in your checked luggage when not in use. It doesn’t feature interior organizational pockets, which would be helpful.

Size: 17.7 x 13.8 x 9.1 inches | Body Material: Recycled polyamide canvas | Available Colors: 7

Best Tote: Portland Leather Leather Tote Bag

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Star Qualities

  • Made of high-quality materials and comes in lots of colors

  • Deep, wide interior

Red Flags

  • No zippered interior pockets

Tote bag lovers, rejoice: This beautiful leather tote from Portland is a wonderful option for those seeking a travel bag that’s easily accessible while also looking professional and sophisticated. Although it has minimal interior organization, with a deep, wide interior, you can fit so much into this bag (we tested the large size). We wish this tote included an interior zippered pocket for added safety.

We were easily able to fit a laptop, a wallet, a book, a Kindle, and keys (especially easy thanks to the snap-open key loop), and had room for more. Plus, each size and color also comes in open-top and zipper-top options, so you can achieve the level of ease or security you desire. Our favorite part, though: The thick, sturdy, genuine leather doesn’t slouch and has shown no signs of wear in over two years of use, even on the straps and rivets.

Size: 13 x 11 x 4.5 inches (small), 15 x 12 x 5.5 inches (medium), 18 x 12 x 6 inches (large), 13.5-21 x 13 x 6 inches (oversized) | Body Material: Leather (or suede) | Available Colors: 10

Best Backpack: Longchamp Le Pliage Original Backpack

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Star Qualities

  • Secure with zippers that close tightly

  • Lightweight and water resistant

  • Great capacity

Red Flags

  • Only has one flat interior pocket

Another one of our bags that earned high ratings, this elegant Longchamp is great for anyone who prefers a backpack for traveling — and wants to know their belongings are safe. With a zipper closure as well as Longchamp’s famed Le Pliage foldover snap closure, you can rest assured your items will be secure. It also folds down to a portable size that’s easy for storage and traveling.

While it only comes with one flat interior pocket and doesn’t include organizational pockets or compartments, we were impressed by how much capacity this backpack has — we’ve fit a laptop, makeup, a sweater, a couple of water bottles, and snacks with no issue. Plus, it comes in several bright, fun colors, and it's lightweight and water-resistant.

Size: 10.2 x 11 x 3.9 inches | Body Material: Recycled polyamide canvas | Available Colors: 9

Best Leather: Portland Leather Camera Bag Purse

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  • This bag comes in a variety of fun colors in pebbled and smooth scales.

  • Given this bag’s compact size, it holds a lot of stuff.

  • It has a classic, long-lasting style.


  • It only has one interior and one exterior pocket.

For those looking for a small bag that’s both sophisticated and timeless, look no further. This beautiful leather crossbody bag from Portland Leather comes in two sizes and is super spacious. The bag has one interior and one exterior pocket and will hold all of your essential belongings without becoming a nuisance. With a squared-off design that’s made to hold its form and a zipper that extends an inch or two down the sides, you can fill this belt bag up and still be able to access your items with ease.

Size: Small: 5 x 7.5 x 2 inches, large: 9.25 x 6 x 2.5 inches | Body Material: Leather | Available Colors: 18

Best Investment: Lo & Sons O.G. 2

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Star Qualities

  • Super spacious and well-thought-out pockets

  • Different strap options

Red Flags

  • None

Another product with high scores, this sophisticated, functional, and versatile tote from Lo & Sons is ideal for any trip. With more pouches, pockets, and padding than we could imagine, this overnight bag can hold so much — and keep it organized. “Having a way to secure your travel bag on top of your roller luggage is a game changer, along with having secure but easy-to-access pockets for your passport and important items,” Jan Lo, cofounder and CEO of Lo & Sons shares.

This particular bag features a laptop sleeve, a flat exterior pouch, a shoe compartment, interior water bottle holders, small interior flat pouches, and a suitcase handle sleeve, plus a key leash and a detachable crossbody strap, allowing you to carry or wear it however you like. We also love that the nylon material makes it super easy to clean and that the bag has barely shown any signs of wear after over four years of use (just some slight fraying along the strap). Even better, it comes in a wide array of colors.

Size: 16.5 x 13.75  x 6.75 inches (medium), 16.5 x 14.75 x 6.75 inches (large) | Body Material: Nylon | Available Colors: 8

Our Verdict

After considering all of our surveyed results of avid traveler members of our team, the Cheruty Travel Backpack is our favorite, thanks to its low price, durable material, and clever design. Coming in a close second is the Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag which comes in five sizes and includes a laptop sleeve and a luggage handle.

What to Know About Travel Purses


“Look for a bag that maximizes the space inside of the bag while not getting too big for the under-seat compartment," says Lo. Also, take into account what you may be using it for, as different types of trips may require different sizes of bags. For example, if you travel by plane often, you'll want to take note of your favorite airline's specific size constraints, whereas weeklong road trips allow for a little more flexibility.


With many different kinds of travel purses, what style will work best for you is worth considering before hitting the stores (online or in person). Our favorites? Backpacks, totes, and small purses, each of which offer different benefits.


Heavily impacting both a travel bag’s style and its functionality is the material the bag is made of. Leather is going to look professional but be hard to clean. Cotton is going to be durable and easy to clean. Nylon is both professional and easy to clean. In terms of durability, stylist Lindsay Albanese tells us her favorites are leather (we like the Portland Leather Tote Bag), nylon, or even patent leather, adding that she loves a good print to hide stains or dirt.


Just like with luggage and travel makeup bags, travel purses can run the gamut when it comes to price: For this article, we tested bags at every price point, ranging from as low as $15 to as high as $400. It’s important to take your budget into account when shopping and try to find a well-made travel bag without being unduly pricey. We believe all of the options on our list are great choices when it comes to value.

<p>People / Nick Kova</p>

People / Nick Kova

Behind the Scenes

To find the best travel purses, we surveyed our team on their favorite travel bags, asking them all about their experience traveling with different products.

  • Recommendations: Each travel purse submitted for recommendation had to have been used for six months or more. We received a list of 30 favorite bags to consider for the best travel purse.

  • Evaluation: We then had our team rate their favorite travel purse on capacity, portability, ease of use, durability, design features, and value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to travel with a backpack or travel purse?

This truly depends on what you hope to carry: backpacks are great for keeping many different items organized and out of the way, whereas purses are best for carrying just a few things like your important documents, wallet, and keys. Backpacks also make great work bags.

While this really comes down to personal preference, both Lo and Albanese shared that they prefer to travel with backpacks. Lo shared that, with more compartments, backpacks can hold more contents and are more comfortable and convenient. Albanese said she prefers backpacks for traveling because they’re the most functional kind of travel bag, with many different pouches to keep your items separated and organized.

What is the safest kind of bag to travel with?

The best way to keep your valuables safe while traveling is to make sure your bag is fully enclosed and wear it close to your front. Lo suggests a crossbody bag (we like the MultiSac Lorraine Women's Crossbody Bag and the Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent Bag) to achieve both of these. Lo says that if you need something bigger, choose a fully enclosing tote (which you can keep to your front in crowds) instead of a backpack. (In fact, the reason Lo & Sons originally designed the brand’s Waverley 2 was because their mom’s wallet had been stolen from a backpack while traveling.)

Does your purse count as a carry-on?

Carry-ons are what go in the overhead compartment (and are usually rollaboards), whereas personal items must fit under the seat in front of you. If your purse is small enough to fit under the seat, it will not count as a carry-on, and you can bring a rollaboard as well. The personal item dimension limits are generally around 16 x 13 x 7 inches, but be sure to check your air carrier’s specific rules.

Larger bags like the Lo & Sons O.G. 2 and the Cheruty Backpack Purse count as personal items (not carry-ons) and are a great choice if you’re hoping to use your travel bag to carry a lot of your stuff.

In addition, you can also bring a smaller purse, like the Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent Bag, Lululemon All Night Festival Bag Micro 2L, or Kavu Sydney Satchel, to carry important items and documents, which you can easily throw into a larger bag to get around bag number limits — which is one of Albanese’s favorite travel hacks.

Why Trust PEOPLE?

Elizabeth Marino is a freelance commerce writer for PEOPLE, focusing on home products. A lover of all things home and family, she loves to help consumers find the best products to fit their domestic needs. In her spare time, you can find her traveling to historic sites and museums — and food spots — throughout the country. She holds a BA in American Studies and History from Columbia University.

Our Expert Panel

  • Lindsay Albanese is a fashion stylist and entrepreneur based in Southern California.

  • Jan Lo is the co-founder and CEO of Lo & Sons, a maker of thoughtfully designed and sustainably made travel essentials.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

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