Best Cross-Body Travel Bags & TOP 9 Women’s Bag Reviews 2020

Going to a new place and exploring is always exciting, but finding a bag that’s both secure and stylish is hard.

But it’s possible:

You can keep your money, phone, and camera – even your passport – securely with you as you sightsee, without having to sacrifice looking good.

I’ve researched into the best cross-body travel bags and compiled a list so you can ensure your valuables are kept safe from theft and damage on your next trip.

young woman with cross-body travel bag

Why Choose a Cross-Body Bag?

There are many reasons why cross-body bags make the best travel bag option.

They often have multiple compartments to hold your items.

They are comfortable to wear as they distribute weight across your shoulder and body.

They are harder for thieves to grab than normal shoulder bags as they are hung more securely around the body.

Last, but certainly not least, they leave your hands and arms free so you can take photos, read maps or even hold a child (if you’re traveling with one!).

Backpacks can also be good, but I find they’re less safe (thieves can easily unzip or unbuckle certain compartments without you knowing) and quite awkward when you have to take them off and rummage around inside to find something.

Picking the Right Cross-Body Bag for Travel

One thing I’ve learned is that there are a lot of different cross-body bags out there, but it’s possible to stay safe and stylish at the same time.

Firstly, though, you need to establish what kind of cross-body bag you need, which depends on the type of trip you’re taking.

If you’re heading to a city, the best leather cross-body bag with anti-theft technology might be the best option, while a nylon bag that can be wiped clean would be well suited for a beach holiday.

Additionally, your destination will dictate the items you need to keep in your bag, and therefore how big it needs to be.

There are many good travel cross-body bags out there, but I’ve compiled a list of the best cross-body bags for travel available, taking into account the different factors that need to be considered when choosing the right one for you and your trip.

cross-body travel purse for women

Find the Best Size For You

Here’s the deal: the smaller the bag, the better.

This might be obvious to some people, but I like to carry the smallest bag possible (that I can still fit all my essentials into!) – and it needs to be lightweight, especially if I’m planning on a lot of walking and/or sightseeing.

There’s no point in taking a bag that’s bigger than necessary – often, it actually encourages you to take more with you than you actually need!

Choose the Ideal Weight and Material

Again, probably slightly obvious, but you want to choose a lightweight cross-body bag for comfort and practicality.

The lightest materials are microfiber, nylon, and polyester, which are also washable. Canvas is ideal for a beach trip, as it won’t get damaged by the sun and sea.

When I’m traveling to a city, I’m likely to go for vegan leather – it’s lightweight, fairly easy to clean and looks stylish.

However, I always check the weather before I travel and bear in mind the time of year – if it’s likely to rain a lot, I make sure my chosen cross-body bag is waterproof or at least water-resistant.

Secure Yourself with a Sturdy Strap

I also always make sure the strap is comfortable, with minimal bulky metal buckles that will press into my body, as well as adjustable for ultimate comfort when traveling.

Strap adjustability is especially handy for people that are taller or shorter than average!

Plus, if I’m traveling with a lot of camera equipment or other heavy objects, I make sure my bag has a shoulder pad.

Pick Your Favorite Color

Although it’s tempting to go for a beautiful design or flamboyant colors, I tend to stick to black or neutral colors when I’m in a city, as they attract less attention.

A bright Peruvian design might look good, but it’s bound to make me stand out from the crowd and highlight the fact I’m a tourist, which I don’t want when I’m sightseeing in busy areas.

However, when I’m going to a touristy beach destination, I’m more inclined to be creative with my cross-body bag choices, as it’s pretty much a given that I’m a tourist.

I also try to take a cross-body bag that I can use in multiple situations – day, night, beach or restaurant.

Limiting the amount of bags you take to one or two is so useful – and again, neutral or plain colors are easier to match with different outfits.

What Design Will You Choose?

Next, I consider the shape of the bag – anything bulky or awkward is going to get in the way. Ideally, I take a cross-body bag that sits flat against my body.

Then it’s the compartments – how many do you need?

Personally, I prefer zippered internal pockets so I can safely store my phone, money, and cards (and passport, if necessary).

It’s good to have multiple pockets and compartments to keep your items separate – this helps to find them easier and quicker too.

If I’m going to be doing a lot of walking – especially in a hot country or a remote area – it’s imperative to carry water, so a cross-body bag with an attached external water bottle holder is a perfect choice.

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Put Your Safety First

Why does this matter?

Losing your bag or having it stolen can ruin anyone’s holiday.

And unfortunately, tourists are the biggest targets of pickpockets and thieves, so every precaution must be taken to avoid becoming another victim.

Luckily, the best cross-body bags for travel feature anti-theft technology. This includes a slash-proof wire in the strap and slash-proof mesh throughout the body of the bag, which makes it impossible for passing thieves to cut it off your body.

Another danger of the modern world – no matter where you are, it seems – is fraud and identity theft.

RFID-proof compartments keep digital information safe, so I always keep my credit and debit cards there. An added bonus is if these special compartments are zippered for extra security.

Lastly, it’s important to ensure your cross-body bag has a secure main closing feature – a zip is best, preferably with an added latch so it can’t be subtly opened while you’re not looking.

I would advise never to use a bag with a popper, as this can be opened easily without your knowledge – even by accident!

The bottom line?

It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The TOP 9 Best Cross-Body Bags 2020

Several popular brands offer cross-body bags specifically for travel.

I have tested some of them and compiled a list of what I believe to be the best women’s cross-body bags for travel.

Cross-Body Bags by Travelon

Travelon is one of the most popular travel bag brands on the market, priding itself on making traveling easier and safer.

Their cross-body bags feature slash-proof body panels and straps, locking compartments and RFID-proof compartments.

They’re also lightweight and durable, making them the ideal choice of cross-body bags for travel.

The best part? They’re very affordable – which is always a bonus!

Travelon Anti-Theft Signature 3 Compartment Cross-Body Bag

This is one of Travelon’s most popular choices of cross-body travel bags.

Made of nylon, its dimensions are 13.75” x 11.5” x 3” and it has a strap length of 63”.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pros
  • This bag has anti-theft technology in the form of slash-proof body panels and strap, and RFID-proof card and passport slots, a wall pocket and a zip wall pocket. The shoulder strap is locking and can be attached to a post or chair for extra security.
  • There’s plenty of room to hold your essentials – including two front compartments that can fit an iPad, tablet or iPad mini.
  • It’s available in six colors, so there’s sure to be one to suit everyone’s taste.
Cons
  • There is no outer compartment to hold a water bottle.
  • There is no removable LED light.
  • The strap does not attach to a post or chair for extra security.
Conclusion

Although the anti-theft technology used in this bag makes it a good choice, the lack of outer compartment and other features makes it fall slightly short of the others.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag

Another of Travelon’s most popular cross-body bags, this is slightly smaller than the Signature 3, at 11” x 10” x 4.5”. It is made of polyester and has an adjustable strap length of 25” to 48”.

My Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • There’s plenty of room – a main compartment, separate pockets for organization, a zippered compartment with card slots, wall pocket, pen loop and removable LED light.
  • The security features are top of the range – an adjustable cable-reinforced cut-proof shoulder strap, lobster claw clasp locks, and RFID-proof card and passport slots.
  • It has an outer compartment on the side to hold a water bottle.
CONS
  • The strap does not attach to a post or chair for extra security.
CONCLUSION

This is a great multi-purpose cross-body bag that has enough room for all the essentials – including an outer compartment for a water bottle, which some other bags lack.

A great – and extremely safe – choice for all kinds of trips.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Cross-Body Bucket Bag

This is slightly more expensive than I’d like it to be, but not an extreme amount. It is made of polyester and comes in at 14” x 10” x 4”.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • The security is top-notch, with slash-proof locking main and front compartments and a slash-proof shoulder strap that attaches to a chair or post. There are also RFID-proof card slots.
  • In addition to the main compartment and the card slots inside, there is a front pocket and a zip rear pocket.
  • There are two mesh expansion pockets to hold a water bottle and an umbrella.
  • It features a removable LED light.
  • There is a variety of colors to choose from.
CONS
  • None that I can think of – this is the bag I’ve taken away many times!
CONCLUSION

I think this is the perfect cross-body travel bag. It’s great for all kinds of locations and keeps your belongings safe and secure at all times.

It’s my personal favorite and the one I choose to take away with me. There’s nothing missing – in my opinion, it’s the best travel safe cross-body bag available.

Cross-Body Travel Bags by Pacsafe

Pacsafe is another popular brand of travel equipment.

Like Travelon, it places an emphasis on anti-theft security, making it one of the safest options for a cross-body bag.

This brand is also very affordable.

Pacsafe Citysafe CS150 Anti-Theft Cross-Body Shoulder Bag

One of the most popular choices of Pacsafe bags, this is made of nylon and has dimensions of 11” x 9.4” x 2.8”. At 0.43kg, it is also lightweight.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • Full security features, including a slash-proof strap and slash-proof mesh in the main body of the bag, turn-and-lock security hooks on the strap, RFID-proof compartments and zip clips.
  • A 10” tablet can fit into this bag, as well as all your other essentials.
  • It includes a coin pocket for all your loose change.
  • There is an internal attachment for a wallet and keys, as well as a pen loop.
CONS
  • This bag only comes in a choice of two colors.
  • There is no outer compartment for a water bottle.
  • It is very small, so storage space is limited.
CONCLUSION

This bag is great for evenings or short trips out, where you don’t want to take much with you, but its small size means you might have to leave some items at home.

It wouldn’t be ideal for long sightseeing trips or treks as there’s no outer compartment to hold a water bottle – and you certainly won’t fit one inside.

However, it’s worth noting that if you do need a small bag, this one is a good choice as it features anti-theft technology.

Pacsafe Citysafe CX Anti-Theft Square Cross-Body Bag

This cross-body bag is more stylish than most of the others on this list, featuring a gold metal clasp design and a sleek black finish (although it’s worth noting that it also comes in “Merlot” and “Blue Orchid”).

Made of nylon high-density twill, it weighs 0.25kg and has dimensions of 6.1” x 8.3” x 2.6”.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • The security features of this bag include a clasp locking system and slash-proof lining.
  • It is extremely lightweight.
  • Small and compact with a sleek, fashionable design, so perfect for evenings out.
CONS
  • The slash-proof lining does not cover the whole bag – just the front and sides.
  • There are no RFID-proof compartments.
  • The small size means the storage space is limited – certainly no outer pocket for a water bottle!
  • It is slightly expensive.
CONCLUSION

Although it’s a bit expensive and offers very limited storage space, this bag is ideal for those going on city breaks that want a sophisticated, but safe, option.

With its tiny size, this is probably the best travel cross-body bag for petite women.

Cross-Body Bags by LUG

Another popular brand of travel bags, LUG is known for its organization – soft-lined spaces specifically for tablets and plenty of pockets often come as standard.

Prices are slightly higher compared with Travelon and Pacsafe, but it could be argued that their bags are slightly more luxurious.

LUG Double Dutch Cross-Body Bag 2

The Double Dutch Cross-Body Bag 2 is a common choice for travelers, weighing 0.5 kg with dimensions of 12” x 10” x 4.5”.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • There is RFID protection.
  • There are different colors to choose from.
  • It includes the LUG signature soft-lined pull-tab cell phone/tablet/glasses pocket.
  • There are three outer zip compartments with pen slots and cargo pockets, a slim document pocket on the front with a hidden magnetic closure and a slim pocket on the back.
  • There is an outer compartment to hold a water bottle.
  • The material is specially treated with a water-repellent finish.
CONS
  • No slash-proof material is used for the straps or body.
  • Slightly more expensive than other cross-body bags.
CONCLUSION

Although lacking slash-proof material, this has all the features you want from a cross-body bag. It would be better suited to rural locations, where the risk of theft is lower.

LUG Camper Cross-Body Bag

Weighing 0.42kg with dimensions of 11.75” x 9.5” x 4”, the LUG Camper Cross-Body Bag is another popular choice.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • The shoulder strap is fully adjustable.
  • The front zip pocket is RFID-proof.
  • There are two pockets: a lower zip pocket and a back zip pocket for quick access to items, as well as two side cargo pockets and a hidden magnetic pocket.
  • The main interior features pen/pencil/cosmetic brush holder slots, a mesh zip pocket and a slim zip pocket.
  • There is an interior bottom board for added structure. The outside of the bottom of the bag is wipeable.
  • There is a soft-lined interior compartment for phone/tablet/glasses.
  • The material is specifically treated with water-repellent finish
CONS
  • No slash-proof material is used for the straps or body.
  • Slightly more expensive than other cross-body bags in this review.
CONCLUSION

Again, this lacks slash-proof material, so it would be better suited for rural locations.

Cross-Body Bags by Suvelle

This is another trusted travel bag company, and the bags featured below are the lightest in this review.

There are many different bags available from Suvelle, but here is a couple of the best.

Suvelle Travel RFID Blocking Protection Crossbody Bag

Weighing just 0.14 kg and available in five different colors, this is one of the lightest cross-body bags in this review! Its measurements are 11.5” x 11” x 4.5”.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • This bag has exceptional organization: four front exterior pockets, fully lined interior with a key ring fob, two pen loops and one open pocket.
  • This card slots in this bag are lined with RFID-proof material.
  • The strap is adjustable.
  • The material is water-resistant and stain-resistant nylon fabric that is both practical and lightweight.
CONS
  • The material used is not slash-proof.
  • The strap is not slash-proof.
  • There is no outer compartment for a water bottle.
CONCLUSION

This is certainly practical and comes with a variety of features, but it lacks the anti-theft technology that other bags in this list offer.

For this reason, it’s best suited for rural locations. However, the fact it weighs so little is a bonus.

Suvelle Lightweight Hobo Travel Crossbody Bag

Weighing just 0.14 kg – just like the previously mentioned Suvelle bag – this is the other lightest cross-body bag in this review. Its measurements are 10” x 12” and it expands up to 4” in width.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

PROS
  • The interior is fully lined, with a zippered main compartment that can fit a mini tablet, a back-wall zip pocket, five card slots, two pen loops, one open multifunctional pocket and a key ring.
  • The exterior of the bag features a zip-around gusset that expands to give extra room.
  • This card slots in this bag are lined with RFID-proof material.
  • The strap is adjustable.
  • The material is water-resistant and stain-resistant nylon fabric that is both practical and lightweight.
  • The bag is expandable, plus it can be packed flat.
CONS
  • The material used is not slash-proof.
  • The strap is not slash-proof.
  • There is no outer compartment for a water bottle.
CONCLUSION

The fact this bag is expandable plus can be packed flat makes it a good choice for people who need to be extra conscious of space saving.

However, it lacks the anti-theft technology that other bags offer, so it’s not as well suited to city trips.

Summary

Now you’ve discovered the best cross-body travel bags available on the market, you can choose which type is best suited for you and your specific trip.

Remember – the best cross-body bag for travel in the city won’t be the same as the one best suited for jungle trekking, so make sure you consider all the factors mentioned previously before making your choice.

And once you’ve bought your chosen bag – happy travels!

Feel free to make comments or suggestions, and download our free ebook about solo travel safety.

Sintija

Cynthia

She is a frequent contributor to Independent Wolf, especially when talking about women’s point of view. She thinks she’s somewhat funny (she usually cracks up at her own jokes) and she also loves traveling.

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