The Best Crossbody Bags for Your Next Vacation, According to Travel Pros

Consider this style the Goldilocks of purses—it's lightweight, secure, and can fit more than you'd expect.

Lisa Hahnbueck travelling with Rimowa suitcase during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2017 on June 28, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While the right luggage sets and weekender bags can make your transit significantly easier (or harder), choosing the best travel purse is just as important. Pick a bag too small, and you'll be left juggling your phone in your hands while you're sightseeing the Colosseum. Pick a bag that's too oversized, and you'll wish you'd left it behind in the hotel— case in point, not every bag makes for a good travel accessory.

With summer travel plans on the horizon, Marie Claire spoke with travel aficionados Yolanda Edwards of Yolo Journal and Brooke Saward, the writer behind the World of Wanderlust blog, about their go-to trip accessory—the crossbody travel bag. The bag is a favorite amongst the well-traveled thanks to its hands-free design, detachable straps, and versatility, allowing it to take you from sightseeing to Aperitivo hour to dinner.

From designer styles to leather totes with convertible crossbody straps, the 20 bags on this list are small enough to carry hassle-free but are designed to hold all of the must-haves for your next destination.

The Best Crossbody Bags for Travel

Other Crossbody Travel Bags We Love

Key Features of the Best Crossbody Bags for Travel

  • Closure

How it closes separates a good travel purse from a great one. It's the most important feature of a travel purse for Edwards, who says, "It needs to have easy access, but a secure closure so nothing falls out and people can't reach into it." A crossbody bag would ideally have a zip-top closure, but a flap works, too. Stay far away from anything that doesn't close fully or only uses magnetic closures, or you'll risk easy access to pickpockets.

  • Size

This may be up to personal preference, but size matters when it comes to the best travel purses. Howards says, "It can’t be too small—and must hold her wallet, passport, glasses, and lip balm—but it isn’t a carryall." With a tote bag, you'll be too tempted to throw in non-essentials, resulting in an aching shoulder at the end of the day. Instead, a crossbody bag is the "Goldilocks" of travel purses—they're small enough to carry your essentials but not too big to be burdensome.

  • Color

Sure, a red bag may look especially trendy right now, but it's actually smarter to bring something less noticeable as your travel purse. "I would avoid choosing bright colors, because you don't want the location of your money, bank cards, or phone to stand out," Saward advises. Instead, the travel pro says she always goes with a sleek black bag—that way, her necessities are kept more under-the-radar, not to mention a black bag goes with every look seamlessly.

How to Style the Best Crossbody Bags for Travel

Sarah Benziane wears a white t-shirt, a brown pullover over the shoulders, a beige trench coat from Mango , a black leather belt, white denim pants / jeans from Reiko, a brown leather bag from Leo & Violette, brown leather ballet / ballerina flat shoes, during a street style fashion photo session, on April 03, 2024 in Paris, France.

A structured crossbody bag is ideal for keeping casual looks elevated.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What makes the best crossbody bags the best is their versatile nature, which allows them to pair alongside whatever's on your itinerary. From the plane to nice dinners and everything in between, a travel crossbody should be able to do everything. Turn to a structured crossbody for an elevated exploring outfit to keep a casual look luxe. Make sure you choose lightweight pieces to layer with so your crossbody can comfortably lay.

Lucy Hale is seen on March 15, 2024 in Studio City, Los Angeles, California. (Photo by ZZHollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Take it from me that keeping your essentials (passport, wallet, headphones, etc.) in a backpack or shoulder bag is not a good idea when traveling. Keep your things within easy reach while being able to go hands-free with a sling crossbody. A leather option also adds a touch more elevation to your summer airport outfits.

Meet the Experts

Yolanda Edwards headshot from linkedin
Yolanda Edwards

Yolanda is the founder of Yolo Journal, a magazine and newsletter dedicated to traveling. She's also a longtime magazine editor, having previously worked as a photo editor at Condé Nast Traveler and later as the publications creative director.

Brooke Saward travel influencer at the airport with her pink luggage
Brooke Saward

Brooke is a travel expert who's spent the last 10 years blogging about her travels on the World of Wanderlust blog and Instagram account. She shares her tips, tricks, and guides on her favorite cities and how to navigate solo traveling, as well as a Masterclass on travel blogging. She's also the author of World of Wanderlust, which features her best travel tips and stories from her travels through Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and the Middle East.

Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she specializes in crafting shopping stories—from sales content to buying guides that span every vertical on the site. She also oversees holiday coverage with an emphasis on gifting guides as well as Power Pick, our monthly column on the items that power the lives of MC’s editors. She also tackled shopping content as Marie Claire's Editorial Fellow prior to her role as Associate Commerce Editor.

She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.