The best advice I can give is that, like the shoes you select for travel, you need test the purses you pack. Think about all of your possible travel scenarios – walking a lot? long bus rides? outdoor adventures? special events? museums and churches? – and layout everything you want to carry on you for each. Then pack each purse to make sure everything fits and isn’t too heavy. I also recommend you bring a variety of bags. Instead of bringing two cross body bags in two different colors, bring two different types of purses in two different colors. That way if one style doesn’t end up working for you, you have a back up (this is my same advice for shoes!).
You also want to think about color and durability. Nylon bags are lightweight and durable and black leather doesn’t show stains. You should also carry a purse that closes completely. You want to make it as hard as possible for the thieves! Also, be wary of dark jeans and cross body bags, with lots of walking the denim dye can stain your bag (students always learn this the hard way in Florence). Travel is tough on your clothes and purses so don’t bring your vintage Louis Vuitton if you aren’t prepared for a little wear and tear.
Here are some of my favorite purses for travel:
Dagne Dover’s Tiny Tote
Dagne Dover’s Clutch-Wallet
Small Longchamp Le Pliage Tote
Kate Spade Nylon Shoulder Bag
Cute Little Nylon Cross Body (A less-expensive option)
Classic Leather Cross Body
Finally, JUST SAY NO TO BACKPACKS as purses! They are a pickpocketer’s dream!