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Best Anti-Theft Travel Handbags

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As highly desirable tourist destinations become more crowded each season, travellers are becoming increasingly aware of protecting themselves against pickpockets and scammers.

Unfortunately, ladies handbags are prime targets for such crime which makes using a good anti-theft handbag so important when you travel, even if you also use a good travel money belt.

Thankfully, these days, ladies don’t have to completely sacrifice on style for the sake of safety when they travel – as is apparent in the stylish anti-theft backpacks for women starting to appear in a previously male-targeted market. 

Young girl standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris wearing a crossbody handbag. This is the best type of anti theft purse for travel

We wanted to take some of the guesswork out of choosing a stylish purse for travel with the best anti-theft features. After all, an anti-theft bag is the best handbag to travel with for peace of mind. They also make a great gift for the travel lover in your life.

Based on our personal travel experience, we’ve looked at the best anti-theft travel bags on the market and picked eight of the top-selling anti-theft travel purses we believe have both great form and function.

Find More of the Best Anti Theft Travel Gear and Tips on Travel Safety in Our Safe Travel Guide

You’ll also find useful tips on what to look for in anti-theft technology and how to keep your bag safe while you travel.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly how to choose the best anti-theft handbag for you.

Let’s look at eight of the best anti-theft travel handbags currently on the market.

The Best Anti-Theft Travel Handbags

First, let’s do a quick review of some of the best anti-theft handbags on the market. We have chosen these travel safe bags based on the following criteria: 

  • Design and functionality required for travel including the versatility of design. 
  • The best anti-theft features
  • Reputable manufacturers of anti-theft travel gear.

Oh, and we also factored the look and style of each of the handbags. There are many “fashion” handbags on the market claiming to be anti-theft but none stack up against these for having all of the features to make them safe against all types of theft.

Looking for More Than Just an Anti Theft Handbag?

We Have a Complete Guide to Anti Theft Travel Gear Loaded With More Travel Safe Gear & Safe Travel Tips

Quick Guide: Compare the Best Anti Theft Handbags

You can read a more in-depth review of each handbag below.

Buying Guide – Anti Theft Handbags For Travel

What is an Anti Theft Handbag?

Before we move into reviews of the best anti-theft travel handbags, let’s look at what an anti-theft bag is and what features you should be looking for when buying one.

An anti-theft bag may also be called theft proof bags, safety bags, anti pickpocket bags, or anti-slash bags. These bags have inbuilt safety features designed to prevent pickpockets and thieves from accessing and taking your personal belongings.

What Features Should Good Anti-Theft Bags Have?

Whether you are looking for a dedicated anti-theft handbag for travel or a bag for everyday use, look for the following features to ensure a secure travel bag-

  • Easily adjustable straps to allow the bag to be worn cross-body, not over one shoulder for greater security.
  • Ensure the strap has a steel reinforcement to prevent thieves from cutting the strap and running with your bag.
  • Lightweight anti-slash fabric/panels to stop thieves from accessing contents by slashing the bag.
  • Lockable compartments and straps to prevent pickpockets and grab and go thieves.
  • Locking mechanisms for securing the bag to immovable objects.
  • Smart RFID blocking card and passport slots and compartments to block scanners and prevent identity theft or electronic pickpockets.
  • Look for a sturdy yet lightweight construction. You don’t want the bag to be too heavy before you have even put anything in it.
  • Avoid bags with wide or gaping openings. All pockets should sit flush and all openings should have secure closures. 

Travelon’s best Selling Anti-Theft Cross Body Bag for Travel

Choosing the Right Travel Handbag

When you are comparing anti-theft travel handbags currently on the market, you need to think about what is the best handbag for you and the type of trip you are taking. The same applies even if you are looking for an everyday anti-theft handbag.

When choosing a travel handbag, consider the following:

  • Where will you be travelling to?
    • A large messenger bag or backpack style bag is not always practical for crowded cities. Also consider, these days, many museums and tourist attractions do not allow you to enter with large bags.
  • What style of travelling will you be doing? 
    • Will you need to look a little dressy or will you be casual and perhaps partaking in lots of outdoor activities?
  • What do you need to carry? – You don’t want to have an overloaded bag that will become a burden on a long day of sightseeing. By the same token, you don’t want to underestimate.
    • Does it need to hold a larger camera when not in use? 
    • Will you need to store gloves, a hat or spare jumper for cool weather?
    • Are you travelling with children?
    • Do you just need a bag suitable for small essentials such as a phone, glasses, money? 
  • Do you have space in your luggage for two handbags or do you need one secure bag to suit all occasions? 
  • Do you have any conditions that may determine the style of bag you can comfortably carry for long periods such as back or neck problems? 

Related: The Best Women’s Travel Jackets for Every Season

Best Anti-Theft Handbags – Reviews

Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bucket Bag

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The cross-body bucket bag is a favourite as the size is not overly big or cumbersome but has a tremendous capacity. It is also lightweight and comfortable to wear. It can comfortably hold a DSLR camera with additional lenses and still not look bulky.

There are two external mesh pockets for a small umbrella and a medium-size water bottle of around 600 ml size. Anything larger would be too heavy and become uncomfortable to carry. Adjustable straps ensure you can change it from a shoulder bag to wear it crossbody for added security.

This bag offers all the standard anti-theft features provided in Travelon products-

If you are looking for a larger handbag suitable for both travel and everyday use, this bag is very versatile.

Available in 25 different colours and designs including stripe and leopard print. 

Travelon Anti-Theft Cross Body Bag

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Travelon’s best selling anti-theft crossbody body handbag for travel. The big winner with this bag is the excellent pocket configuration and capacity for its size so you can keep all your things nice and organised.

Another great feature of this bag is the sleek design that sits comfortably close to the body, even when it’s full. Without being too overloaded, in addition to your handbag essentials; phone, wallet, glasses, keys etc. It will hold a small size water bottle, a travel umbrella and still fit a Kindle in the back pocket.

This bag won’t stand out in a crowd and won’t weigh you down. Two things you want most when travelling. It also comes in various pattern design as well as plain colours.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag

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A similar design to Travelon’s classic cross body bag above but more spacious. This bag has the two expandable pockets on the sides like the Cross-Body Bucket Bag to hold a water bottle and travel umbrella. You will easily fit all your usual handbag items and still have room for a Kindle, iPad mini, cell phone and possibly a compact camera.

Unlike the cross body model, the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag has front zip pocket locks. All of Travelon’s bags are made with easy to clean durable fabric so you can quickly wipe clean any spills or scuffs.

Note – These bags are designed to be worn cross-body for additional security so the strap may easily slip if worn on the shoulder.

Pacsafe Citysafe CS100

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A classic silhouette design with sleek lines, this bag won’t stand out which is perfect for travel where a flashy handbag will only attract attention. A classic Pacsafe design.
For those who find the Travelon Crossbody Bucket Bag too large, the smaller size makes this a go-to bag for all occasions.

Consistently touted as being the perfect size for travel and everyday use without the risk of overloading. You won’t be lugging a big DSLR in this bag, but you will still fit all your essentials plus some. Perfect for when you want to travel a little lighter.

A practical bag with lots of good size pockets for organisation, in addition to your essentials, it will fit an iPad, phone, wallet, and chargers without feeling weighed down or looking too bulky. The bright interior lining makes things easy to find. It doesn’t have the external side pockets for a water bottle or umbrella but room enough inside.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Essential Messenger Bag

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This handbag is the perfect size for ladies who want to carry more than just a phone and wallet but don’t want to lug around a big bag. It has a smaller profile than some of the other anti-theft purses but still delivers on capacity.

There are loads of compartments inside to keep your things organised so you can find things quickly. Although, this bag does have a slightly smaller opening than some of the other bags. While this can be a plus for travel in keeping contents more contained when the handbag is open, it could be an inconvenience for some.

The large cell phone pocket will fit an iPhone 6 in its case, and the main compartment will fit a water bottle and Kindle along with other bits and pieces. The bag has three outer zippers, two of which are lockable for added security.

Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Heritage Small Cross Body Bag

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For an unobtrusive around town handbag, this cute little travel purse is a favourite. It holds all your small essentials with room to move. Ladies love the cute design, especially the leather accents and quality lining. The stylish and functional canvas exterior gives it a little boho chic some of the other bags lack.

The slash-resistant adjustable strap allows the bag to fit snug against your body. The front zip pocket and rear slash pocket with snap closure allow you to quickly access frequently used items. The RFID blocking pocket is large enough to fit your passport and cards.

This handbag is just that; a purse so its small design may not be big enough for people who like to carry bulkier items. It is, however, perfect for those who like to travel light.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag

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For ladies who want all the features of a larger shoulder bag without the bulk or weight of a more cumbersome handbag. This handbag wins hands down for its lightweight and compact design.

For a small purse, it has a surprisingly large amount of room in the main compartment. It has three external zip pockets, all of which are quite large. Be aware that only one of these pockets lock under a magnetic latch flap.

The interior has plenty of organising pockets including RFID blocking card slots. No matter the colour, the interiors have bright coloured linings, which may not be that attractive but do make it easy to find things, especially in low light. This bag will fit an iPad mini or Kindle comfortably.

  • Adjustable cut-proof shoulder strap attaches to post or chair.
  • Slash-resistant exterior panels.
  • Interior organiser with RFID blocking card and passport slots.
  • Two wall pockets in the main compartment for organisation.
  • Front zip pocket is secure under close snap flap.
  • Front and rear zip pockets for quick grab items.

Available in 23 colours and designs.  

Pacsafe Stylesafe Crossbody Bag

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This design lends itself toward a more traditional ladies handbag. Not too big or small, it packs flat into a suitcase so makes a great second handbag for travel.
Or, if you need a versatile travel handbag that will work equally well for sightseeing and for heading out for an evening, where you don’t want to lug a large handbag but still need to keep items safe.

Despite its small profile it still boasts good internal organisation, a hidden pocket and room for an iPad mini.

Buying an Anti Theft Handbag

It is no accident the list of what we deem to be the best anti-theft handbags for travel are from only two brands- Pacsafe and Travelon.

These are the two main companies specialising in anti-theft travel gear so excel in what they do. While other luggage and accessory companies dabble in anti-theft travel gear, few would come close to meeting the standard and design of these two companies.

What is the Difference between Travelon and Pacsafe?

While the two companies offer very similar anti-theft technology and quality, they tend to differ mostly in the range and style of bags they offer.

Travelon Anti-Theft Handbags

Travelon has a much wider range of handbags for the ladies with a focus on style. This has made the brand a best seller, especially for travel handbags.  Offering a wide range of colours, fabrics and patterns, their anti-theft handbags also feature details such as leather and gold accents. Their range of bags tends to look like normal everyday handbags as highlighted with their Signature and Heritage ranges.

Pacsafe Anti-Theft Handbags

Pacsafe tends to lean towards practicality in a travel handbag with a more simple or classic design. This makes their bags great for everyday use, not just travel. However, to add to their normal classic almost unisex designs, Pacsafe are now starting to incorporate more feminine looks in their handbag ranges with gold details, lighter colours and patterned fabrics.

Tips For Keeping Bags Safe While Travelling.

  • Always carry your handbag across your body, never dangling from one shoulder. It makes it harder for thieves to grab your bag if they can’t easily remove it from your body.
  • At the risk of sounding obvious, keep all zippers closed at all times. We see so many tourists walking around with bags hanging wide open or situations where people open their bag to get something out and turn away while it is still gaping open. Close zips as soon as you have what you need.
  • Always carry your bag on the side away from the road to avoid scooter snatchers.
  • Keep bag straps as short as comfortable and keep snug against your body and preferably to the front especially in crowded situations.
  • In crowded situations, not only have your bag to the front and firmly against your body but keep a hand on your bag as well.
  • Regardless of external pockets are lockable, keep valuables such as cash, phones, cameras etc in internal pockets or lockable external pockets to the back of the bag against your body.
  • Never keep all your valuables in one bag. Leave additional cards in an RFID bag with spare cash back at the hotel preferably in the room safe or a personal portable safe
  • Always keep your bag insight and close by. Never leave it sitting on a table in a restaurant while you go to place an order for example. If you have an anti-theft handbag, use the locking capabilities to lock it to a chair while you have lunch for added peace of mind – Just don’t leave it behind! (yes, we have seen it happen).

Related: 10 Essential Safe Travel Tips to Put in Place Before You Go

Young girl stading in a busy street in Paris wearing a pink crossbody purse. A good anti theft crossbody hand bag is the best travel purse.

Additional Advice on Safe Travel

Remember, while an anti-theft travel handbag is an excellent precaution, it is not a complete guarantee against theft while you travel. It will, however, certainly improve your chances.

It is more common for people to have individual items stolen from inside a bag or from their person than having an entire bag taken.
An anti-theft handbag will make it harder for thieves to succeed.

Ultimately, it is the traveller who needs to be responsible for their safety so, always be cautious with your personal belongings and be vigilant while you travel, especially in crowded areas to avoid becoming a target of crime.

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