As the world's airlines continue to shrink cabin bag allowances, lightweight, multi-purpose handbags are a stress fee way to deal with those tiny baggage limits.
Spend a moment thinking about what you need to have close to hand when you travel by air. Tickets, boarding passes, car rental and hotel vouchers, smart phones, credit or debit cards, passport, several kinds of currency, reading glasses, sun glasses, moisurizer, pen, book or ebook, medicines. And, if you are a woman, probably lipstick and a comb or brush are indispensible too.
Now, consider that some of the budget airlines charge relatively high fees for checked baggage and then reduce your cabin bag allowance for you have to choose between a carry-on bag or a handbag.
You could, of course, stuff your handbag into the carry-on and then pull it out once you board. But that just uses up valuable space in the carry-on.
My ideal is a multi-purpose handbag, well-organized enough to stow all the bits and bobs I carry en route,... stylish enough to use as my main handbag when I arrive and either big enough or expandable enough to carry one change of clothes.
And, when it comes to holiday giving, I like these:
01 of 05
Baggallini Crossbody Everywhere Bag
Baggallini makes very well thought out travel handbags and man bags. The Crossbody Everywhere Bag is a case in point. At 13 inches wide by 9 inches tall it's spacious enough for travel carry-all but looks good slung over your shoulder or across your body to double as an ordinary handbag.
It's made of the kind of heavy duty, waterproof nylon that resists most of what you can throw at it. And it has lots of clever features including a detachable coin purse and key fob; ten safe interior credit card slots; outer pockets for phone and camera; a generously sized; zipper pocket and a back pocket that can be attached to your rolling luggage handles. It's a handbag but could easily double as an overnight bag.
And did I mention it comes in dozens of colors.
02 of 05
Urban Junket Robin Laptop Bag
I know this is billed as a laptop bag, with a padded compartment for a 17-inch laptop. But really, who lugs a 17-inch laptop along on vacation. Think of all the other things you can pack in there, alongside your tiny notebook or tablet.It has four more internal pockets for small electronics, jewelry, whatever, a few external flap pockets that look secure enough to discourage opportunists, and you can toss it over your shoulder or use the back sleeve to slide it down over your luggage handles.
03 of 05
Travelon Anti-Theft Cross Body Bag
Capacity and security combine in the design of this good looking shoulder or cross body, unisex bag. A big pocket for your valuables sits up against your body, safely protected from opportunist thieves. It has a cut proof shoulder strap made of stainless steel cable reinforced fabric and wire mesh reinforced construction throughout. There's even a removable LED light so you don't have to dither about in the dark to find your keys or read a map. It comes in lots of colors and in 2016 it's cheaper than ever before. More colors too.
04 of 05
Baggallini Integrity Tote
Another great bag small but mighty multi-purpose tote from Baggallini. This one has incredibly well organized interior pockets for pens, specs, phones, credit cards. One of the outside pockets is padded, for your tablet or ebook, and it has three zipped exterior pockets on the front. It's got a detachable key "leash" and a wristlet to keep it attached to you when you're attached to a lot of other stuff. At 15 by 12 by 5 inches it's big enough to carry what you need on board and to handle brochures and shopping at your destination. In water resistant nylon, it's lightweight and fully lined The colors have glam sounding names - Pacific, Portobello - but they are basically black, charcoal, dark not quite navy and a mushroomy brown.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Tote
A generous 14 by 14 by 4 inch bag with lots of security features and plenty of room for flight necessities and a change of clothes. In addition to slash-proof pockets and a cut proof shoulder strap, it has RFID blocking card and passport slots. The shoulder strap has a locking carabineer so opportunistic purse snatchers will have to work very hard to grab it when you've stopped for lunch and locked it to your chair. There's an LED light that's removable so you can search in the dark depths of your bag for that missing room key. Let's be honest - it's not the greatest looking travel handbag I've ever seen - but the size is great and it's packed with enough features to make it worth considering.