Do you carry everything but the kitchen sink in your purse? At any given time you might find these things in mine (besides the usual stuff) including: clothespins, kids meal toys, business cards, (grand) baby diaper (unused!), and various receipts. In other words, sometimes my bag is just a mess of hodge-podge items! It remained to be seen how well I could succeed at packing a handbag for overseas travel.
But traveling to Europe, I knew I’d have to scale back and only take essentials. We were going as light as we could – trying not to check any bags. I know that sounds impossible for a three-week trip, but we did it! That is also one of my top travel tips – pack light. You just don’t want to be schlepping heavy luggage everywhere you go.
First, let me tell you about the bag I chose before our trip to Europe. I researched LOTS of bags before I chose one and had a few criteria in mind. A great travel bag needed to be:
- Big enough, but not too big
- Lightweight and practical
I love the bag I purchased… it was great! It held everything I needed – even my DSLR camera in a neoprene case! This handbag incorporated all my requirements and then some I hadn’t even thought of before. I chose the Travelon #42757 Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bucket Bag. It has now served me on several overseas adventures! There are expandable pockets on each end for a water bottle or small umbrella. I love the lining – it isn’t black! Mine is aqua, but I think they make it with neutral linings too, like gray or beige. It’s easy to see the contents of the bag, even at the very bottom.
The anti-theft properties are thorough. My bag has RFID blocking slots for credit cards, etc. which blocks any kind of skimming device from stealing your credit card numbers. Another blogger I know who loves to travel did indeed encounter someone who brushed up against her bag and tried to skim her credit cards. But because her bag had RFID protection, they weren’t able to get anything! Plus, if you carry a crossbody, you make it more difficult for someone to snatch it off your shoulder.
Overall, I still love this bag and it has served me very well. (It’s on sale right now!)
Packing a Handbag for Overseas Travel
When packing a handbag for overseas travel, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep your passport and ID on you at all times. The world is a crazy place. Make sure that you can prove who you are at any given time.
- Keep cards and cash secure – and carry as little as possible. Take a credit card (for large purchases like air and train fare, hotels) and your debit card for getting local currency. ATMs are all over Europe. Most are in secure locations, and it is generally less costly to use your debit card to withdraw cash than it is to exchange currency (often for a hefty fee). (Be sure you withdraw/purchase in the currency of the country you are in a the moment. You’ll save in fees if you do.)
- Travel with small sizes – of everything, not just liquids. Although it’s true that you have to take small size liquids on the plane, you’ll be glad if you scale back on the sizes of most of the things you carry. It works really well to condense items to save space while not sacrificing the things you really need and want to take!
In light of these tips, these are some of the things I always pack in my theft-proof bag:
- Passport and ID (I like this passport holder)
- Bank and check cards
- Itinerary and maps
- Paperback or puzzle book
- Compact, lipstick and lip balm
- Hand cream (this is my go-to hand cream)
- Ear plugs
- Pain Reliever
- Gum and/or mints
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Comb or small brush & ponytail band
- iPhone and charger
- Portable power bank for charging phone
- Fake wedding rings
That last one sounds weird, but I left my real rings in our safe deposit box at our bank before we left. Just didn’t want to take the chance of losing them or having them stolen. I figured if I took every precaution possible, it would lead to a safer and happier trip, should we encounter theft.
Airlines offer ear pugs and eye masks for overseas flights, but I like a particular kind of ear plugs, so I tossed some of those in as well.
Of course, for air travel, you need to stay hydrated. You can purchase water after you pass through security, and you should definitely drink lots of it before and during travel. I also like to make sure I have lip balm and hand cream to fight off dryness. Also handy is pain reliever for headaches and motion sickness pills, if you’re prone to that. You will want to pack some gum or mints, too.
I hope this list of essentials will help you as you pack for your overseas vacation.
Go ahead and pin this post for reference!