The Travelon Anti-Theft Essential Messenger Bag is the travel purse I won’t leave home without


I don’t carry a purse at home, and I don’t necessarily bring an everyday bag for beach vacations or cruises. That said, having an anti-theft purse for a sightseeing vacation is an absolute must for me. After all, traversing around the globe means carrying cash, credit cards, identification and more along with me, and these are items I can’t afford to lose — or have stolen — especially when I’m away from home.

These are just some of the reasons I carry a Travelon Anti-Theft Essential Messenger Bag with me on my trips. Not only is the travel crossbody bag lightweight and easy to haul around all day, but it comes with a range of anti-theft features that make it ideal for travelers.

I have used this bag for a range of trips to destinations like Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and I plan to bring it on all my international sightseeing trips going forward. While the Travelon Anti-Theft Essential Messenger Bag doesn’t come with a fancy design or a designer brand name, it has features that matter considerably more for travelers, namely its five-point anti-theft security system. Here’s a rundown of all the things I love about my anti-theft crossbody bag, a few things I think could improve and how this bag compares to other crossbody bag options out there.

A versatile crossbody bag for all of your travels. We love that this purse features five points of anti-theft features, plenty of pockets and compartments and still looks stylish to boot. Plus, with a price of less than $40, it’s a no-brainer for every trip from traversing a new city to carrying through the airport and onto the beach.

For travelers, keeping your belongings safe and secure is one of the most important features when looking for a travel purse. And, it’s also one of the biggest features of Travelon anti-theft bags, including the Essential Messenger Bag. The bag comes equipped with the brand’s anti-theft zippers, which can be easily “locked” in place.

The locking zippers work by attaching to a second D-ring clasp. The functionality makes it difficult for unwanted hands to unzip without garnering your attention, adding an extra layer of security to your belongings.

With zippers that lock, I can keep the bag close but not worry too much about a sneaky pickpocket finding a way to get their hands on my cash, credit cards or identification. Although they’re “locking” zippers, I can rest assured that I can easily unlock the zippers in a pinch when I need to access my items.

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Slash-resistant mesh inner lining and strap

In many destinations around the world, pickpocketing and purse slashing are an unfortunate reality. While thieves targeting unsuspecting tourists is a more notorious practice in some destinations than others, it’s important to always stay alert. With that in mind, I truly appreciate the fact my Travelon Essential Messenger Bag is made of slash-resistant material to help me feel more secure.

While the bag is made of polyester, which gives it a clean finish, inside, it’s the added protective materials that make it perfect for travelers. Each part of the bag — from the bottom to the sides — features an interior mesh barrier that protects it from thieves who try to slash and grab the contents of your purse.

And yes, the strap of the bag is also slash-resistant, thanks to the same mesh barrier. This allows me to wear the bag with confidence that it’s not susceptible to slash-and-grab incidents. Even with the added security in the strap, it doesn’t sacrifice on comfort. The strap measures 56 inches and can be adjusted to fit your wearing preference to drop between 17 inches and 30 inches.

Not only is it made of slash-resistant material, but the strap also features “lockdown” capabilities of its own that prevent thieves from running off with your bag when it’s been put down. The dedicated strap lock, which functions similarly to the zipper locks, allows you to secure the bag to a stationary object like a chair or a table — perfect for when you’re seated outside at a cafe.

One of those terms that often gets tossed around for travelers is for good reason. Radio-frequency identification — or, more commonly known as RFID — uses radio waves to identify people and information. In other words, it’s an easy way for thieves to maliciously access your personal information without making any physical contact. Thankfully, the Travelon Essential Messenger Bag also protects against this technology.

In the main compartment of the bag, there’s a built-in slot for up to three credit cards or identification cards as well as a dedicated pocket for larger items like your passport. Each of these dedicated spots has RFID-blocking technology to keep your sensitive information safe. Plus, consolidating your credit cards and IDs in the dedicated spots in the Travelon bag means you can reduce the weight of carrying a separate travel wallet, freeing up more space in your bag for other essentials like a portable charger.

Thoughtful, lightweight construction

This final point is music to the ears of any traveler who knows the struggle of lugging around a heavy, burdensome travel purse while traversing a new city: The Travelon Essential Messenger Bag only weighs 0.75 pounds when empty. This makes the bag really easy to haul around all day, which is especially important for sightseeing trips.

The bag’s light weight is mainly due to the fact it’s made of polyester. Not only does the material — including the anti-slash mesh barrier — make it easy to carry, but it also makes it easy to clean. I’ve found that wiping the Essential Messenger Bag down with a wet towel every once in a while will make it good as new.

In addition to its anti-theft measures, I also love the thoughtful design of the bag. A front zippered pocket is ideal for storing all of your essentials you want to keep within easy reach — think hand sanitizer or tissues. Plus, within that front compartment is another zippered pocket. And, at the rear of the bag is an additional zippered compartment.

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With all of the features, pockets and compartments that come with the Travelon Essential Messenger Bag, it’s really a steal of a purchase from just $36.

It’s hard to complain too much about a travel bag that prevents theft and comes with a reasonable price tag from just $36. However, a few downsides of this bag are worth mentioning.

The first is the size of the Essential Messenger Bag, and the fact that it’s not as big as many other travel bags and backpacks made for daytime use. The bag features 4.5 liters of capacity, so it’s big enough for essentials like your travel wallet, some cash, your identification and other items. However, it’s not big enough to carry a jacket, a travel umbrella and other larger items you may need to haul during a trip.

That said, it is a crossbody bag, so you should avoid the bag if you travel exclusively with large items. If that’s the case, a good travel purse, travel backpack or tote bag might be better suited to your travel habits.

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If you’re after a bag that can be monogrammed, customized or comes in a large number of colors, you may be disappointed in the options offered for the Essential Messenger Bag. The bag comes in four plain colors — Purple, Nutmeg, Spruce and Midnight — without the option to choose a specific design or add any details.

For me, that’s not a dealbreaker, but for some, it may be. The bag is meant to be just about as basic as they come while also offering extensive anti-theft measures, so you’ll want to look elsewhere if you love bright patterns or you want a travel purse that really pops in all your photos.

How it compares

Whether you have a sightseeing trip coming up or you just want to protect your belongings when at home, a Travelon anti-theft crossbody bag may be exactly what you need. Fortunately, even the most expensive bags from this company are less than $100, and there are dozens of options to choose from — including my favorite, the Essential Messenger Bag.

That said, you may also want to look at larger travel purses, fanny packs or other bag styles that could suit your needs better if you like to travel with more space. Ideally, finding a bag that fits within your budget but also protects your sensitive information and belongings so you can enjoy your trip should be among the highest priorities.

Looking for a new travel credit card? Check out CNN Underscored’s list of the best credit cards currently available.

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The Travelon Anti-Theft Essential Messenger Bag is the travel purse I won’t leave home without

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