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I am going to France Holland and Amsterdam for 7 days with a tour group there will be a lot of walking and sight seeing.. Advice on the best crossbody messenger bag for daytime.. Not to big or heavy but safe ..

please help

Posted by
2609 posts

Depends what you think you will want to have with you, some people need less stuff than others. I use a cross-body messenger style bag that's canvas and leather and it can hold a wallet that is fastened at the bottom of the lining so it's not going anywhere, small makeup pouch, sunglasses, phone, camera, map, small guidebook, small notebook, an energy bar and bottle of water, a novel, travel umbrella, foldable nylon tote just in case I somehow end up buying a bunch of things and a light sweater, plus some small purchases. I don't always have all of that in there but it's capable should I need it. It sounds enormous but measures about 15" x 9".

A good brand for a sturdy yet lightweight bag is LeSportsac.

Posted by
1014 posts

Take cash in an under the clothes container. Take small bills. 20Euro or less denominations. I get some early from my bank. I always ask my bank for small denominations. A stolen 500E note is hard to take. A stolen 20E note, not so much. Take small amounts out at a time and put in a shirt pocket if you have one. If not, in an inside the coat pocket. A pants pocket will work. Get one with a zippered pocket. Take a small backpack ( if you can, carry it in front of you) or a sturdy bag with handles to carry purchases in. Wear cheap costume jewelry and watch. Try to not stand out. Blend in. Enlist a buddy to be with you at all times. (Called a battle buddy in the military) That way, you have help in the toilet to hold packages, and watch your back at a bank ATM, or when trying on garments. A fanny pack screams tourist from USA.

Posted by
5697 posts

I use the same cross-body bag when traveling or walking around at home -- if I am out for the day when rain is threatened, a rain jacket or umbrella is in a separate day bag (I use a Civita); sweater and water bottle/snack bar as needed in the day bag. My purse does not have special security measures -- it's just an ordinary bag I picked up at the thrift store that doesn't scream "rich tourist." (The Civita bag came from the same store.) And, as you were advised, my money is strapped to my body in my money belt with only about €20 in the purse.

Posted by
2768 posts

My advice is to carry as little as you are comfortable with. For some people, that's a few euros and an ID. For other people, it's the kitchen sink.

The bag style is up to you. Some people like a backpack, but I prefer a cross body bag. Easier to access in my opinion. The smaller the better.

Here's what I take: DSLR camera, phone, kindle (because it has my guidebook on it), sunglasses, wallet with cash and one credit card for the day, a small bag with chapstick, advil, bandaids, etc, and a portable phone charger/cord (I use my phone for navigation and that kills the battery). Depending on the activity or weather I may add an umbrella, sunscreen, or sweater. Everything except the DSLR would fit in a normal size crossbody purse. A regular camera would as well. Because I'm really into photography, I need to carry a slightly bigger bag.

Use a money belt if you will be carrying a passport, extra credit cards, or cash beyond what you will need for the day.

Posted by
4162 posts

My latest purchase is a Flip & Tumble Cross Body Bag from I wanted something somewhat spacious, with a top that zips up, but very light. It weighs 4 ounces.

A few years back on a trip to France, I used a plain black tote for just about everything. It has a very deep zipper pocket. I wore my moneybelt, but put some cash in that deep pocket. I could put just about anything else I wanted in that bag, and that was part of the problem. Plus, the straps were too short to go over even one shoulder.

This new Flip & Tumble cross body bag seems very comfortable and isn't so big. I'm hoping it will be perfect for light food shopping and for storing the clothes I have to peel off during the day, assuming that will be required in the UK in May and early June. I got a boring gray on gray one because it will go with my clothes on the trip. I so hate being practical. If it works, I may get a 2nd one in blue on blue.

Posted by
210 posts

I have always used the Civita backpack…..and it has worked great. Last summer my tour was in a lot of big cities with lots of public transportation. I opted for a Pac-Safe backpack. I just wanted to have a little extra security due to the big city environments.

Posted by
1625 posts

Make sure that whatever bag you buy it Zips on top! Many bags have just a flap, that hands can reach into, or stuff can fall out of. Also make sure the straps adjust. I purchased a Bagalini Brand of a cross body bag, with One big compartment, a small zippered pocked inside and a zippered pocket outside. Cost was $20.00 at TJ Maxx. My trip was 18 days and this is the only purse I used. My BIG wallet, make-up bag, and other usual "at-home" purse stuff went into my carry on and stayed there throughout the trip (Insurance cards, back-up credit cards, USD for the trip home etc"). The size of my travel cross body is the same as the one I use at home, only much home cross body is leather and not weather proof. Put it on while at the store, walk around, rest your hand on the opening, buy an appropriate sized wallet to fit inside. Take some things you would want to put inside to see if they fit like a water bottle, camera and umbrella (I grabbed like sized items in the store and put them inside to see if they fit). I think this and shoes is one of the most important things you will buy!

Posted by
7347 posts

I have a medium size cross body Baggallini about 9 X 9 inches with a top zipper and 2 front zip compartments. I try to carry as little as possible - stop at an outdoor cafe for a beverage when I'm thirsty. Also always use a money belt. 😀

Posted by
27237 posts

Style and size are subject to personal preference. For me it's critical to have at least two top openings, with at least one of them zippered. I often need one section of the purse I feel safe keeping open for bulky items that are very unlikely to get stolen, like my water bottle, guidebook and other local travel info, folding umbrella, etc. I find that I need a travel bag that's a bit larger than what I can get by with at home because I do carry extra stuff. I opt for a very lightweight bag, preferably nylon, since the contents themselves are rather heavy.

A warning for folks like me who switch between regular glasses and sunglasses every time they enter or leave a building: Be sure you do not keep your glasses in the same zipper pocket as your wallet and other valuables. My wallet was lifted as I switched glasses while walking down the street. I made it far too easy for the pickpockets--who had been watching me long enough to observe how I handled the glasses--because the critical zipper was open. Incredibly dumb to have kept the glasses with the wallet. It's actually amazing that the theft didn't occur much earlier in the trip. And I'm very lucky that I lost only the wallet, not my smartphone and tablet.

Posted by
39 posts

I also use a medium size PacSafe cross body bag. I love the three separate sections. There is a small zippered pocket on the back next to the body. Some cash and one credit card for the day goes there. There is a section under a flap, a top zippered pocket as well as a water bottle holder on the side. I always have a small water bottle, a protein bar, map, sections of an RS guidebook, phone, small camera, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses. I agree you need to keep your main stash of cash, passport and cards in an under clothes pouch. Happy Travels!

Posted by
11507 posts

I use the exact same bag Dawn has linked..its a Derek Alexander.. lightweight.. enough room inside for my tablet( its not a large one) or my KOBO.. plus it has an inside zippered pocket for passport or cash.
The straps are wide enough to be comfy and adjustable so you can wear it crossbody easily.

I am on my second one.. I bought my first Derek Alexander bag about 10 years ago.. this exact model.. and then about 5 years ago got a new one,, I use it at home too so it was just getting that old look.. lol

I especially like this bag because it is one of the few bags that has a full covering flap on top that clicks firmly shut.. on top of the zipper.. so its like a double line of defence against pickpockets.

I have used this bag for at least 6 or 7 overseas trips now.. and as I said.. I use it at home too.

Posted by
744 posts

@Pat - I bought the bag on your recommendation!! It's perfect. :)

Posted by
919 posts

I have used the RS Civita bag for a few years now and like it. My only wish (are you listening Steves' people :) is that it had an internal key hook. Or maybe it does now--I have an older model.

When traveling in cities and crowds, I do not wear it as a backpack so much as I loop one strap over one shoulder and keep the bag part in front of me toward my chest/crook of my arm. I also don't stuff it to the gills so that it's easy enough to do this.

Good luck & have fun!

Posted by
553 posts

I carry a Baggallini crossbody bag, and I agree about not keeping a wallet in a zipper pocket that you're accessing frequently for other items, such as sunglasses. And my preference is for a bag that does not have a full flap; I find those much too inconvenient to access. Also, I don't carry a conventional wallet at all. I put my daily cash and one credit card in a little zipper pocket, and bury it deep in the bag, in an inside zippered section. If a pickpocket stuck his hand into my bag, he/she wouldn't know what to grab. :)

Posted by
528 posts

I usually carry the same bag that I am using at home. I enjoy a canvas cross body bag. The canvas makes it light weight and durable. It must have a zip enclosure. A flap is a nice feature, but not a deal breaker. I have one that I purchased from a Paris Market, this one from Amazon,this one from Duluth Trading and I even made this, but added a flap. I suppose I have a cross body bag fetish. I carry tissues, camera, gum, breath mints, sunscreen, water bottle, and if necessary I can shove my jacket inside. I always keep my cards, money and passport in a money belt. I keep my daily spending money in a zipped pants pocket, or sometimes pinned to the inside waist band of my pants.

Posted by
11507 posts

Happy to hear that Dawn.. I do occasionally look at other bags.. but this one just ticks the most boxes for me.. and I like that its lightweight.. some leather bags are very attractive.. but even empty they have weight to them. Great for at home but not so much for travel when we carry our bags all waking hours..

Posted by
1417 posts

I bought this about 6 months ago and have been using it at also has now gone on a trip to Florida and to California. even tho it has a water bottle pocket, on both of those trip for park days I put my 27 oz collapsing water bottle in the main compartment....great balance. at home has plenty of room for my 9x6 calendar, so that translates to a travel book, no? the pouch on top of flap is fleece lined for phone or glasses......"media" pocket is padded. I don't lift the flap and use those pouches underneath at all, except for deep storage of gift certificates or receipts......but overall I'm very happy with the size, weight, and price.

its ebags piazza day bag. link will not copy for me tonight. you can find it for 39$ or less. weighs 8 oz

Posted by
59 posts

Another vote for a Bagallini cross body bag. Not the most attractive, and I do not use it at home, but it has a wide strap so is comfortable to carry, has compartments to separate things, is relatively light weight. I really prefer leather bags, but they are too heavy to carry for travel.