Ideal Crossbody Travel Bag for Petite Women

Like many women, when I travel I am looking for comfort + style in my clothes, shoes, and accessories. As a petite woman finding the right bags has always been difficult for me. Whether I’m trying to find a somewhat feminine looking DSLR bag or a cute purse for a day out.

I prefer crossbody bags in general, but especially when I’m traveling for the handsfree aspect as well the weight load distribution. Today I am going to share some tips I’ve learned through, trial and error, for the perfect crossbody bag for petite women.

{Definition of Petite}

In the United States, petite women are defined as 5’4″ and shorter. That’s funny to me because, to me, anyone who’s 5’4″ seems tall. So this article really applies to women who are 5’2″ and shorter.

{My Go-To Crossbody Travel Bag}

The Kipling Tessa. It’s perfect for a day out, when you’re going to leave your DSLR in the hostel or hotel and just wander on a day or night out around Praha, Rome, Barcelona, New Delhi, Boquete, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Singapore, Sydney, San Francisco, or any of the other beautiful cities in the world.



{Why I Love This Bag For Travel}

Budget-Friendly: You’ve just dropped a lot of money for your holiday. The last thing you need is to drop a ton more money on the gear you need for your trip. Compared to designer bags, these are very inexpensive ($45-$65USD), so even if they get really beat up or (knock on wood) stolen, you won’t be out even a hundred dollars.


  • they’re light (.8lbs empty)
  • packable (not stiff material)
  • holds your essentials for a day out in town
  • horizontal orientation
  • not bulky,  10.25″L x 7.25″H x 1″D
  • stylish
  • nice basic colors
  • adjustable + wear it as a crossbody, shoulder bag, or satchel style
  • vegan
  • good quality
  • not expensive (as noted above)

I recently took my Kipling Tessa bag to a basketball game – the Warriors vs. The Knicks. We actually got to go onto the court at the end! This photo was taken at the end  of a very a loooong day…train to SF, lunch in Napa, basketball game in Oakland. The day went from sunny and warm to cold at night and I packed sunglasses, gloves, earwarmer, compact, gloss, and everything else I needed for the day and was still comfortable and stylish.

{What Can You Fit Inside This Travel Bag?}

  • iphone 6s plus (big phones)
  • GoPro and/or small point-and-shoot
  • cash, credit cards, ID
  • sunglasses in a soft case
  • travel size hairbrush or comb
  • compact
  • lip gloss/chapstick
  • little packet of tissues
  • eyedrops
  • hairclip
  • room for more

{What Might Fit Inside}

  • little travel umbrella
  • some tablets
  • some (smaller) books

{Travelon Bags}

I also really like Travelon bags. They’re a little big for my frame but I love the safety features, feminine style and that you can carry so much in them.

Travelon bags come in a few different styles and are inexpensive ranging from $35-$100.

I love the slash resistant, mesh lined handle and exterior, the RFID blocking technology, and the secure zippers. I’d choose this bag for travel to Europe and Delhi and Mumbai, in particular where you’re getting on crowded subways where theft is notorious.

{Safety Tips For Crowded Subways}

If I’m on a subway I always place my hands over the front of the bag and wear it crossbody vs. on my shoulder. And if I’m wearing a backpack I wear it on my front like a baby carrier and place my arms and hands crossed over the front.

If I’m being extra cautious I’ll put my bag on underneath my jacket. It’s a little uncomfortable, but that’s a small price to pay to prevent theft.

{Avoid the Frumpy Stumpy Look}

Vertical Crossbody Bags: In my opinion, vertically-oriented bags, like the one below, don’t look great on petite women. As you can see this bag is very similar t the Kipling Tessa – but taller. Tall bags make us look stumpy. Horizontal bags on the other hand, are a great contrast for shorter height.


Chunky Bags: Similarly, chunky bags, like the satchel below look frumpy on petite-petite women. I tried out Kipling’s Defea satchel yesterday as I thought it was super cute and it’s horizontally oriented. I liked the bigger size and that I could carry it crossbody as well, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, the bag was all I could see, as it completely drowned me out. I think this would look great on petite – plus size women, but just not a good fit for petite-petite women.


The chunky bag is not so flattering.

{Side-By-Side Bag Comparison}

{Harvey’s Bags and Why I Don’t Travel With Them}

I love Harvey’s seatbelt bags. Harvey’s makes very classy, timeless, pieces that will last for years and years, especially if you take good care of them. I’ve had this red messenger bag for 10 years. It’s not my everyday bag, but even then it’s still in great condition and retains it’s fresh look.  I always get compliments on this bag, but I will never travel with it, on foreign nor domestic trips, because:

  • it’s really heavy
  • it’s super sturdy, which also means it’s difficult to pack

I take this bag with me to go out for meals with friends, date nights with my husband, or to a friend’s place or house party – events where I’m not going to be holding onto my bag the entire time.

Harvey’s also makes very stylish crossbody bags that are vegan as well. And I LOVE how they’re one of the few brands that doesn’t plaster their brand name on their bags. The material stands out on its own and is recognizable without a brand name. I really like this bag, but there are a few things I don’t like about their crossbody bag specifically for traveling:

  • the signature seatbelt material is heavy
  • the strap is really thin which tells me the weight of the bag will sag more on my shoulders and become uncomfortable after a while
  • it’s a bucket bag, whereas the Kipling has several pockets to stay organized
  • it’s more expensive, ranging from $100+
  • lastly, this bag is vertically-oriented



Crossbody bags are a great option for women while traveling. They’re hands-free and comfortable. For petite women, finding the right bag that’s stylish, comfortable and the right size requires a little more digging, but there are bags out there for us!

The keys for comfort and style are to pay attention to the material and shape. The rest is personal preference.

In this article I reviewed Kipling and Harvey bags; both of which are vegan.

{About Samta}

When I’m not traveling and/or adventuring (and even when I am), I operate my tech startup, ShaadiShop. ShaadiShop is a marketplace for Indian-friendly wedding venues in California.

During undergrad I decided to study abroad which triggered my travel passion. I lived in Adelaide, Australia for a year and after that, for the next 10 years I spent 1-2 months each year, traveling to various destinations around the globe, on my own while I managed my direct marketing company.

I think traveling solo, prepared me to become an entrepreneur – journeying into new experiences, figuring it out as you go, self-reliance, facing your fears head on, trying new things, and so much more!

Then I decided to get a Masters in Business Administration, and I met my husband. Now we travel around the globe together and often. I love backpacks, vegetarian and vegan cooking and of course planning our next trip. I’m also kinda addicted to blueberries. =p

qc2-IDY0_400x400Samta, Founder, PassportPages

{About PassportPages}

I created the PassportPages travel blog, to provide nuanced, detailed travel advice, tips, and hacks for traveling all over the world — from a unique and different perspective than the other popular travel blogs. There aren’t as many travel blogs geared towards:

  • nuanced, detailed travel tips and advice
  • vegetarian and vegan travelers
  • ethnic Americans, Canadians, and others
  • petite women

Check in or better yet follow PassportPages to get travel info from around the world. And definitely post your questions and comments.


I hope you found this info helpful! If so, please let me know in the comments. I love hearing from our readers, as well as your fun, funny, interesting, and helpful stories from your travel experiences! You might like to follow us on Facebook and Instagram too, where we share a lot of different content and images.

The information in this article reflects my opinions. PassportPages is not affiliated with any companies nor products mentioned in this article; nor were we asked to review any products.

Other PassportPages posts you might enjoy:

Womens Guide to Packing for Costa Rica
Hack for Packing for Travel Lighter
How to Carry Your DSLR While Hiking

5 thoughts on “Ideal Crossbody Travel Bag for Petite Women

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