This incidence happened a few years back when I was sitting on a Metro in Paris. I had my bag tightly pressed against the wall as I knew the reputation of Paris for pickpockets and other undesired things. Suddenly, I saw that a young woman was slowly unzipping the handbag of the lady who was standing in front of me. Luckily for her, I reached out and grabbed the bag.
No matter, whether you travel to far away places or go near-by, you must pay attention to your surroundings. It could be the major difference between a good and a bad time. The same thing is true about having the appropriate purse for travel. Whether the purse should be small or big, elegant or casual depends on the distance and duration of your journey. And of course, it also depends on the amount of stuff that you need to take with you. As far as I am concerned, usually, a cellular phone, a credit card and my lip-stick is sufficient for me. But, if you need more, there is a bag for your needs as well.