As someone who loves handbags and totes, travel bags are definitely an important part of any of my vacation plans. I tend to carry a lot around with me, which sometimes extends into my travel packing. For me, the best travel bags offer a combination of style and functionality.
Depending on the types of trips you take, you are likely to need a variety of different types of travel bags. You may need some luggage just to get to your destination, while other bags can be used during your trip. These include laptop bags, carry on bags, travel backpacks, totes, wheeled duffels, and more.
Here are our favorite and best travel bags for any kind of travel. This post may contain affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
The Best Travel Bags
Hideo Wakamatsu Tarpaulin Bag
The first time I saw this suitcase in a store, I was intrigued by it. It’s made of tarpaulin and is flexible, lightweight, and water-resistant. Because of this, it can be stuffed full and you’d have to really overfill it for it to weight too much.
Over the years, I’ve owned both the regular size bag and the carry on version. It always gets lots of attention because it’s so unique. This is the type of bag that you’d definitely want packing cubes in because it doesn’t have a strong structure.
I own the carry on travel size and the check bag size in blue. However, I’ve noticed that the website now only lists the red. I hope they’ll continue to carry these because it’s one of my favorite travel bags of all time.
Away bags are famous and trendy due to their beautiful colors, functional, classic style, and the limited lifetime warranty on their suitcases. These bags are built to last and include little features that are perfect for a busy traveler who also wants to be stylish.
Their most popular pieces are the standard hard-sided luggage. These include a small laundry bag, easy to move spinner wheels, a telescoping handle, and a compression pad that lets you pack more things in the bag. It really works, because these bags carry a surprising amount of stuff!
The carry-on bags are offered in several different sizes including a standard carry-on bag and the bigger carry-on. They also have expandable bags, aluminum bags, and a carry on with a front pocket.
Some of these carry on bags can be purchased with an optional phone charger. This device can be easily removed if you end up having to check the bag, which is very important due to FAA regulations.
Away also offers duffle bags in four different sizes and several different materials/colors, including leather and nylon. These bags have lots of great features including umbrella pockets, a pocket to slide over the handle of a wheeled bag, and a laptop pocket (these all vary by size).
Prefer to carry a tote? They have a few different options in leather and nylon. These are professional looking and stylish, and they can be used once you are at your destination.
They also offer backpacks, laptop bags, and messenger bags. A new sling tote is also available. It can be used either as a shoulder bag or as a fanny pack.
Away bags come in beautiful colors, so you can definitely find a full set in your favorite color. They also offer limited edition colors. (Use this link for a $20 discount Away code).
I have a regular sized bag, the larger carry-on bag, a longitude tote, and a leather everywhere bag. I use at least one or two of them for almost every trip I take, and people always stop me in the airport to ask about them. While the lighter color does get dirty, I’m able to use a Magic Eraser to clean it.
Lo & Sons O.G. 2
Another popular style of carry on luggage is Lo & Sons. Their O.G. 2 bag is made from nylon, with water-resistant zippers and leather accents.
It can be used as underseat luggage on a plane and has a laptop pocket that fits up to a 13-inch laptop. You can easily slip the laptop in and out of the bag at airport security.
The Lo & Sons bag has a separate shoe compartment, a padded shoulder strap, and a suitcase handle sleeve. Although it’s great for flights, I also really like this bag for road trips. Due to the material, it’s easy to pack in a crowded car trunk or backseat.
Dagne Dover is another stylish brand of travel bags. They offer duffle bags and backpacks that are designed specifically for travel (use this code for 10% off your Dagne Dover purchase).
My favorite is the 365 Large Landon Neoprene Carryall duffle bag. It comes in a variety of colors, including pink, gray, and black. It has a small side pocket (for passport or other documentation), a 15″ padded laptop sleeve, two water bottle pockets, a key leash, and a small bag for your shoes or laundry.
The Dagne Dover bags are also carried at Nordstrom. In addition to the duffle bag, the line includes backpacks, toiletry bags, crossbody bags, wallets, and totes.
While all of our family essentials go into our suitcases, each of my kids carries their own backpack. Whether we are on a road trip or a plane trip, a backpack is one of the most versatile travel bags. My kids use them as carry-on bags, and then as daily bags once we are at our destination.
My kids each have their own backpacks for school, but these aren’t the ones we take on vacation. Instead, they have lighter weight bags, with several different zippered pockets to carry essentials. These lightweight backpacks aren’t appropriate as checked bags, but can easily be placed under the airplane seat for easy accessibility.
When I’ve traveled around Europe, I always carry a backpack. They are comfortable to carry, and can be filled with daily essentials like snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, and more.
The exact bags that we have aren’t available online, but here is a similar one from Amazon. They are very easily stuffed, but aren’t great if you are carrying delicate items. For example, I wouldn’t use this bag to carry a laptop unless it was in a secure, padded sleeve.
You can also find backpacks from any of the luggage companies listed above. If you are looking for a perfect, matched set, that may be your best option.
Another of our favorite backpack brands is LL Bean. Their backpacks are a staple item for any New England college student, and they are both durable and functional.
Regardless of which luggage you choose, I always recommend using packing cubes. These reusable cubes can be filled in a variety of different ways to make travel more convenient. They also give you more room in your suitcase, so that you can pack more things!
Read our packing cubes post to learn more about how we pack these functional little bags to make travel and packing so much easier. Be sure to get a set for each member of your family – preferably in different colors.
What is your favorite travel bag?