I started writing this post after our week-long adventure with the kids back in the middle of December, but soon after we came home from our trip, we all tested positive for COVID (be careful out there, things are pretty crazy, right now!). Our trip was the first flight we took as a family of four, and we started with a quick flight up to Atlanta, stayed there for a night, drove to Asheville for a few nights, and then drove to Charlotte for a couple more nights before we flew home. Traveling with kids is an entirely different setup than my travels pre-kids, which got me looking for the perfect carry-on and travel bag.

When I was packing for the trip, I had everything highly organized, but I kept feeling stumped on the last item to pack, which seems like it would be the easiest item to decide on: my daily bag for the trip. And it got me thinking; while I have a ton of bags, and I mean a ton, having the right bag for traveling seems to still be a bit of a unicorn in my bag collection.

What do I mean when I say the right bag? The right bag becomes highly specialized with kids, especially depending on the kids’ age. While neither of my kids is in diapers, I still travel with wipes, plus snacks, extra masks, sanitizer, medications, a couple toys, and then my items as well. This makes my bag fairly packed, but I still edit everything down so it’s not over-stuffed.

What makes the perfect travel bag and daily bag?

Here are the aspects that aren’t just wants, they are clear needs for the ideal travel bag that goes on to be a day excursion bag for me as well.

  • Compartment separation, ideally a center compartment and front and back area
  • Sturdy shoulder strap for hands-free use (adjustable is a plus)
  • Large enough to carry ample items without being too oversized
  • Room for expansion, meaning not an overly rigid bag
  • Not too heavy
  • Durable material

This seems like an easy feat to accomplish, but it actually isn’t. The bag I took on our trip is a long discontinued but favorite in my collection, the little-known Celine Triptyque (old Céline – you can read my 2011 Purseonals on the Triptyque here).

I purchased this bag for $2,300 in 2011, and while the Luggage Tote was taking over the bag world at that time, this bag somewhat flew under the radar. But if you ask me, it should have received far more praise. I’ve used this bag off and on for ten years, and while the smooth leather is showing wear on the corners, it has held up extremely well. The East/West shape and the three separate compartments work so well, and I found it to be the ideal bag in my collection for travel. I actually stood in my closet staring at all my other bags and mentally saying, nope, no, not that one, not a chance, before I landed on this decade-old bag.

The Celine Triptyque in Prague, Dec 2011. It’s traveled a lot with me.

Me and my Celine in Miami a few weeks ago.

The major design flaw of this bag for me is the shoulder strap and how it attaches to the bag. For starters, while there is a shoulder strap, I tend to have my bag that’s being highly utilized packed a bit heavy, and it looked like this was pulling on the shoulder strap quite a bit. The strap attaches to the bag by two leather loops with the hardware attachment and the leather loops are a bit dainty for a heavier bag.

However, I don’t have much to complain about aside from that. The interior is lined in cotton, which makes the bag light, and as it’s a lighter color cotton lining, I can find every item inside easily. This bag also expands, so it’s not rigid in shape, which is also a major plus. I can stuff different compartments a bit more, and the bag accommodates nicely. There are no protective feet on the bottom of the bag, so you can see scuffing and wear more, especially as this bag winds up having a lot of touchpoints with the way I use it.

However, overall, this is one of the best travel bags, and though I have an extensive collection, this is the bag I reached for on our last trip.

Zipper Detail from 2011, when the Triptyque was new.

Zipper Detail from 2011, when the Triptyque was new.

If you love the Triptyque, as much as I do, and it seems so many of our followers do, I’d love to be able to point you in the direction to nab one. But that feat seems pretty tricky, as very few are listed for sale whenever I look. There is one here in black for $999, and there’s also this Leopard Pony hair version, but the ask is higher at $1,650. But if you really want to score this bag at an insane price (FYI, I have not verified authenticity), this tan one is available for $225. Run!

When you need a functional travel bag or an everyday bag that truly needs to be highly functional, which one do you reach for? I need to hear because I am in the market!

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Amy
Amy
5 months ago

Longchamps pliage neo is my bag line of choice for travel due to the lightness of the fabric, the security of the zippers, the weather resistant nylon, the lack of logo and the affordable price. If I need something more dressy I’ll bring an extra WOC or a Soho Disco for the evening.

Rashmi
Rashmi
5 months ago

Hi Megs after reading your original post about this bag years ago I got “influenced” and bought it pre loved back then. Same color too. While I agree that it is a great travel bag and I love it but I find it quite heavy! I wish the strap was adjustable to a crossbody length. Btw if you and your readers are in the hunt for a gréât alternative check out the Private Eye bag from Metier. I recently bought the cherry colored one in Buffalo leather and I absolutely love it. It’ll make a great travel bag as well as office bag. Besides being very functional, the craftsmanship of metier is TDF! I’m surprised métier has not been featured on purseblog before, or has it? Anyways just thought I’d share about it.

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Rashmi
Rashmi
5 months ago
Reply to  Rashmi

Métier private eye

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Simona R
Simona R
5 months ago
Reply to  Rashmi

I am so with you on this! Metier is amazing and they are so functional and perfectly organized. I like also the Perriand model.

Allison
Allison
5 months ago

For my travel bag on the trip I’m currently on, I brought along my Givenchy Nightingale (Medium). It’s really too big for me for an everyday bag, but great as an airplane carry on. I don’t find I need compartments so much because I tend to keep a lot of inexpensive zip pouches with masks, cords, chargers, pens, etc. I can fit my laptop, tablet, notepad, headphones very easily. There is one side pocket where I always have my phone and card case. For this trip I also brought a Senreve Aria as a small everyday handbag. Haven’t needed any other options for a week long trip but I’m just seeing family and laying low due to the pandemic surge in the US.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago

While I understand the desire to be stylish while traveling I think this type of bag is not practical. Walk through almost any airport and you will see LV Neverfuls, Goyard Totes and loads of Longchamp but the best bag is the Madewell transport tote at $178. It has enough structure that it does not flop over and is roomy enough to carry everything you need without worrying about it getting ruined. It also ages beautifully.
*I do always pack a Goyard flat into my carry on.

Ed B
Ed B
5 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Madewell transport is my go-to travel bag, I used it basically every single time when I was traveling 2-3x round trip a month for work. BUT I cannot see it working for someone with kids to be honest. It for sure was more than enough for all my work stuff and onboard entertainment, but even with small baggies within, I don’t think it’d be easy to use for more than one person.

Oh and YES 100% it ages so well, I love how it looks.

anonymous
anonymous
5 months ago

The problem with too many compartments is that the bag can become too heavy. My kids are grown now but when they were younger I encouraged them to manage their own backpack when we traveled. That way they were responsible for their art supplies, simple electronics, headphones and snacks. They are all now pretty capable travelers that never forget to pack the essentials.

Tiffany
Tiffany
5 months ago

It’s a unicorn! I don’t have *the perfect* bag, but I’ve used a few iterations recently.

1. Prada nylon backpack. The front pockets are great for tissues, hand sanitizer, mask. I keep the drawstring looser for easier access, but attach the flap for security. My card case and keys go in the interior zipper pocket (handy near the top) and snacks, wipes, etc go in the main section of the bag.

2. Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack – it has even better Interior/exterior zipper compartments, thought the side pockets I find harder to fit stuff in without falling out.

3. Combo Large Longchamp plus a Small Gucci coated canvas crossbody or Bottega zipped pouch. My stuff goes in the crossbody or pouch. This gives the flexibility to just carry the crossbody/pouch for dinner, to share the load with hubby, and compartmentalize a bit.

While I’m generally not a backpack gal, I find the 2 above give the function (& are light!) while still feeling fashionable. Good luck! Also, the triptyque is gorgeous!

lalarey
lalarey
5 months ago

Do you have any pouches that you love, that you would pack in a tote with kids stuff? the cosmetic pouches are too small for this, but I’m afraid a document pouch would be destroyed by small yet slightly bulky items (ie wipes and purell)

Amanda
Amanda
5 months ago
Reply to  lalarey

I really like the various MZ Wallace pouches for this purpose. They’re nice-looking, roomy, and lightweight and even have internal pockets. Also washable since they’re nylon.

Jerri R
Jerri R
5 months ago

I made the mistake of using an LV Keepall 55 for a trans-Pacific trip. It was entirely too heavy and overwhelming on my petite frame. It destroyed my shoulder while walking to the connecting flight gate.
Once on the flight, though, it was nice and convenient under the seat in front of me. Everything was very accessible, and the coated canvas was sturdy and care-free.

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 months ago
Reply to  Jerri R

I’m also at the point I don’t want to use my Keepall 55 anymore, unless my husband is there to carry it for me 😂. I’m actually currently browsing Balenciaga Weekenders. Won’t fit as much, so won’t kill my shoulder. I’m finding it hard to find one that is still in decent shape, though. The search continues…

Ejaz
Ejaz
5 months ago

My Givenchy Nightingale has accompanied me on northern lights hunts in Iceland and an unexpectedly hot summer in Sweden. Soft and cushy yet strong and sturdy. Another fave is the now discontinued Balenciaga convertible handbag/backpack. A clever design that allows you to unzip the leather strap into 2 smaller parts to use as a backpack. Great for city based trips. The LV speedy Damier with long straps is a good standby too. Fits everything and is light to start off with. Not having big inner compartments is the only flaw but the utility value is still pretty high. My fave luxe travel bag is still my 1st edition brown xl LV Suhali bag (circa 2006). I can carry it on my shoulder or over my elbow. It fits everything and looks chic. It’s a pity LV discontinued the range quite a while back. When my children were young, my go to travel bag was the LV classic backpack. Every pic of me in Disnelyland or Disneyworld would be accompanied by my trusty LV backpack. Spare diapers, milk bottles, formula, wipes and water fit perfectly. I used an LV pochette clipped on inside for my wallet and other stuff. My hubby would bring the passports etc in his waistpouch (fashion was secondary when travelling with kids!) and the spare kids’ clothes etc in his rugged backpack. He likes Japanese handmade canvas+leather bags which he buys from small artisanal shops in Tokyo. Very durable! Thanks to Covid, it’s been 2 years since my last flight. I can’t wait to be able to travel again, hopefully soon to Sydney, Australia. 🤞

SHANNON
SHANNON
5 months ago

With kids > backpack of no significance
without kids > goyard

Michelle
Michelle
5 months ago

For worktrip, I use Tumi Voyageur Carson backpack which fits ipad, laptop comfortably. For vacations, Longchamps pliage neo is my go to personal bag to stow away under the seat and not worry about the dirty airplane carpet (there was one time where the carpet was wet from a spilled drink). I add a tote organizer and pouches so its not a black hole. I also pack my Gucci Soho Disco or LV multi pochette in the bag so I have option to just use that for daily sightseeing.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago

Vintage Balenciaga City in goatskin. Doesn’t have compartments, but it’s the perfect size, has a good shoulder strap, has an inner pocket that zips, and feels fun. My most used travel bag!

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