Hi Megs and Amanda!
I've been looking for the perfect travel tote in the past year or so. I've purchased a few that have fared well for business (Michael Kors, Cole Haan, etc.), but finding that perfect carryon tote/bag for vacation or long haul trips has eluded me. I've looked at the Louis Vuitton Neverfull, Gucci Swing tote, Lo & Sons OMG Tote and others, but I just can't seem to settle on one that works for my needs.
I'm looking for something large and spacious on the inside that can hold: Ipad Air 2/Beats Headphones/Kindle among the other normal stuff wallet, small toiletry bag etc. I tend to be pretty organized where I use many pouches for things so needing compartments on the inside isn't a huge must. I'd like for the bag to still be stylish for use when I'm out and about on vacation as well. I'm open to any price point up to $2,000 as long as it fits the bill.
Any suggestions out there?
Your timing is impeccable. Not only is summer travel season just beginning, but I'm headed off to the Caribbean for a few days myself. That means I've been thinking a lot about packing, carry-ons and airport strategies over the past few weeks, and your bag frustrations inspired me to shop around a bit to see if I could find some smart choices for air travel. The dozen best options that fit your parameters are below.
I have a couple carry-ons that I like and use quite a lot, but they're more function, less fashion--nylon totes with lots of pockets and zippers. (If you're reading this and that's more your speed, I'd recommend the LeSportsac Luggage Travel Tote for $104 via Zappos or the Kate Spade Classic Nylon Lyla for $328 via Zappos.) Picking a designer, leather option is a little trickier, as you've noticed.
Based on the bags you've considered, it sounds like a zipper top isn't a must-have for you, and that's probably good--relatively few of the roomy, lightweight leather shoppers on the market right now have them, which might turn off some travelers. Since that's not a dealbreaker, your options are a little more interesting than they would be. Not needing many compartments is also a note in your favor when shopping--it means these bags are universally pretty lightweight and have flexible shapes, which is nice when items like bulky headphones need to be stowed.
Almost all of these options can be shoulder carried in one way or another, and most of them have some kind of top closure, even though it's usually a magnetic snap instead of a zipper. Also, I chose fairly conservative colors; if you want something brighter, most of these bags can be had in a whole variety of shades. Readers, if any other strong contenders come to mind, please mention them in the comments!
If you have a bag question you'd like us to answer, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Annabel Ingall Large Isabella Tote
$450 via ShopBop
Anya Hindmarch Featherweight Ebury Maxi Tote
$1,388 via MATCHESFASHION.COM
Botkier Soho Tote
$298 via ShopBop
Chloé Faye Tote
$1,450 via Saks
Givenchy Easy Tote
$1,295 via mytheresa.com
Lanvin Embellished Leather Shopper Tote
$2,150 via mytheresa.com
(This one's a little over the limit, but I've seen versions with leather tassels for less!)