We’ve got some great bags for anyone with a case of wanderlust
If any of my hobbies come close to rivaling my love of handbags, it is my love of travel. I was born with a strong sense of wanderlust and I am always yearning to travel somewhere new to soak up experiences, sights, and cultures (and of course shopping!) One of the fundamentals of traveling is dressing comfortably while being on the go in a new place, and naturally the bag you carry plays a large role in that. The handbag I decide to bring with me when I travel has to be comfortable, secure, durable, and cute, which sounds easy but it’s been a big feat to find a bag that possesses all of the necessary traits.
On my first international adventure as an adult—a trip to London and Edinburgh with some girlfriends—I made the rookie mistake of packing a satchel that required being held by hand or worn on the crook of my arm rather than a hands free bag. I was traveling with my best friend who had lived abroad in Asia and was a much more seasoned traveler than me. She expertly brought a cross body that I was envious of for the duration of our 8-day trip. Any photo of me from that trip displays my Kate Spade satchel prominently, since it was front and center on my arm in every shot! My bag looked great in the photos with back drops such as the London Tower, Edinburgh Castle, and Kensington Palace, but I wasn’t thrilled to be carrying my heavy bag around for 12+ hours a day. Luckily for me I’ve traveled quite a bit since that first trip, and I’ve never made the mistake of bringing a hand held bag again! I learned my lesson the hard way: hands free is the only way to go when sightseeing.
A trick I always use when traveling is to bring a large tote bag as a carry on and stash the smaller, more compact bag that I plan to use when sightseeing inside of it. I don’t want to lug a large bag around when I’m out exploring my destination, but I like to have the option to bring a lot with me on the plane. I always have a book or magazine for entertainment, all of the snacks, and a water bottle once I’m through security to bring with me on board, so a smaller, hands free bag just won’t do the trick. What I typically do is place most of my belongings inside of the smaller bag that I will use for sightseeing and then place the smaller bag into the tote for the plane ride or road trip. I like to think of it as layering my bags! My top travel picks are below!
MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote
I don’t own this bag yet but I am seriously contemplating picking this up for my next trip. I’m traveling to Asia for the first time this winter, and this durable nylon tote looks like it fits the bill for my very long journey. Nylon is super lightweight and this style fits under the arm, both of which are key factors for me within a carry on. It fits a laptop, is water and stain resistant, and has a zipped closure. I could also fold it up and store it in my luggage when I am using my hands free bag when sightseeing. The more I look at this bag, the more I have to wonder how I don’t already have one! The price is a major bonus for this cute little tote.
Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM
The Louis Vuitton Neverfull has truly become my favorite traveling companion. I own three and I bring one with me on almost every trip I go on. True to its name, the Neverfull holds everything while not getting too heavy due to the coated canvas material. I prefer the Damier Ebene for most trips since the vachetta on the Monogram and Damier Azur is a little more delicate and I worry about stuffing it under the seat in front of me when I’m flying. If you’re worried about not having a zip top with the Neverfull, a trick I use is to put a scarf on top of my belongings to prevent anything from falling out and to keep me warm on a chilly plane ride.
Kate Spade Watson Hearts Tote
This cute Kate Spade tote looks like the perfect carry on. Like the MZ Wallace tote, it is made of durable nylon. The slim leather handles would fit perfectly under your arm, and the size is large enough to fit all of your flying or road trip essentials. I love that you wouldn’t have to worry about putting this on the floor in front of you on the plane and damaging the body of the bag. The cute little hearts are a fun, playful touch too! For $178 I think this seems like a no brainer if you’re on the hunt for a new carry on.
Tory Burch Ella Patent Nylon Tote
I’m clearly a big fan of nylon when traveling, and that is because I love how carefree the material is. There is nothing worse than worrying about scuffing your bag, so leather isn’t my favorite material for a carry on. This Tory Burch tote is perfect because it folds up flat after your flight and can be stored easily in your luggage. It’s lightweight and can fit everything you will need en route to your destination! While it doesn’t have a zipped top, it does have a magnetic closure and interior zipped pockets for valuables. I love that it fits easily under the shoulder with room to spare.
Coach Saddle 23
This understated Coach cross body is perfect for sightseeing. It’s demure, classic, and won’t draw a ton of attention, but it's still stylish and chic. The flap closure is secure and the interior boasts zipped pockets for valuables, giving you extra security. I also love that the straps are adjustable, so you can wear it on your shoulder or as a cross body, depending on your personal preference. It also looks pretty roomy while still serving as a hands free bag, which is ideal for me!
Bao Bao Issey Miyake Lucent Large Crossbody
I am obsessed with this bag and the aesthetic of this brand. This is the perfect statement piece for a low maintenance traveler. I tend to wear casual clothes when traveling, so this bag would definitely make my outfit feel elevated but not over the top. The bag is made of PVC and nylon, so I wouldn’t need to baby it. It’s foldable, so it would fit easily inside of a tote on the plane. It also has a zip closure and an interior zip pocket, providing safety for your valuables. This bag is ideal for someone who has a full day of sightseeing ahead.
Marc Jacobs Hip Shot Convertible Crossbody Bag
Truthfully I have never worn a belt bag, but since this is a modern take on the fanny pack, I think there is no better time than a trip to use one. Fanny packs are associated with the ultimate tourist, so why not embrace it with this contemporary take? I love that this bag can be worn around the waist, over the chest, or cross body. You can even remove the strap and carry it as a clutch to dinner. Multiple functionalities? Yes, please! The leather appears durable, so even if you get caught in an unexpected rain storm your bag should be able to withstand it. It’s small enough that it’s light weight but still big enough to fit all of your essentials while you’re on the go.
ALLSAINTS Kita Pebbled Leather Crossbody
This may be the ultimate bag for traveling. The design is simple with a cool girl vibe, giving you an effortless look. This sleek, stylish handbag has a zip closure and also includes both a cross body strap as well as a top handle, so you have dual functionalities. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to carry a tote on the plane, this bag could easily eliminate the need for that, as it would make a great carry on in addition to a good sightseeing bag. I am seriously contemplating scooping this bag up, and not just because I have a big trip coming up.
Did I miss a bag that you swear by when you’re traveling? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it!
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