16 Best Tote Bags for Plane Trips, Souvenir Shopping, and Beach Days

16 Best Tote Bags for Plane Trips, Souvenir Shopping, and Beach Days

Totes are one of the most essential travel items you can own—the best tote bags are endlessly versatile and tend to have room for everything. For some, a sturdy leather tote is a no-brainer personal item for flights: it’s bigger than a purse, so you can more easily fit a laptop, a water bottle, and more inside. For others, an easy-to-fold cotton option might be the item you break out mid-trip for the beach or market. 

Whatever your style, a tote bag you love is a must-have, but the right one can be notoriously hard to find. Below, we’ve pulled together the best tote bags to travel with—from the value buys to the investment bags you’ll get compliments on for years to come.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

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Béis Weekend Travel Tote

Every bag from Béis is designed with travel in mind, and this weekend tote is no exception. It’s made from durable, water-resistant canvas and there’s a wire frame in the lining that makes for easy packing. Inside, you’ll find slip pockets, a zippered pocket, and a laptop sleeve. In the zippered bottom compartment, you can neatly tuck away extra shoes so they won’t mingle with the other items in the top of your weekender. Last but not least, there’s a trolley sleeve so you can slip this bag right onto your luggage. Béis thought of everything. Shop the bag in black or beige. 

Cuyana Classic Structured Tote

Cuyana’s entire ethos is about owning fewer, more high quality things, and this pebbled leather bag is the perfect example of the only tote you’ll ever need. It’s made of beautiful Italian leather with a microsuede interior, and comes in a handful of neutrals that’ll go with everything. The brand makes both a slouchy and structured version of their classic tote, but we love the latter for travel: It holds its shape enough for when you’re fishing for your passport at the check-in counter, but is still soft and malleable when you need it to be. And though the bag comes with just one interior pocket, the brand sells an organization insert that has four pockets, and will ensure you can always find what you need, right when you need it.

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Marc Jacobs Traveler Canvas Tote

This capacious canvas tote bag folds up with ease, which is essential when you’re bringing it along on a trip. The interior has three storage compartments, and a full zipper to secure all your odds and ends. It’s plenty big enough for a laptop, so you can also use it as a work tote if you like. Shop the bag in black, beige, blue shadow, slate green, and sweet pea. 

Madewell Medium Transport Tote

Madewell’s classic leather tote bag is one of the brand’s bestsellers—and it’s easy to see why. The thin but sturdy body is made of leather with a lightly waxed finish, so the bag can both fold beneath the seat in front of you and stand up on its own. It has top handles and an additional longer strap, perfect for hanging on your shoulder when you’re walking around a new city. This tote doesn’t have a zip closure along the top, but there is an inner pocket perfect for storing valuables (and the large outer pocket is perfect for items you want to take in and out often, like sunglasses). The bag comes in several sizes, but we love how the medium easily converts from a work bag (most laptops can fit inside) to a casual purse you can use every day.

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Kate Spade Reusable Shopping Tote

Some of the best tote bags serve as a solid backup when you don’t want to use your go-to purse or backpack. Whether you’re headed to the south of France for a beach trip or are on a long weekend in New York City, a reusable tote is always worth packing. These bags, which take up virtually no space in your suitcase, are perfect for scrunching up and bringing along just in case. We love this eco-friendly, nylon pick from Kate Spade (it rolls up easily and self-ties neatly). Whether you end up wanting to purchase fruit in the local market, want to avoid using a plastic bag for souvenirs, or need a cute beach bag, these totes always get the job done—and they look good doing it. 

Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote

This minimalist leather and nylon tote comes in several neutrals.  It’s a great everyday tote—even on rainy days, since it’s water-resistant. The best part about this bag? You can fold it up into a tiny square and snap it closed, making it another must-pack in your checked luggage.

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote

Anyone who grew up on the East Coast knows the Boat and Tote—it’s an L.L. Bean classic that’s been around for decades. (Some have even described them as more of a “household object” than a bag, noting how much of a mainstay they’ve become, and not just with the boat-loving crowd they were initially geared toward.) And what’s not to like? These totes are spacious, their design is classic, and they start at $25, maxing out at $40, depending on which size you go for. The open-top option is great for day trips when you might have beach towels poking out the top, but the zip-top version will hold up best on longer hauls (or if you’re traveling with kids who might be prone to tipping the whole thing over). This tote comes in a natural canvas color, with the option to monogram and customize the color on the straps.

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Tory Burch Perry Leather Tote

Say hello to your new work tote. This elegant bag is made of leather with a fully lined interior. There are two open compartments and one zip compartment. And if you’re looking for both function and form, know that the contrasting luggage tag is an eye-catching addition. Shop the tote in black, tan, gray heron, calendula, shell pink, and brilliant red.

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Baggu Cloud Bag

Baggu owns the tote game: whether you’re looking for a chic (and affordable) leather option, a classic canvas bag, or a nylon pick for your groceries, they’ve got it all. The spacious Cloud bag is our favorite tote to travel with, though, because it’s lightweight, machine washable, and comes in cool colors like lentil and honey leopard. Even better, the packable bag is just over $50; but, trust us, it’ll hold up trip after trip, whether you’re using it as a carry-on or an overnighter.

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Saint Laurent Noe Cabas Rive Gauche Linen Toile Tote Bag

This big beauty is destined to become your go-to travel bag. It’s Italian-made, high-quality, and features Saint Laurent’s logo print. The top neatly closes with three snaps. This tote (which measures 14.2 by 18.9 inches) is available in a slightly smaller size (15.4 by 15 inches), if you prefer.

Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote & Wristlet

If you ask us, this reversible pebbled leather tote is a travel must-have. You get two totes in one, which saves valuable packing space. Whether you’re sporting an all-black ensemble or going for something that will look better with cognac accessories, this bag can do both. Slightly slouchy, well-made, and spacious, buying this bag is a no-brainer. 

Gucci Large Vintage Canvas Tote

This vintage-inspired canvas tote is instantly recognizable as Gucci, thanks to the iconic green and red webbing and the interlocking pair of gold of G’s at the top. If you’re looking for an investment-worthy tote, you’ve found it. 

MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote

There are a lot of MZ Wallace fans in the Traveler office—we can’t get enough of the brand’s quilted bags. Our favorite is the Metro tote, which is arguably the chicest bag you’ll find in a lightweight nylon. It’s nice and roomy, meaning you can fit all your essentials including a laptop inside, plus it has a smart zipper along the top so your belongings won’t fall out in the overhead bin. For the most type A among us, there are also six interior pockets, plus a phone pocket and key ring strap to stay organized. Best of all, the bag—which is offered in over a dozen colors, like magnet grey and apple red, and just as many prints—can fold up into a little pouch when you don’t need it.

Tom Ford Medium Logo Shopping Tote Bag

This sleek canvas tote is a stunner, thanks to the gold hardware and leather trim. There are four interior pockets tucked inside. It’s plenty big enough for the everyday essentials, and could easily handle a lightweight jacket and Hydro Flask. Seen here in gold and black, this designer tote bag is also available in off-white with tan trimming.

Leatherology Uptown Vertical Tote

For straightforward, luxurious leather pieces—all of which you can customize with monogramming and a hearty selection of color options—Leatherology is the place to go. Though they make several larger totes (including zippered options), their vertical bag is a standout. The full-grain leather tote is still incredibly versatile so you can use it from day to night. Plus, it’s perfect for those who want something more compact: It’ll fit your laptop, but maybe not your reusable water bottle, umbrella, and stack of in-flight reading materials.

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Everlane The Oversized Carryall

This oversized, slouchy tote is the biggest tote in this roundup, so you can stash your laptop, a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, a notebook, and still have room to spare. As an added bonus, this nylon tote is actually machine washable. Shop the bag in black, mustard, or pine. 

Published at Mon, 31 May 2021 13:00:00 +0000