No matter what your travel plans look like—whether you’re checking off a bucket list destination, heading out of town for a work trip, or taking a quick weekend away—a classic tote bag is essential. From structured leather carryalls to roomy canvas bags, the best travel tote bag check all the boxes and strike a balance between practical and stylish: Is the bag durable? Are the straps comfortable to wear over the shoulder? Will it carry all your daily necessities—from laptop and tech chargers to bulkier items, like a water bottle and sneakers? Also important: Does it pair stylishly with the rest of your wear, so you enjoy traveling with this bag?
Los Angeles-based fashion stylist Djuna Bel says a chic travel tote “should be secretly utilitarian with a clean, timeless silhouette and design.” In terms of capacity, Bel is partial to larger-than-life, oversized totes for all your hauling needs—they’re convenient for a plane ride, functional for a day of sightseeing, and elegant for a night out. Spacious bags are in ample supply right now: Our favorite pick overall is Cuyana’s System Tote, which doesn’t skimp on quality or space, and the most affordable option is Charles & Keith’s Circle Handle Tote Bag, made from vegan leather. Ahead, our recommendations for the best tote bags for travel to keep you organized and stylish on the go.
Best Travel Tote Overall
Materials: Pebbled leather | Colors: Black, Caramel, Cappuccino, Dark Olive, Light Stone | Size: 10 inches x 17.25 inches x 5 inches (13-inch) and 11 inches x 19 inches x 5.5 inches (16-inch)| Weight: 1.9 pounds (13-inch) and 2.3 pounds (16-inch)
When it comes to fashion-meets-function, Cuyana’s System Tote is exceptionally well designed. Made in two sizes (13-inch and 16-inch) to fit your laptop, this minimalist tote is fully customizable with add-on accessories, including a laptop sleeve, wide adjustable strap, and zipper pouch insert a travel bag, crossbody and evening clutch, all-in-one.
Best Affordable Travel Tote Bag
Materials: Vegan leather | Colors: Black, Cognac, Cream | Size: 20 inches x 37 inches x 31 inches
Whether you’re dressed in a classic button-up shirt and sleek trousers or a midi dress with strappy heels, this circle-handle bag from Charles & Keith elegantly elevates any travel look at a wallet-friendly price. The detachable inner pouch gives easy access to your keys and makeup, while the shoulder strap provides versatility and comfort.
Best Carry-On Travel Tote Bag
Materials: Leather | Colors: True Black, Timber Beam | Size: 12 inches x 23 inches x 8.5 inches
Durable and oversized, this lightweight tote from Madewell features super soft and slouchy leather that looks just as good after years of wear and tear. The removable base provides structure when needed, leaving enough room to fit snacks, a computer, books, and toiletries without looking too bulky.
Best Lightweight Travel Tote
Dagne Dover Small Vida Cotton Tote Bag
Materials: Organic cotton | Colors: Onyx | Size: 14 inches x 11 inches x 6 inches
This cotton tote weighs just 2.3 pounds and is a lightweight yet spacious suitcase for any trip or day of the week. It has multiple inner and outer pockets, a clean design, and a slip compartment with Velcro closure that’s perfect for carrying a 13-inch laptop. The wipeable lining is also great if you’re packing shoes or anything that might spill.
Best Tote Bag For Airplanes
Materials: Nylon | Colors: Black, Deep Navy | Size: 12.5 inches x 13 inches x 5 inches (for 13-inch) and 13 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches (for 15-inch) | Weight: 2.6 pounds (for 13-inch) and 2.8 pounds (for 15-inch)
This travel-ready carrier is a good choice for those frequently on business trips. Its built-in outer sleeve easily slides onto any rolling suitcase, while the front pocket comes with multiple compartments in varying sizes to stash and pull your passport, wallet, and pens in a cinch. Inside, a dedicated padded sleeve protects your laptop from damage when you’re inevitably jostled through airport security.
Best Designer Tote For Travel
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, Brown | Size: 16.5 inches x 13 inches x 8 inches
Founded by New York-based designer Amy Zurek in 2020, Savette has quickly risen as the it-brand for the stylish set, thanks to its minimalist silhouettes and beautifully handcrafted Italian leather. This modern tote has become a staple for New York-based stylist Becky Malinsky, who chronicles her latest fashion finds on her style blog, 5 Things You Should Buy. “The Savette tote has a central panel that holds your laptop upright, so it doesn’t flop from side to side, and the minimal hardware is elegant,” says Malinsky, who also recommends stuffing the tote with the brand’s Pochette to use as a daytime wallet and an evening clutch.
Best Large Tote Bag For Travel
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, Caramel | Size: 31 inches x 19.75 inches x 12.5 inches
“As a mother and someone who works on set and travels often, my work bag is packed with snacks, a case of emergency accessories, supplements, at least three lip liners, skin care, and sunscreen—I need the space,” says Bel, who’s been carrying Khaite’s Large Osa Tote for her business and travel needs. Despite its massive size, this leather bag is surprisingly lightweight and features a round and flat base for stability. And for those who might find the size a bit daunting, Bel recommends this style for those “who carry three full tote bags along with their purse. It’s time to consolidate and succumb to the XXL bag!”
Best Tote Bag for Weekend
Materials: Leather | Colors: Mauve, Whiskey | Size: 15 inches x 13 inches x 3.5 inches
Able’s is a sustainable choice if you’re packing light for the weekend and need a compact tote for the essentials. While vegan leather seems to be the best option for ethical and cruelty-free bags, most are made from environmentally-damaging plastic materials like PVC (polyvinyl chloride or vinyl) or PU (polyurethane). If you choose genuine leather, consider brands that implement ethical tanning practices with recycled materials and support fair-working environments. Nashville-based brand Able uses upcycled leather from tanneries for its recycled, closed-loop water system. The brand’s Lomi Tote has a lifetime guarantee for long-lasting durability.
Best Tote Bag for Laptop
Tumi Sidney Leather Business Tote
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black | Size: 11.3 inches x 17 inches x 6.8 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds
This grab-and-go option from Tumi offers multiple pockets to stash your daily necessities, including a padded laptop compartment with zipper closure for extra security. There’s even an outer pocket with magnetic snap for those who are prone to misplacing their phones. Best part: The bag comes with a complimentary tracer you can register online to prevent and recover lost luggage.
Best Tote Bag for Working
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, Bottle Green, Embossed Leather Tan, Embossed Leather Black, Whiskey Bridle Leather, Desert/Sage/Slate, Vanilla | Size: 10.8 inches x 14.6 inches x 6.1 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds
Scottish brand Strathberry is known for its handcrafted leather goods with a structured silhouette and signature bar closure. This elegant, ladylike design can take you from the office to brunch on the weekends. As seen on the arms of celebs, including Meghan Markle, this bag can be held by the top handle or worn as a crossbody for hands-free ease.
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