Pack Smart: The Best Carry-on Travel Bags

Whether you’re a diehard hosteler, seasoned vacationer, or travel newbie, quality luggage is a must. A carry-on travel bag is the perfect compliment to a larger backpack or suitcase. It can be used as a day pack while sightseeing, keeps items within reach in-flight, and protects electronic gear. By choosing from the options below, you’ll find yourself using your travel bag for years to come.

For the city-slicker:
If you’ve been looking for a chic way to carry a lot of stuff, this is your bag (see image above). At $275, it’s definitely an investment, but OMG (couldn’t resist), check out the features of this bag! Not only does it have numerous compartments and pockets, it also has an innovative side zip pocket, providing easy access so you don’t have to dig through all your belongings.  It’s also made of water-resistant nylon and slips over the handle of any luggage handle; features that every traveler will appreciate. O.M.G. Overnight & Medium Gym Bag by Lo & Sons, $275

For the bookish:
Full disclosure: I am the proud owner of an L.L.Bean Deluxe pack that has lasted over 18 years; it’s withstood the weight of textbooks, being shoved in lockers, being dragged across six continents, and is still going strong! Back as a kid, when I convinced my parents to buy this for me, I never imagined that it would last this long. But the deluxe pack embodies the quality and rugged durability that L.L.Bean has become known for over the last 100 years. At 1,935 cu. ft., this bag can hold a lot of gear, but still fits under an airline seat if necessary. There are numerous zippered compartments to keep belongings organized, and easy to find.  The bag features ergonomically designed, cushioned straps, as well as a cushioned back panel, for increased comfort. If you’re looking for a bag that you can depend on for the long haul, this is it. Deluxe Book Pack by L.L.Bean, $39.95


For the tech enthusiast:
The feature that really caught my eye was the side-access laptop compartment, making TSA security clearance a breeze. There’s a reason this bag is part of Kiva’s “Travel Genius” line! The bag has numerous organizational features, including a dedicated water bottle space. The padded shoulder strap increases comfort, while a back slip fits easily over suitcase handles. Additionally, the bag is made of 100% recycled fabric, making it both tech savvy and eco-concious. What’s not to love? Day Tripper Messenger Bag by Kiva, $79.95 at TravelEssentials


For the fashionista:
As ubiquitous as Very Bradley bags are, I never thought they were my style.  But when my (very fashionable) sister received the Metropolitan bag as a graduation present, I reconsidered! Aside from the fun colors, I was really impressed by several of the design features. Coming off of such a long trip, I was most keen on the luggage handle slip; it gives your shoulder a break, and you don’t have to worry about it sliding off your suitcase. Other useful features are the padded laptop divider and shoulder strap, as well as outer pockets and compartments, perfect for wallets and cell phones. I liked it so much that I ended up purchasing one of my own! I’ve already had the chance to use the Metropolitan on a few weekend trips, and I’ve found that the bag is spacious enough to hold multiple days worth of belongings. Vera Bradley produces the bag in a rotating selection of patterns, and the Metropolitan is currently available online in 34 designs; one to fit every fashionista’s taste! Metropolitan by Vera Bradley, $98.00 


For the minimalist:
If you’re really focused on packing light, then the Reisenthal Mini Maxi Traveler is the bag for you! The key feature of this lightweight bag is that it can be folded into a pocket-sized pouch, allowing for easy storage when not in use. In addition to being a suitable in-flight bag, it would also be handy while shopping for souvenirs or groceries; an environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic bag. At just $17.99, it’s my most affordable pick and fits into any traveler’s budget. Mini Maxi Travelbag by Reisenthel, $17.99 at Amazon

What’s your favorite travel bag?

3 Comments on “Pack Smart: The Best Carry-on Travel Bags”

  1. Pingback: How to pack for extended travel: the carry-on bag « Lab to Fab!

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