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“I've got a 30 year-old duffel bag and a 2 year-old backpack. The name tells you what you're getting. These products are tanks. The duffel has been across the world and is in perfect condition. It may seem pricey, but when it lasts 30 years, it is a bargain!“—Michael Alowitz, Google Review

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Tough Traveler luggage, backpacks & bags are famous for longevity & innovative design. For over 50 years we've been proudly manufactured in USA, in Upstate New York, from the highest quality domestic materials.

Our bags are made with attention to detail and high-quality construction, such as triple-stitching in stress points - resulting in a product that will stand the test of time and usage.

Our designs are unique, and fashioned to be incredibly functional as well as attractive. We have hundreds of styles, ranging from innovative luggage, to superbly comfortable dog carriers, to specialty bags designed for unique capabilities.

If you have any questions, we welcome phone calls (1-800-468-6844) and live chats! Our staff is always happy to give you assistance. Need something a little different? We do custom work and can do alterations to suit you!

New for 2024, the EXPLORE Collection!

Explore backpack, explore personal bag, explore luggage, transformer.

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Tough Traveler Represents NY at White House Showcase

In 2019, Tough Traveler was honored to be chosen to represent NY manufacturing at the annual White House  Made in America   Product   Showcase.

Joining one manufacturer from each state, we displayed the unique and high-quality bags designed & made by our talented New York artisans & craftspeople.

That same year, we were also the recipient of a NYS Senate Empire Award for our long-term commitment to supporting our community with good jobs & sustainable products.

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Fox & Friends:  Back-to-school supplies: 9 'Made in the USA' products for the return to the classroom 8/18/2023

“….I recently realized that I need a fun little nylon cross-body bag but struggled to find something that wasn’t overexposed, wildly expensive, or flimsy. I found my solution...when associate editor Louis Cheslaw brought up Tough Traveler as one of several great brands with bare-bones websites. I hadn’t heard of it but immediately fell for their collection of “ funky bags ,” which use leftovers from other designs to make offbeat little sacks.”

New York Magazine , 10/3/22


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“[atlas] bag is a beautiful well designed functional high quality piece at an afforddable price.”, what fellow travelers are saying.

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Protect Your Trip »

13 best carry-on luggage pieces of 2024, tested & reviewed.

Discover the best carry-on luggage for your unique travel style and needs.

The Best Carry-on Luggage Pieces

ROAM Carry-On Front Pocket in red.

Rachael Hood | U.S. News

The customizable Carry-On Front Pocket from ROAM is the top luggage pick.

Things aren't always as they seem – especially when it comes to luggage. In our quest to find the best carry-on bags, we discovered that some suitcases may look good but they don't always hold up well to the demands of travel. Some designs have attractive features that add bulk but not additional functionality, while others don't quite live up to the hype.

Navigating the endless array of carry-on luggage options can be daunting, so our editors did the work for you. We tested 26 bags on countless trips to find the best options for every journey. Read on to find the best carry-on luggage, tested and reviewed by our team of experts.

Best Overall: ROAM Carry-On Front Pocket

  • Jump to features and expert insights ↓
  • Overall Runner-up: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-on Hardside Spinner

Best Hard-sided: Away The Carry-On

Best soft-sided: samsonite solyte dlx carry-on spinner, best lightweight: july carry on light, best for international travel: delsey paris helium aero international carry-on - expandable spinner, best affordable: amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner.

  • Best Expandability: Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner
  • Best Underseater: CALPAK Luka Soft-sided Mini Carry-On Luggage

Best for Business Travel: Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Carry-On Spinner – 20.4 Inch

Best luxury: carl friedrik the carry-on pro.

  • Best Carry-on Duffel: The North Face Rolling Thunder–22"

Best Carry-on Backpack: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

(Note: Prices were accurate at the time this article was published; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors. Original photos were taken by our editors during luggage testing. Studio images have been provided by respective luggage companies.)

Open front pocket of a red ROAM Carry-On Front Pocket with laptop and pens inside.

Price: $625 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14.25 x 9.75 inches | Weight: 8.3 pounds Packing capacity: 4-7 days; 37 liters | Color options: Custom color combinations include red, black, lilac and slate Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime with a 100-day trial

This fully customizable suitcase allows travelers to create a one-of-a-kind carry-on bag. From the front and back of the bag to the handles, zippers and wheels, you choose the color combination you love.

However, it's not all about the aesthetics: This hard-shell suitcase has 360-degree ball bearing wheels that roll easily over multiple surfaces, including brick sidewalks and moving walkways. The telescoping handle is sturdy and adjustable, which makes the bag glide with you, and the front-access pocket has a key fob and room for a laptop, phone, glasses and small travel essentials. There's also a built-in TSA lock. The back of the suitcase has an inset with a monogrammable leather tag to keep your personal information discreet while traveling.

What our editors say:

I was extremely impressed from the moment I opened the box. It was nicely packaged in a blue ROAM-branded dust bag and the carry-on is beautifully constructed. It's made of high-quality materials, and I found the compression panels with mesh zippered compartments to be extremely useful for both maximizing space and keeping items in place while traveling. But what really sets this bag apart is how easy it is to maneuver when fully packed for a weeklong trip. It glides effortlessly over all types of terrain, even inlaid brick sidewalks! The customized color scheme (which is really easy to do) takes this carry-on to a new level. Plus, you can create a coordinating tote or backpack to match. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

Best Overall Runner-up: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner in cream on a pathway outside.

Leilani Osmundson | U.S. News

Price: $369.99 or less

Dimensions: 23 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 10 days; 45 liters | Color options: White, red, blue, green or gray Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner is a truly well-rounded carry-on with a plethora of unique features. USB A & C ports on the outside of the bag give easy access to charging. (A power bank is not included, though the bag does have a pocket for one inside the expansion zipper.) Self-aligning magnetic wheels – a reviewer-favorite feature – allow painless travel through the airport as well as on roads, sidewalks, uneven surfaces and more. A built-in TSA zipper lock offers ultimate protection for your possessions.

Even without the features listed above, this Travelpro spinner is, at its core, a high-quality piece. The hard outer shell is ultra-strong and 100% polycarbonate; aluminum corner guards further protect your belongings. The clamshell-style suitcase has two large interior compartments along with three extra pockets, one of which is water-resistant, and the expansion zipper allows for an extra 2 inches of packing room. Plus, this carry-on is made with genuine leather trim, so you can travel in style as well as comfort.

There are some amazing features on this carry-on, but my favorite is the wheels – as someone who typically prefers hands-free travel (primarily backpacks), I found that the way this suitcase easily glides around everywhere absolutely changed my mind about wheeled luggage. Just know that since this is one of the larger bags on this list, I would still check your airline's carry-on size requirements before traveling (though it's been tested for most major domestic airlines, and it fit perfectly on Delta). – Leilani Osmundson, Digital Producer

Away The Carry-On in green in a brick alley.

Amanda Norcross | U.S. News

Price: $275 or less

Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.4 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 5 days; 39.8 liters | Color options: Black, navy, blue gray or olive, plus 2 glossy options Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited

When it comes to hard-sided carry-on luggage, nothing beats The Carry-On by Away. The bag is lightweight yet indestructible thanks to a 100% polycarbonate exterior. Plus, you can easily wipe away most scratches with a magic eraser.

In late 2023, Away launched a new iteration of The Carry-On that somehow made it even more efficient. The most notable new features are an additional underside grab handle, three extra interior compartments, and an enhanced compression system that upholds the bag's ability to accommodate nearly a week's worth of clothing. The bag's 360-degree wheels are also slimmer than those of its predecessor for improved maneuverability. While Away has long been known for its neutral colored matte options, glossy options of this bag are now available.

The Away Carry-On is my ride or die. I've taken it on so many trips over the past five-plus years and it's still in perfect shape. I know I'll have it with me for many years to come. – Amanda Norcross, Content and SEO Strategist

Samsonite SoLyte DLX Carry-On Spinner in blue in an alley.

Catriona Kendall | U.S. News

Price: $199.99 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.1 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 32 liters | Color options: Black, gray, green, aqua blue or royal blue Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

This classic soft-sided option from Samsonite offers everything you need for a smooth trip. There are three spacious pockets and a trolley strap on the outside so you can stack it on top of another rolling suitcase, as well as a USB port for charging your phone (though you'll have to purchase a battery separately).

Inside the suitcase, three more zippered pockets – including one for wet items – help you stay organized, while buckles keep the main compartment's tie-down straps out of your way while packing. This spinner can conveniently expand by 0.75 inches, but keep in mind if you're flying that overpacking may put it over your carry-on size allowance.

I've used other spinner suitcases in the past, but none of them glide as smoothly as this bag, with its 360-degree dual-spinner wheels. I also love the high-quality, lightweight material, but my favorite part is its organizational features – especially the WetPak pocket. I'd highly recommend the Samsonite SoLyte DLX for anyone who needs a trusty soft-sided carry-on for a flight; it definitely fits more than I thought it would. – Catriona Kendall, Associate Editor

 July Carry On Light in black against a sunny window.

Price: $245 or less

Dimensions: 21.25 x 14.17 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 3.9 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 32 liters | Color options: Beige, light green, dark green, lilac, charcoal or 3 others Hard- or soft-sided: Hard | Warranty: Lifetime with 100-day returns

Weighing just under 4 pounds, this bag is the lightest hard-sided carry-on we found on the market. It's constructed with an extremely durable German polycarbonate shell, and the interior has two mesh zippered compartments to keep your belongings from shifting. The inner nylon lining is also resistant to water and stains. To make the suitcase easy to maneuver, there's a top carry handle, a telescoping handle and dual-spinner wheels.

I was absolutely shocked by how light this suitcase is. While some lightweight designs can be extremely flimsy, this July carry-on is very durable and holds a good amount of clothing. With compression packing cubes I was able to pack enough clothing for a week. It was extremely easy to put in the plane's overhead compartment, and the wheels rolled very smoothly for my entire journey. The only thing I noticed is that since the bag is so lightweight, the trolley bag I had was making it want to topple. Next time, I'd use a smaller tote or a north-south design to avoid that issue. – Rachael Hood

Interior of DELSEY PARIS Helium Aero International Carry-On - Expandable Spinner.

Erin Evans | U.S. News

Price: $179.99 or less

Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 10 inches | Weight: 8.16 pounds Packing capacity: 5-7 days; 41 liters | Color options: Black, blue, red or gray Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

This DELSEY PARIS carry-on is a well-built piece of hard-sided luggage. It meets carry-on suitcase size restrictions for most international airlines and offers an easily accessible front compartment – ideal for a laptop up to 15.6 inches or other items you want to be able to grab quickly. The suitcase has a TSA lock and two spacious internal compartments for clothing, shoes and travel gear. The double-spinner wheels glide smoothly across all types of surfaces, and the handle pulls out and retracts with ease.

I was incredibly impressed by this little workhorse of a carry-on bag. There are so many different pockets and compartments within it for organization, and it fits a surprising amount of clothes, shoes and accessories. The handle and wheels make it easy to maneuver, and the glossy exterior makes it look sleek and chic. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

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Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Textured exterior of Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner.

Price: $80 or less

Dimensions: 21.46 x 14.76 x 9.45 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 23 liters | Color options: Black, navy blue, orange or light blue Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 1-year

The Amazon Basics 20-inch Hardside Spinner is similar to many other hard-sided luggage products on the market, but it's available at a fraction of the price. The ABS shell is textured, so even if you – or luggage handlers – bang it around a bit, it does not show scuffs or scratches easily. The double-spinner wheels (a must, honestly, in today's luggage landscape) make the bag effortless to maneuver.

Inside, one side of the bag features a compression strap, while the other has a large fabric zippered closure, complete with a few organizer pockets for smaller items. Thanks to its availability on Amazon Prime, the carry-on luggage ships quickly, so it's also a great option if you need new luggage in a crunch.

This carry-on bag is a superb selection for the budget-conscious traveler. I appreciated how much I was able to get into this bag (it doesn't look huge, but it fit quite a lot), and the textured exterior really ups the durability factor. The compression straps and the interior organizer even helped me squeeze in a bit more. – Erin Evans

Best Expandability: Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner

Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner in blue against stone wall.

Price: $699 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 (up to 11.5) inches | Weight: 10 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 37-48 liters | Color options: Black, navy or olive Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

The Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner has a standout feature that other bags on this list don't: one-touch CX expansion. Exclusive to Briggs & Riley, this technology allows your bag to expand and compress in one swift motion. Simply press and pull up on the red levers found at opposite ends of the bag, and it will grow 2.5 inches. Once you've packed your belongings, push down on the buttons to compress the bag before zipping it up.

This bag also features a garment folder to reduce wrinkles in a suit or dress, as well as cinch-down garment panels to secure the clothing in place. Other convenient features include interior mesh compartments for organization, an exterior pocket for airport essentials (or even your laptop) and a signature PowerPocket where you can charge your smartphone.

While the bag is undoubtedly an investment at $700, its "simple as that" guarantee (free repairs forever, no questions asked) – plus sturdy features like impact-resistant corner guards and self-repairing zippers – means you'll have it for life.

When it comes to quality, this is the best luggage I've ever used – period. The compression/expansion system is just the icing on the cake. – Amanda Norcross

Best Underseater: CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage

And open and packed CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage.

Price: $165 or less

Dimensions: 16 x 14.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 5.1 pounds Packing capacity: 2-4 days; 34 liters | Color options: Chocolate, oatmeal or rose quartz Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 2-year limited

Compact and filled with useful features, this CALPAK underseater has a water-resistant exterior, a TSA-approved lock, and side and top handles for easy lifting into the overhead or pushing under the seat. There's a telescoping handle, a luggage trolley sleeve and two exterior pockets for stowing small items like your passport, boarding pass and earbuds.

On the inside, there's a padded laptop sleeve, multiple interior pockets and compression straps. For added convenience, the main panel can be secured via built-in snaps to get your laptop out while traveling (and keep your other belongings from spilling out), or you can unsnap it while packing to maximize the interior storage space.

When I'm traveling on a quick trip with my laptop, this is my go-to bag. Its compact size glides easily under the seat, and it's also compact and light enough to fit into the overhead bin even on the smallest regional planes. I love the laptop sleeve and the zippered exterior pocket for my book, earbuds and wipes. To maximize the interior space, I use compression cubes from Lug , and I'm able to squeeze in four to five outfits, a pair of shoes and daily necessities. – Rachael Hood

Interior of Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Carry-On Spinner – 20.4 Inch.

Price: $68 or less

Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.9 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 6.35 pounds Packing capacity: 2-3 days; 26 liters | Color options: Black, olive, gray, red, blue or purple Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 1-year

This simple but sturdy carry-on piece from Amazon is a great option for business travelers, thanks to its front pocket for easy laptop access, smooth double-spinner wheels and TSA lock. This Amazon Basics soft-sided carry-on also features a handle on the bottom between the wheels, which makes it easy to put the bag up into and pull it out of the overhead bin. On some airplanes, it may even be small enough to fit under the seat.

The interior of the bag features one large compartment with two compression straps, plus two zippered pockets on the opposite site. The 20.4-inch option is ideal for shorter trips, but this style is available in larger sizes as well. Another bonus: It's available on Amazon Prime, so it ships quickly.

This Amazon Basics option is on the smaller side for a carry-on, but that's what makes it a solid choice for business travelers going on short trips who only need to pack a few things. The laptop pocket is easily accessible, and the handle on the bottom of the bag is super useful for hauling it out of an overhead bin. The black color is professional, and the price can't be beat. – Erin Evans

Carl Friedrik The Carry-on Pro in black against chair.

Price: $565 or less

Dimensions: 21.7 x 15 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds Packing capacity: 5-7 days; 43 liters | Color options: Gray/cognac, gray/chocolate, gray/black or black Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Lifetime with a 100-day trial

Constructed with premium materials, this luxury carry-on has Italian leather accents, Japanese spinner wheels and a polycarbonate exterior with an aluminum metal frame for stability. It closes via two secure latches with combination locks (rather than a zipper). There's a front laptop compartment with a smaller pocket and pen slots to keep business essentials or travel documents easy to access.

The interior has leather details, compression straps and a removable compression pad with a pocket – ideal for small items like ties, fashion jewelry or silk scarves. Travelers can also purchase an additional compression pad to have a pad on each side of the interior compartment.

This suitcase exudes luxury with its Italian leather trim and understated elegance. The design of it looks very sleek, the interior is spacious, the handle is very sturdy and the wheels glide with ease. I especially liked that the top of the suitcase is very flat, which gave my trolley bag a secure base so it wasn't moving around while I was at the airport, and the front compartment was ideal for accessing my laptop on the go. It feels very sturdy, but the only downside is it weighs more than a typical carry-on. – Rachael Hood

Best Carry-on Duffel: The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22"

The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22" in black on rooftop.

Price: $270 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 5 days; 40 liters | Color options: Black Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The North Face's 22-inch Rolling Thunder duffel doesn't have the bells and whistles of other carry-on options, but it's a sturdy and reliable option for those who want a duffel style on wheels. The duffel has a hard-sided back panel, two wheels that can withstand various terrain and plastic bumpers for abrasion resistance. The soft-sided top of the bag is made of water-resistant Base Camp material and nylon for extra durability. There are two zippered pockets on the outside to stash small items and a mesh pocket inside for some added organization.

I brought this duffel on a trip to New Zealand, and it held up very well. The Rolling Thunder had no issues after being checked on six different flights, and the flexibility of the style allowed me to easily store it out of the way in my campervan once I had unpacked. It's definitely a simpler style, but it does its job well. Be aware, though, that this wheeled style doesn't have straps that would allow you to carry it like a duffel; it can only be rolled. – Catriona Kendall

Read: The Top Rolling Duffel Bags

An open Cotopaxi Allpa 35L with Cotopaxi packing cubes inside.

Price: $200 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 10 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds Packing capacity: 5-10 days; 35 liters | Color options: Multiple options but color availability changes frequently Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

When it comes to hands-free and adventure travel, the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L can't be beat. This lightweight carry-on backpack comes with a sternum strap, a removable waist belt and a weight-distributing harness system, all to make for a comfortable carry (since sore shoulders can be a concern when it comes to carrying backpacks through time-consuming airport experiences).

Organization is a breeze with a top zippered pocket – perfect for storing travel documents or a Cotopaxi hip pack – and a padded laptop sleeve on the outside. Internally, you'll find two mesh compartments, one large and one subdivided, that work great with Cotopaxi packing cubes . The backpack's straps can be tucked away for more streamlined travel, and the bag even comes with a rain cover (though the Allpa is already TPU-coated to be water-resistant).

Furthermore, Cotopaxi is dedicated to sustainability : 94% of Cotopaxi products contain repurposed, recycled or responsible materials. The vibrant, one-of-a-kind Del Dia Allpa backpacks , for example, use remnant fabric.

I've taken my Cotopaxi Allpa on countless adventures and it's survived everything – wind, rain, being shoved into tiny rental cars, you name it. Besides being incredibly durable, I love how much this backpack can fit; my longest trip so far with only the Allpa 35L as my luggage has been a comfortable nine days, and that included packing bulky cold-weather gear. I just wish it had a water bottle pocket like the Allpa 42L does! – Leilani Osmundson

Read: The Best Carry-on Backpacks

Also Recommended

Solgaard Carry-on Closet – Large: This bag packs a built-in organizer component along with a durable exterior. The Solgaard Carry-on Closet is worth considering if you like to avoid packing and unpacking.

Solo New York Re:Serve Carry-On Spinner: While the Solo New York Re:Serve Carry-On Spinner is a solid (and sustainable) carry-on bag for less than $200, it doesn't offer quite enough space – especially for someone who may be traveling for longer.

Away The Aluminum Carry-On Bag: This is a well-built carry-on bag. The only downfall is that it's on the heavier side, weighing nearly 11 pounds. Away's Aluminum Carry-On is also more than twice the cost of the standard carry-on by Away, which works just as well.

Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner: This is a great soft-sided option if you're looking for a lightweight suitcase. Featuring a sleek nylon construction, a large front exterior pocket and internal zippered pockets, the Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner works well but isn't as lightweight as the July Carry-on Light.

Monos Carry-on Plus: It's a high-quality suitcase with a lot of internal details, but given its larger size this bag doesn't fit in the overhead compartment on multiple planes (especially regional jets). That said, if you're traveling domestically on larger planes, the Monos Carry-on Plus could be an option to consider. Or, the smaller standard Monos Carry-on could be a good option as well.

How We Tested

Our team tested 26 carry-on bags across several price points and on a variety of trips spanning overseas flights, weekend getaways, overnight trips and more. We traveled by car, plane, train and cruise and packed for a variety of climates and activities, from shore excursions in Mexico to rainy road trips around Iceland. For bags with wheels, we tested their maneuverability on multiple surfaces, including gravel, pavement, grass, moving walkways, cobblestone and carpet. After four months of testing, we deem these carry-on bags the best of the best for 2024.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

The following editors personally tested the luggage recommended in this article:

Erin Evans , Managing Editor: Evans loves a durable bag and also can't say no to a good deal. Considering how banged up luggage can get, her picks on this list are both well-made and affordable.

Rachael Hood , Senior Editor: Hood rarely checks a bag, yet she loves to pack a lot and pick up some new finds along her journey. She looks for a combination of durability, functionality, interior space and overall appearance.

Catriona Kendall , Associate Editor: Kendall opts for convenient and versatile carry-ons that can work well for weekend and weekslong trips alike.

Amanda Norcross , Content & SEO Strategist: Norcross has mastered the art of traveling with a carry-on bag only, but believes this is only possible with the right luggage.

Leilani Osmundson , Digital Producer: Osmundson prefers lightweight, streamlined luggage that's ideal for adventure travel.

You might also be interested in:

  • What to Pack in Your Carry-on Bag
  • What is Allowed in a Carry-on Bag
  • The Best Luggage Sets
  • The Best Luggage Brands
  • The Best Travel Insurance

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What's Hot

Frequent travelers swear by this pricey-but-worthwhile luggage.

Shopping Writer for HuffPost

A travel and camera pack from Wandrd, Monos check-in large luggage and a wheeled duffle by Osprey.

If you’ve ever found yourself trudging along a busy airport terminal with a travel bag that’s doing nothing but holding you back, it may be time to invest in something that, while expensive, is worth the money.

I appreciate a good affordable product as much as the next person, but there are times when my money-savvy ways led me to spend more in the long run by buying something that costs less, but doesn’t last as long. This is most often the case with bags for travel, which can be incredibly pricey.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been in touch with tons of frequent travelers, from flight attendants to travel influencers to our very own HuffPost staff, in order to find out what expensive pieces of luggage and bags actually justify their cost.

Their testimonies, along with the help of reviews from other travelers, helped us create the following selection of carry-on backpacks and suitcases, including with larger checkable luggage, that have paid for themselves in traveling performance.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

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The 15 Best Crossbody Bags That Make Traveling a Breeze

Hands-free is the way to go

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Every product on this page was chosen by a Harper's BAZAAR editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

The best crossbody bags for travel allow for a versatile, hands-free approach to standing in security lines at the airport or Google Mapping my way around new destinations. They let me do it all without tugging at any straps (which is typically what I have to do when I wear a tote bag or a shoulder bag ).

The Leather Carabiner Crossbody Bag

Best Budget

Madewell the leather carabiner crossbody bag.

Messenger Bag With Interlocking G

Gucci Messenger Bag With Interlocking G

Double Loop Bag

Most Sustainable

Cuyana double loop bag.

Le Foulonné Small Crossbody Bag

Best Saddle

Longchamp le foulonné small crossbody bag.

Salina Leather Crossbody Bag

Best Quality

Il bisonte salina leather crossbody bag.

Re-Nylon Shoulder Bag

Prada Re-Nylon Shoulder Bag

Betty Crossbody Bag

Best Everyday

A.p.c. betty crossbody bag.

Giullia Crossbody Camera Bag

Best Camera

Yvonne koné giullia crossbody camera bag.

Pinar Crossbody Bag

Most Modern

Hereu pinar crossbody bag.

Marcie Medium Crossbody Bag

Best Bohemian

Chloé marcie medium crossbody bag.

There are a few things I always look for when picking out my next crossbody. I tend to carry a lot on me for a day of exploring, so I gravitate toward styles that aren’t too bulky in size, and I always consider the weight of the bag. Fabrication is also important, since the bag generally gets a lot of wear. I prefer sturdy leather , canvas, or nylon, all of which can be cleaned easily. Bags made of these materials stand the test of time, so I don’t have to worry about being gentle while throwing one into a security bin at the airport.

As a fashion editor, design details are also always on my mind—one of the most important being the shoulder straps. I prefer a thicker strap, since anything too skinny can dig into the shoulder in an uncomfortable way, or potentially snap. I also recommend looking for a bag that closes fully, whether it is a zip-top or button-flap closure, so your personal belongings are completely secure if you hear, “ Attenzione , pickpocket ! ”

Should you need a little extra guidance on where to start, you can find the 15 best crossbody bags for travel below. I guarantee any one of them will make your next getaway a little more effortless.

Madewell makes affordable bags from luxe Italian leather that wear quite well over time and are usually under $150. This compact bag’s extended strap is extra long and has loads of notches for additional adjustability.

Personally, I’d take this medium crossbody with me on a weekend excursion when I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking. It will also look just as great at the peak of summer with a white summer dress, and come fall with a chunky sweater and vintage jeans.

Materials: Leather

Dimensions: 5.5" H x 8" W x 2" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 25" drop

Colors: True black, harvest moon

If I were to go the designer logo route, I would most definitely choose Gucci’s messenger shape for the ’70s feel of the heritage G logo. The durable canvas is also ideal for travel, making cleaning and touch-ups easy. The two pockets will keep your belongings safe and secure. It’s also the ideal accessory for a day of sightseeing, especially if styled with a cotton button-down, a pair of faded jeans, and Birkenstock slides.

Materials: Canvas, leather

Dimensions: 10"W x 7.9"H x 2.4"D; adjustable shoulder strap with 25.2" drop

Colors: Beige and ebony GG Supreme canvas

Cuyana excels at creating leather goods with purpose. The Double Loop bag is made from Italian leather—certified by the Leather Working Group—and produced in a woman-owned factory in Turkey, which has been in operation since the 15th century. The brand’s minimal designs, like this crossbody, are always in my suitcase because they’re guaranteed to work with any outfit I wear.

Dimensions: 8" H x 9.5" W x 5.5" D (medium size); adjustable shoulder strap with 24" drop

Colors: Dark olive, black, cappuccino, ecru, caramel, dark coral

Longchamp’s Le Foulonné bag looks like a saddle you can carry. The bag has a top zip closure, so belongings won’t spill out while you’re zipping through security. The fabric lining inside also makes for easy cleaning in case of spillage—so there’s no need to worry about mini TSA-approved perfume bottles or a rogue uncapped lipstick making a mess.

Materials: Cowhide leather

Dimensions: 7.75" W x 7.75" H x 2" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 18.75"–22" convertible strap drop

Colors: Caramel, turtle dove, black, cloud blue, love

Slow fashion is key to Il Bisonte’s work. The brand’s leather products are made by hand in Tuscany, Italy, by skilled artisans who use vegetable-tanned cowhide in an effort to produce leather more sustainably. This minimalist Salina crossbody looks like a vintage bag I’d stumble upon in a Parisian flea market. And the retro design isn’t clunky, making it ideal for a day of gallery hopping.

Dimensions: 10" W x 9.5" H x 3.5" D

Colors: Blue black, avorio, caramel, nero

I like traveling with nylon bags since they don’t feel too precious. Prada’s version is a classic, reimagined in its Re-Nylon, which is produced from recycled, purified plastic materials. It has plenty of organizational pockets for all my necessities, too, so I am fully prepared for a full day of wandering.

Materials: 100% recycled nylon

Dimensions: 9.4" H x 11.6" W x 3.5" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 37.4" drop

Colors: Black, desert beige

The A.P.C. Betty is my personal tried-and-true. I can always fit my personal essentials inside, and it never feels too heavy when walking around a new city for hours on end. I have owned this bag for over six years now, and the stiff leather barely shows any sign of wear or tear. And it’s even compact enough to throw into my personal item on a flight, so I don’t have to worry about extra baggage.

Dimensions: 8" W x 7" L x 2.4" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 19.4" drop

Colors: Brown, black

The camera bag shape is an easy, packable option for travel. This one by Yvonne Koné is simple and clean, with a minimalist Danish design made of luxe pebbled leather. The two-way zipper on top makes reaching for your wallet or passport easy. The boxier silhouette also has enough room to stow my external battery and charging cables too, so my iPhone battery never dies while I’m snapping photos for Instagram all day long.

Dimensions: 7.5" W x 6" H x 4" D

Colors: Rio black

Hereu is all about heritage. The Spanish brand’s contemporary leather goods are made by a network of family-run manufacturers who have been passing down skills and techniques for generations. The Pinar has a unique, braided detail along the outline of the bag that makes it feel super special. I also like that the crossbody strap is removable, allowing the bag to be worn traditionally as a crossbody during the day or as a clutch by night for dinner, meaning I don’t have to pack an extra evening bag.

Materials: Calfskin leather

Dimensions: 8.5" W x 7" H x 10.25" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 22.1" drop

Colors: Dark brown, black

Chloé’s Marcie bag has been a permanent fixture in the brand’s collection, with good reason. It’s a roomy crossbody shape that fits all the essentials for travel: passport, wallet, phone, and keys. The stitching and simple hardware give it a slight Bohemian-meets-equestrian feel. I’d take this one on my summer travels and pair it with airy, cotton dresses and lace-up sandals in the Mediterranean, or to the countryside in the fall while wearing a blazer, jeans, and cowboy boots.

Dimensions: 11.4" W x 10.2" H x 3.5" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 35"–42.9" convertible strap drop

Colors: Tan, black, light gray

TL 180 La Forti Bag

La Forti Bag

One of my personal favorite handbag brands, TL 180, comes from a cool, female design duo based in Rome. They introduced nylon into their usual leather offerings a few years ago, and I haven’t been able to take off my La Forti bag since. The fabric is super lightweight and easy to throw around, especially when traveling. The unstructured nature of the material also means a lot can fit inside. I like that this shape can be worn as a crossbody or a shoulder bag, depending on my mood.

Materials: 100% nylon and Napa leather

Dimensions: 7" H x 1o" W x 8.5" D; shoulder strap with 17" drop

Colors: White and black

Loewe Gate Dual Mini Crossbody Bag

Gate Dual Mini Crossbody Bag

Loewe’s Gate Dual Mini is a no-brainer. It’s stylish and compact, with a Jacquard canvas strap that is thick, soft, and won’t rub on the shoulder. It’s also available in a bevy of rich color ways, so there is something for everyone. I personally would go with the olive green to add a nice pop of color to the white tee, black jeans, and blue button-down uniform I usually pack.

Materials: Leather, cotton/polyester strap

Dimensions: 5.1" H x 8.3" W x 3.5" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 29.5" drop

Colors: Green, tan, beige, peach, yellow, light green, cream, lilac, blue, light blue

Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Crossbody Bag

Intrecciato Crossbody Bag

Bottega Veneta’s Intrecciato crossbody bag is a worthy investment. The thick, supple leather strap sits comfortably on the shoulder. But most importantly, it’s also removable, so the bag easily converts to a clutch.

Dimensions: 8.5" W x 5" H x 2" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 18"–22" convertible strap drop

Colors: 15, including black, teal, regent, white, and cranberry

Clare V. Midi Sac Bag

Midi Sac Bag

Clare V. always has a knack for creating simple, wearable leather goods with a twist. The size of this crossbody is perfect for taking on a weekend away, and it can easily transform into a clutch for an evening out.

Dimensions: 8.75" L x 6" H x 2.75" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 20.5" convertible strap drop

Colors: Natural and cream, black and cream

DeMellier Vancouver Crossbody Bag

Vancouver Crossbody Bag

I like to play with textured handbags within my own wardrobe, and this canvas-and-leather version of DeMellier’s iconic Vancouver style is a must-have. The striped pattern feels classic enough to work with anything from linen shirt dresses to chunky wool coats, while still making more of a statement than a plain colored bag. Materials: Canvas, leather

Dimensions: 8.7" W x 7.1" H x 2.8" D; adjustable shoulder strap with 20.9" drop

Colors: Brown striped, black striped

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The Edit: Fashion

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But choosing the best luggage is not always as easy as it seems. The variety of options on the market can make shopping for a new large suitcase or carry-on feel like driving through a dark tunnel without a navigation system. This guide here on the best luggage brands will help shine a little light on your trek, aiding you in choosing the right luggage for your budget.


Best Overall Luggage Brand


The Close Second


The Frequent Favorite


Best Investment Luggage Brand


Best Softside Luggage Brand


Best Luggage Sets

Peak Design

Best Luggage for Hauling Gear

Peak design.


Best Luggage for Apple AirTag Users

Eagle Creek

Best Adventure Luggage Brand

Eagle creek.


Best Luggage for Minimalist Travelers

Which brand of suitcase i s best.

The editors and writers at Men's Health are constantly on the go. From working assignments in LA to taking tropical vacations in Madeira, we make it a point to test all the best luggage brands in our adventures. Over the past four years alone, we've tested well over 40 different luggage brands to find the perfect piece. Here, we bring you the 17 best luggage brands of 2024 in one clean list, with Samsonite commanding our top spot of the best luggage brand overall due to the brand's outstanding durability, clean design, and wallet-friendly price.

No matter if you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all bag or an entire luggage set, these are the best luggage brands on the market that will get you cruising without the stress of schlepping some raggedy old case. Ready to see the list?

Travel Awards | Best Travel Gadgets | Best Travel Shoes | Best Travel Pillows | Best Travel Pants | Best AirTag Wallets

Price Point ($-$$$): $ | Hardside or Softside: Both | Warranty: 10 years

Samsonite makes the best affordable suitcases and luggage sets in our eyes. While the brand is in just about every major department store, the best place to buy Samsonite luggage is on Amazon. The retailer carries some of Samsonite's highest-rated products that won't burn a hole in your wallet. You can score an entire hard-sided set for under $300 or shop the brand's durable nylon singles . The items might not be as feature-loaded and reinforced as some of the other brands, but you will be surprised at how far your luggage will go before you need replacing.

When asking Justin Crabbe , the CEO of Jettly, a private jet charter service, about his go-to luggage brand, he mentioned Samsonite as one of the most well-priced and reliable brands that come to mind. "With lightweight yet durable material, superior design, and multiple compartments for packing with ease, it is a traveler’s dream come true," says Crabbe.

Our Senior Gear and Commerce Editor, John Thompson, always seems to find himself traveling with Samsonite too. " Time and time again I think I need to upgrade my luggage, and then I come back to my softside Samsonite carry-on I've held onto for over 5+ years," he says. " It [my carry-on] has been my companion with me through many adventures, from high altitude camping trips in Colorado to overseas adventures in countries like China and Germany." Thompson also notes his Samsonite's all-black fabric body has resisted scratches and marks over time, which makes it suitable for business trips as a clean piece that will blend in among the other bags—and not stand out for being all mangled and disheveled.

Read more: Viral TikTok Travel Essentials

Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Both | Warranty: Lifetime

You must be living under a rock if this is your first time hearing about the magic that is Away luggage. The simple-yet-modern design makes you actually love to carry the brand's bags. Away's claim to fame comes from the brand's built-in battery packs that can power up your devices. Our Fashion Director, Ted Stafford, is a huge fan of Away due to the brand's attention to detail in the design process. " The interior of the suitcase has a streamlined design, which offers ample space to fit all your necessary items in an uncluttered and organized way ," says Stafford. " Plus, Away’s suitcases are extremely lightweight, so you can easily maneuver to and from your destination without pulling your muscles or overexerting unnecessary energy—to me, that kind of ease is invaluable at a price that’s very fair.”

The carry-on sizes come in a traditional option and a bigger carry-on for certain airlines that allow it. The brand also innovated on its hard-sided luggage collection, and now makes a full line of soft-sided durable ballistic nylon and outer pocket additions.

Read more: Long Flight Essentials

Price Point ($-$$$): $ | Hardside or Softside: Softside | Warranty: 10 years

What would the best luggage guide be without TravelPro? The legacy brand has been a longtime favorite of frequent travelers, soft luggage fans, and, yes, even pilots and flight attendants. TravelPro sets are wallet-friendly and its bags are constructed with function in mind (we especially love how durable the 360-wheels and handles are on its pieces).

Nadia Podrabinek , a travel writer and founder of Why This Place, is a huge fan of her expandable soft side Travelpro carry-on due to the high quality of design for an affordable price. "The lightweight construction that does not sacrifice on quality, allowing you to travel with peace of mind; and the four-wheel spinner design makes maneuvering through airports easy, while numerous pockets help keep your items organized," Podrabinek says.

Travelpro might not be the most flashy brand, but there's a reason so many travel writers (and flight attendants) love the brand.

Read more: Best Men's Clothing Brands

Price Point ($-$$$): $$$ | Hardside or Softside: Both | Warranty: 5 years

Tumi is for the slick traveler on the move that appreciates design as much as they do function. The longtime brand founded back in 1975 makes sure every new piece of luggage helps aim to solve common travel qualms. Tumi's carry-on bags and backpacks are made with several easy-access zippered compartments to help breeze through TSA lines, and the brand's add-a-bag sets are designed to lug around two to three bags at one time with one hand.

Adam Mansuroglu, a former Style & Commerce Editor at Men's Health is a Tumi fan. "I've had my Tumi 19 Degree carry-on case for a few years now ; and whenever I want to feel a bit fancier and pretend like I live that jet-set life, I make sure to carry that silver stunner," Mansuroglu says. " I t not only looks sleek and stylish—it can hold a surprising amount of shoes for a fashion editor who can't seem to ever travel light."

It's no secret Tumi is one of the more expensive luggage brands around, but if can pony up the investment you'll be happy knowing you'll have a sleek bag that's going to last you for many years to come.

Read more: Best Dopp Kits

Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Softside | Warranty: 3 years

Calling all gearheads. If you're an adventure traveler, Yeti has your back (literally, with the brand's first Crossroads backpack series). In this line of luggage, you'll find dry bags for white water rafting, carryalls, and classic rolling luggage and duffels that can withstand just about anything without showing much wear and tear. These bags are made for utility and function with a willingness to get tossed around and dirty with an easy clean.

Due to the tough construction of Yeti luggage, it's no wonder the bags have become a favorite for adventure tourists in the past few years. Geordie Mackay-Lewis , co-founder of Pelorus , a bespoke agency that plans exotic travel and yacht experiences, loves to pack Yeti bags for client excursions. " For our more adventurous trips, we pack our soft and fully waterproof Yeti bags, which can easily be thrown into a RIB or helicopter ," Mackay-Lewis says. " They also have great camera bags, which we’ve been using on client trips and reconnaissance missions for years."

It's worth mentioning only some of the Yeti bags are completely waterproof, but most are water-resistant.

Read more: Best Backpacks for Men

Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Hardside | Warranty: 5 years

Calpak’s popularity is right up there with AWAY, but a major difference is the organizational approach of each brand. Almost all of Calpak's luggage has separate sleeves for shoes, zip pockets for smaller items, compartments for magazines, and straps to hold it all in place. Plus, they make some of the best matching luggage sets around, including a full line of accessories that make packing easier.

Christen Nicole , a FORA Travel Advisor and travel blogger, told us the Astyll 3-Piece Set has been her current go-to for travels for the past two years. " I've loved how the polycarbonate shell has kept my belongings secure, and how the spacious interior pocket dividers have kept everything in its place," Nicole says. When it comes to naming her favorite bag in the set, she finds the carry-on to be the best piece overall due to its combination of generous space (up to 45 liters) with a light build (6 pounds in weight).

If you're someone who has to frequently sit on your suitcase to close it, then opting for Calpak will help turn you into an efficient packing pro. The brand's packing cubes and organizers are excellent at categorizing items, and the suitcases are deep and roomy.

Read more: Most Comfortable Hoodies

Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Softside | Warranty: Lifetime

Smart, sexy, and functional as heck, are three words we'd describe Peak Design luggage. The West Coast-based brand originally started in making camera equipment—like carbon fiber tripods—but over time started venturing into camera bags, then everyday bags, then actual travel bags. Products like the Travel Backpack and Travel Duffel offer durable, water-resistant protection for everything from clothes to electronics.

We love how Peak Designs keeps things simple for the look of each bag, making sure to omit tacky logo placements and over-the-top colors, and instead go with a classic all-black look, plus a few natural color combinations on some specific bags.

Samara's luggage pieces are as sleek and stylish as they come. And while they look beautiful from a design standpoint, the one area that deserves recognition is their high level of functionality. We're talking about a strong aluminum frame, 360-degree spinner wheels, and telescopic handles. Plus, all Samsara luggage comes with Tag Smart, which is a unique design configuration made in the luggage to allow for easy placement of your Apple AirTag.

Our Senior Gear and Commerce Editor, John Thompson, likes to use his Samsara carry-on whenever he wants to switch over to a hardshell suitcase. "Right now, there's no other brand making such a well design AirTag holder for keeping tabs on its suitcase," Thompson says.

We also found the built-in portable charger is easy to pop out and use, and it works great when powering bigger electronics like laptops and over-ear headphones .

Read more: Best AirTag Wallets

Eagle Creek is known for its no-nonsense and affordable gear that caters to outdoor adventurers. The brand makes some of the best dang packing cubes one could buy, and if you follow up the product ladder you'll land on the different luggage pieces those very cubes can be stored inside. Eagle Creek makes only soft luggage, but the materials are often super tear resistant and the designs offer lots of utility and opportunity for smarter configurations of how to store everything from clothes and hiking essentials to camera gear.

Jackson Groves , travel photographer, adventurer, and founder of the travel blog, told us his personal favorite Eagle Creek bag is his Gear Warrior roller suitcase. " The Gear Warrior's rugged construction and water-resistant materials ensure that my belongings stay safe and protected even in challenging environments; and its spacious main compartment and multiple interior and exterior pockets offer ample storage space for all my essentials, allowing me to stay organized on the go," Groves says. " The durable wheels and retractable handle make maneuvering through airports, trails, and uneven terrain a breeze."

What we love the most about Eagle Creek is they have a no questions asked warranty policy, so if something were to get damaged on your travels, the brand will make sure either repair or replace your bag.

Read more: Best Camping Essentials

Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Softside | Warranty: Lifetiime

Osprey makes a number of trusted duffle bags and backpacks that are suitable for minimalist travelers and adventure junkies. The brand shines brightest in its travel backpack offerings. Yes, the packs work amazing for actually backpacking, but due to Osprey's commitment to loading its products with tough materials and premium features—like carrying belts and smart pocket configurations—we've found the backpacks work seriously good for fast weekend getaway trips, no serious outdoor adventuring required.

Scott Cundy, Founder of Wildland Trekking and Intrepid Travel Director of Marketing, The Americas, swears by his Osprey Aether Plus 100 for everything from wilderness backpacking to conventional travel. " It has fantastic capacity at about 6,000 cubic inches, is durable, has an extremely robust hip belt which keeps the weight off my shoulders, and any great pockets," says Cundy. "M y favorite feature of this pack though is how the top loader is removable and becomes a very useable day pack."

The best part about traveling with an Osprey backpack is you can fit your laptop inside with two to three days of clothes and never have to worry about hauling a carry-on or duffel bag to your destination.


Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Softside | Warranty: 2 years

OGIO can transport a wardrobe quite well, but what the brand is truly exceptional at is transporting gear. Whatever equipment you might want to take with you on your next big trip, an OGIO bag will work as a checked luggage option to get your prized possessions from point A to point B.

This prior notion is especially true when it comes to traveling with golf clubs, as pieces like their ALPHA Travel Cover help you roll your clubs through a terminal without any snagging or other inconveniences. "G reat product to carry clubs. Kept everything safe and has lockable zippers," said one Amazon reviewer.

Read more: Best Golf Bags


Price Point ($-$$$): $ | Hardside or Softside: Hardside | Warranty: 2 years

Coolife prides itself on constant innovation. The company was started in the '80s and has evolved to be as modern and relevant as today's big players, like AWAY and Calpak. The aesthetic is quite similar to such brands, with minimally-hued hardshell cases that protect your precious goods and spin nicely. While you don't get the popular brand name, you will get a far better price point, (we're talking under $200 for a two-piece set), making Coolife luggage a major bang for the buck you're spending.

Plus, the Amazon reviews on Coolife luggage are exceptional. " It [the set] cost less than a single suitcase in other stores and includes perfect sizes with the largest being expandable; don’t hesitate to buy these when you need luggage," said one Amazon reviewer. The three-piece set has over 1,000 five-star reviews alone.


Price Point ($-$$$): $$$ | Hardside or Softside: Hardside | Warranty: Lifetime

For over 120 years, Rimowa has been making hard-sided luggage, first starting with wooden suitcases and then moving to sturdy aluminum bags. Now, RIMOWA uses ultra-lightweight polycarbonate in its bags. The brand is known for pushing the boundaries of innovation. Though they come in at a luxury price point, these bags will last for well over a decade. Just take a look at this review a Rimowa buyer left at " On our first trip using this suitcase, my entire family fought over who got to roll the Rimowa because it was just SO MUCH LIGHTER and maneuverable than our other suitcases. It’s sleek, sturdy, light and has great details and added features." The hard-sided shell might look intimidating at first, but once you feel how lightweight and easy this is to the wheel, you'll wonder why you haven't invested in it sooner.

Read more: Best Sunglasses


Price Point ($-$$$): $$ | Hardside or Softside: Hardside | Warranty: Lifetime

If you're looking for unique luggage that will stand out in baggage claim, look no further. Not only are Roam 's designs multi-colored, the brand even offers the option to make it uniquely yours in their own design studio. Roam makes the best-checked luggage for that reason along with being light in weight, easy to wheel around, and extra secure with a locking system. "I was an early adopter of the Roam Journey. I traveled all over the world with it. It is lightweight and the customization options really make it pop on the conveyor belt. No more episodes of other people accidentally grabbing my mundane black bag," said one Roam reviewer.

We had thoughts about the carry-on looking small when we first got our hands on one, but the bag can surprisingly fit many days' worth of outfits. The only con about the carry-on thought is it comes without outer organizational pockets, so you'll have to store smaller belongings and electronics inside the bag.


You're probably going to be most impressed by Monos on this list. The Canadian brand makes luggage with a cool minimalist aesthetic that is efficient in packing space thanks to organized internal compartments and packing cubs. It seems as if the brand has thoroughly thought of every travel hiccup and created its products to solve those common issues. The Monos carry-on features a fold-out tech pocket that doesn't compromise the unbreakable aluminum and polycarbonate hybrid shell. The result of all of this: durable aluminum, lightweight polycarbonate, and soft-sided organization features. The wheels are virtually noiseless, and the brand's accessories snap perfectly into place among the entire line of luggage. It all looks and feels expensive, probably because it isn't cheap—but it will make your travel dreams so much better.


Price Point ($-$$$): $$$ | Hardside or Softside: Softside | Warranty: Lifetime

Filson has captured the hearts of travelers who love timeless rugged design. While the Seattle brand doesn't carry any hard luggage, Filson does make some grade-A soft luggage. Everything from their duffle bags to messenger bags is perfect for short trips and for carry-on duties. One Filson review mentioned how well his duffel bag performed on a trip abroad. " Used it on a 10-day trip to Europe in winter; paired it up with a carry-on and this was perfect to fit bulkier items like boots, sweaters, and jackets," said the reviewer.

The initial investment on any Filson bag is a pretty penny, but the quality materials like USA-sourced leather and tear-resistant canvas point to your bag lasting a long long time—and look better with every new sign of wear and tear, no less.


July is another luggage brand that's made a splash in recent years. The attention to detail in design, combined with stylish silhouettes, has brought forth a line of pieces that look great standalone and even better together. "The suitcase packed a lot of clothes very nicely as I traveled all through the Middle East, France, and Amsterdam. It rolls so easily it made the whole trip quite enjoyable. It seems very sturdy, and it is great looking," said one July reviewer.

July luggage comes in a ton of colors and—best of all—the brand offers small personalization services like monogramming and images of your pets. Yes, you heard that right pet parents.

Read more: Best Sling Bags

Why Trust Us

commerce breaker

  • In order to keep up with new innovations and product releases, the Men's Health editors and writers are continually testing the latest travel gear. Aside from covering travel gear in our evergreen roundups, we also highlight the best new travel gear in our gift guides and annual Travel Awards .
  • When it comes to luggage, we make sure to line up real-world testing opportunities anytime we're on assignment or traveling for pleasure. Then, we bring the luggage back to our office to thoroughly inspect each bag to determine what design notes surprised us, and what could use more work.
  • We consider how luggage brands appeals to specific types of traveler, as opposed to making generic assumptions that every traveler's needs are the same. We take into account everything from checked bags to carry-ons, to duffel bags and travel backpacks. Travelers who come to us will gain a full understanding of the luggage landscape and how it fits their lifestyle.

Read more: Learn How Men's Health Tests Products

How to Find the Right Luggage

commerce breaker

Like your favorite pair of jeans , your favorite piece of luggage is going to come from a brand that fits your lifestyle. When looking for the best suitcase brand, you're going to want to write down what quantities you desire in your luggage. Here's what you should look for.

Frequency of Travel

The right luggage is going to fit with how you travel. If you're only going out of town a handful times a year, then you don't necessarily need to splurge on a super expensive suitcase or suitcase set. In fact, we'd recommend going for a wallet-friendly suitcase or set from brands like Samsonite or Coolife if you're not traveling that often, as these brands will hold up for years with light to medium use and not cost you very much upfront. If you're traveling a lot (for pleasure, business, or both) then you're going to probably want to lean towards making an investment in a piece of luggage that's made to handle continuous wear and tear. "When it comes to buying the right piece for your travel needs, my advice is always to opt for something that fits your lifestyle and budget," says Justin Crabbe.

How You Travel

After estimating how much you will be traveling throughout the year, you can start to write down your travel habits, or how you travel. Do you pack heavy or pack light? What features do you want or need? This is where features like TSA locks, 360-degree wheels, special laptop compartments, built-in portable chargers, and more are to be considered. "Look for ways to elevate your internal organization, like dividers, pockets, and sections that will help you keep your belongings organized and easily accessible during your travels," says Sean Oblizalo. Another note: if you're into adventure traveling, look for a bag that's more flexible, lightweight, and made with weather-resistant materials is your best option. "Look for sturdy fabrics such as nylon or polyester, reinforced stitching, and strong zippers to ensure your luggage can handle the demands of outdoor adventures," says Jackson Groves.

You also want to consider how much you are willing to pay for your suitcase. Some suitcase brands are expensive because they get grouped into high fashion, but suitcases can also be expensive because they're known to last a long time (it's worth mentioning the best luggage brands have a kind of timeless style attributed to them). A few of the best suitcase brands that require a significant investment include RIMOWA, Tumi, and Filson. If you're looking for suitcase brands that provide the best overall value (for the price you pay), consider makers like Samsonite, TravelPro, and CooLife.

Lastly, take note of each luggage brand's warranty. A warranty will help get your suitcase replaced or fixed should it have any issues (like a broken off wheel or damaged handle). Most luggage brands have pretty good warranties these days (usually 5-10 years) but the best warranty you can get on a suitcase is a lifetime warranty. Warranties can be huge for frequent travelers, as your suitcase will wear down with high usage. If you are a frequent traveler, or if you're someone who simply wants the best warranty you can get, go with a suitcase that has a lifetime policy. Premium luggage brands are more likely to have lifetime warranties, so this can be another benefit to going up and investing in an expensive suitcase.

Is Hardside or Softside Luggage Better?

The most popular luggage comes in either a hard-sided or soft-sided structured bag. Like mentioned earlier, the pros and cons of both depend on what you prioritize when you pack. Soft-sided luggage typically has more room for movement, more organizational pockets, and can compress to fit into tight spaces (like the overhead of an airplane). They open with a top flap zip, placing the bulk of storage at the bottom. Softside luggage offers more packing room, but it can throw off the balance of your goods when it’s tossed around and stowed away by airline employees. Basically, soft-sided luggage does not provide as much protection as hard-sided bags—but they are roomier.

Read more: Transformative Trips Every Guy Should Take

Due to advances in making polycarbonate more durable and lighter, hard-sided bags started gaining popularity in the past few years Hardside luggage features a 50/50 split opening (also called a book opening), making each side an equal stabilizer with an outer shell of hard protection. Polycarbonate shells are typically better for business travel. They stack easily but are usually rigid with zero room to expand like a soft-sided bag. The latest hard-sided bags look sleeker and are easier to clean and move—but they require you to be more strategic in your packing.

Other features that you’ll want to consider are weight and wheelability. Many modern suitcases are designed in the lightest possible form, along with four spinner wheels that can swivel 360 degrees to make rolling around the airport, pavement, or hotel floor a breeze.

Headshot of Christian Gollayan

Christian Gollayan oversees e-commerce content for Men's Health and Women's Health. Previously, he was the Associate Managing Editor at Christian's work has also been featured in Food & Wine, InStyle, the New York Post, and Tatler Asia.

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John Thompson is the Senior Gear and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where he covers fashion, grooming, gear, and technology. He was previously the Style & Gear Editor at , and a commerce writer for . His interests include attending concerts, spending time outside, and following his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. 

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The Best Photos from the Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Premiere in New York City

The stars looked glamorous in black and white.

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The show, based on Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era by Laurence Leamer, premieres next week. “It was a story about ambition, friendship, and writer’s block,” Ryan Murphy tells T&C about adapting the story for television . “It was a story about how you top yourself, and whether you even can. And it was, at its core, a story about relationships between men and women, specifically gay men and their girlfriends. A feud is never about hatred; a feud is about pain, always. For the show to work, there had to be a great split that was about heartache as opposed to hatred, and Babe and Truman were at the center of that."

Here, see all the best photos from the premiere:

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Moore plays Ann Woodward in the show. For the premiere, she wore a swan-inspired Balmain gown.

Calista Flockhart

fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

Flockhart takes on the role of Lee Radizwill, and wore a glamorous Zuhair Murad gown with Tiffany & Co. jewelry.

Chloë Sevigny

fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

Sevigny plays C.Z. Guest, and wore a Christopher John Rogers dress for the premiere.

Naomi Watts and Billy Crudup

fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

Watts, who plays the famous Babe Paley, wore an archive Givenchy haute couture dress, a Loris Azzaro cape from 1971, Tamara Mellon shoes, Tiffany & Co. jewelry, and carried a swan bag by Judith Leiber.

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A moment for the bedazzled swan!

Molly Ringwald

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fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

Lane, who plays Slim Keith, was in a custom Cristina Ottaviano gown and Tiffany & Co. jewelry.

Tom Hollander

tom hollander

Hollander, who plays Capote, kept it classic in a tuxedo.

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Ella Emhoff

fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

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Vito Schnabel

vito schnabel

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Emma Roberts

fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

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fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

Byrne looked chic in a suit.

Tony Shalhoub

tony shalhoub

Shalhoub looked suave in a gray blazer.

fx's feud capote vs swans nyc premiere

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Emily Burack (she/her) is the Senior News Editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma , a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram .

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Home » North America » New York

New York Packing List? • You HAVE to see these 21 Items (2024)

New Amsterdam, eh I mean New York needs no introduction so I will spare you the usual, tired references and cliches.

If you are headed to New York and wondering what to pack then you are in the right place.  Here you’ll find your ultimate New York survival guide with step-by-step instructions on what to pack for New York with options that are both functional and fashionable.

Ready? Let’s get to it!

The Ultimate New York Packing List

What to pack for new york checklist: personal gear, the basic stuff to pack for new york, final thoughts on what to pack for new york.

Nomatic 30L Travel Bag

Nomatic Travel Bag

  • Capacity > 30L
  • Price > $299

Nomatic Carry on Pro

Nomatic Navigator Carry On

  • Capacity > 37L
  • Price > $400

GoPro Hero 11

GoPro Hero 11

  • Resolution > 5k

Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket review

Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket

  • Price > $600

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Insurance From World Nomads

  • Price > Click For a Quote

york travel bags

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Most trips to be New York are short and intense. Staying for 2 – 4 days means you can general pack fairly light and even rely on “carry-on” luggage. However, it is absolutely vital to dress and prepare for the season. Let’s take a look at what to bring to New York.

Nomatic Travel Bag

Best Backpack For New York:  Nomatic Travel Bag

Before we tell you what to pack to visit New York, let’s start with to pack it all into. We have tried a lot of difference bags over the years ranging from the shocking to the sublime. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the  Nomatic Travel Bag .

The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for New York checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.

You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack. 

Nomatic Carry On Pro

Best Suitcase For New York:  Nomatic Carry-On Pro

Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro. 

This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase. Note that traipsing this and off the subway is a bit of pain during rush hour.

Check out our  Nomatic Carry-On Pro review  to learn more about this epic suitcase.

go pro hero 9 black

Best Camera For New York:  GoPro Hero9 Black

For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.

But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the  GoPro Hero9 Black .

It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).

Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.

If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic  GoPro Alternatives .

Wandrd Packing Cubes

Packing Cubes For New York – Wandrd Packing Cubes

In case you have never used them, packing cubes are little compression cubes that allow you to neatly pack clothes in in order to help facilitate better packing. They allow you to pack more stuff, and to keep it all better organised.

For the longest time, I thought that packing cubes were a superfluous indulgence, but boy was I wrong. Now I never travel without a few.

These ones from WANDRD are great quality and excellent value for money. Get them on your NYC packing list now!

york travel bags

Best Sim For New York – HolaFly eSim

The good news about New York is that there is extensive 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food delivery apps. The bad news is that if you are coming from outside the USA , your native SIM card will not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.

You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can simply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the Bali/Indonesia package, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.

eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.

You probably own “city clothes:” already so won’t need to worry too much about what to wear in New York. However, do bear in mind that summers can be dangerously hot and winters absolutely bloody freezing. Therefore, make sure you do pack for the season.

In terms of style etiquette, New York is probably the best dressed city in America and if you want to run with the hipsters and fashionista’s, you will need to make the efforts. That said, this is the US so you will still fit in perfectly even if you wear your pants halfway down your legs and match socks with sandals.

york travel bags

Best Jacket For New York – Arcteryx Beta AR

Did you know that the surface of the earth is over 70% covered in water? And you know how that water got there? Yep because it tends to here rain here on planet earth quite a lot! New York city’s climate varies between the seasons. It can be wet and drizzly and a good rain jacket can be proper life saver.

There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wing gear for it. Don’t let a bit (of a lot) of rain ruin your trip and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.

This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars.

Note that if you are visiting in the cold months of winter you may want to layer this as New York does get well and truly cold.

Osprey Daylite Plus

Best Daypack for New York –  Osprey Daylite Plus

The days exploring New York city can be long and it its worth bringing along a day pack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.

The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.

Check out our   full review of the Osprey Daylite plus  for more details.

Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.

Nomatic Toiletry Bag 2

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Another backpacker/traveler favorite for staying organized is a  hanging toiletry bag . It’s extremely helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available. A well-organized bag is worth having whether you’re tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.

Historically, I have been the guy who has my stuff all over the bathroom, so getting one of these things really changed the toiletry game for me. Plus they are not too expensive either. A no-brainer essential. 

As far as toiletry bag go, we recommend the Nomatic Toiletry Bag. It is made from excellent, high quality material that is water and stain resistant and offers some excellent organisational capacity. It is a high spec piece of travel gear that will last you some years.

Kodiak Journal

Planner/Travel Journal

Keeping a journal is one of the best things to do when traveling. The Drifter Leather Journal by Kodiak is our favorite, it works great for digital nomads and organized backpackers, and can be used as planner or a dream diary – whatever you want! 

Keep on track with your goals, travels and save those precious memories, especially the ones you do not want to share online! This one is bound in beautiful leather so it looks beautiful and will withstand life on the road.

A trip to New York city should fuel plenty of inspiration and you will have no shortage of things to journal about!

Best Travel Insurance For New York – From World Nomads

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

york travel bags

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Pacsafe belt

Money Belt – By Pacsafe

Whilst New York is not particularly dangerous these days, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted. In particular, a few tourists have been spring in Central Park after dark so caution is advised.

Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.

In our view, it is worth spending a bit of money and buying a good quality money belt. Cheap ones will fall apart in no time.

Icebreaker 260 Zone Half-Zip Base Layer Top

Thermal Layer For Winter

If you are visiting New York during the depths of winter, prepare for some serious cold. C’mon man, I mean popular music is full of references to this from The Mama and the Papa’s “California Dreaming” to Simon & Garfunkel complaining of how the ‘New York City Winters Are Bleeding Me’!

A good thermal layer can make all the difference between enjoying your Christmas New York trip, and spending the whole time shivering and hiding from the New York weather. I even wear one of these in the UK during winter.

Don’t risk hypothermia, add this to your New York packing list.

On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a New York trip:

Fall in New York

  • 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer/late spring)
  • A few pairs of socks
  • (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
  • Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town. Whatever makes you comfy! 
  • Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town. Whatever makes you comfy! 
  • Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
  • Portable power bank  for charging your phone on the go
  • Phone charger
  • Amazon Kindle  for reading by the pool
  • Copy of your passport just in case
  • Cash (not too much, there are ATM machines everywhere
  • Packable Towel

york travel bags

Our GREATEST Travel Secrets…

Pop your email here & get the original Broke Backpacker Bible for FREE.

There it is, friends! Your complete New York survival guide with everything you need to know for what to pack for New York. Keep your planning focused by referring to our handy top 21-needs packing checklist, the breakdown of weather conditions by season and how to pack for each. You also have our packing recommendations for women and men to help guide you, along with a few tips on what not to pack for New York.

Just keep things smart, simple – and stylish. Be ready to have your senses overwhelmed with everything that is crazy, beautiful New York.

All that’s left now is to get in a New York state of mind!

york travel bags

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Mary Beth Skylis

Mary Beth Skylis

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The 15 Best Travel Tote Bags of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Totes from Away, MZ Wallace, and Quince came highly recommended by T+L editors and travel experts.

Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Since living overseas in 2018, Anna has been a travel writer and began reviewing products in 2021.

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In This Article

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We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Travel + Leisure / Jessica Juliao

While many travelers opt for a backpack as a trusted travel companion, we think tote bags offer similar (if not better) features for certain travelers. Tote bags are convenient for quickly accessing items like a phone or wallet since your belongings are kept closer to the body. 

It’s important to invest in a tote bag (or any piece of luggage for that matter) that fits your needs as a traveler. There are tons of different styles of bag out there so we pulled recommendations and notes from seasoned travelers and Travel + Leisure editors to crowdsource the best tote bag options from travel experts. Plenty of packable, convertible, weekender, and leather tote bags came highly recommended, and we highlighted why each bag earned praise so you can make the most informed decision whether you’re a frequent flier, road tripper, or office commuter.

Best Overall

Mz wallace deluxe tote.

The large storage capacity and efficient organization make it an excellent personal item for flying.

The laptop pocket isn’t padded.

This quilted MZ Wallace tote bag earned major points for having a spacious capacity without feeling bulky or weighted down when it’s packed full. An ideal bag for air travel, it can fit carry-on essentials while still being able to fit underneath an airplane seat, and the zippered top keeps everything safe and sound. There are tons of pockets for storing items, including a 13-inch laptop pocket (unpadded) and five other smaller pockets for lip balm, phone chargers, and wallets. Although we found this tote bag to be exceptionally lightweight, it boasts a trolley sleeve to secure the bag to a suitcase to give your shoulder a rest when needed. It also comes with a detachable shoulder strap to carry the bag as a crossbody when desired. 

This bag came highly recommended after thorough testing and the only slight inconvenience we ran into is that the tote is unstructured so if there isn’t a laptop in it, the items sag at the bottom. However, the variety of pockets help to distribute the weight, so we still think this bag is the ultimate travel companion for storing the essentials. 

The Details: 11.6 x 9.4 x 12.7 inches | Nylon, leather | Trolley sleeve | 13-inch laptop pocket

Travel + Leisure / Jessica Juliao

Best Overall, Runner-up

Quince revive nylon large tote.

It conveniently folds up for packing and is impressively lightweight.

There isn’t a top zipper. 

The Quince Revive Nylon tote bag was praised by our experts for its lightweight material and portable design for traveling. The bag is made with durable nylon, it never feels cumbersome to carry, and the fabric design makes it easy to fold up the bag to place it in a carry-on or backpack without taking up much space. With designated pockets for a laptop, water bottle, and smaller items, we love that there is a spot for both everyday and travel essentials for supreme versatility. If the tote gets dirty while traveling, you can spot-clean the nylon fabric with soap and water, and it comes in Oxford blue, olive, and black color options that easily hide wear and tear over the years. Because the tote bag doesn’t have a top zipper, it scored slightly lower than our top pick, but we still think the flexible fabric and slim design of the tote helps keep it close to your body while walking through a crowded airport or down busy streets.

The Details: 17 x 13 x 7 inches | Recycled nylon | Water resistant | 15-inch laptop pocket

Best Open-top Canvas

L.l.bean boat and tote bag.

It can accommodate bulky items thanks to the wide-mouth opening.

It doesn’t have any organizational features, so you’ll want to use packing cubes or pouches.

Beach days, picnics, and road trips are the best uses for this spacious canvas tote from L.L. Bean. Made from heavyweight cotton canvas, the tote was originally designed to carry ice from a car to an ice chest back in 1944, and it still boasts the brand’s impressive 500-pound weight capacity (though we hope your travel essentials will never weigh that much). While we’d normally be wary of a travel bag without any pockets, the bag has a generous capacity, which makes it ideal for blankets, lunch boxes, shoes, or any other bulkier item needed for a day or road trip. And when it comes to durability, you can’t beat a tote bag constructed with enough reinforcement to carry over a dozen cinder blocks.

The Details: 13  x 12 x 6 inches | Cotton canvas

Best Machine-washable

Baggu duck bag.

The cotton is machine-washable, and it comes with a crossbody strap.

The top has a magnetic button closure.

Traveling can be hard on luggage, so we love that you can toss the Baggu Duck Bag in a washing machine to prolong the life of the tote. It came highly recommended after one of our team members spilled an entire burrito inside, and all it took was one rinse cycle to get it looking good as new. The canvas material is made with 65 percent recycled cotton from pre-consumer waste like old socks or T-shirts. In addition to the tote handles, the bag also comes with an adjustable crossbody strap to carry the bag over the shoulder. It has enough room to carry a laptop up to 15 inches long, and there is a small zippered pocket on the inside for a wallet or earbuds. One thing to note is that the top has a magnetic button closure instead of a zipper. 

The Details: 15.75 x 11 x 4.75 inches | Recycled cotton canvas

Best Open-top Leather

Milaner woven handbag.

It’s big enough to be an overnight bag if needed. 

There isn’t a laptop pocket.

This woven Milaner leather tote bag is the ultimate tote bag for flying, commuting, or an overnight trip. The larger size can accommodate bulky items like clothing, shoes, or a laptop, and there are two small zippered pockets for wallets and phone chargers. Thanks to the structured design of the woven Nappa, suede, or Vachetta leather, this bag is super easy to pack with travel essentials without feeling cumbersome to carry. It doesn’t have a top zipper, but it does feature a slim shape so the bag is kept close to the body. We also recommend using the dust bag it comes with when placing the bag under an airplane seat to keep the contents from spilling out or getting the bag dirty from the airplane carpet.

The Details: 20 x 14 x 3 inches | Nappa leather

Best Sustainable

Béis east to west tote.

It’s made with 100 percent recycled material. 

It only comes in two colors, and the white could get dirty quickly.

We’re big supporters of eco-friendly luggage that is still just as durable as this tote bag from T+L-loved brand, Béis. Made with 100 percent recycled polyester and recycled faux leather trim, the bag comes in simple black and white shades. There is a padded laptop pocket for laptops up to 15 inches long, two water bottle pockets, two slip pockets, and one zippered pocket so there’s a spot for everyday and travel essentials. Other helpful features for travelers include a trolley sleeve for carrying it on a suitcase, a key leash so you won’t have to dig around to unlock the door, and a zippered pocket in front. We can’t forget to mention the two lengths of tote handles and a detachable crossbody strap. 

The Details: 17.13 x 14.17 x 9.06 inches | Recycled polyester, vegan leather | 15-inch padded laptop pocket

Best Lightweight

Longchamp tote bag.

It folds into a fraction of the original size for superior packability.

The leather straps aren’t padded.

This lightweight tote bag is ideal for both maximalist and minimalist packers since it folds into itself and can easily be stored in a larger bag without taking up valuable space. Despite the featherlight design, the bag is made with a hardy recycled polyamide canvas that can withstand the test of time. Besides the excellent portability, we love that the tote bag has a zippered top  with a large leather flap that closes over the zipper to give peace of mind that items are safely tucked away while traveling. There’s only one small zippered pocket inside the bag, which could be a slight drawback for some, but we think the packable design is well worth the lack of pockets. The bag comes in seven colors ranging from neutrals hues to bolder tones, and the leather straps, though unpadded, give the bag a chic look to complement any outfit. 

The Details: 12.2 x 11.8 x 7.5 inches | Recycled polyamide canvas, leather | Packable

Best Convertible

Caraa studio tote.

It has a convenient modular design to carry the bag as a tote or backpack.

The exterior shoe pocket can only accommodate smaller shoes.

Can’t decide between a tote or backpack? This Caraa Studio tote bag has a two-in-one design to carry it as either, offering the best of both worlds. With detachable shoulder straps, the leather tote bag can be converted to a backpack in seconds or carried over one shoulder if you’re in crowded areas like a subway or sidewalk and want to keep the bag close. Best of all, there is tons of built in storage to stay naturally organized while traveling. Our favorite features include the 17-inch laptop pocket and shoe compartment on the side of the bag to separate footwear from the rest of the main compartment. Although the pocket can only hold smaller shoes, it can be a game-changer for certain travelers. And there are eight other pockets built into the interior anti-microbial lining to store phone chargers, wallets, passports, and more when you’re en route to a destination.

The Details: 18 x 13 x 7.5 inches | Italian leather | 17-inch laptop pocket

Most Durable

Carhartt legacy east/west tote.

This bag is made to last with a sturdy design and hardy fabrics.

The ends of the zippers don’t connect to the fabric, so small items could escape.

Camping, ski trips, beach days, and other outdoor activities can sometimes speed up the wear and tear on a tote, but that’s not the case with Carhartt’s Legacy East West Tote. We’re confident this bag is built to last due to the heavy duty 600 denier polyester and DWR coating to keep the elements from seeping into the tote. After four years of our constant use while traveling and commuting, the tote earned high praise for not showing any signs of letting up on quality anytime soon. With a zipper top and several slip pockets on the interior and exterior, there are spots to store a phone, keys, and wallets safely in the bag. There are gaps on each end of the bag because the ends of the zipper aren’t sewn to the fabric, so watch out for smaller items in the bag since they could fall out. 

The Details: 16.5 x 13.5 x 7.25 inches | Polyester | Water resistant

Best for the Beach

Weezie hat holding beach tote.

It has discrete hat straps and more than enough space for two or more beach towels.

It can be personalized for a fee.

Whether you’re en route to the beach on foot or airplane, this tote bag is specifically designed for tropical vacations. It has T-shaped straps on one side of the bag to secure a floppy hat so it doesn’t get smushed in your suitcase. While it’s intended to hold a hat, the bag offers plenty of space for two or more beach towels in the spacious main compartment. There is one small zippered pocket to store a phone or some cash, and the tote handles are extra long so it’s easy to carry the bag when it’s filled with beach essentials. The exterior is made with a machine-washable Terry cloth and the interior is coated with a wipeable poly for hassle-free cleaning after a day oceanside. If this tote is a gift, we love that it can be embroidered with initials for an $11 fee. 

The Details: 17 x 15 x 6 inches | Terry cloth | Customizable | Hat-holder straps

Best for the Office

Bandolier tote bag.

It has various pockets for a laptop, sunglasses, and a water bottle.

The tote straps could be more comfortable. 

A day in the office is like a mini trip, so it’s important to be organized and have plenty of space for items when you’re away from home. The Bandolier tote bag offers a spot to pack office essentials like a laptop, a water bottle, a phone charger, snacks, a wallet, and more. The laptop pocket can fit technology up to 15 inches wide, and there is a leather sunglasses sleeve to protect fragile eyewear en route to the office. There are several other zippered and slip pockets to organize smaller items or a water bottle, and the D-ring loop on the tote handle is designed to hold other Bandolier accessories like a keychain or earbud pouch. The entire bag is made with a sleek pebbled leather, including the leather tote straps, which could be more comfortable with padding. It also comes in black, brown, and gray colorways. 

The Details: 18 x 12 x 6 inches | Leather | 15-inch laptop pocket | Sunglasses pocket

Best With Shoe Compartment

Minkars weekender bag.

The bag comes with a separate shoe compartment, toiletry case, USB port, laptop pocket, and plenty of other thoughtful features for travelers.

It can get heavy when packed full.

A dupe of the iconic Béis weekender bag, this wallet-friendly version has similar features for a fraction of the price. While it’s jam-packed with helpful features for travelers, it received the highest praise for the separate compartment at the bottom of the bag that can store shoes, toiletry cases, hair tools, or any other item you want to keep separate from the main compartment. The structured bag has a wide-mouth opening and is super easy to pack thanks to the 15.6-inch laptop pocket, included toiletry case, and various other pockets for staying organized. Plus, the weekender comes with convertible straps to carry it as a tote or crossbody bag as needed, and it comes in pink, black, or cream color options.

The Details: 17 x 16.5 x 8 inches | 15.6-inch laptop pocket | Shoe compartment | Toiletry bag includes | Trolley sleeve

Best Multi-use

Dakine verge weekender tote.

It’s useful for the outdoors or traveling.

It might get heavy when it’s packed full.

This spacious tote bag from Dakine is equipped for everything from camping and beach days to trips to the office and air travel. When it comes to traveling, the bag features a padded laptop sleeve for devices up to 16 inches; a handy trolley sleeve; and a separate zippered compartment in the bottom of the bag to organize items like shoes, toiletry cases, or clothing as desired. Made with durable recycled nylon and polyester, the tote looks rugged and works well as a weekender bag for camping or for packing beach day essentials like towels and snacks. Travelers can carry the bag as a tote with the top handles or it also comes with a detachable crossbody strap.

The Details: 23.5 x 16 x 11 inches | Recycled nylon | 16-inch padded laptop pocket | Trolley sleeve

Best Organization

Troubadour carrier tote.


It has tons of pockets to stay naturally organized while traveling.

The bag might be too large to fit underneath an airplane seat. 

Minimalist and practical, Troubadour’s Carrier Tote is our favorite bag for packing efficiently and staying organized on the go. The designated laptop pocket is padded and can fit devices up to 17 inches in width — the largest pocket size for laptops of all the bags recommended. In addition to the protective laptop pocket, the tote features a quick-access phone pocket; a medium-size zippered pocket for an e-reader; and several other slip pockets for items that can easily get lost at the bottom of a bag like charging cords, lip balm, and keys. The only possible downside to this sleek bag is that the 24-liter capacity and stiffer fabric makes it difficult to fit it underneath an airplane seat. 

The Details: 18 x 12 x 7.5 inches | Recycled polyester, vegan leather | 17-inch laptop pocket

Best Foldable

Away the packable carryall.

It’s a very spacious tote that comes with a stuff sack to pack it away in a backpack or suitcase.

It has a flimsy shape, so small or heavy items fall to the bottom of the bag easily.

Away’s The Packable Carryall is the perfect packable tote bag to toss in a purse whether running errands or sightseeing in a city. The tote bag is incredibly spacious when it’s folded open, but it compresses down to a mere fraction of its usual size thanks to the lightweight recycled nylon material and stuff sack. Sometimes packable bags can lack travel-friendly features, so we love that the bag features a zippered top for security; a trolley sleeve for portability; and an interior zippered pocket for storing phones, wallets, and keys while on the go. To keep track of the stuff sack, there’s also a loop to secure the zippered pouch on the inside of the tote. The unstructured design of the tote means that small or heavy items with a pool at the bottom of the bag, but beach towels , jackets, or any bulkier items will fit perfectly and provide some structure to the bag. 

The Details: 19.7 x 15 x 9 inches | Recycled nylon | Water resistant | Trolley sleeve

Other Travel Tote Bags We Liked

The tote bags below still came highly recommended for travelers, but didn’t quite make our list of winners. 

Portland Leather Tote Bag : It’s a very portable tote bag due to the smaller size, but it isn’t the most practical for long trips with less storage and organizational features.

Bellroy Tokyo Tote : This bag has tons of pockets and storage for just about anything you would need while traveling, but it’s on the smaller side, so it could fill up quickly. 

Ogio Rise Tote : The bag can be converted from a tote to a backpack, which can be helpful for travelers, but the drawstring opening is a slight drawback for security reasons.

To create this list of the best travel totes, T+L editors and trusted travel experts from our company recommended the best bags for any and all travelers. With over 30 submissions, we whittled down our list to share the results from the 15 totes that boasted the highest praise from seasoned travelers. From sleek leather totes to convertible weekender bags, we handpicked various bags that we can’t recommend enough for outdoor activities, air travel, or commuting to the office. 

Tips for Buying a Travel Tote

Buy for your intended activity.

Not all tote bags are best for certain types of travel, so it’s important to invest in a bag that meets your needs. Traveling somewhere wet and rainy? You’ll want to opt for a more rugged tote bag that features waterproof or resistant materials like nylon or polyester for protecting items. Leather tote bags work well for air travel or office days, but you’ll likely want to skip bringing it to the beach or for camping where a canvas tote will hold up much better to wear and tear.

Consider organization and size requirements

When it comes to traveling by air, you’ll want to look at dimensions, organization, and other helpful features like trolley sleeves, USB ports, and convertible straps. For outdoor activities like camping and beach days, a spacious and flexible tote bag can be helpful for packing bulky items. We recommend packable or foldable tote bags for travelers looking for a backup bag to keep in a purse or suitcase, rather than using it as a bag to commute or fly with since they can lack structure and organizational features.

Prioritize comfort

Tote bags can be hard on the shoulders and hands when carried for long periods of time (i.e., navigating an airport or while out and about), so we recommend looking for lightweight materials and padded straps to reduce the possible strain. Some tote bags come with convertible straps to carry the tote as a crossbody or backpack, so be sure to look for bags with modular designs or trolley sleeves to place the bag on a suitcase if you’re looking for better portability and versatility in a tote. 

While it depends on the size of a tote bag, more often than not, it will count as a personal item or possibly a carry-on bag if it’s large enough. A personal item usually has to fit underneath an airplane seat and if it doesn’t, it could qualify as a carry-on bag, so you’ll want to double-check the size restrictions of personal items for your specific airline since it varies greatly depending on the carrier. 

Tote bags offer the ability to quickly and conveniently access items like a phone and wallet since the bag is kept closer to the front of your body compared to a backpack. Backpacks distribute the weight of your belongings better, but a comfortable tote bag should never be too cumbersome to carry. Look for features like padded handles or a convertible crossbody strap for comfort. Tote bags are also easier to take on and off while traveling, which is convenient when you’re on the go and maneuvering tight places such as airplanes, trains, and cars. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

T+L commerce writer, Anna Popp , writes nearly all of the team’s Travel + Leisure Tested articles and participates in product testing from luggage and shoes to outdoor gear and apparel. Anna combed through recommendations from over 30 tote bag survey submissions from travel experts and used her knowledge as an expert product tester to put together this list of the best travel tote bags. 

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What Does Down Fill Power Mean?

Portrait of Jeremy Rellosa

If you’ve ever shopped for a puffy jacket or a sleeping bag , you might have wondered about its insulation — what makes one warmer than another, and how that might correlate with price. There are two main types of insulation : synthetic insulation (typically polyester) and down (little plumes of feathers — not the actual feathers themselves — from ducks or geese). Both types are lightweight and work by trapping and retaining heat in the air pockets surrounding the clusters of insulation, but synthetic insulation is more resistant to water, and, unlike down, it won’t immediately clump and lose its insulating power when wet. Synthetic insulation is more commonly used in activewear or outdoor gear made for wet environments, but traditional down is easier to compress and generally warmer for its weight, which is why it’s the gold standard of insulation.

As a writer and editor who has covered the outdoors for the last six years, I’ve seen a lot of product marketing that promises all types of warmth and breathability with nascent technology. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the quality of that insulation — and one way to gauge that quality, specifically for down insulation, is through fill power. (There’s no fill power measurement for synthetic insulation.)

Fill power is a measure of how much volume a 30-gram (one ounce) sample of down will take up. In general, the higher that fill power, the warmer it will be, because that one ounce of down has larger down clusters, which have the ability to trap more heat.

But fill power is not a definitive measure of warmth. Just because a jacket’s insulation has 800 fill power doesn’t necessarily make it warmer than a jacket with 750 fill power. The maker of a 750-fill-power jacket could simply cram more down into its baffles, the sewn sections of the garment or sleeping bag that separate the insulation, thus making it warmer than the 800-fill-power jacket with smaller baffles. A higher fill power simply means the down is warmer for its weight than a lesser fill power. So if these two jackets were of equal size and weight and construction, the 800-fill-power jacket would be marginally warmer.

So, how can you tell if a jacket is actually warmer than another one? It’s not easy. Companies don’t often list the fill weights (ie., the full weight of its down) in a product. And the overall weight of a jacket isn’t a helpful metric because it doesn’t represent the true weight of the insulation (the weight could be coming from other things, like zippers and face fabrics). That’s why fill power is often used as a general rule of thumb to gauge warmth. For better or for worse, warmth is largely relative. I’ve found it hard to tell the difference in warmth between 750-fill-power jackets and 800-fill models.

Products with a higher fill power will generally be pricier. And that’s because high-fill-power down is found in products that are meant to be both super lightweight and super warm, like in ultralight backpacking and mountaineering gear. You’ll likely find these products in the 700- to 900-fill-power range, and there are some 1,000-fill-down products as well, although those are less common.

If you’re shopping for more casual outdoor jackets and sleeping bags, you could look for products in the 550- to 800-fill-power range. The Patagonia Down Sweater , for example, is made with 800-fill-power down, and the Arc’teryx Thorium Jacket is made with 750-fill-power down. Going by fill power may be less helpful than trying the jacket on and seeing how it feels, however. For sleeping bags, some gear companies will list temperature ratings on their bags that I’ve found to be accurate — so while fill power is good to keep in mind, those listed temperature ratings will be an easier and more reliable metric to follow.

At the end of the day, down-insulated products are excellent at keeping you toasty, and for most of us, fill-power counts won’t make a discernible difference in our commutes or for walking the dog.

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14 Toiletry Bags That Will Look Cute on Any Hotel Vanity

Travel packing made easy.

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Every item on this page was chosen by an ELLE editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

If you ask us, a good toiletry bag should have room for everything, including your favorite skincare sets , staple hair shampoos and conditioners , and must-have makeup products . A major plus is a pouch equipped with several compartments, especially one large enough to house more oversized items like your makeup brushes and tools, different sections to help you organize your goods, and enough room to fit a seven-step skin routine. Yes, it’s quite a big ask, but they do exist. Once you find the right bag, it’ll be one less thing to worry about on your next vacation.

Top picks for the best toiletry bags in 2023

Medium Clear Cosmetics Case

Best Overall

Calpak medium clear cosmetics case.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Best for Backpacking

Sea to summit hanging toiletry bag.

Small Clear Makeup Case

Best for Makeup Brushes

Beautypie small clear makeup case.

The Cosmetic Organizer

Best for Organization

Beis the cosmetic organizer.

XL Train Case

Best Multipurpose Pick

Leatherology xl train case.

The Beauty Bag

Best for Countertop Décor

Glossier the beauty bag.

The ReNew Catch-All Case

Best for Sectioning Products

Everlane the renew catch-all case.

Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag

Best for Hanging

Bosidu hanging travel toiletry bag.

The Large Toiletry Bag

Best for Saving Space

Away the large toiletry bag.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Best for the Indecisive Packer

Bagsmart hanging toiletry bag.

As vacation pros and beauty product hoarders, we tested the best toiletry bags based on the market, considering factors like size, fabric, organization, and perused online consumer reviews to find the best ones. Ahead are some of our personal favorite toiletry bags, plus the ones we scoured online (so you don’t have to).

Calpak’s new cosmetics case is genius because it features multiple compartments separated by zippers to store tons of goodies neatly. The transparent exterior makes it easy to grab whatever product you need quickly, and one wipe will take any marks or spills away. If the medium size isn’t your jam, opt for the small or large so you can take as few or as many products as you want.

Calpak star rating : 5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t grab this cosmetics bag because of its bright pink interior. Then, I started unzipping the compartments and immediately started mentally adding travel-sized beauty goods to my cart. There are so many varying sizes housed in this cute pink case, including two large side pockets and a mini pouch in the middle for tiny knickknacks.” — Nerisha Penrose , beauty commerce editor

Sizes : Small, medium, and large

Colors : Dragonfruit, emerald green, lavender, navy, white, black, caramel, and mauve

If you’ve accidentally knocked a foundation off your bathroom counter or splashed too much water on your toiletry bag resting on the sink, a hanging bag is exactly what you need. This Sea to Summit bag features a sizeable flap with a few tiny compartments to house small trinkets, and one large bottom pouch to keep your products standing tall and firm without any spills or mishaps. The bag even comes with a compact mirror for quick touch-ups.

Sea to Summit rating : 4.9/5 stars

A Sea to Summit reviewer said : “Excellent product design, lightweight with strong materials. I have taken this bathroom bag on numerous adventures, overseas, and motorcycle camping excursions and have had no problems. I like the strong zipper, internal mirror, and overall function of the design. I would purchase and replace it again if I lost it. Thanks, Sea to Summit, for another good product.”

Sizes : Small, large

Colors : Grey, atoll blue, spicy orange, black, orange, blue

Just as you carefully wash your brushes to extend their use, they deserve to be stowed away properly as well. This small case can keep your brushes tucked away from the spills and dirt they would normally accumulate from larger cosmetics bags.

BeautyPie star rating : 4.9/5 stars

A BeautyPie reviewer said : “Fab makeup bag for everyday travel. Easy to find in bag and easy to see what I’m looking for. Lovely bright, happy color.”

Size : One size

Colors : Purple, orange, green

Like the brand’s bestselling weekender, this cosmetics bag is designed with a separate compartment that keeps your makeup brushes and other tools neatly tucked away from messy liquids and powders.

Beis star rating : 4.9/5 stars

A Beis reviewer said : “Omg, I didn’t know this material felt like this! It’s so smooth and easy to wipe clean! I love how it has a bottom compartment just like the weekender and the size is perfect for quick travel for my toiletries! Thanks BEIS for bringing this back in stock!”

Colors : Beige, black

This fancy leather pouch is the multipurpose piece your travel luggage has been missing. Complete with two interior zippered pockets, a removable divider system, a large elastic band to secure bottles, and a smaller elastic band to hold hair ties, it can be used for makeup and to store skincare products, accessories, and other trinkets you may travel with. You can even purchase the strap separately to wear outside.

Leatherology star rating : 5/5 stars

A Leatherology reviewer said : “The craftsmanship of this product is amazing. I am so happy with my purchase. It is a quality leather that will stand the rest of time.”

Sizes : S, M, XL

Colors : 11, including Black Onyx, nickel hardware, bordeaux, navy blue, light gold hardware, camel, and light gold hardware

You already have all the Glossier products displayed on your vanity. Take your devotion to the brand up a notch by investing in its amply-sized makeup bag. In addition to being tall enough for bottles to stand upright, it includes a removable interior pouch and four small side pockets, so you never have to dig for your lip gloss or any other grab-and-go items.

Glossier star rating : 4.4/5 stars

A Glossier reviewer said : “This is literally the cutest makeup bag I have ever owned! It has so much storage and it makes you look sophisticated, haha!”

Colors : Pink and red

Everlane’s case has five pockets to help you organize everything from skincare to jewelry without mixing anything up. Uniquely, it snaps down and rolls back so you can easily sift through your products once you arrive at your destination.

Everlane star rating : 4.7/5 stars

An Everlane reviewer said : “I bought this to use as an organizer inside a handbag. It worked perfectly and I liked it so much that I ordered another as a makeup bag . The little pockets make it easy to organize your things, and I love the roll-down top for easy access.”

Size: One size

Colors : Black, warm quartz, nutria/beech, and ocean cavern

This fold-up toiletry organizer is made for the trendy traveler who is also practical at heart. It’s totally waterproof and leakproof, machine washable, XL-sized, and has many built-in pockets and zippers to keep things organized.

Amazon star rating : 4.7/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer said : “I loved this bag. I bought it for a two-week trip recently, and it was exactly what I needed! It was a perfect fit for all my toiletries and makeup.”

Colors : 13 hues and prints, including M-Navy Blue, M-black, palm leaf, plaid, and zebra print

Away’s travel kit is deceivingly compact-looking. Thanks to its three interior compartments and one exterior zippered pocket, there’s ample space to separate your makeup from your brushes for a no-fuss, clutter-free trip.

Away star rating : 4.7/5 stars

An Away reviewer said : “I’m really happy with this bag. It’s roomy but not oversized, the compartments and pockets are really handy for keeping things organized, and the material seems durable and easy to care for.”

Colors : Black, navy, coast, olive, and garnet

You can’t decide which beauty products to bring with you, so you bring them ALL. If that sounds familiar, you must get this top-rated Amazon pick . Featuring a large interior compartment, two mesh zippered pockets, and two side compartments for separating dry and wet items, it hangs and expands to accommodate all your neurotic “just-in-case” tendencies.

Amazon star rating : 4.6/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer said : “I could fit all skincare and body care products in this bag. The full regular size bottles and containers could stand up nicely, and I had no spilling.”

Sizes : M, L

Colors : Baby pink, black, and grey

Make Up For Ever Professional Bag

Professional Bag

For the professional MUA or beauty enthusiast with an extensive lineup of products, upgrade your kit with Make Up For Ever’s functional organizer, which has enough compartments to fit brushes, bottles, and everything in between. Bonus: You can use the included strap to carry it as a crossbody, too.

Sephora star rating : 4.5/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said : “I’ve had countless makeup bags in my life, and this one is by far my favorite. It holds all my makeup and the different-sized pouches enable me to organize to my heart’s content. It’s also really, REALLY easy to clean. I recently emptied out the pouches, tossed them in the wash, and wiped down the bag itself with a makeup wipe, and it was as good as new! Be forewarned, it’s massive, but if you have a lot of makeup, it’ll meet your needs perfectly!”

Colors : Black

Louis Vuitton Cosmetic Pouch

Cosmetic Pouch

Nothing says luxury like packaging your makeup essentials in a Louis Vuitton pouch. This one has chic gold brass detailing and a washable interior, so you can travel in high style without sacrificing function.

A review from Wantastic Beauty said the pouch’s tapered design is great because of “how wide the opening of the mouth is and that the zipper extends right down the sides because you can access your stuff much easier and clearly see where everything is.”

Colors/Finishes : Damier Azure Canvas, Monogram Canvas, and Damier Ebene

H&M Large Toiletry Bag

Large Toiletry Bag

Cut your prep time with a clear toiletry bag that allows you to see how deep down your brown lip liner fell. It’s double-tiered to give you plenty of space for lipsticks, eyeshadows, and larger f oundation bottles and compacts.

H&M star rating : 4.7/5 stars

An H&M reviewer said : “This is the BEST toiletry bag ever! I’ve ordered many different ones in many different sizes, and this one tops all. I put all of my makeup in the top compartment and all of my toiletries in the bottom.”

Colors : Transparent and transparent/powder pink

Sonia Kashuk Makeup Organizer Bag Set

Makeup Organizer Bag Set

Smaller bags within one larger carryall is always a smart way to keep things organized. This four-piece set from Sonia Kashuk comes with everything you could possibly need, whether you’re headed away for a weekend or two weeks. Toss your makeup brushes into the pencil case, your larger products into the square-zip pouch, your smallest items into the round-top bag, and all three bags into the transparent tote for easy access.

Target star rating : 4.7/5 stars

A Target reviewer said : “This set has lasted me over two years of travel with regular cleanings. It’s very durable and overall a classic look.”

Colors : Black/Stripe

.css-1wfsl5s{font-family:SaolDisplay,SaolDisplay-fallback,SaolDisplay-roboto,SaolDisplay-local,Georgia,Times,serif;font-weight:normal;margin-bottom:0.625rem;margin-top:0.625rem;text-align:center;}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-1wfsl5s{font-size:2.375rem;line-height:1.2;}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.css-1wfsl5s{font-size:2.375rem;line-height:1.2;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-1wfsl5s{font-size:3rem;line-height:1.2;letter-spacing:-0.0225rem;}}@media(min-width: 73.75rem){.css-1wfsl5s{font-size:3rem;line-height:1.2;}}.css-1wfsl5s b,.css-1wfsl5s strong{font-family:inherit;font-weight:bold;}.css-1wfsl5s em,.css-1wfsl5s i{font-style:italic;font-family:inherit;} How do I choose the best toiletry bag?

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First and foremost, consider how big your collection is and the types of products you’ll be storing. For instance, if you tend to pack light or your routine is somewhat minimal, a small zippered pouch should suffice. On the other hand, if you’re a professional makeup artist or a beauty enthusiast with a sizable collection, you’ll want a larger case with plenty of compartments to hold all your bottles, palettes, brushes, tubes, tools, and more. Look for options with special compartments that hold bottles upright, and consider styles that can hang, as they’re easily accessible and won’t overcrowd a small bathroom counter.

Remember that the larger the toiletry bag, the more room it will occupy inside your luggage. To find a happy medium, look for styles that can store your skincare and makeup essentials while occupying a reasonable space in your suitcase or duffel.

What fabric is best for a toiletry bag?

elle line break

No matter which style you choose, it’s always a good idea to look for options made with durable, easy-to-clean materials like PVC or polyester, so makeup mishaps are a cinch to fix. Also, consider waterproof fabrics to avoid spills leaking through to the rest of the contents in your suitcase (aka, a traveler’s worst nightmare).

Why trust ELLE Beauty?

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Nerisha Penrose is the Beauty Commerce Editor at Since joining in 2017, she has interviewed countless skincare professionals and has personally tested the latest and greatest products across makeup, skincare, and hair care.

Sam Peters is a seasoned commerce writer and editor with over five years of experience covering beauty, fashion, and lifestyle topics. For this roundup, both editors tested toiletry bags and pored over dozens of customer reviews to find the best toiletry bags.

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Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music). She has a penchant for sneakers and nude lip glosses, and spends way too much time re-watching 90s sitcoms.

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Sam Peters is a Senior Commerce Editor at Hearst covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Her writing has appeared in WWD, Footwear News, Real Simple, PopSugar and Bridal Guide, among others. She enjoys unpacking the latest trends and testing and reviewing some of the most innovative, emerging products on the market. 

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CharmianClare, hi

Are you sure that sleeping outdoor in November in Russian climate IS a good travel idea overall?

-40 in November is definitely unheard of.

I spent a little market research. Sleeping bags for such extreme temperatures, I have not found. Rent a sleeping bag for -18 degrees costs about 100 rubles per day

A few links for you (Rus)

york travel bags

Probabbly buying a discounted one might be not that expensive, and probably more convenient than renting - Sportmaster is the leading sports chain, they have several discount stores around the city and probably have e-shop... If you rent for 10-15 days, buying a new one at, say, R1500 might be a better deal...

' class=

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  • Independent Trave...

Independent Travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg

My wife and I have traveled independently to many European countries and, after reading many of the comments in this forum, feel like we may be able to do so in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well, although we feel somewhat less comfortable than the other countries where we have traveled in Europe.

My biggest question is how much we will miss by visiting the main sites without a tour guide. In the other European countries we have visited on our own we have been comfortable and satisfied with the level of knowledge we have gained by studying and visiting on our own, although we believe a tour guide or tour company in any country would normally be able to provide greater insight than visiting a site on our own, but about in Moscow and St. Petersburg?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Unless you speak at least some Russian and read the alphabet it would be difficult without a guide. Very few signs in English especially in Moscow. Also not too many people speak English there.

I visited St Petersburg last Autumn for a protracted period , and did not find it anymore daunting than any other European city . As Ilja says , learning the Cyrillic alphabet is a big plus . I also found that it was fairly easy to grasp . It will , among other things , enable you to read signs with relative ease . I would answer the main part or your question ( about tour guides ) thus - I am not enamored of tour guides or tours. While I only use a tour under duress ( A sites rules prohibiting an independent visit - ie Glasgow School of Art , Municipal House in Prague , etc ) . Doing your own preparation and homework is the best way , in my opinion . My wife and I ventured through St Petersburg with nary a concern ,and made two day trips outside of the central district ( one was twenty five miles away , and no English speakers in sight ) Figuring out the logistical details , did not present any difficulties . While I never use tours , I am an inveterate eavesdropper , have done so many times , and find , that on balance , the information that they impart is fairly elementary . If you want greater detail , they are unlikely to supply it . I also prefer to go at my own pace , not being rushed and being able to dwell on things that most other visitors barely give a passing glance . If you are interested , let me know . I would be happy to provide you with information that will enable you to travel independently

Thank you, Steven. I am encouraged by your comments and feel the same way you do about tour groups. We are very much willing to prepare in advance and learn the basics of the Cyrillic alphabet to help us have a better experience.

I would be very interested in learning more about your experience in Russia and receiving any additional information you can provide on independent travel there, starting perhaps with obtaining the visa.

I am not opposed to hiring a private or small group guide for a specific site or for a day trip outside St Petersburg and Moscow, but, like you said, I much prefer the freedom of staying at places as long or short as I want and seeing the sites that interest me most. For example, neither my wife nor I are big into shopping, yet most tour itineraries leave afternoon time for just that. Not interested!

Please provide whatever you may feel would be helpful for us.

Russ , I see you are quite near San Francisco - you can start by looking at the VISA procedure , it's fairly straightforward . Since there is a consulate in San Francisco - look here

And here -

Having always traveled independently, we thought we could do a better job than any tour. How misguided (pun intended) we were. Now that we have had the experience of having someone native to the area walk us around and explain things through a personal perspective we realize how much we missed. For St. Petersburg I highly recommend . This is not a traditional guided tour, but an opportunity to receive some orientation to the area as well as insight into the "Russian soul". I think if you did this upon arrival the rest of your time would be much more meaningful. We really liked the . The location is superb (just around the corner from the Hermitage square), the rooms lovely, the included breakfast at the restaurant next door ample and overall an excellent value. We used this company to get our visa: Note that it costs about the same for a 3-year visa as a one-year, and you never know if you might want to return within that more extended window of time. It is not cheap, so factor that into your planning.

If you like traveling without a guide in other countries and find this satisfying, the same will be true in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Of course it's not either/or - you can certainly take a guided walk or boat tour, for instance.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning Cyrillic if you're going on your own. The book I used was Teach Yourself Beginner's Russian Script, which was great. It breaks down the alphabet into letters that are the same as English, letters that look the same but are pronounced differently, etc. It's out of print, but you can get used copies on Amazon:

Russia is indeed a bit more "foreign" than say, Italy. However, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, I found enough English to be able to get by. Many restaurants had English menus and/or English speaking staff, for instance. This was most emphatically not true in Vladimir and Suzdal (two cities in the Golden Ring outside Moscow). I went with my sister, a Russian speaker, and if she hadn't been there, I would have been in big trouble. So, if you want to see places outside these two big cities, use a guided tour (even if just for that part). Also, Moscow and St. Petersburg are huge cities. Coming from New York, I wasn't intimidated, but those not used to a megacity may not be so cavalier (even I found them overwhelming at times, especially Moscow).

I found both Lonely Planet and Rough Guide to be helpful, and both to have various errors. Look at both, buy whichever one has a more recent edition, and then be prepared to have to discard some of the advice therein. Also, these places change more quickly than places in Western Europe. Be very careful of outdated advice. For instance, I was there in 2001 and 2010, so I won't give you any specifics on getting a visa - that changes constantly.

Just as a teaser, two things I saw and loved that I doubt would be included in any escorted tour are the Gorky House in Moscow (an Art Nouveau wonder) and the Sheremyetov Palace in St. Petersburg (it's now a museum of musical instruments, and the decor is amazing, particularly in the Etruscan Room).

Thanks for all the good advice. Any additional thoughts are welcomed.

One of history's seminal works pertaining to Russian history and culture and a MUST for anyone contemplating a visit or simply interested , is this fine work from 1980 -

This is about you and not about Petersburg. Do you like guided tours? We don't and didn't find that a guide added to our experience in China where we did hire private guides mostly for the logistics; it was easy to have someone drive us places. But once at a site, we didn't need the guide. I felt the same way about our 9 nights in Petersburg. We did hire a guide for the trip to the Catherine Palace again for the ease of logistics for us Olds. Here is our visit: There are also snapshots of the Church on Spilled Blood in this photo journal. Having someone pick us up at the apartment and get us in without line ups and shepherd us through the palace steering clear of the tour groups was lovely. But we didn't need commentary because we can read and prepare.

You certainly don't need a guide for the Hermitage (we spent 4 days there), the Russian Museum, the Kazan Cathedral or Church on Spilled Blood or the Faberge Museum. We enjoyed a number of self guided walking tours including a couple from Rick Steves guidebooks. We took the canal cruise suggested by RS that had an English commentator. I would not take one without that as you will be totally clueless. The commentator was not all that good but at least we had some idea what we were seeing. So for people like us who like to do our own thing and can read a guidebook and don't particularly like to be led about, a tour is not needed. If you enjoy tour groups, then go for it. Petersburg is easy to negotiate. It helps if you can read the cyrillic alphabet and it is also useful to have the google translate ap on your phone. We found ourselves translating packages in grocery stores with it and the occasional museum sign or menu. I have one food I need to avoid and so it was handy to have the translator to talk with waiters (I could either show them the sentence, or play it for them or play it to myself and then repeat it to the waiter -- that all worked well)

Dear Russ, I cannot help you with Moscow, but about four years ago, my husband and I went to St Petersburg on our own. But, we did use a private guide for 4 half days. We both feel that our guide absolutely made our trip (we stayed 6 or 7 nights). We used a company owned by Tatyana Chiurikova, I cannot say enough good things about her and our experience. I emailed her and we worked out a schedule/ sights that was tailored to our interests. She also offered some recommendations, which we took. The guide will meet you at your hotel. And frequently, at certain places, with the guide, we were able to skip the long entrance lines. We had an half day driving tour of the city (car, driver, & guide). You are taken to & go in places such as Peter & Paul Fortress, some of the cathedrals, etc. We had a half day with the guide at the Hermitage which ensured that we would see the major sights there. And, of course, you can stay after your guide leaves or return another day. Also, we had the guide for Peterhof (a must & go by boat) and Catherine's Palace. I hope that you will go to the website. As I said, our guide made our trip. I am positive that we would have missed quite a bit on our own everyday. And I'm sure we would have wasted a lot of time trying to get to various place.This was the best of both worlds, a guide where needed and plenty of time on our own. Whatever you do, I'm sure that you will love St Petersburg! Ashley

I am curious about the lines as we encountered no lines on our trip -- but it was in September. We got tickets for the Hermitage at machines and skipped those lines and our guide for the Catherine Palace which was our only guided experience (as noted before, chosen for the logistics of getting there) had arranged tickets and we didn't have a line, but then we also didn't see lines. We did not find lines at any other site.

Both Moscow and St Petersburg I've done on my own, that is together with the Dear Partner. I can't remember any problem getting where we wanted to go. The Metro systems are well signed, and with a little exercise and patience you can recognize the station names. With a good map and a good guide - we had the Rough Guides - that part of the logistics is solved. The language is a major problem, but the usual tricks of pointing, looking helpless, and making a joke of it all do wonders. I would hate to be led by a guide, but for others it is a comfortable thought.

We also did both cities on our own. I found the DK Eyewitness guide for Moscow has the best map. I used the one from our library (kept the book at home). Took the smaller RS book for St. Petersburg ( his book on northern cities). His map and restaurant ideas were all good. We also downloaded the Google maps in our Android Samsung tablets/phones for both cities and then could get directions to any place we typed in. The blue ball guided us everywhere. I'm sure we missed somethings by not having a guide, but we just enjoy walking around and getting a sense of a place. If you like art, The Hermitage is great. We went 3 times and still missed alot. In St. Peterburg we stayed at the 3 Mosta which we loved (quite and not far from the Church of Spilled Blood.) We also loved the Georgian food in both cities. There's a great Georgian restaurant near the 3 Mosta hotel. We're now in Belarus- very scenic. Enjoy your trip!!

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Moscow Travelblogue

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Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat. View all posts by Nina Paley

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Awesome! Congrats on the prize. And thanks for posting all the pics.

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Nina + Prize:

thank you for all the pics…..yes….you are a great artist

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“Do you need someone to carry your bags?”

That’s the party joke people often ask me when they hear I’m a travel journalist. I laughingly say a porter isn’t required as, “I’m mostly the carry-on kind.” But really, I’m thinking, my job only looks like a vacation.

Vacation days are precious and many Americans get few of them. My job as the Frugal Traveler columnist for The New York Times is to help readers make the most of their time off without spending a fortune.

My love of travel started early. I come from a close-knit family of modest means that spent every discretionary penny on travel. When we weren’t debating politics at the dinner table, we were planning our next big adventure, usually an ambitious road trip; we once drove from Detroit, our hometown, to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia — a nearly 1,500-mile trek. The cars we took were beaters, but the memories are priceless.

Travel continues to teach me things every day, and I want readers to experience travel too — without breaking the bank. Accordingly, careful, painstaking planning is a must.

Before I set off on any reporting trip, I conduct weeks of research on where to stay, eat and what to do. I schedule dozens of activities, tours and interviews. My limited budget — this column is, after all, called Frugal Traveler — means I sometimes must move fast and with flexibility.

When people learn that I travel for a living, there are a few things they most often ask me. Here are a few of those questions, answered:

How do you choose your destinations? Can you go anywhere?

Alas, no. I follow the news in budget travel, reading travel blogs and talking to industry experts for inspiration. I look for destinations that offer travelers one-of-a-kind experiences they won’t regret after seeing their credit card statement. In October, I visited Key West, Fla ., where I split a room at a hostel with three strangers, all in the name of cost-effectiveness. Last spring, I traveled to Aspen, Colo. , a city known for its luxurious amenities. I stayed at a relatively affordable, family-run lodge and visited art museums for free.

As travelers look to reduce their carbon footprint, I frequently look for places that offer greener and more affordable transportation options. Last summer, I embarked on an ambitious voyage: to see much of Los Angeles — a city known for its gridlock traffic — by subway. I couldn’t use it to reach the Hollywood sign, but I visited most of the city’s highlights, including the beaches of Santa Monica.

Isn’t travel always expensive?

Sometimes — but if you’re patient and look for good deals, it doesn’t have to be. For my column, I regularly report on budget-spending strategies, like how to bid on first-class airline seats, avoid pesky resort fees and make the most of Black Friday travel sales. Sometimes, these articles come from my own experiences; I once bid $400 on a business-class upgrade and won. I spent nine hours in the comfort of a lie-flat bed.

I also test out inexpensive offerings that sound too good to be true. In 2019, I saw an advertisement for a three-day cruise to the Bahamas for under $150. I wondered what that experience was like and booked the cruise to find out. For the price of a one-night stay at a moderately priced hotel, the cruise was surprisingly fun; not so surprisingly, “upgrade fees” onboard were in no short supply.

What’s your favorite place to visit?

Usually, it’s the last place I’ve been, but when pushed, I say Japan for food and Chilean Patagonia for adventure.

All this travel has exposed me to a gamut of pitfalls, including lost bags (above the Arctic Circle, which left me boots-less in winter), eight-hour layovers (because the route was cheaper) and an airplane seatmate who threw up on me and my copy of “The Da Vinci Code.”

I’ve made many travel mistakes and learned the hard way. I once took someone else’s suitcase from baggage claim and was halfway to downtown Zurich before I found out. I once failed to negotiate a price in a Moroccan market and was admonished for it by my guide.

All that stokes my superpower: planning smarter, more-bang-for-your-buck trips. I like to think that you can trust me because I’ve been there. Well, not everywhere — India is a glaring gap on my world map. But I’ve traveled enough to know what to do and what not to do when you’re on the road or in the air.

In fact, I wrote this Times Insider on a plane to Alaska, during the cold but affordable off-season, of course.

Come Sail Away

Love them or hate them, cruises can provide a unique perspective on travel..

Th ree-Year Cruise, Unraveled:  The Life at Sea cruise was supposed to be the ultimate bucket-list experience : 382 port calls over 1,095 days. Here’s why  those who signed up are seeking fraud charges  instead.

TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’:  People on social media have turned the unwitting passengers of a nine-month world cruise  into  “cast members”  overnight.

Dipping Their Toes: Younger generations of travelers are venturing onto ships for the first time . Many are saving money.

A Candy-Colored Cruise Ship: Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas has become an object of fascination and scorn on social media. Some can’t wait to board. Others call it a “monstrosity.”

Cult Cruisers: These devoted cruise fanatics, most of them retirees, have one main goal: to almost never touch dry land .

A Frugal Dream: Since the pandemic, cruise deals are making some sailings unexpectedly cheap.  Here is how to  travel for as little as under $100 a day .


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