When you’re traveling from place to place, having one of the best travel tote bags to store important things like your laptop, passport, and wallet can make the difference between a stressful trip and a relaxed one.
When choosing the right travel tote for you, there are three essential features to consider:
- Durability: Make sure to pick a tote that’s made from heavy-duty, hardwearing materials. Fabrics such as nylon and Oxford cloth will provide your bag with a strong and tear-resistant construction without weighing it down. You may also want to consider a bag that’s waterproof or water-repellent.
- Security: Many bags offer advanced anti-theft features to ensure your valuables remain safe. At the least, you should be able to close your bag completely with a zipper or other closure system. You may also want to opt for a bag with anti-slash material and hidden pockets. One bag on this list even boasts RFID-blocking technology, which can prevent a pickpocket with an RFID-reader from electronically stealing important personal information, like your passport or credit card numbers.
- Size: The standard carry-on size limit for most airlines is around 22 by 14 by 9 inches. The totes selected here all fit those restrictions, and additionally, should even fit under the seat on an airplane.
Below are four of the best totes for traveling. Be sure to check out the best travel purses when you need a smaller bag, too.
1. The Best Overall Travel Tote Bag
ECOSUSI Unisex Large Travel Weekender Bag
Dimensions: 18 by 8 by 11 inches
Weight: 1.4 pounds
Available Colors: Black, Beige, Red
What's Great About It: This unisex travel tote bag is made from a nylon fabric that's both sturdy and water-repellent. It has two durable top handles, as well as a padded shoulder strap that's adjustable, so it can be worn satchel-style or crossbody-style. There's even a back pocket that allows you to conveniently slide your tote over the handle of a rolling suitcase. The main compartment has a secure, zippered closure and features two slip pockets, a Velcro pocket to store a tablet or other device, plus an inner zippered pocket for your most important valuables.
What Fans Say: Reviewers love the sturdy construction of this bag, particularly the durable strap and the back opening that allows you to slide the bag over your suitcase handle. One reviewer wrote, "It worked for travel and became a day bag/beach bag while out and about. When I needed to condense my luggage, I was able to fold it easily and fit it in my small carryon suitcase"
2. The Best Budget Option: A Lightweight, Durable Travel Tote Bag
Arxus Travel Tote Bag
Dimensions: 18.5 by 5.9 by 11.4 inches
Weight: 0.33 pound
Available Colors: Mint Green, Navy Blue
What's Great About It: This affordable travel tote bag features a ton of great features, but at a price that's very gentle on your wallet. This bag is made from a waterproof Oxford fabric that's tear-resistant and capable of holding more than 110 pounds. It's also foldable and can easily fit into another suitcase when not in use. Like the ECOSUSI bag, this tote also features a back opening so that you can slip the bag over the handle of your suitcase and transport it easily throughout your trip.
The Trade-offs: The most important thing to note is that the back opening of the bag is only 7.5 inches wide, so if you have a suitcase handle that's wider than that, it won't fit. Also, a few reviewers found the material to be easily wrinkled and occasionally see-through.
What Fans Say: Reviewers love that this bag makes a nice "personal item" for airline travel. One fan writes that "it worked great" when they took it on a trip where all they could bring was an under-the-seat bag. Another reviewer wrote that it had a seemingly "never-ending bottom."
3. The Most Secure Travel Tote Bag
Pacsafe Slingsafe Anti-Theft Compact Tote
Dimensions: 4.4 by 11.1 by 13 inches
Weight: 0.75 pound
Available Colors: Black, Chili, Denim, Tweed Grey
What's Great About It: This anti-theft travel tote bag features an anti-slash material, with stainless steel wire mesh weaved right into the fabric. The lightweight material also has RFID-blocking technology in one of the pockets, so you can keep your identity and financial information safe. The strap, which is also wire-embedded, can be secured to a chair or other fixture with the help of a dual-release buckle.
The Trade-offs: While this bag is capable of fitting a tablet and other similar-sized items like books and notebooks, it won't fit most laptops.
What Fans Say: Reviewers really appreciate the sense of security that this bag brings. One reviewer writes that this tote "gave me great peace of mind while I was traveling Europe." Another fan said they used the locking mechanisms when they were traveling through crowded areas, and that it was "nice to know I could add more protection in those circumstances."
4. The Most Spacious Travel Tote Bag
CHICECO Basic Travel Tote Shoulder Bag
Dimensions: 16.5 by 13 by 11 inches
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Available Colors: Black, Blue Brown, Brown Black
What's Great About It: This spacious travel tote bag features a waterproof material made of durable Oxford nylon. The lightweight bag also features straps made from an eco-friendly microfiber leather, which means they're stronger than a traditional leather strap. As far as the interior, you'll find one zippered pocket and two slip pockets, while the main compartment has enough room to fit a 14-inch laptop. And if you need something bigger, the large version of this bag can fit a 17-inch laptop and the extra-large can accommodate a 20-inch laptop (though these sizes won't meet airline carry-on requirements).
The Trade-offs: While it does have a zippered closure and a durable material, this bag is missing some of the other features that can make your valuables feel more secure, such as an anti-slash material or RFID-blocking technology. A handful of reviewers also complained that the main zipper either got stuck or broke.
What Fans Say: Reviewers frequently noted that they loved how roomy this bag was, with one writing that "Not only does this bag hold everything (my books, folders, lab coat, water, hand sanitizer, lotion, and keys, headphones and pens!) it looks so stylish!"
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