best travel tote bags

Totes are arguably the most underappreciated travel bag.

You can stuff the passport, phone, wallet, headphones, iPad, sweater, water bottle, book, food, and even a travel pillow into one spacious compartment.

They’re also fashionable without sacrificing comfort, durability, or functionality.

But which is best?

In this guide, we'll go over our top picks and how to buy one.

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Travel Totes Buyers Guide

Features

Every tote is handcrafted uniquely, which is good because each shopper has different needs. If you plan to use your tote for travel, choose one with several sections to keep all your belongings organized. Do you need a commuting tote? Opt for a bag with a zip or flap top closing to keep your goods covered and secure. If you intend to carry your laptop, getting a tote created exclusively for that purpose is a good idea. Look for ones with a padded sleeve in the correct size; otherwise, your laptop might get damaged or won’t fit.

Material

Any durable fabric will do if you want to use your tote simply as a carry-on. Consider a water-resistant or waterproof fabric like polyester, nylon, or vinyl if you choose a bag for water activities by the beach, pool, or boating. Go for a leather tote, one of vegan leather or vinyl, if you expect your bag to become dirty or don’t want it to. Why? Because they’re the easiest to clean and don’t usually discolor.

Cost

This tote may become your new best buddy, so if it’ll be your go-to everyday bag, it’s worth investing a little more on something high-quality and long-lasting. Going a tad more on the budget side of things might be appropriate if you only need something for the odd day at the beach — or something that kids will stain or tear up.

Size

You’ll have difficulty fitting everything you need for the day inside if you choose one that’s too tiny. On the other hand, if you pick a too large tote, you could be tempted to overpack for the day. Check what bags have worked best for you in the past. Determine whether your current needs have changed, and take it from there.

Activity

If you’re searching for a business bag, it’ll likely be different than what you’d buy for a day at the beach. Consider what you’ll be carrying in your bag, whether it’s for weekend errands, kid schlepping, or something that requires a little more formality.

Best Travel Tote Bags for 2022

Here we go over our top picks for travel tote bags by style and size:

Best Designer Leather Tote Bag with Zipper

elegance leather laptop tote bag brown

Winner: Elegance Tote Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Compartment for up to 14 inch laptop.
  • Spacious zipped main compartment
  • Internal pockets for essentials like your phone.
  • Reliable YKK zippers.
  • Durable cotton lining.
  • Available in brown, black, red, and tan.
  • Can be personalized.

Click here to check the price

Best Small Leather Laptop Tote Bag

Exquisite Women's Laptop Bag

Winner: Exquisite Leather Laptop Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Slim profile
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • 14 inch laptop compartment
  • Mobile and tablet slip pockets
  • Large internal zipped pocket
  • Three pen slots
  • Fits A4 size paper
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in black, brown, red, or tan

Click here to check the price

Best Large Leather Laptop Tote Bag

city leather laptop bag womens

Winner: CITY Leather Laptop Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • Fits up to a 15.6 inch laptop.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Dedicated laptop compartment
  • Additional zipper pockets

Click here to check the price

Best Tote Weekender Bag

leather weekender bag womens

Winner: Weekender Leather Travel Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 16 inch internal padded laptop sleeve.
  • Internal zipped pocket for travel essentials like your passport.
  • Plenty of space for all your gear.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Perfect overnight bag.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Tote Garment Bag

grand leather garment bag womens

Winner: Grand Leather Garment Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Dedicated garment carrier.
  • Carry a dress or garment without creasing.
  • Large main compartment for other items.
  • 16 inch laptop compartment.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Tote Backpack

prime large brown leather backpack

Winner: Prime Leather Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 14 inch laptop sleeve.
  • Multiple front zipped compartments.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in brown, tan, black, or red leather.

Click here to check the price

What’s the Maximum Weight of a Tote Bag?

You might be tempted to stuff many things into your tote bag, more so if it’s roomy. But a hefty bag puts pressure on your shoulder, and carrying a big bag causes you to slump to one side. This can result in neck, back, and shoulder pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, your luggage should not carry more than 10% of your body weight. In other words, your bag should not weigh more than 13 pounds if your weight is 130 pounds.

Is it possible to travel with a tote?

Each airline has its own set of baggage limitations and charges. They all have one thing in common, though: you can take one personal item with you for free. Airlines regard a tote, backpack, briefcase, or crossbody bag as a personal item bag.

Related:

Is it safe to carry tote bags?

Pickpockets find it more difficult to sneak their hands inside tote bags as they have a narrow aperture, and people wear them close to their bodies. If security is a concern, a bag with a zipper closing and leather or slash-resistant fabrics like nylon is ideal.

What is the capacity of tote bags?

Tote bags come in various sizes, but most are roughly 13 by 15 inches. Many bags are made to fit a tablet or laptop while leaving enough capacity for other necessities.

Which is more practical, a backpack or a tote bag?

As for the style, tote bags will always win out, but backpacks are more functional. Overall, both can assist you in transporting papers, books, and electronic gadgets to and from school.

Related:

Is it okay to bring a tote bag on a plane?

The number of carry-on bags and personal items that airlines allow you to travel with varies. As a rule of thumb, a traveler can expect to bring one carry-on bag and one individual item free of charge. As it’s easy to transfer through the airport, a wheeled suitcase is a popular carry-on option. Some people prefer to travel with backpacks, duffel bags, or tote bags.

Conclusion

We hope you found our best travel tote bags post useful. If you ever need any help with anything to do with bags or fashion, feel free to contact the Von Baer team, at info@vonbaer.com.

Browse our travel pages here, our women's pages here, or our style pages here.

Author: Albert Varkki
Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you. Connect on Linkedin

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