When it comes to packing light or fitting everything into a carry-on, I love finding multipurpose travel bags to use as my personal handbag. I always put all my tech items in my personal bag in case they make me force-check my carry-on. I put my laptop, tablet, Kindle, camera, and lenses in my personal bag as well as charger cords, portable chargers, and camera batteries. I also add in a few bits of clothing, sweater, glasses case, eye mask, moisturizer, and socks! I’ve tried a lot of different ones, from backpacks to totes, so I wanted to list my personal recommendations below.
The Best Multipurpose Travel Bags
I’m going to share my favorite “personal item” travel bags for all different durations of trips and when I choose which type of bag.
EBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack
Best backpack ever? Yes. I have so many backpacks and totes, and when I go to India each year there is a real space limit problem. I can only take my *favorite* things and this bag is THAT. It is my #1 personal item. It’s not that cute, I know. I mean, it’s not ugly, but it’s no leather tote! It’s so organized though and fits SO much I can’t imagine going back to the tote when I do my big trips. I wrote a longer review of this backpack if you want something more in depth.
LeSportsac Essential Backpack
So, LeSportsac makes these really tiny lightweight backpacks. It rolls up so tiny that I pack it in my luggage on trips so that I can use it for a day trip bag. It’s the PERFECT bag for theme parks and I’ve carried it at Disney and Universal. I have taken it to the beach and use it when I’ll be out all day and don’t want to carry a purse. They are cheap enough and last forever.
You can get one here or shop different styles below:
MZ Wallace Backpacks
LOVE LOVE LOVE my MZ Wallace backpack! I have the black one with silver zips and it’s the perfect size. It has a laptop compartment, then a large one that fits my camera, lenses, tablet, and kindle. Then there is a smaller picket that sticks out for little things like lotion, medicine, and other stuff I might need on a flight. I use this for my personal item on flights but it’s so cute (and backpacks are in style now) so I use this even as a purse for long tourist days like walking around London. It’s so nice to have a backpack and I am so thankful they are cool again. Remember when they were cool in like third grade?
Large Fossil Leather Totes
I have too many of these totes. I actually get them at the outlet mall and most I use for weekend trips and as a personal item on flights. They have a ton of different tote styles that you can see on their site here. I listed some of my favorites below.
Fossil Crossbody Bags
You can see all the different crossbody styles here. I like that they show them on the model, so you get a better idea of how big or small they are. My exact one above is sold out, but this one is the most similar. I adore these bags by Fossil and usually get a medium sized one that can fit my camera, phone, a lens, and wallet inside.
I love the map pring stuff by Patricia Nash. I actually just found this at Macy’s and got the matching leather map sandals. I went a litlte crazy. They have map print umbrellas and all size bags. My tote is this one from Macy’s. There’s also a slightly smaller zip-top style as well. This tote is great for travel as a personal item, is too cute, and everytime I carry it people ask about it! It has a clasp at the top to close it.
My epic fringe tote: it’s the bomb. I cannot carry this without people asking about it all the time. I got this in Bali but actually have a smaller black one by the same guy who sells on Etsy, where I orginally bought the black one. This new tote though is my favorite bag of ALL TIME. You can find my exact style here.
Dry Bag for the Beach
When I go on a beach trip to Bali or Sri Lanka,I take a dry bag which is so amazing. You can sling it over your shoulder and carry it easily and it can double up as a shopping bag. I usually just throw in a sarong, sunscreen, and my GoPro. They roll up to the size of whatever is inside of them. You can take them kayaking or whatever as they way they roll makes them waterproof.
Bonus: Get a Waterproof Bag for the Beach
These are super easy to find on Amazon, and they’re perfect if you’re going to different tropical places! You can use them to either keep your camera and phone dry or to hold your wet bikini. Check out all the styles here, or I’ve put some fun ones below.
For more best of posts:
- What’s the Best Travel Bra? (coming soon)
- Best Bikinis for Travel
- A Chacos Buying Guide
- Best Travel Shoes
What multi purpose travel bags do you recommend?
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