I am naive every time. I think that I have found you. I was convinced that you had the most to offer. You had room for my laptop and all of the necessary beauty products that go into long haul travel. You even had a zipper to give that security that everything was in my bag, as opposed to those pointless travel bags that remain open and exposed to the elements and pickpockets. And then, the night before my big trip, I would attempt to pack you up. Your zippers would break. Your seams suggested an impending burst at any moment. A strap would give out in the middle of the airport. The travel tote bag has always failed me.
I will be heading out over country and ocean in November (more on that later). While I am beyond excited about the trip, I worry that still in all of my years of travel, I have yet to find the best bag for carrying on the plane on long haul flights. I require a bag that fits a 15” laptop, notebooks, beauty essentials, my wallet and other electronics. While this doesn’t sound like too much to ask in a travel tote bag, I have quickly found that it can be. Many bags are too small to fit my laptop. Others look like I would be playing the part of Santa carrying a bag of loot as they are far too big. Some are backpacks which I have never been able to digest for my style. I might sound like a Goldilocks here but I want a travel tote bag that is just right. While I still haven’t found a winner in my measly budget, I have discovered what I look for in this bag. If you are dealing with many of the same problems, here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping around for your right hand man for travel.
I don’t like to look like I am carrying a bag bursting at the seams. I have been doing this for years however because I want a bag that looks fashionable like a purse but one that also has the durability and size of luggage. If you travel with your laptop, you need to be sure that your bag has more than enough room to accommodate a computer. I have purchased bags that are big enough to hold my computer, but not much else. I am now in search of a bag that yields a few inches in width on both sides so that I don’t clog up the security line while trying to wiggle out my laptop from my purse. This has happened.
There might be nothing worse while traveling with your bag tucked underneath your arm only to have a strap give out on you. I have had many travel tote bags that just could not withstand the weight that I needed. I would then find myself hugging my bag through the airport as though I am clutching buried treasure that I found in a jungle somewhere. When looking for the right travel bag for all of the necessities you need right on your arm, be sure to examine the straps. If they look flimsy or secured with just simple thread, you might have a “hugging my bag” situation on your hands.
Style and Color
Perhaps I am asking too much of my travel tote bag, but I look for bags that are classic and can go with everything. A bright purple bag will stand out when you want to blend into the scene. I have mostly excelled in this department with my tote bags. The style of the bag should also be comfortable on your arm or shoulder without being cumbersome. Some bags I have purchased have lent the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” effect. They are awkward when filled due to their shape, forcing me to look like I could topple over at any minute. As this is the bag for weeks of travel, it is important that the bag will go with everything you pack in an effortless manner. A black or cognac colored bag tends to go with everything.
I have long neglected this aspect of travel tote bags. Sometimes I get clouded by the style and the color that I fail to look inside first. Do the pockets make sense? Will the bag be an unorganized mess once I pull out my computer at airport security? Is there an outside compartment for my cellphone and boarding pass or other items that I need to get to quickly? These features are ones we can forget about in the shopping process. You need to visualize how you will actually pack this bag and how it will work for travel. I appreciate a travel tote bag that has a strap that slips over a rolling suitcase. I welcome this feature as once I get my checked rolling suitcase, I can free up the weight on my shoulder and let my wheels do the work.
Have you found the ultimate travel tote bag? Please share the wealth for those of us who are still searching. What do you look for when shopping for the perfect travel bag?