The year is beginning to wind down, but the winter travel season is just starting to pick up. As the holiday chaos begins, getting ready for your next trip shouldn’t be an added stress. With the right bag to fit all your traveling necessities, packing will be a breeze.
Trying to find the bag that will meet your packing needs is no easy task. A suitcase fits all you need and more for a week-long trip, but sometimes a suitcase is too much. Just going to Nashville for the weekend and all you need to pack is your cowboy boots and hat? Well then there’s no need to go through the hassle of checking a bag — a weekender will fit just enough for a short trip. Maybe you only need to pack for an extended trip home, then a carry-on should fit all your essentials.
From carry-ons to suitcases, there’s an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to packing. Bags can come with a hefty price tag, so you want to make sure you’re investing your money in one that will last you for years. When shopping for your bag, keep in mind the places you’ll be staying, how often you may be moving around and how much you typically pack. On a backpacking trip around Europe this past June, I brought a carry-on bag with wheels; looking back on that trip, because of all the moving I did, a backpack or duffle bag would’ve been much easier to lug around. But if I’m going on a trip to a resort, where all I’ll be doing is going from the bar to the pool, a carry-on with wheels makes for the perfect bag.
With all these questions in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the best backpacks, weekender bags, carry-ons and suitcases for your upcoming travels. I personally tested all of these bags and reviewed them based on their features, durability, aesthetic and overall value. Hopefully these products will solve your packing dilemmas.
A backpack is an essential bag for every trip. On most flights you are allowed to carry a backpack as your personal item, which is why you want to make sure you have a backpack you can get the most out of.
The Momentum Backpack by Troubadour carries all the essentials and more. This comfortable backpack is lightweight and waterproof, so there’s no need to stress about weather conditions when wearing it. The backpack includes several storage pockets, the biggest of which can fit a 16-inch laptop. This beautiful backpack is great for traveling, school and everything in between.
If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a backpack, this large travel backpack from Amazon is for you. This backpack has it all: multiple pockets, a USB charging port, a shoe compartment and anti-theft locks. It makes for a great personal item, daypack or hiking backpack.
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A weekender bag is a bag designed specifically for holding up to two days’ worth of clothes. I only recently began using weekender bags and will never go back to bringing a whole carry-on for just a couple of days. Weekender bags are the best option for anyone who can’t fit all their clothes in a backpack but can’t be bothered to bring a carry-on.
The Béis Weekender is everything a weekender should be; compact, spacious and durable. There’s more than enough space to fit a couple outfits along with a toiletry bag, and the added shoe compartment makes packing so much easier. Not to mention, the beautiful pink color the weekender comes in helps it stand out in the crowd.
Carl Friedrik’s leather weekender bag is stunning to say the least. The smooth and sleek Italian leather was the first thing that caught my eye. This weekender can hold up to three days’ worth of clothes and it has three zipped pockets.
Carry-on bags are most likely to be used for trips of around four to five days. But with the right carry-on, you can fit enough clothes for a couple of weeks.
I’m obsessed with CalPak’s newest carry-on line. The Trnk Carry-On Luggage adds a modern twist to the classic trunk luggage. This hard-shell wheeled carry-on has expandable storage, a luggage lock and interior dividers. Not only is the quality of the carry-on top tier, but the vintage look helps differentiate it from all other carry-ons on the market.
The Monos Carry-On Pro Plus is worth its $305 price tag. The water-resistant hardshell carry-on includes three interior pockets for electronics, three zippered pouches for smaller items, a built-in compression pad, vegan leather details and a TSA-approved luggage lock. I’m currently packing for an upcoming trip to Colorado and am able to fit two winter jackets as well as four days’ worth of clothes in this 46-liter bag.
If you’re searching for a cheaper version of the carry-on, you can look at Monos’ other carry-ons, which start around $240. But for $50 more, you’re getting a significantly better bag.
Checking a bag is my last resort. Paying nearly $50 per checked bag crushes my soul and my bank account. So if you’re planning on checking a bag, it’s important to get the most out of the bag you plan on checking. Below are a couple of bags that are worth the fee.
Royce and Rocket
You’ve never seen a suitcase quite like this. The Royce and Rocket Castle Classic is everything a suitcase should be and more. Although pricey, this hard-shell durable case includes a TSA-approved lock, a compression system for more storage, built-in shelves and several pockets. You can also customize it by choosing from one of three exterior colors and one of three interior colors. The Castle Classic is guaranteed to last you years and will help ease the struggles that come with packing.
If a duffle bag is more your speed, let me introduce you to the Away F.A.R 55L Duffle. This duffle is perfect for an adventurous week-long trip. The weather-resistant duffle has expandable storage as well as straps that allow you to convert it into a backpack. Bringing a carry-on? The duffle includes a trolley sleeve that allows it to easily glide on to the handle of any suitcase.
The F.A.R duffle is sold in a variety of colors and you can also get it in a smaller 40L size.