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The Best Travel Tote Bags for Carrying All Your Essentials in Style

We love the Cuyana Leather Zipper Tote for its minimalistic look and lightweight construction.
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Totes might be the most underrated travel bag. You can toss everything in one roomy compartment: Think wallet, passport, phone, headphones, tablet, book, sweater, water bottle, snacks, and even a travel pillow. Plus, they're stylish without sacrificing utility, durability, or comfort.

We love the Cuyana Leather Zipper Tote. It's minimalistic, spacious, and lightweight. But if monochromatic leather isn't exactly your style, check out the other picks on our list. From canvas beach bags to sporty nylon options, you're sure to find something you like.

T+L's Top Picks

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Cuyana Leather Zipper Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Cuyana

Best Overall: Cuyana Leather Zipper Tote

View at Cuyana ($228)

Why We Love It: It has space for everything, but it's so lightweight.

What to Consider: It doesn't have a ton of pockets to keep things organized.

This bag, crafted with soft, luxurious Argentinian leather and available in an array of muted, sophisticated tones, can transition seamlessly from work to brunch to the farmer's market to airplane. Lightweight and softly structured, the bag features an ultra-spacious interior with a zippered side pocket and subtle card slot. It's large enough to carry everything from laptops, tablets, and books to a pair of flats and small daily essentials. But despite its status as a true carryall, it remains sleek enough to easily navigate tight plane cabins and city streets. And while many classic leather totes have open tops, the zipper closure on this one is especially useful for warding off pickpockets on your travel adventures. We also recommend getting the Tote Organization Insert if you favor more structure.

Material: Leather | Dimensions: 13.5 x 18 x 5.75 inches

Baggu Cloud Bag
Credit: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Best Packable: Baggu Cloud Bag

View at Nordstrom ($56)

Why We Love It: It folds up into a small, flat pouch as small as your palm.

What to Consider: The straps tend to slide off the shoulders.

Our favorite thing about this light-as-air bag is that it packs down into a palm-sized pouch, so you can tuck it into your luggage if you foresee flying home with one or two (or 12) more items than you arrived with. But beyond its shrinking capabilities, the bag boasts an insanely roomy zippered main compartment, an exterior slip pocket, a zippered interior pocket, and a removable pouch for storage. It also has padded handles for added comfort, and it's even machine washable. Talk about convenience!

Material: Nylon canvas | Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 7.5 inches

Paravel Cabana Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Paravel

Best Monogrammable: Paravel Cabana Tote

View at Tour Paravel ($165-$185)

Why We Love It: It's sturdy, water resistant, and eco-friendly.

What to Consider: The handle is a bit short.

Made from recycled plastic bottles, this eco-friendly tote from Paravel is both water resistant and spill proof thanks to its protective silicone coating. It has a spacious main compartment, a zippered interior pocket, and a slip pouch on the outside to house essentials that you need easy access to. Even better, you can personalize the bag with hand-painted or embroidered initials for an additional fee. Choose from three sizes and four colorways.

Material: Canvas, vegan leather | Sizes: 3 options

Related: The Most Stylish and Comfortable Travel Backpacks for Women

updates on totes
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Laptops: Ecosusi Laptop Tote Bag

View at Amazon ($52-$55)

Why We Love It: It's large enough to travel with, but stylish enough to use every day.

What to Consider: It's heavier than some other options on our list.

This Ecosusi bag marries form and function with a rectangular shape made for comfortably toting around laptops sized up to 15.6 inches. It features adjustable shoulder straps, two spacious interior compartments, a divider with a laptop pocket, and studs at the bottom, so the bag won't get dirty if you set it down on the floor. In addition to all its functional features, this tote is constructed with a sleek vegan leather and includes gold hardware and subtle fringes for an elegant finish.

Material: Vegan leather | Dimensions: 11.8 x 16.5 x 5.1 inches

Longchamp 'Large Le Pliage' Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Classic: Longchamp 'Large Le Pliage' Tote

View at Nordstrom ($145)

Why We Love It: It folds flat for easy storage.

What to Consider: The bottom corners wear quickly if not treated with care.

If black is too blasé, consider this nylon bag from Longchamp; it comes in gorgeous hues like vibrant red and olive green. The bag boasts plenty of convenient features, including a flat-folding construction, an interior phone pocket, and a top zipper closure with a snap tab. It's made with water-resistant nylon, so a bit of rain or a spilled water bottle won't keep you from a day of sightseeing.

Material: Nylon, leather | Dimensions: 12.25 x 11.75 x 7.5 inches

Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Lo & Sons

Best Weekender: Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote

View at Lo & Sons ($164)

Why We Love It: Its unique features make organization a breeze.

What to Consider: It can be a bit floppy when empty.

This sturdy canvas bag doubles as both a weekender and a carry-on bag; the exterior pocket unzips into a sleeve so you can slip the bag over the handle of a rolling suitcase for a far less clumsy sprint to your gate. A separate bottom compartment means you can neatly store shoes away from the rest of your belongings or keep a pair of slippers on hand for long-haul flights.

Material: Canvas, recycled poly | Dimensions: 15 x 14 x 7 inches

Related: The Best Messenger Bags to Travel With

updates on totes
Credit: Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Best Budget-friendly: L.L.Bean Waxed-Canvas Tote Bag

View at L.L.Bean ($50-$60)

Why We Love It: Its weatherproof material keeps your contents clean, dry, and cool.

What to Consider: The straps are on the shorter side.

The timeless popularity of L.L.Bean's Boat and Tote bag is a testament to its quality and durability. But for those wanting a bit more organization and a little less Nantucket, here's an alternative: the Waxed-Canvas Tote Bag. This tote will last for years, even with daily use. Its weather-resistant material makes it perfect for the pool or beach, while reinforced handles allow you to carry even the heaviest loads without wear and tear. There's also an exterior slot, an interior pocket, and a key clip to keep your phone, wallet, and keys at the ready.

Material: Waxed canvas | Sizes: 2 options

Madewell Leather Transport Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Madewell

Best Convertible: Madewell Leather Transport Tote

View at Madewell ($168)

Why We Love It: You can carry it multiple ways, so your personal comfort preference is always an option.

What to Consider: Because it has a snap closure rather than a zip closure, items may spill out if the bag is knocked over.

Sometimes you just need to free up your arms and sling your tote over your shoulder or wear it cross-body. This minimalist tote comes with a long, removable strap just for those occasions, and it features shorter handles as well to easily carry by hand or over the forearm. It boasts one interior pocket, one exterior pocket, and plenty of space for a laptop no matter which way you carry it. Perhaps the most attractive feature, however, is the waxed leather that deepens into a beautiful patina over time.

Material: Leather | Dimensions: 12.25 x 11 x 5.5 inches

Senreve Gemelli Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Senreve

Best Splurge: Senreve Gemelli Tote

View at Senreve ($895)

Why We Love It: Both the leather exterior and soft microsuede interior are stain resistant, keeping it in top-top shape for the long term.

What to Consider: Because of the quality of the leather and suede, Senreve suggests having the bag professionally cleaned only.

Made in Italy, Senreve's bags are designed to be used, not tucked away in a dust bag. The pebbled leather exterior of this tote is scratch- and stain-resistant, and the soft microsuede interior won't stain either. It's packed with interior pockets, including two tech sleeves and side slip pockets for smaller essentials. Not to mention, the zip-top is always helpful to have when traveling. Other convenient features are the keyring clip, metal feet to keep the leather from touching the ground, and a double buckle strap that attaches to luggage handles.

Material: Leather, suede | Dimensions: 17.25 x 10.27 x 6.75 inches

Briggs & Riley Rhapsody Nylon Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Best Water-resistant: Briggs & Riley Rhapsody Nylon Tote

View at Nordstrom ($249)

Why We Love It: This bag has a pocket and place for everything, meaning you'll never have to dig to find what you're looking for.

What to Consider: It doesn't have a top zipper closure.

Luggage maker Briggs & Riley truly thought of everything when designing this tote. Made of durable, water-resistant nylon, it's a must-have if you're traveling with kids or pets (and prone to spills) or if you're going someplace where rain, sleet, and snow may be unkind to leather. The bag additionally boasts several interior pockets, an RFID-blocking exterior pocket, a slot for your laptop, and snap and zipper pocket closures to ensure nothing slides out of place. 

Material: Nylon, leather | Dimensions: 16.5 x 13.5 x 6.5 inches

Related: Travel Bags for Every Type of Traveler

MZ Wallace Large Metro Quilted Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Bloomingdales

Best Oversized: MZ Wallace Large Metro Quilted Tote

View at Bloomingdales ($235)

Why We Love It: It's very lightweight for its size.

What to Consider: Because of its size, it's not exactly practical for everyday use.

Large tote bags for travel are crucial for carrying everything you need while on the go. This one is spacious enough to hold just about anything (a neck pillow, tablet, laptop, baby accessories, gym wear, you name it!) but it's light as a feather so it won't weigh you down in transit. The quilting adds a bit of signature flair to an otherwise highly utilitarian tote: It's easily packable and washable and holds up to wear and tear. It also comes with detachable interior zip pouches that are great for organizing essentials.

Material: Nylon, leather | Dimensions: 24 x 11 x 14.5 inches

Street Level Reversible Tote
Credit: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Best Vegan: Street Level Reversible Tote

View at Nordstrom ($49)

Why We Love It: Because it's reversible, it's like two bags in one. 

What to Consider: It doesn't have pockets.

For those who prefer an animal-friendly — and more affordable — option, consider this cute option from Street Level. It may appear to be made of lustrous leather, but the material is completely vegan. The included wristlet is a convenient place to stash smaller items. Best of all, the bag is completely reversible, so you'll feel like you're packing two bags in one on your next trip. It comes in three colorways, each featuring a magnetic top closure that works whichever way you wear the bag.  

Material: Polyurethane | Dimensions: 15.5 x 13 x 5

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Zip-top
Credit: Courtesy of L.L.Bean

Best for Beach Days: L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Zip-top

View at L.L.Bean ($50-$60)

Why We Love It: It's extremely durable thanks to features like a reinforced bottom and materials to ward off moisture and sand.

What to Consider: The straps are a bit short, making it a little awkward to carry.

Days spent by the shore, at the pool, or on a boat call for their own type of tote, and L.L.Bean's Boat and Tote Zip-top is the perfect one. Made with water-repellant materials, a reinforced bottom, and overlapped seams to prevent rotting, this bag expertly takes on moisture, sand, and wind. Both sizes (medium and large) offer ample room for things like towels and extra clothes — or even groceries, if you prefer to use the bag for shopping purposes. Adorned with a front slip pocket and zippered top closure, the tote efficiently secures all your items, big and small.

Material: Canvas, nylon | Sizes: 2 options

Tips for Buying Travel Totes

Choose the Right Materials 

If you plan to use your tote as a plane carry-on only, virtually any durable fabric will do. However, if you're buying a bag with water activities in mind (like beach, boating, or pool days), absolutely consider a waterproof or water-resistant fabric like nylon, polyester, or vinyl. If you expect your bag to get dirty, or simply don't want it to, opt for a tote made of leather, vegan leather, or vinyl. These materials are the easiest to wipe clean and typically don't stain. 

Prioritize Your Ideal Features

Every tote is made slightly differently. That's a good thing, considering every shopper's needs are different. If you're hoping to use your tote for travel, opt for one that has multiple compartments to organize all your essentials. Need a tote for commuting? Choose a bag with a zip or flap top closure to keep your items covered and secure. It's also wise to pick a tote made specifically for laptops if you think you'll be carrying yours. Look for ones that has a padded sleeve in the correct size — otherwise, your laptop may become damaged or not fit properly inside.   

Why Trust Travel + Leisure 

Travel + Leisure writers are shopping, fashion, and product experts who use personal experience and customer recommendations to choose the best items for shoppers. For this article, Rebecca Carhart, and Hillary Maglin researched dozens of travel totes and used their expertise as travel writers to curate the perfect list of tote bags for your next trip.

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