The 11 Best Tote Bags for Travelers in 2023 (2023)

The 11 Best Tote Bags for Travelers in 2023 (1)

Duffels and rolling carry-ons aregreat packing options, but if you’re looking to keep a few electronics and accessories close byduring a flight, totes are the better bet. Travel-ready totes range from stylish leather splurges to organization-focused laptop bags making them the perfect vacation—and everyday—companion.

Some travel totes have many uses packed in one, like our top pick, theL.L.Bean Nor’easter Tote Bag. This tote is spacious, water-resistant, and lightweight, making it handy from the plane to your plans. Prefer something with a sleeker finish or packed with more pockets? Our list includes everything from classic canvas to waterproof beach bags, along with work-ready options.

Our Top Picks

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Best Overall

L.L.Bean Nor'easter Tote Bag

The 11 Best Tote Bags for Travelers in 2023 (2)

Why We Love It: The lightweight, water-resistant tote fully zips up to keep your belongings safe.

What to Consider: There’s a water-resistant coating inside but no lining.

A roomy interior and a lightweight build are just a couple of the reasons theL.L Bean Nor'easter Tote Bagtook the top spot on our list. Coming in four color combinations, it also has a water-resistant coating outside and inside the bag, plus crossbody and top-handle straps, too.

We especially love the large zippered opening that makes it easy to access the items stored inside while also keeping them safe on the go. There are smaller interior pockets, a key clip, and an exterior zip pocket for a dose of organization. If you’re looking for something heavy-duty and durable, this bag is definitely worth checking out.

Price at time of publish: $79

Material: Cotton canvas, polyurethane | Dimensions: 16 x 15.5 x 6.5 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: Water-resistant

Best Basic

Lands’ End Natural Open Top Canvas Tote Bag

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Why We Love It: This tote comes in four sizes and several color combinations, and it can be monogrammed, too.

What to Consider: It must be spot cleaned.

TheLands' End Natural Open Top Canvas Toteis the perfect pick for a versatile cotton canvas tote. This sturdy bag can handle being stuffed to the brim, whether packed with everything for an afternoon at the beach or even a quick overnight trip. All four sizes feature several interior pockets and a keyring attachment to keep smaller items organized. The standard straps are fairly long (so you can carry it on your forearm or sling it over your shoulder), and there’s another option with extra-long straps, too. These totes can be embroidered with a name, initials, or even a design for personalization, and there’s a wide range of accent colors to pop on the standard cream exterior.

Price at time of publish: $35 for medium

Material: Cotton canvas | Dimensions: 17 x 6 x 13.5 inches for medium | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: Water-repellent

Best for the Beach

Business & Pleasure Co. Holiday Cooler Tote Bag

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Why We Love It: This tote comes in a range of pretty exterior patterns and all feature insulation for cold drinks and food thanks to custom-printed waterproof linings.

What to Consider: The bag should be cleaned and dried after use to avoid damage, and care should be taken with sharp objects inside.

The gorgeous Business & Pleasure Cooler Tote expertly keeps beverages and snacks cool at the beach, but it also makes a great everyday bag or plane carry-on. Top handles and a shoulder strap provide two comfortable ways to tote it, while soft, pliable fabric makes it ultra lightweight and easy to fold away when not in use.

The Vintage Yellow Stripe version of this bag is actually part of the brand’s Golden Hour collection in collaboration with Basil Hayden, so you know the tote is durable enough to carry everything from a bottle of bourbon to water shoes down to the shore. Two exterior pockets and a spacious main compartment with a waterproof vinyl lining keep all your essentials organized and dry.

Price at time of publish: $99

Material: Cotton, polyester, vinyl, leather | Dimensions: 16 x 20 x 8 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: Yes

Best Leather

Cuyana System Tote

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Why We Love It: This versatile tote is perfect for work or to hold everything you need while traveling.

What to Consider: You may want to purchase Cuyana's additional accessories for organization.

If you’re looking to step up your cotton-tote game, Cuyana's System Toteis for you. Whether using it for daily errands, commuting, or travel, this bag stays stylish the whole time. This bag is made of soft leather and comes in a variety of colors plus two different sizes. Even the smaller size of this fully customizable bag is large enough to fit a 13-inch laptop along with everything else you may want on-the-go, but an attachable laptop sleeve and extra pockets are sold separately and securely snap into place inside the bag.

Price at time of publish: $278 for 13-inch

Material: Leather | Dimensions: 13 x 17.25 x 5 inches | Weight: 1.9 pounds | Waterproof: No

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Best Water-resistant

Mark & Graham x Steele Waterproof Tote

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Why We Love It: Dirt and sand tend to slip right off of the vinyl.

What to Consider: If you choose to monogram this tote, it cannot be returned or exchanged.

The Mark & Graham x Steele Waterproof Tote comes in a variety of vibrant colors and can be personalized with a full name, initials, or even sports designs from pickleball to skiing. Constructed with sturdy water- and tear-resistant vinyl-coated nylon, sand slips right off the slick material, so it’s a smart choice for outdoor excursions. This bag is handy whether you’re lounging by the pool, grocery shopping, or even doing laundry, as it comes in three sizes with long straps that rest comfortably over the shoulder.

Price at time of publish: $89 for medium

Material: Nylon, vinyl | Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 12 inches for medium | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Waterproof: Yes

Best for Laptops

Away The Everywhere Bag

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Why We Love It: This protective bag is great for organizing lots of small items.

What to Consider: It is on the narrow side.

The sleek, nylon Away Everywhere Bag is a good pick to keep your laptop and other small electronics protected during flights and daily commutes. There is a padded shoulder strap to keep things comfortable, along with a trolley sleeve for your rolling bag and a padded exterior 15-inch laptop pocket. This water-resistant tote is also full of additional interior and exterior pockets and comes in a range of neutrals from gray to green.

Price at time of publish: $195

Material: Nylon, leather | Dimensions: 16.3 x 10.2 x 7.3 inches | Weight: 2.75 pounds | Waterproof: Water-resistant

Best Style

Dagne Dover Allyn Leather Tote

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Why We Love It: This bag boasts multiple organizational pockets including an interior cup holder that helps prevent spilled drinks.

What to Consider: It requires special care to treat scratches and stains.

The super-sleek Dagne Dover Allyn Leather Tote is built with a 13-inch laptop sleeve and plenty of room for books, magazines, or even a change of clothes. The functional pockets keep all your items organized, and we love the built-in cup holder that can even hold a coffee. Use it for travel, work, errands, or nights on the town, but you may want to pre-treat the leather to add some protection, as it can be difficult to remove stains and scratches.

Price at time of publish: $340

Material: Leather, zinc alloy hardware | Dimensions: 12 x 10.5 x 4.75 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds | Waterproof: No

Best for Durability

Orca Waterproof Tote Bag

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Why We Love It: The exterior is completely waterproof, and there’s a divided main compartment to separate wet and dry items.

What to Consider: It’s more functional than it is stylish.

You won’t have to worry about leaks and weather-related incidents when you’ve got this Orca Waterproof Tote Bag on your arm. The main interior compartment is divided into two sections, which can be particularly useful when transporting wet and dry items, as one side includes a waterproof zippered pocket. The exterior of the bag includes both mesh pockets and a watertight zip pocket, making it a functional bag when carrying electronics, clothes, and other valuables in wet, or potentially wet, environments like on a boat or when camping.

Price at time of publish: $119

Material: Thermoplastic polyurethane | Dimensions: 14.5 x 15 x 8.3 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: Yes

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Best for Business

BÉIS The Work Tote

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Why We Love It: It’s both fashionable and functional thanks to a chic design, plenty of pockets, and a useful trolley sleeve.

What to Consider: The zipper is a bit finicky.

Béis makesincredible bags, so it’s no surprise that theBéis The Work Totemade it onto our list. It looks sleek but opens up to be spacious with plenty of room for a laptop (in a padded sleeve pocket), along with designed spots for pens, keys, and more. This tote features flat shoulder straps along with a separate, clip-on long strap and a removable zip pouch to grab and go. Choose between neutral colors from smooth beige to a textured cognac croc, and carry it solo, or slip it onto a rolling suitcase for your next trip.

Price at time of publish: $118

Material: Vegan leather, polyester, zinc alloy hardware | Dimensions: 16.75 x 13.5 x 7 inches | Weight: 2.86 pounds | Waterproof: No

Best Splurge

Chloe Woody Large Logo Canvas Tote Bag

The 11 Best Tote Bags for Travelers in 2023 (11)

Why We Love It: It’s an eye-catching and spacious designer bag.

What to Consider: It’s quite expensive and should only be cleaned professionally.

If you’re looking for an investment piece, the Chloe Woody Large Logo Canvas Tote Bag immediately stands out. It’s made of a sleek linen canvas with leather detailing that equals a lovely upgrade to a boxy cotton tote. This sturdy, ultra-spacious bag is perfect for carrying everything from laptops and books to clothing and other accessories, especially if you’re looking to catch some eyes at the next event. The lightly padded top handles feature the signature Chloe logo ribbon, and there’s one practical interior flat pocket and a storage dust bag, too.

Price at time of publish: $1,450

Material: Linen canvas, calf leather | Dimensions: 13 x 17.7 x 5.2 inches | Weight: Not listed | Waterproof: No

Best Athletic

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote

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Why We Love It: The bag is perfect for the gym or to take on your next hike.

What to Consider: It doesn't have a firm structure, so your items may shift while traveling.

This versatile bag can be used as a backpack or tote for comfortable travel options wherever your day takes you. It has several interior and exterior pockets to keep important items easily accessible, including a stretch-mesh water bottle pocket that fits all standard bottles. The nylon tote is lightweight and stuffs into its own pocket making this the perfect pick for hikes or day trips before it easily packs back up inside checked or carry-on bags afterwards, too.

Price at time of publish: $99

Material: Nylon | Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.25 x 8 inches | Weight: 13 ounces | Waterproof: No

Tips for Buying a Travel Tote

Think of your intended activity

When you’re buying a tote, consider how you’ll be using it. For example, shoppers looking for a new tote to carry their camera equipment through a wet environment likely need a very different bag than those frequently heading on business trips.

Keep TSA regulations in mind

If you’re planning to bring the tote on your next flight, be sure that it meets the TSA guidelines before purchasing. You don’t want to end up at the airport with something too large to be considered a personal item or carry-on bag.

Aim for comfort

Think about how many items you plan to carry, and if the bag comes with a removable, padded strap. Being able to sling the bag over your shoulder takes a lot of pressure off of your forearm and makes the weight feel like less of a load. In general, you should also make sure the straps are sufficiently strong and durable — especially if you plan on toting heavier items like school books or camera equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are tote bags typically used for?

    Tote bags are versatile and can be carried just about anywhere, from shopping at farmer's markets to a day at the beach. They can be used as travel bags, gym bags, and even purses for everyday use as well.

  • Can I use a tote bag as a carry-on?

    Yes, as long as it meets TSA guidelines. Generally, carry-on bags should be less than 22 inches long, less than 14 inches wide, and less than 9 inches high. It’s also possible to use a tote as a personal item on the plane. Either way, check your airline’s exact regulations for overhead bags and underseat sizing as needed.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, travel journalist and photographerJess Kellylooked into dozens of tote bags and chose the best ones jetsetters, commuters, and everyday shoppers should keep in their closets. Based in New York, Jess has written for a wide range of publications, including Travel + Leisure, HuffPost, Condé Nast Traveler, Insider, Food & Wine, Cosmopolitan, Thrillist, Roadtripper, and Bon Appetit. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram @Adventures.Are.Waiting.

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