If you pack correctly, it can reduce your stress levels when you travel. You need luggage that will hold all of your items, but isn’t too heavy to conveniently haul on all sorts of public transportation. With these goals in mind, we’ve chosen the bags every frequent traveler should own.
How You Pack Can Reduce Stress
Whether you’re going on a long or short trip, packing doesn’t have to be miserable. It’s always good to have a few designated bags to grab, ideally one that isn’t too large and cumbersome but still holds a lot of items.
Keep these things in mind when you pick and pack a bag:
- Which type of bag do you prefer? Do you like to take a carry-on-size rolling suitcase on every trip? If so, be sure you invest in a really good one that will last. If you prefer a versatile duffle bag, make sure you get one that isn’t too cramped. Ideally, you’ll have both.
- Use packing cubes. They keep your items neat and organized, and possibly, even make a little more room in an already cramped suitcase. It’s a small extra step during packing that definitely pays off.
- Choose bags with lots of pockets. These allow you to organize smaller items, so everything isn’t thrown together in one big heap. You’ll also have easier access to important items when you need them.
Best Overall: TravelPro Luggage MaxLite Lightweight Carry-On Under Seat Tote
The TravelPro Luggage MaxLite Lightweight Carry-On Tote is truly a great travel bag. It’s roomy, but lightweight (it barely weighs two pounds) and small enough to carry on when you fly. It’s durable, the fabric is stain- and water-resistant, and its strong zippers won’t break easily.
The rear strap makes it easy to stack over the handle of a suitcase, while the top handle and padded shoulder strap make it easy to carry. It also has plenty of pockets on the front and side for items you need to keep within reach.
It’s also affordable for a sturdy piece of luggage, and if you don’t like pink, it’s available in plenty of other colors.
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5 18" Lightweight Carry-on Under Seat Tote Travel, Dusty Rose, One Size
The MaxLite is roomy but lightweight, has lots of pockets, and you can carry it several ways.
Best Carry-On Suitcase: TravelPro Crew Expert Max Carry-On Expandable Rollaboard
If you prefer a suitcase, it’s hard to beat the TravelPro Crew Expert Max Carry-On. It’s small enough to carry on flights, but you’ll be shocked at how much stuff it holds. There’s also an optional zippered, two-inch expansion if you need to pack even more, and a removable wet pocket if you need it. The fold-out suiter system prevents suits from getting wrinkled.
The front pockets hold a lot (just don’t overstuff them, or it might not fit in an overhead bin). There’s also a padded laptop pocket, a removable TSA-approved toiletries bag that fits in the front pocket, and a wide, comfortable handle.
Overall, this nice, durable suitcase can handle travel wear and tear and will keep you super-organized.
Best Duffel Bag: Canway 65L Foldable Weekender
The Canway Travel Duffel Bag stands out due to its helpful features. It has a large, roomy interior with six separate pockets to help you stay organized. It’s made of waterproof, tear-resistant fabric and weighs barely two pounds when it’s empty. It also folds up for easy storage.
It has a strap on each side if you need someone to help you carry it. There’s also a detachable shoulder strap, and a wide strap on the back that fits over the handle of a suitcase. The side shoe pocket has air vents for storing dirty laundry.
It’s ideal for travel, but could also double as a gym bag when you’re at home.
Canway 65L Travel Duffel Bag, Foldable Weekender Bag with Shoes Compartment for Men Women Water-proof & Tear Resistant
The Canway Travel Duffel Bag is very roomy with lots of pockets, including a shoe pocket with air vents. It also has different strap options for your convenience.
Best Backpack: Haerfest Travel Backpack
A travel backpack might not suffice as your only piece of luggage, but if you need an extra bag that leaves your hands free, the Haerfest Travel Backpack is ideal. It’s sleek, chic, and holds a lot. The large interior pocket, along with some smaller ones, will keep your stuff organized. There’s also a clip to hold your keys for easy access. A padded laptop pocket on the back will keep your computer safe, and the front pocket is nice and roomy.
Another nice feature is the back panel you can slide over a suitcase handle for easier transport when you can’t have it on your back. The slim straps are comfortable and don’t make you look like you’re in elementary school.
Best Packing Cubes: TravelWise Packing Cube System
Okay, these aren’t bags, but if you use packing cubes in your travel bag, they make your life on the go whole lot easier. The TravelWise Packing Cube System includes five pieces: one small, two medium, and two large. They’re lightweight, durable, and the mesh pockets on the front allow you to see what’s inside, so you can easily find whatever you’re looking for.
TravelWise Packing Cube System - Durable 5 Piece Weekender+ Set (Pink)
The TravelWise Packing Cubes help you keep everything organized and neat in your suitcase.
Best for Toiletries: Bosidu Hanging Travel Bag
If you travel with a lot of beauty products and toiletries, you need a bag that will hold everything in a package that can’t easily be broken or ripped. The large Bosidu Hanging Toiletry Bag is just the ticket! It has four separate compartments to help you keep everything organized, and its water- and leak-proof design means even if something does open, it won’t get everywhere.
The built-in hook allows you to unfold and hang it from a towel rack, coat hook, or anywhere you can in a hotel room. This way, you can easily see all your toiletries rather than shuffling through your bag looking for them.
Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag,Large Capacity Cosmetic Travel Toiletry Organizer for Women with 4 Compartments & 1 Sturdy Hook,Perfect for Travel/Daily Use/Christmas Gifts
The Bosidu Toiletry Bag has four compartments to hold all of your items. Plus, you can hang it, so you can easily see everything inside.