The value of a stylish, well-designed handbag or tote for traveling cannot be underestimated. The best ones meet the criteria for “personal item” or carry-on and can neatly compartmentalize all essentials needed within reach during a flight, survive the indignity of being squashed and stowed beneath the seat in front of you and look as fresh arriving in destination as they did when getting on the plane.
Here are several.
DESIGNER QUICK-CHANGE ARTIST
Aimee Kestenberg’s Let’s Ride Triple Entry Satchel Crossbody ($248) is that beautiful workhorse in soft, sumptuous vintage glove tan leather. The slouchy satchel converts to shoulder bag or crossbody seamlessly as needed, organizes fingertip essentials among three cleverly designed exterior pockets — the “triple entry” access — and offers versatile storage inside among slip and zippered pockets, including one that partitions the interior into two roomy compartments. And it does so while maintaining a feminine silhouette.
Offered in a dramatic color palette that includes oxblood, rainforest green and Amazon leopard with contrasting, patterned interior lining, the bag has structured top handles, two exterior zippers trimmed with flirty tassels and finished with signature branded hardware. www.aimeekestenberg.com
For traveling parents, Ayla & Co. has created the gender-neutral Ayla Diaper Bag ($195), offering all the functionality of a diaper bag but disguised as a beautifully crafted tote — one that can easily convert to backpack or messenger style bag. Even more amazing, the bag is a diaper bag system with an option to add an Ayla Vac ($60), a powerful, lightweight and compact dual-speed cordless vacuum that can whipped out to hoover up spilled Cheerios, Goldfish or other crumbs.
Made of vegan leather and offered in five colorways, the bag shows its utilitarian chops through extras including a reusable silicone snack bag, stroller straps, vegan leather changing pad, reusable wet bag, insulated and removable bottle/snack pouch and removable and washable inner liner. A plethora of pockets hold everything Baby needs for an outing, plus all parent essentials, too. An equally functional miniature version of the Ayla Diaper Bag is also available for $130. www.aylabag.com
Peak Design has something of an engineering marvel with its Everyday Tote ($149.95), an ideal carry-on for the plane or carry-all for road trips. Combining clean lines and on-the-go practicality with plenty of storage pockets, elastic key tether and multiple attachment points for a variety of carry options, this bag checks all the boxes for streamlined, organized travel. It also provides three carry options with padded removable shoulder strap, comfortable dual hand and shoulder straps and luggage pass-through loop.
Inside, the bag offers removable and customizable origami-inspired modular organization to protect gear (including camera equipment), stretchy pockets for optimal small accessory storage and laptop and tablet sleeves to safely accommodate electronics. Access is via top and dual side zips.
The bag’s waterproof exterior, made from recycled plastic, is finished with a weatherproof top zip, with additional security provided with a magnetic clasp that quickly closes the bag’s wide opening top access. www.peakdesign.com
ECO-FRIENDLY, FASHIONABLE, FUNCTIONAL
With its crisp, striking good looks, the Striped Box Tote from ShoreBags ($95) is a style-setter wherever it travels. Constructed of ShoreBags’ durable and eco-friendly signature heavyweight cotton canvas, this roomy tote is capable of carrying everything needed for a day on the road, at the beach or on a shopping spree.
With sturdy and thick leather handles and reinforced bottom, the bag’s interior has a wide pocket to zip in small accessories, plus pen loop and slip pockets for phone and cables/cords. Separate storage is provided with two larger slip pockets on the sides of the bag and keys can be secured the integrated clip. The bag’s silkscreened center stripe comes in pink/blue, red/blue and green/blue. www.shorebags.com