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Real Women Approved: The 10 Best All-Purpose Work/Travel Bags

Jun 12, 2018

Real Women Approved: The 10 Best All-Purpose Work/Travel Bags

Happy Tuesday guys!

So, I’m heading to Nantucket today! I think I forgot to tell you because it kind of snuck up on me. ? You can probably safely say I will be in a permanent state of hot mess from now until we leave for Italy due to trying to plan out my blog posts two weeks ahead (will this actually happen? Who knows.) But basically, I got invited to go on an awesome press trip to Nantucket this week and I could not refuse! I’ve never been–I seriously can’t wait!

Anyway, on to today’s much-awaited post–I often get so many questions asking about the perfect versatile bag for work and travel, so I thought it would be the perfect topic for our newest reader roundup!

While the definition of “the perfect bag” might vary based on your job, your day to day life, your commute, etc, I think we can all agree on the same general criteria…

An All Purpose Travel / Work Bag:

Has to be fashionable 

Has to be functional 

Needs to be high quality and hold up for years 

Has to hold a bunch of stuff (but not be too overwhelmingly large) 

That being said, I took to Instagram stories to ask your favorites. Then rounded up the 10 most popular answers I received. There were SO many amazing suggestions I got, but for the sake of my sanity, I stuck with the top 10 ?. I’m also sharing why you love ’em so much! I hope this helps you narrow down the perfect bag for your wardrobe that will last you for years to come! (I love plugging in my earbuds and listening to music or a podcast when I’m traveling/commuting. Check out Real Women Approved: the Best Spotify Playlists and 33 Amazing Podcasts to Binge!) 

The 10 Best Work/Travel Bags, According To Readers:


Madewell’s Transport Tote: $168

I was happy to see this was a popular suggestion, because Madewell’s Transport Tote has been my personal all-purpose tote of choice for years!

They come in about 100 different varieties and colors, but I have the original tan leather version–I’m a bit jealous though because they just came out with a zipper top version (which is nice for travel so your stuff doesn’t fall out of your bag!) The zip-top transport carry-all also has a cross-body strap!

Madewell bags in general are known for being amazing quality with beautiful, minimalistic design!

Shelby says, “It’s the best work/travel bag! I take it to work everyday. It’s big enough for a laptop, great as a small carry-on for flights, and you can have it monogrammed if that’s your thing!”

You can purchase Madewell transport totes at Nordstrom, Shopbop, or directly from Madewell (go with the latter option if you want a monogram!)

Cuyana Zipper Tote: $195

Kimber says “I’m obsessed with the Cuyana Zipper Tote. The leather is SO soft and the look of the bag is a classic. It zips closed so its perfect for traveling (preventing anything from falling out and just more secure than a normal tote). You can also monogram the bag and it adds a feminine, preppy touch! The bag easily fits my Macbook, a few travel pouches, cozy scarf for the cold plane, camera, and snacks!”

TUMI: $395

So many people recommended Tumi totes for work and business travel! I never would’ve thought to look there! They make a bunch of different kinds (and I got many different recommendations on favorite styles, so you can shop them all here!)

Tasha says of her Tumi bag, “It has a separate spot for your laptop and slides easily onto luggage. It’s an essential for travel. Definitely on the pricey side but TUMI products last for years and the company has such a good warranty it’s worth every penny!)”

Sale alert: Tumi’s big summer sale is going on right now! 

Tumi Backpack: $275-$395

Another insanely popular suggestion was Tumi’s Calais backpack. I had NO idea Tumi made backpacks, but this one is surprisingly cute! They make a nylon version, which is on sale at Nordstrom right now, as well as a leather version, which is also on sale for $100 off from Tumi.com! 

Lauren says “It’s large enough for all my crap, without breaking my arm. Easy to trek through the airport (and nothing falls out when going through security). Can even pack enough in it foran overnight work trip if needed (luggage-free–weeee!) Stylish and super soft leather = perfection.

Blake says, “I’ve had this backpack for a year and it was great for my corporate job bc I was taking my laptop to and from everyday. It has a nice compartment for it and lot’s of space. I love it for travel because my shoulder bags get way too heavy, and it also has a strap that let’s you slide it right over your carry on handle!”

Lo & Son’s Bags:

Lo and Son’s was a name that popped up again and again!

The OG Bag: 

The most popular of the L&S suggestions, the OG is perfect for both work and travel (and from work to the gym!) Reader Erin says, “I the OG it for traveling and work! Has a separate shoe compartment and can slide over your suitcase handle! Love it so much!”

Phoebee says, “I have two work computers and this holds both of them plus all the extra crap I always carry around *just in case*! It has tons of pockets so its easy to stay organized, plus, it looks so sleek!”

The Seville Bag:

The second most popular L&S bag was The Seville. Lizzy describes it as “super chic and functional. It comes with a travel shell that easily attaches to your carryon. Plus, all the compartments–big enough for my Macbook pro–make it a great work bag, too!”

Kate Spade Laptop Totes: $398

Such sad timing, as I put this request out on instagram stories just days before her passing, but as true testament to Kate’s talent and vision–praise of her work totes came rolling in. There are several different kids, but the Audrey and the Marybeth tote were both popular suggestions.

“They fit your laptop perfectly and are adorable!” says Deanna.

Becca owns the Audrey leather laptop tote and says “it’s very minimal, which prevents me from putting a bunch of sh*t in it. It’s also Saffiano leather, so it’s very durable. Often laptop bags are ugly and bulky. This one is not!”

Everlane Day Market Tote: $165

One of my absolute favorite brands, it didn’t surprise me one bit to hear that you guys are all obsessed with their Market Tote. Update: I just got this based off your reccos and it totally lives up to the hype! 

Taylor says, “It’s built so beautifully and simple, I’m low-key obsessed with it. I really love that the straps are big enough to fit over your shoulder to haul laptops easier, and still plenty of room for a jacket, makeup bag, and a stop on the way home for a couple bottles of wine!”

See how I styled the Everlane Transport Tote in this post! 

Dagne Dover Landon Carryall: $155

Another SUPER  popular suggestion, which surprised me because while I’ve heard of the brand, I’ve never really heard people talk and rave about it as much as I have here! Clearly I’m missing out!

Nikki says, “The medium Landon carryall is one of my current favorites for ladies living in the city. It doesn’t always look the most “professional” because it’s made of Neoprene BUT as someone who commutes on the train from work to the gym to the grocery store and home, I’ve found that it does an amazing job holding everything–my laptop, water bottle, change of clothes. Plus, the bag itself is relatively lightweight so you’re not having to heft bag weight too!”

Dagne Dover Classic Tote: $245

CC says “Hands down Dagne Dover wins!” Her favorite features: the padded laptop compartment (holds a 13″ mac), removable neoprene water bottle holder (so condesation doesn’t get on your other stuff), a key clip so you can quickly find your keys, pen holders so you never lose your pens, and smaller compartments to help you keep organized. Comes in ton’s of colors!”

Linnay says “It’s perfect if you travel for work, it holds so much! Fits under the seat on planes and it looks professional for work meetings!”

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