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April 10, 2019 3 min read

Here we discuss what to look for in a bag you are taking on your travels from the size, style, and features of the bag to the material, size, and weight.

You will notice I selected some bags that may not be specifically designed for travel. That’s because I don’t believe it is necessary for most types of trips. Plus they often don’t look cute.

Your personal style, travel style, and plans

First, think about your upcoming trip(s) and what you will be doing on them. Do you like city breaks and country escapes? Or are you a beach lover or adventure traveler with style?

The bag you need for a trip to New York City is probably going to be different to the one you need for a relaxing beach vacation in Hawaii or a trek in Peru!

Match your bag to your vacation and your personal style.

Make your new bag is one you love – after all, it is likely to be in a few pictures.

Speaking of pictures, phones these days take such great snaps that, unless you love photography or need a camera for your work, a phone may be the only camera you need.

Your travel bag essentials

Now think about what you need every day for your trip. This is different for everyone but I’ve provided some ideas as a starting point.

My travel essentials

  • small wallet 
  • phone
  • lip gloss / sunscreen
  • room key
  • collapsible water bottle 
  • tissues/hand sanitizer
  • foldable tote 

You may need

  • Medication
  • Camera + lenses
  • Selfie stick
  • Sunglasses
  • Umbrella
  • Snacks
  • Map
  • Hat

Try to keep only the essentials with you when you travel. At home, I might have 3 lipsticks in my bag – oops! But since I discovered this moisturizing lipstick that magically matches my skin tone, that’s the only thing that comes with me in my day bag.

Not to mention the store cards etc in your wallet. These can stay at home. Just transfer your travel credit/debit card and a small amount of cash to a small wallet.

Bag size and weight

I like to carry the smallest bag I can get away with. It needs to be lightweight too.

If you plan to do lots of walking and sightseeing then you want to make sure your bag is not too heavy that it hurts your shoulders at the end of the day.

Unless you are a keen photographer carrying a bulky digital SLR camera plus lenses then you can choose a reasonably small bag.

The lightest bags are made of microfiber material but you can also find lightweight leather and vegan leather bags too.

Design and organization

Consider the shape and width of the bag. Anything too bulky is going to get in the way of picture taking and be cumbersome to manage.

Bags should be adjustable to your height so an adjustable strap is a must. Some bags have removable straps which can be useful if you want to switch up your look.

How many compartments do you need in your bag?

This is personal preference but I like to have a zippered internal pocket where I can store my passport and small wallet, a place for my phone and not too much else. An external pocket is useful to store tickets and lip balm.

Things to look for:

  • adjustable shoulder straps
  • padded shoulder strap – if you are carrying heavier items like a camera
  • compartments
  • zippered internal and external pockets
  • water bottle holder

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