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The 9 Best Travel Bags We’re Taking Out of Town With Us in 2023

If you’re anything like us, wanderlust is pretty easy to come by these days. That’s why it’s never too early (or too late?) to find one of the best travel bags to add to your daily or weekend carry. These run the gamut across several categories, but each can rise to the occasion when you need it the most. It seems that everyone is traveling these days, but one step inside any airport will have you question why some folks are using the travel bags they’re using. Don’t be like those people, you’re better than that. You need one of the very best travel bags to get you where you’re going in style.

Your luggage should be stylish, functional, and full of pockets, no matter how near or how far you’re going. If your future includes a long-awaited trans-Atlantic getaway, you need a bag that can go the distance. What are you going to do? Start shopping, of course. Naturally, there are all sorts of different directions your search can take you, so we’ve cast a broad net and included a number of different travel bags we’ve personally tested on our travels.

One of our testers wearing the Monos Metro Backpack Tyler Schoeber | SPY

Here at SPY, we love the best travel bags. Carry-ons, weekenders, duffles, backpacks — you’re sure to need an upgrade on at least one of those must-own pieces of luggage in the coming months. To help you indulge your wanderlust, we’ve got options for every type of travel bag you might need. Whether you’re going to be hitting the road for work or play, we’ve got you covered with top, SPY-tested options that will last you a lifetime.

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While technically, any bag can be a travel bag, for this list, we’ve focused on the best travel bags that meet carry-on limits and TSA rules and regulations, and they’re all outstanding in different ways. So before you pack your bags, make sure you’re picking the right ones that can handle all of your travel gear.

The Best Travel Bags At a Glance

best Travel Bag Overall

Monos Metro Backpack

Buy NoW $200.00 Jump to Details
Runner Up

Monos Carry-On

Buy Now $242.00 Jump to Details
best reviews

Away Carry-On

Buy Now $275.00 Jump to Details
most spacious

Briggs & Riley Medium Cargo Backpack

Buy Now $359.00 Jump to Details
Best for Vloggers

Wandrd Rom Sling 3L

Buy Now $109.99 Jump to Details
best for photographers

Wandrd All-New PRVKE Backpack

Buy Now $219.00 Jump to Details
Best Travel tote

L.L. Bean Hunter’s Tote Bag

Buy Now $50.00 Jump to Details
best duffle

Herschel Novel Duffle Bag

Buy Now On Amazon $89.99 Jump to Details
best hybrid

Solo All-Star Hybrid Backpack Duffle Bag

Buy Now On Amazon $102.99 Jump to Details

How to Pick the Best Travel Bag

Answer these two questions for us: where are you going and how long are you going for? However you answer these two questions will determine how you should pick your best travel bag.

It’s safe to say that for longer vacations, a larger carry-on or luggage bag is necessary for traveling. In this case, these bags are smarter for the sheer fact you’ll have more room to pack more clothing you otherwise would leave behind. In addition, we always suggest taking carry-ons or larger luggage options when traveling in the winter to carry bulkier items.

For shorter vacations, most travelers will be set with a backpack and/or duffel bag. These are smarter for packing a smaller number of clothing and will help keep you in check with overpacking. In addition, we love taking slings and tote bags with us as personal items to squeeze a couple more necessary items in.

Courtesy of Monos
best Travel Bag Overall


Buy NoW

Why We Chose It: Not only is it the most stylish travel bag on this list, but it has so many storage options, you won’t even know how to use them all.

It’s hard to look at the Monos Metro Backpack and not develop a crush, but that crush turns into a full-on infatuation once you get the chance to test it out for yourself. We’ve been testing the Monos Metro Backpack for months, and it’s quickly become our go-to when heading to the airport on both short and long trips. When it comes to storage, this backpack has it all. Expect pockets on pockets on pockets with this one. So much so that we’ve been finding a new one every time we use it.

This backpack can be packed to the brim but additionally keeps a smaller size to slide perfectly under the airplane seat ahead of you. Our two favorite aspects of this backpack? Well, the way it opens fully as a carry-on bag does in addition to the fact it comes with an exterior Dopp kit you don’t have to pack inside. Instead, it sits on the outside but is still exceptionally hard to steal due to the way it’s clasped onto the pack.


  • Lots of pockets
  • Great looking
  • Solid materials
  • Dopp kit included
  • Great size


  • Pricey
Courtesy of Monos
Runner Up

$242.00 $272.00 11% off

Buy Now

Why We Chose It: Just like the backpack, this carry-on is sleek and small in all the right ways but can reimagine the way you pack.

Some might consider us Monos-obsessed and others will consider us realistic. The Monos Carry-On is currently the sleekest carry-on bag on the market and will have you reconsidering every luggage purchase you’ve made in your lifetime. Like the backpack, we’ve been testing this carry-on for months on end and noticed although it’s tiny (it can fit in every overhead airplane compartment), it can fit just about whatever it is you need to bring effortlessly.

Sometimes the extending handle will get stuck if you pack a little too much, but all you have to do is move some items around and you’ll be good to get on the road. The wildest part about this carry-on? It doesn’t zip close. Yes, you read that right. Instead, it clips closed with two TSA-friendly combination locks. They work well enough and feel more secure than a zipper does when we shove as much as possible inside.


  • Lots of space
  • Small size
  • Easy to pack
  • Clips closed


  • Handle sometimes gets stuck
Courtesy of Away
best reviews


Buy Now

Why We Chose It: The people have spoken. Not only have a number of editors tested and love this travel bag, but this is one of the most well-reviewed travel bags on the internet.

Away, as a brand, has had a bizarre past couple of years, but we’re looking to put all of the gossip and bad press aside for the truth: the Away Carry-on is one of the best travel bags this world has to offer. If we think about the saying “new classic”, we can’t not think about this carry-on. This reinvented travel bag has an ultra-packable interior that can fit all of your belongings no matter where you’re headed. In addition, it has a hard exterior shell that can be knocked around in the overhead compartment and the conveyer belt alike. The telescoping handle is easy to use and four wheels allow for effortless transport in the airport.

This carry-on is complete with a TSA-approved locking system in addition to a handy portable charger. Here’s the issue, though — in our experience, you cannot get through an airport or onto an airplane without someone from TSA or a flight attendant on the airplane asking you to take the portable charger out from the little home it sits in. Supposedly, it’s a fire hazard, which doesn’t have the best look. Nonetheless, they’ll let you keep it as long as it isn’t inside the actual carry-on.


  • Well-reviewed
  • Can take bumps and hits
  • Great handle
  • Very packable


  • Portable charger issues
Courtesy of Briggs & Riley
most spacious

Why We Chose It: A smart design meets a monogrammable backpack for stylish wear and a comfortable way of packing.

It’s safe to say that backpacks are greater duffle bags these days. Why? Because lugging is so old school. Instead, the majority of the best travel bags these days are backpacks disguised in the same shape and size as most duffle bags. That’s the case here with the Briggs & Riley Medium Cargo Backpack.

Through testing, we’ve taken note that this boisterous backpack comes with pockets on pockets to make travel easy and mess-free. It’s a larger pack that still has the size you need for fitting under the airplane seat in front of you. Additionally, we’ve taken note that it’s one of the most comfortable backpacks you can wear even when it’s packed to the brim. Fit your laptop, tablet, clothing, your toiletries — whatever. It can all fit in this travel bag. Oh, and did we mention that you can monogram this bag with your initials if you’d like? You know, for that extra added spunk.

We’d recommend this for business travelers. It’s hard to find a good backpack that’s business-appropriate and aesthetically, this one takes the cake.


  • Comfortable to wear
  • Ultra packable
  • Big but not too big


  • Very pricy for a backpack
Courtesy of Wandrd
Best for Vloggers


Buy Now

Why We Chose It: Vloggers rejoice — we found a low-profile, trendy bag to bring your core gear around the villa.

Hear us out: this is primarily a camera bag. Yep, you read that right. A camera bag. That said, if carrying the PKW (phone, keys, wallet) isn’t your MO and you’re more so on a vlogging quest, use it to carry your camera and lens with the divider included.

We know what you’re thinking, “how on Earth is this one of the best travel bags?” Well, let’s set one thing straight: sometimes, big things come in small packages. And that’s exactly the case for the Wandrd Rom Sling 3L. This sling bag is great for protecting your gear on the go just as much as it is for keeping it on your body when exploring. It’s the perfect low-key personal item for vloggers who aren’t carrying a ton of gear; just their mirrorless camera and a microphone.


  • Small
  • Packable
  • Great for multi-purpose use


  • Might be too small
  • Won’t pack anything too large
Courtesy of Wandrd
best for photographers

Why We Chose It: Photographers travel, too. Just like Wandrd’s Sling above, this is a great option traveling photographers can take on the road.

Hey, photographers — we’re back again with another one for you from Wandrd. The All-New PRVKE Backpack is a force to be reckoned with in the travel bag space. We’ve been testing it for well over a year now, and it’s become our favorite camera backpack in recent times. This breathable bag uses a comfortable back panel to stress your body out less when taking it out and about. It’s got a number of ways to carry that even includes luggage pass-through straps if you don’t feel like carrying it at all.

This is the kind of bag you can pack all of your technology in side by side with clothing, snacks, water bottles, and more. You know, just in case you’re camping or something. After owning it for so long, we can also attest to its durability. It feels just as strong as it was on day one.


  • Packs tech and other items
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Very durable


  • Might not be the best for non-photographers
Courtesy of L.L.Bean
Best Travel tote

We’re getting unintentionally controversial here, but yes, that’s a tote bag, but it was ranked as one of the best tote bags in a previous review. Sometimes it’s easier to throw it all in rather than purposefully pack it in an orderly fashion. Modeled after a classic duck-hunting bag, this tote uses one large, roomy space with a mouth that opens wide so you can find whatever it is you’re looking for quickly and effortlessly. When testing, we noticed multiple ways of carrying depending on the straps you choose to use when lugging along. The bag itself is entirely water-resistant, making it the best travel bag for wetter locations such as London or Seattle.

That price? Well, when it comes to the best travel bags, this one really can’t be beaten. It’s something that makes this bag well worth it in our opinion. You’ll be happy to know that owning this bag doesn’t mean you have to hunt ducks, it works for clothes and stuff as well.


  • Large capacity
  • Can fit clothes and other items
  • Waterproof


  • Definitely not an “only bag”
Courtesy of Herschel
best duffle

Why We Chose It: We know, we slightly made fun of duffle bags earlier — but we still love duffle bags. Yes, especially when they’re from Herschel.

Don’t get us wrong; we absolutely love a duffle bag, even though we made fun of it earlier. But, the large, luggable way of wearing is well, loveable.

This functional bag is a favorite of ours for several reasons. We love the two-way carry, whether going over the shoulder or using the top handles to swing it along (we prefer the top handles), but the standout here is a little hidden. A functional side pocket is hidden in this bag designed to hold shoes. Yes, so your shoes don’t have to touch your clean clothes. After testing this bag, we decided that this factor in itself makes this bag a game-changer. That along with the Herschel name? A simple chef’s kiss.


  • Large space
  • Extra section for shoes
  • Great brand
  • Multiple ways to carry


  • You have to lug it
  • Not many extra pockets
Courtesy of Amazon
best hybrid

Why We Chose It: This bag takes everything we typically dislike about a duffle bag by transforming it into something easier to carry.

Want to lug it around on your shoulder? Go for it. Hold it like a shopping bag? Might as well. Throw it on your back like a backpack? You can do that, too. The Solo All-Star Hybrid Backpack Duffle Bag is one of the best travel bags because it combines so many into one. We’ve been testing this one for three years in total and can attest that it will last you a lifetime. Each bag is so light and comfortable to wear, no matter how much you pack it to the brim. To top it all off, it’s honestly quite stylish, and everything is sustainably made.


  • Multiple ways of holding
  • Sustainably made
  • Lasts a long time


  • For a duffle, it’s not as large as we’d like

How We Determined the Best Travel Bags

It sounds easier said than done, but the answer is kind of simple: we determined the best travel bags by traveling. Each and every travel bag you see above we have taken out in the world during our travels this past year. In some cases, we’ve even been testing these bags longer. Clearly, Monos is a brand that is sticking out of the pack as one our readers certainly need to look out for in 2023. Sure, they might not be the cheapest bags on the planet, but they really do the job effortlessly well.

To discover all of the best travel bags, we considered the following:

  • Comfortability: You don’t want to carry around a travel bag if it isn’t comfortable. We made sure these bags could stand the test regarding comfortability during travel.
  • Style: Travel bags should be as good-looking as they are functional.
  • Extra Pockets/Hidden Features: Travel bags in 2023 should differ from the kind our parents were carrying around. Travel bags must have standout features such as extra pockets and hidden features.
  • Size: Were the bags too big, too small, or just right?
  • How Much It Fits: Why would you want a bag that doesn’t fit what you need to bring?
  • Accessibility: This speculation determined whether there were more ways to access the interior or not. In addition, we factored in how the bag opens.
  • Colors: Because who doesn’t love fun colors?

Why Trust SPY to Find the Best Travel Bags

Here at SPY, we love testing products. It’s quite literally the name of the game at this point. You name it; we’ve probably tested it. Moisture-wicking t-shirts, bike locks, bald head shavers, face masks — you get the gist. Also, SPY is all over the place. Our main editing team can be found across the US in just about every single time zone. In addition, we’ve got freelance editors overseas in different spots outside of mainland America. That being said, we’re constantly traveling both for work and for pleasure.

We’ve spent hours on hours inside airports, bus terminals, train stations on planes, trains, cars, buses — not to mention getting ourselves to and from these locations on public transportation, Uber and the like. We’re trying to say that the bags above have seen more than many people in this world have. We’re using them more than you can understand. Because we’ve used them so many times in such a plethora of different scenarios, these travel bags have gone through so much testing we can barely put a number on them.

During testing, we made sure that these bags can put up with anything that might occur in transit. Layovers from hell to flights that are oh-so-smooth sailing, we’ve gone above and beyond to test every aspect of what these bags are capable of doing.

Click here to read more about SPY’s product testing and review process.

About the Author

Tyler Schoeber is the E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor at SPY. Based in Chicago, Tyler’s a proud Jersey native who loves good food, good wine, and good times. Recently, Tyler has written about the best winter coats, the best men’s joggers and the best sweaters for men as well.