What Makes a Great Travel Backpack

I’ll admit, I’ve resisted carrying a backpack until quite recently.  I can be a bit picky when it comes to what I wear and use, and I found backpacks bulky and unstylish.  I even forgo a backpack in college. I didn’t have to carry as many books as I once did in high school, so I carried a stylish structured tote bag instead.

For several years now, I’ve used a well structured nylon tote bag from Kate Spade (actually a diaper bag) for my personal item when traveling.  It holds quite a bit, has a thick carry strap, and withstands wear and tear…but it’s not suited for every trip I take.  I’ve found my whirlwind trips where I am constantly moving from city to city are not suited to lugging a tote bag on my shoulder and a carry-on rolling behind me.  Sometimes I need to be more hands-free, and admittedly, need to reduce pack pain on long travel days.  With those problems in mind, I began my search for a travel backpack that fit my picky standards.

My four priorities were:

  1. Roomy, with lots of pockets
  2. At least partially anti-theft
  3. Stylish
  4. Comfortable straps to reduce back pain


With some research and a budget in mind, I found my perfect bag!   Found on Amazon for a great deal of $26.99,  I found a backpack with lots of pockets, partially anti-theft, and had a vintage style I love.  Though I would have preferred to go for something more colorful, I found that a more neutral color palette of grey and black would go well with whatever outfit I was wearing while traveling.  I say it’s partially anti-theft because of it’s outer buckled pockets.  ACS_0098I keep less important items like bandaids, lip gloss and sunscreen in those pockets.  Items I want to keep closely guarded are in the main part of the backpack, which is secured with both a drawstring and magnetic clasps.  It doesn’t make it impenetrable, but definitely less easy to steal from!

There are also inner mesh zipper pockets and a padded divider for laptops if need be, which is a plus!

Below are some other great recommendations based on my four priorities for a great travel backpack.  Of course, everyone has their own standards for what they need when traveling.   However, I believe these four priorities fit the basic needs for a stylish traveler, in need of a great backpack for everyday travel.


Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 3.30.41 PM

This backpack is very similar to mine above with its vintage-style straps, inner and outer pockets, and padded straps.  It’s made of a thick, durable canvas, and comes in a variety of fun colors.  The backpack meets the maximum carry-on limits for international and domestic travel, but being of similar size to my backpack, I feel it can easily be used as your personal item as well (and fit under the seat).

AMAZON   $34.99




Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 4.11.00 PMThis more modern option comes in a variety of patterns and colors and has a sleeker look.  With its adjustable (and hideaway) padded straps, multiple pockets, and stylish design, it meets technically meets 3 out of 4 priorities.  Though it doesn’t describe the 4 exterior buckles as anti-theft details, I believe they can help in preventing thieves from easily opening the main compartment.  These buckles are actually used to help compress and reduce stress on the zippers, when packing it full.

AMAZON   $46.99



Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 9.26.47 PM.pngMuch smaller than the other suggested backpacks, it’s more suited as a purse with your must-haves, than an additional way to pack extra travel items.   It comes in a few designs and has numerous pockets to keep items organized.  The main compartment has a lock to keep it secure, RFID protection, and comfortable straps.

EBAGS   $41.59

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