7 essential travel bags for every kind of voyager

Including a pickpocket-proof cross-body bag and a smart backpack with USB charging

Photo collage of several pictures of travel bags
(Image credit: Illustration by Julia Wytrazek / Getty Images)

Packing the right bag for a trip is almost as important as remembering to bring your passport. Which bag to bring depends on where you are going and what is on the agenda. A simple sling might do perfectly for a weekend getaway, while a two-week beach vacation calls for an enormous tote. Want to be prepared for all possible trips? Here are seven bags — from a smart backpack to a stadium-ready clear fanny pack — to add to your luggage arsenal. 

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Madewell Zip-Top Essential Tote

A brown leather Madewell Zip-Top Essential Tote

A zip-top ensures all of your personal items stay where they need to be

(Image credit: Madewell)

When you are on the go, you want a tote that carries a lot without being overwhelming. The leather Essential Tote hits that sweet spot, with plenty of room for basics like a phone, laptop and water bottle and small items you pick up along the way. The bag is structured but not stiff and has a zip-top, so your things will stay put.

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$160, Amazon

Stoney Clover Lane Clear Fanny Pack

A woman holds three clear fanny packs in her hand

A clear bag is a must-bring on any trip involving a stadium

(Image credit: Stoney Clover Lane)

Stadiums and concert venues often require a clear bag for entrance, and no one craves being turned away at the gate. The Stoney Clover Lane clear fanny pack requires minimal space in your suitcase and will free up your hands so you can carry the important accessories at the venue, like a giant pretzel and $50 beer. The fanny pack can be worn around the waist or as a cross-body bag, fits a phone, wallet, keys and sunglasses. Stoney Clover Lane's customizable patches are eager to help you make this fanny pack your own.

$108, Stoney Clover Lane

Nordace Siena Backpack

A red Nordace Siena smart backpack

This smart backpack has a USB charging port

(Image credit: Nordace)

This is one smart bag. The Nordace Siena has a USB charging port, a fleece-lined pocket for glasses, padded sleeve for laptops and tablets and an outer pocket that can hold a water bottle or umbrella. The Siena is spacious without being bulky and has cushioned shoulder straps. There is also a hidden back pocket to tuck away valuables (take that, would-be thieves!). The bag comes in a variety of colors, including a dusty baby pink and light aqua.  

$109.99, Amazon

Away Everywhere Bag 

A blue Away Everywhere bag opened to show the inside pockets

The full wraparound zip opening sets this bag apart 

(Image credit: Away)

The aptly named Everywhere Bag works in all situations. Bring it on a plane as your personal item (it fits under the seat), and then use it as a daily bag at your destination. The highlight of this water-resistant bag is its full wraparound zip opening, which makes it easy to grab items and see what's what. If organization is your love language, there are multiple interior pockets where you can store your phone, water bottle, tech products and keys.

$195, Away

Tumi Tyler Crossbody

A Black Tumi Tyler bag with gold hardware

This chic cross-body bag transitions easily from day to night

(Image credit: Tumi)

The Tumi Tyler Crossbody is stylish and secure. This nylon bag has several organizational features, including media and card pockets and a pen loop, and its sleek shape works day or night. Each bag also has a unique 20-digit number as part of the Tumi Tracer program. If a registered product is found after being lost or stolen, Tumi works to get it back into the right hands.  

$295, Tumi

Nomatic Navigator Sling

A black Nomatic Sling bag

This comfortable sling can hold more than you would think

(Image credit: Nomatic)

You might be surprised by how much you can do with this streamlined sling bag. It has room for a phone, wallet, tablet and other necessities, plus several pockets for tech accessories, slots to hold passports and cards, a cord pass-through and a hidden exterior water bottle holder. For an added level of security, the bag's zippers are tamper-proof.

$129.99, Amazon

Travelon Classic Cross-body Bag

A teal Travelon cross-body bag

This Travelon cross-body bag has a five-point anti-theft system

(Image credit: Travelon)

Pickpockets, beware. The Travelon Classic Cross-body Bag was designed with security in mind and has five anti-theft features, including a slash-resistant body and straps, RFID blocking organizer and a main compartment that locks. There are more than a dozen colors and patterns to choose from, with all of the fabrics water-resistant.

Starting at $42.99, Amazon

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