Melissa’s Picks: The Best Travel Bags for Touring

I’m a firm believer in traveling carry-on only, as much as possible—and while it’s essential to choose the right suitcase, another key element of my strategy is to select a lightweight, versatile bag for touring during the day, as well as a transitional clutch and other easy-to-pack accessories for evenings. As I’m preparing for autumn adventures in culture capitals like Antwerp, Florence, Paris and Tel Aviv—and busy days in New York City—these are the kinds of bags I won’t travel without. See and shop my favorite fall picks below—plus, discover a few favorite recommendations from my team.

Best Travel Bags for Touring

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LALLA MARRAKECH MINI HIPPY HABIBI BAG  |  SHOP HERE

Lalla is one of my favorite boutiques in Marrakech’s Gueliz neighborhood, and I love the founder, Laetitia Trouillet. The fringed Hippy Habibi bag is one of my go-to travel bags, and the terry cloth beach bags are also excellent.

We are devastated to see the effects of the earthquake in Morocco, centered in a place that we have been visiting for years. We shared some of the best ways to help now on our Instagram account, including donating to Education for All and continuing to support Marrakech and the rest of the country economically through considered tourism. In the words of Indagare COO Eliza Harris, who was in the Atlas Mountains at the time of the earthquake: "There is still plenty of magic here for travelers."

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MZ WALLACE  |  SHOP HERE

An Indagare member-favorite brand is MZ Wallace, whose quilted design and preference for pockets and zippers are helpful for keeping your things organized and protected on the road—plus, they go with everything. The belt bags and sling bags are especially handy.

This version of the classic Kate shoulder bag is fully reversible—so you have both suede and smooth leather options in one bag. It can also be worn as a crossbody.

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LOEWE PUZZLE FOLD MINI LEATHER TOTE BAG  |  SHOP HERE

This Loewe tote folds totally flat into a square—perfect for packing. It can be worn as a shoulder bag and also has a detachable strap for crossbody styling.

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MARC JACOBS THE SNAPSHOT LEATHER CAMERA BAG  |  SHOP HERE

This compact crossbody fits the essentials, with a pop of color. Plus, the wider strap distributes the weight nicely over the course of a long day—and it can be removed, so the bag can be used as a clutch or wallet.

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ACNE STUDIOS MUSUBI MICRO LEATHER SHOULDER BAG  |  SHOP HERE

Inspired by the design of Japanese obi sashes, in a fun tie-dye print, this small, bucket-style bag can be worn as a crossbody or held as a purse.

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LEMAIRE CROISSANT SMALL LEATHER SHOULDER BAG  |  SHOP HERE

This high-quality, versatile bag combines the best features of a belt bag and a crossbody.

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PRADA NYLON CLUTCH  |  SHOP HERE

This iconic baguette bag is one of the flattest, easiest designs to pack. It can be worn on the shoulder for toting just the essentials during the day—or transform it into a clutch for the evening.

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BOTTEGA VENETA PADDED TECH CASSETTE CROSSBODY BAG  |  SHOP HERE

Many of our travelers are loving this puffy Bottega Veneta crossbody right now, which comes in a few sizes and colors (including black, green, olive and tan).

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This sleek, understated, compact bag can be worn as a belt bag or a crossbody.

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LOEWE SMALL SQUEEZE BAG  |  SHOP HERE

Just a bit smaller than a tote, the Squeeze bag can fit a small camera or book as well as the essentials—and its so-called ‘squishy’ handle means it rests comfortably on the shoulder through the day. It also has an extendable chain to go from day to night.

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DAGNE DOVER 365 NEOPRENE ACE SLING BAG  |  SHOP HERE

The Dagne Dover neoprene sling bags can be easily packed (thanks to their soft, crushable material) and work well for more active trips as well as city adventures.

Related: What I’m Buying this Week: Fashion, Wellness, Tech and More for Travelers

 

Best Travel Bags for Day to Evening

These gorgeous clutches show personality and are small enough to pack, but big enough to carry your most important items (phone, wallet, cash) in a foreign city. Thanks to detachable straps, they can be worn or carried.
  • CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN PALOMA EMBELLISHED LEATHER CLUTCH  |  SHOP HERE

  • OSCAR DE LA RENTA TRO MINI VELVET CROSSBODY BAG  |  SHOP HERE

  • AMINA MUADDI SUPERAMINI PALOMA EMBELLISHED CLUTCH  |  SHOP HERE

  • LOEWE FLAMENCO MINI LEATHER CLUTCH  |  SHOP HERE

  • SAINT LAURENT CASSANDRE MATELASSÉ ENVELOPE LEATHER WALLET ON CHAIN  |  SHOP HERE

  • ACNE STUDIOS DISTORTION MINI LEATHER SHOULDER BAG  |  SHOP HERE

  • MANOLO BLAHNIK CAPRI EMBELLISHED SATIN CLUTCH  |  SHOP HERE

Related: Where To Go in Fall 2023

 

Plus: Favorites from the Indagare Staff

For Unpredictable Weather and Travel with Peace of Mind

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RAINS BAGS  |  SHOP HERE

“I am obsessed with this Danish brand Rains! In typical Scandinavian style, all of their pieces are both sleek and highly functional. They use a coated waterproof fabric, which is perfect for trips to destinations that receive a lot of rain (like Denmark, Sweden or Ireland)—as well as late fall and winter getaways when the weather can be unpredictable. Plus, I love the security of knowing that my Rains bags can stand a bit of wear-and-tear (and even the risk of spills!) on busy itineraries that may involve traveling on the metro, hopping in and out of cabs and transit on trains. For touring during the day, they have great backpacks and smaller crossbodies. Their duffles and raincoats are also quite chic!” — Elizabeth Harvey, Senior Editor

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RIMOWA CROSS-BODY BAG  |  SHOP HERE

“The mini Rimowas are so cute—but they’re also made for heavy-duty travel (on the go), thanks to the ultra-resistant grooved aluminum outer shell, and interior features like two open compartments, one zipped pocket, three card slots and a removable strap (the dimensions are 5.04 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches, so it should fit most smartphones).” — Peter Schlesinger, Associate Director, Digital Content

MVP Carry-Alls

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AMAZON BAGSMART CAMERA BACKPACK  |  SHOP HERE

“For traveling with camera equipment, this is the backpack I currently use, available on Amazon. It’s stylish and functional (and waterproof)—and the key is that there’s a big pouch at the top for your random stuff, then a camera/lenses section and then a laptop pouch. For photography on safaris, I’d recommend this one!” — Josh Lauder, Indagare Productions

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BAGGU  |  SHOP HERE

A favorite of many Indagare staffers, Baggu is known for embracing limited-waste design in their highly functional crossbodies and totes. We love the Horizontal Zip Duck Bag because it offers handles as well as a longer, adjustable shoulder strap—and the zipper makes sure all of your things stay secure. Plus: Their pouches and foldable totes are great for staying organized on the road.

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LULULEMON EVERYWHERE BELT BAG  |  SHOP HERE

"This understated, highly packable, water-resistant belt bag fits the essentials and is perfect for the airport and days on the road." — Sarah Minges, Associate Director, Industry Partnerships

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CLEOBELLA WEEKENDER BAG  |  SHOP HERE

“This tote is my absolute favorite. It works as a carry-on or large tote for a day in the park or on the beach!” — Trey Ross, Editorial Assistant

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CLARE V. GRANDE FANNY  |  SHOP HERE

“I love the Clare V. Grande Fanny. You can’t fit a water bottle (which is a considerable fault), but it’s a great crossbody for carrying your phone, passport, cash, sunglasses and chapstick. The textures and colors are lovely, and it’s female-founded. And you can swap out the strap for an evening look (they have fun options on their site).” — Elise Bronzo, VP of Sales

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MASSIMO PALOMBA  |  SHOP HERE + HERE

“I just discovered the wonderful designs of Massimo Palomba. The leather is light, beautiful, supple and their bags are simple and sit beautifully on the shoulder. Most have a shoulder and crossbody option and zip closed.” — Elise Bronzo, VP of Sales

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TUMI CELINA BACKPACK  |  SHOP HERE

“Our VP of Business Development Diana Li does not leave home without her Tumi backpack.” — Elise Bronzo, VP of Sales

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TWO NEW YORK UTILITARIAN CROSSBODY BAG  |  SHOP HERE

“I bought this crossbody from this cool local brand in Brooklyn called Two New York that I really like. It's simple but slightly more fashionable than some of the more purpose-driven crossbodies. Unfortunately the green one I have is currently out of stock!” — Rose Taylor, Senior Director of Travel Product, African Safari

For Traveling with Little Ones

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HERSCHEL HERITAGE HIP PACK LITTLE HERSCHEL  |  SHOP HERE

“For day roaming, and hikes, the Little Herschel Hip Pack has a constantly revolving set of designs and is very easy for the kid to manage when wandering around, toting whatever his latest favorite thing is. Our current one is full of ‘special’ rocks from the last hike—but it’s been great for everything from lip balm to bandaids to snacks to toy cars, as needs arise.” — Blair Diversi, CFO

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JETKIDS BY STOKKE  |  SHOP HERE

“JetKids by Stokke is awesome—less so for the bed function (which varies by airline, if allowed), but it’s a kid-friendly travel case that can handle kid-level wear-and-tear, act as a ride, and is easy to carry/tow if they get bored dragging it along. Plus, it’s big enough to fit a kid inside!” — Blair Diversi, CFO

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AMAZON PLASTIC MESH ZIPPER POUCH  |  SHOP HERE

“The real lifesaver for any bags are these water-resistant mesh zipper pouches to keep things organized—snacks, cars, puzzles, crayons, etc.” — Catherine Happ, Operations Manager, Indagare JourneysRelated: Melissa’s 2023 Summer Travel Must-HavesPlus: Shop exclusive packing edits for beach, safari and beyond from our partner Mytheresa—so you can arrive prepared and in style. For personalized packing guidance, we are also delighted to offer complimentary access to Mytheresa’s VIP Personal Shopping Program. Email myindagare@mytheresa.com to get started.All products featured are independently selected by Indagare. However, if you purchase something through the above links, Indagare may earn an affiliate commission.

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