On my constant quest for the “perfect” personal item—I’ve realized that it’s surprisingly hard to find something compact that fits all your carry-on essentials, so I researched and tested a variety of personal item luggage that can also function as your day bag when you hit the ground. Here are my top picks.
North Face Electra Totes
The North Face Electra is a series of carry-all bags that are sleek and can be styled easily with casual outfits and athleisure wear. For minimalist travelers (or anyone on a short trip), the medium size cross-body should do the trick. And if you need more room, the large tote bag size is also a solid option that’s still small enough to be a personal item. Another reason to love these bags is that they feature accessible outer pockets—ideal for your passport or boarding pass—and the roomy interior for electronics and toiletries.
Travelon Anti-Theft Parkview Hobo Crossbody
Travelon’s line of anti-theft bags is a smart purchase for travelers, especially those traveling to destinations prone to pickpocketing. The Parkview Hobo Crossbody has an RFID-blocking pocket, zippered pockets, and slash-resistant panels. My favorite part? The interior LED-light key chain, so you can easily find those items that tend to go missing at the bottom of your bag.
MZ Wallace Travel Jimmy Tote
Travel-friendly brand MZ Wallace consistently makes stylish and practical personal luggage and the Travel Jimmy Tote is no exception. The mid-size tote bag comes with a cross-body strap and comfy tote handles, so you can carry it whichever way suits you best. The quilted plush material is crushable for packing purposes and weather-resistant, so you can count on it holding up wherever you go.
Dagne and Dover Landon Carryall
Dagne and Dover’s Landon Carryall is my personal item of choice. I love the soft neoprene material—you can literally stuff this personal item to the brim and it will always close—and the stylish shape. Travelers can choose from a variety of colors and sizes, but the medium-size is the best-fitting for travel, especially if you’re traveling with electronics.
With Away’s Daypack, the name says it all. With a laptop sleeve and a strap to slide the bag onto your rolling luggage, this backpack is a traveler’s best friend. Plus, the roomy interior and comfortable straps make it an ideal day bag for exploring new destinations.
Rebecca Minkoff East West Nylon Tote
Jet setters will love this two-toned tote bag with a big splash of metallic fabric. Equal parts trendy and useful, Rebecca Minkoff’s East West Nylon Tote has a zip-closure and easy-access side pocket. Plus, the spacious interior can fit everything you need, even if you overpack.
Samsonite Encompass Convertible Backpack
Samsonite’s new Encompass Backpack isn’t just your typical personal item, it’s a business traveler’s dream backpack. You can fit all your working-on-the-road essentials, a spare change of clothes, and more. The bag can be carried as a backpack, cross-body, shoulder bag, or as a handheld.
HEX Terra Sneaker Backpack
HEX’s Terra Sneaker Backpack can hold a pair of shoes and laptops up to 17-inches. With two “device-ready” pockets, this unisex backpack is a useful personal item without the bulkiness, which makes it great to carry around as a day pack, too.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 14 Travel Totes That Do the Most
- 10 Best Travel Day Packs
- 10 Underseat Carry-on Bags You Can Take on Any Flight
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