Laptop bags aren’t just for the business traveler anymore—and they’re no longer relegated to the humble padded messenger bag. Stylish laptop bags now range from trendy backpacks to designer tote bags, and the best ones will protect your hardware as much as they complement your style.
They’re also the best underseat personal item for the plane if you plan on plugging in to watch a downloaded movie or get some work done, and still have plenty of space for all your other in-flight necessities.
11 Stylish Laptop Bags for Travel
Here are the new-and-improved laptop bags to consider, according to how you travel and what your personal style is.
JEMMA Poppins Backpack Tote
I recently spent months searching high and low for what seemed like the unicorn of laptop bags: a stylish leather backpack that looks professional and transforms into a cross-body bag for easy carrying on public transit. I found it in the JEMMA Poppins backpack tote thanks to its incredibly smart design. This purse/backpack hybrid is big enough for a 15-inch laptop, and it makes the perfect underseat personal item because of its spacious and organized inner pockets, complete with card slots, a phone sleeve, and a detachable key leash.
Most transforming backpacks have complicated and bulky removable straps, but the Poppins shape-shifts without having to remove anything. The all-leather tote’s strong metal rings transform a single leather shoulder strap into two backpack straps in one pull. The pretty, gold hardware allows for strap adjustments if you want them to be shortened, and the tote has two simple top handles for those times when you just want to grab your stuff and get off the plane.
Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag
Redefine the standard messenger bag by opting for one made of high-performance fabric that stands out. Dagne Dover’s Ryan Laptop Bag is equal parts work and play. Its neoprene outer is strikingly stylish, and practical features include a back luggage-handle sleeve, two main zippered compartments, organizing pockets and elastic straps, a key leash, a cross-body strap, and two long tote handles that make it a shoulder bag to boot.
STM Goods’ Myth Backpack 18L
A sleek unisex backpack and laptop bag that’s not bulky, STM Goods’ Myth 18L has a 15-inch ‘slingtech’ laptop sleeve—which means it suspends your laptop to shield from potential bumps and pressure. And it has several more cool features: hidden cable feeds so you can charge your electronics, AirPod and non-tangle headphone compartments, a water-repellant outer coating, and of course a luggage-handle sleeve.
VASCHY Water-Resistant Waxed Canvas Laptop Tote
For an affordable water-resistant laptop bag that’ll fit all the necessities, VASCHY’s Vintage Leather Laptop Tote is made of waxed canvas and real leather. The refined materials plus shock-proof padding and a reinforced bottom make it a sturdy bag that’s a steal—it’s under $50 at the time of writing.
DELSEY Chatelet Soft Air Shoulder Bag
A smaller laptop bag that would definitely fit in with business class, DELSEY’s Chatelet Soft Air Shoulder Bag looks like a luxe designer purse but packs two electronics sleeves. Its interior measures 16 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and six inches deep. Vegan leather, studded bottom ‘feet,’ and soft-padded lining make it durable, and it also includes a removable matching pouch for smaller items, plus a 10-year warranty.
KELTY Ardent 30L Laptop Backpack
A cool and affordable soft-sided laptop bag that comes in five colors, KELTY’s Ardent 30L Backpack can fit a 15-inch laptop in its rear back-panel sleeve—which also has an added secret passport compartment and a plush-lined tablet sleeve. The main compartment is huge so you can keep clothes or gear separate from your protected valuables, and a smaller front compartment is full of pockets for organizing small accessories like your phone, sunglasses, and medications. This bag easily goes from day hikes to plane rides for super-organized travel.
TWELVElittle Unisex Courage Backpack Diaper Bag
Traveling with kids? TWELVElittle’s Unisex Courage Backpack suits new parents with its hidden diaper-changing pad and roomy inner organizing pockets designed for bottles, diapers, and wipes. It looks less like a diaper bag and more like the stylish laptop bag it also happens to be. Thanks to the padded tech sleeves, it can fit a 14-inch laptop and an iPad, plus the outer water-resistant nylon and leather trim give it a vintage, utilitarian-knapsack look.
Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack
A large, light daypack that’s a workhorse for planes or commuting to the office, Osprey’s Arcane Large Day Pack has a main compartment sleeve for a 15-inch laptop. Its soft back panel provides plenty of support, and the straps have hidden compartments to keep travel necessities, valuables, or transit cards close.
Lux and Nyx Bella Laptop Bag
If you’re willing to splurge on a travel bag, make it one you can use for everything—and I mean everything: work, gym, travel, and any other packing occasion. Lux and Nyx makes fashionable luxury bags with shoe compartments, laptop sleeves, and comfortable shoulder straps. The Bella has a sleeve that fits 13-inch electronics, plus it has space for clothes, a pair of shoes, a water bottle, and it even has utility straps at the base to secure a yoga mat or tripod.
Even if you’ve never heard of Fjallraven, you’ve still likely seen the Swedish outfitters’ on-trend tote backpacks at the airport. The Fjallraven Kanken’s roomy main compartment makes it an ideal day pack, weekender bag, or personal item, and has 15-inch laptop sleeve. SmarterTravel’s Ashley Rossi says “It’s great for storing a laptop and all your essentials during a short or long flight, and it doubles as a great daypack for walking around a destination.”
GeniusPack Commuter Backpack
My personal favorite weekender bag for basic economy flights (read: underseat personal-item privileges only) is the Genius Pack Commuter Backpack, which happens to have two roomy, padded electronics sleeves that will fit larger laptops (mine is 16 inches) and most tablets (mine is 10 inches) in one zippered back panel.
Now that overhead bin space is becoming less of a commodity (how many times have you been forced to gate-check a bag?) don’t underestimate the utility of a stylish, all-purpose backpack that can comfortably stash all your essentials at your feet.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 9 Stylish Items You Need to Complete Your Airport Outfit
- 7 Hybrid Duffel Backpacks That Will Change the Way You Back
- Lightweight Shoes Perfect for Packing
Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.