Depending on where you are going and what you intend to do when you get there, a purse or satchel may not be the best travel tote to carry all of your assorted accessories. In this instance, a tote offers a lightweight, yet spacious alternative.
However, not every tote is universally designed for every purpose. While some of these purposes may be easier to determine than others, figuring out which tote is best suited for your needs can be difficult.
That is why we have put together a list of the top 10 best travel totes. Then, we provide a helpful buyer’s guide so you can figure out which tote is right for you and what makes one tote more suited for a given purpose as opposed to another.
|Best Travel Totes||Size, inch||Color|
|World Traveler |
|18 x 13 x 6||30||Check Price|
Zippered Tote Bag
|20 x 14 x 4||7||Check Price|
Canvas Tote Bag
|20 x 16 x 6||10||Check Price|
Large Tote Bag
|19 x 15 x 10||29||Check Price|
Tablet Tote Bag
|16 x 12 x 9||4||Check Price|
Canvas Tote Bag
|23 x 15 x 6||8||Check Price|
|Port Authority |
|15 x 13 x 5||17||Check Price|
|Herschel Supply Co. |
|15 x 15 x 4||12||Check Price|
|N. Gil |
Large Utility Tote Bag
|18 x 13 x 8||37||Check Price|
|Ever Moda |
Print Tote Bag
|12 x 12 x 4||47||Check Price|
World Traveler 13.5 Inch Beach Bag – Best Beach Travel Tote
The World Traveler may speak to a sense of adventure that could conceivably take you anywhere, but it is probably best suited for taking you to the beach. However, this is a bit of a singular tote in that it is not truly large enough to pack for an entire family. However, there is more than enough room to accommodate the various accessories required for a single person.
Regardless, the single people who want to head out to the beach will love the fact that this tote comes in 30 different styles allowing each person to express their self most accurately. Moreover, this tote can also stand up on its own which is great for setting it down on the sand without having to worry about any of it getting inside.
- Comes in one of 30 different styles
- Will technically stand upright on its own
- A comparatively decent sized tote on our list
- A bit more expensive than most of the other totes
- Made using potentially toxic materials
- One of the least durable totes on our list
Gemline Select Zippered Tote Bag 1100 – Best Water Resistant Travel Tote
Were it not for its size, this would arguably be the best travel tote for the beach. However, its size places it firmly in a middle ground where it is not large enough for the assorted accessories one commonly takes to the shore. However, its 600D polyester outer material is one of the more water resistant on our list.
As such, if you live in a rainy region or work near running water, this tote may be what you are looking for. For one, the polyester outer is not merely water resistant but fairly durable as well–though, it is not nearly durable enough to be “taken out into the field.”
- A decent sized tote comparatively
- One of the least expensive totes on our list
- The 600D polyester outer is water resistant
- Features some of the smallest straps on our list
- Inner lining is not durable and messy
- Does not feature many extra compartments
Dalix 22″ Heavy Duty Cotton Canvas Tote Bag – Best Canvas Beach Travel Tote
This is one of two Dalix totes on our list and coincidentally one of two canvas totes as well. However, whereas the proceeding Dalix is designed more for lugging around larger loads and carrying heavier contents, this one is more appropriate for carrying bulky items that do not weigh much.
Ultimately, this makes this Dalix almost ideal as a beach travel tote. First, this tote is fairly spacious, though not so much that you could use it for groceries. However, even if it were larger, that would not be much of an option as this note has a number of manufacturing flaws that make it ill-equipped to handle heavy loads.
- A fairly large tote on our list
- Features exceptionally comfortable straps
- The canvas material is fairly durable
- The stitching is of questionable quality
- The zipper closure is not that durable
- Does not stand up or hold its shape well
SCOUT Original Deano Large Tote Bag – The Largest Travel Tote
If you need the absolutely largest tote available, then there is no other option on our list outside of the SCOUT. In fact, this tote is nearly fifty percent larger than the next largest tote we reviewed. When you combine that fact with a couple other features of this tote, it becomes plainly obvious that this is a carrying tote.
Another quality that clearly defines this tote for carrying purposes is the exceptionally short straps. Because heavy or bulky item hurt when they bounce into your tender midsection, it is better that you carry this tote by hand. What better way to force that circumstance than by making the straps too short to carry comfortably over the shoulder. Moreover, this tote does not feature any additional compartments so that all of the space can be used for the main compartment and its presumably heavy contents.
- The largest tote on our list
- Comes in one of 34 different styles
- Holds its shape and stands up on its own
- The second most expensive tote on our list
- Features some of the shortest straps on our list
- Does not feature any additional compartments
Everest Stylish Tablet Tote Bag – The Best Travel Tote for Tablets
While technically this is a mini tote which would often be used to replace a purse or for a professional setting, the absence of many additional compartments puts it in an awkward position of not serving any purpose ideally. Thankfully, a few features do bring to light why this tote is best used for carrying a tablet.
Moreover, the snap closure makes retrieving your tablet while carrying the tote relatively simple while still ensuring it stays within the tote when not in use. Unfortunately the inner pocket it does provide is not durable at all and the 9” shoulder drop is not ideal for many people.
- The snap closure is easy and convenient
- The polyester outer is fairly durable
- Will stand up on its own
- A much smaller tote than most
- Does not provide too many compartments
- The inner pocket is not that durable
DALIX Striped Boat Bag Premium Cotton Canvas Tote – Largest Canvas Travel Tote
While this is not strictly speaking the largest tote on our list, it is still one of the largest. However, when you combine this with the fact that it is made out of canvas you have the makings for a great carrying bag. In fact, canvas is the most durable material commonly used for totes outside of leather.
This trend towards a purpose for carrying numerous heavy items is further exemplified by the relatively short shoulder drop. This would make the tote more difficult to carry like a purse, however that method of carrying a tote is not really called for if it is to be stuffed with heavy or dense items.
- The second largest tote on our list
- The canvas material is sturdier than most
- Features a sturdy complete zipper closure
- The shoulder drop is a bit short
- The tote is not all that easy to clean
- Does not have many extra compartments
Port Authority Men’s Improved Panel Tote – Best Men’s Mini Travel Tote
The Port Authority is the only tote on our list that is designed for a man, though when you look at it, it should not be that much of a stretch to see and actually become fairly obvious. For one, this is one of the few totes that does seek to appeal with attention to the design. Instead, the tote is fairly straightforward and functional to an almost utilitarian extreme.
For one, the straps themselves are not really long enough to allow the tote to comfortably drape over the shoulder, though they can be adjusted–the only tote on our list that can do so. However, a traditionally masculine bag should be carried in the hand and not over the shoulder like a purse. Moreover, this function over form preference can also be seen in the absence of an inner lining.
- The least expensive tote on our list
- A fairly durable tote for the price
- The strap length is adjustable
- The straps are not comfortable
- Few compartments that are mostly mesh
- Does not feature an inner lining
Herschel Supply Co. Market Tote Travel Totes – Best Luxury Travel Tote
There is only one luxury tote on our list and for good reason. Aside from the somewhat prohibitive cost, luxury totes demand a few qualities that do not suit most people’s needs. For one, luxury totes are generally mini totes in terms of function.
Because a luxury tote cannot present as unseemly, they need to be smaller. However, this lack of size excludes a luxury tote from all but the most casual of purposes. In fact, if a tote is both large and luxurious, it is generally a de facto designation placed on it simply by association with a luxury brand rather than any quality of the tote itself.
- The magnetic clasp closure is easy and convenient
- Features extra internal pockets for organization
- Comes with numerous design and material options
- The most expensive tote on our list
- Tote is a bit smaller than expected
- Not the most durable tote on our list
N. Gil All Purpose Organizer 18″ Large Utility Tote Bag – Best All Day Travel Tote
If you are looking for a tote that you can take with you all day in a variety of circumstances and carry different types of items, then the N. Gil is likely the tote for you. For one, this tote comes in 43 different styles to choose from–the second most on the list. This means you can choose a bag for any occasion or all occasions.
However, some of its best qualities relate to its arrangement and capacity. For one, this is a good sized tote. While it is not near the largest, it is generally large enough for most purposes. In this regard, only certain carrying bag situations are excluded from this realm.
- Comes in one of 43 different styles
- Comes with a number of smaller compartments
- A fairly large tote on our list
- One of the more expensive totes on our list
- Does not stand on its own or hold shape
- The zipper does not completely close the tote
Ever Moda Tote Bag Designer Print Collection – Best Mini Travel Tote
The Ever Moda is a bit unique in that it is the only tote on our list that is trying to replace a purse. Unlike some of the other mini totes, this one comes with a specific accessory that would conceivably allow this to be the case: a coin purse.
However, this tote definitely attempts to hone in on the accessory market. For one, this tote offers a total of 47 different styles, the most on our list. Moreover, this tote also features a wide number of compartments all closed with zippers to keep everything where you put it during travel.
- Comes in one of 47 different styles
- The tote is fairly durable in material and stitching
- Decent number of zippered compartments
- Tote is a bit smaller than expected
- The coin purse is too small to be useful
- Slightly more expensive than the average tote
One of the most important considerations when choosing a tote is recognizing the reason you chose it. A tote you want to carry a tablet, notebook, and other tools used for the office will differ greatly from a tote you purchase to carry groceries or take to the beach.
Aside from the general size of the tote, its material, durability, closure and other features all combine to determine the general purpose of the tote in question. In general there are four different types of totes: mini totes, sports totes, travel totes, and carrying totes.
These totes are somewhat self-explanatory in how you can identify them, but their intended purpose may not be so obvious. In terms of material and design, these totes are some of the most varied. Because they do not carry a number of heavy items, they do not need to be quite as durable as some of the other totes.
Moreover, these totes are not necessarily expected to be worn on the shoulder but can definitely incorporate more patterns and a wider range of color into their design. However, mini totes often serve as a substitute for purses or satchels and thus should include at least a handful of additional compartments.
Whereas as mini totes are able to eschew durability as a primary concern due to the decreased carrying capacity. Sports totes almost place a premium on durability–arguably more so than other totes which likewise need to remain durable to carry numerous heavy items.
However, a sports tote is liable to include carrying oddly shaped equipment that may stretch or puncture the tote if it is not made from high quality materials. Another important feature of a sports tote that differentiates it from a mini tote is a need for an increased carrying capacity–though not necessarily to the degree of a carrying or travel tote.
A travel tote’s purpose is fairly obvious. But the features that define a quality version of this tote may not be. For one, travel totes need to be durable. But they generally do not need to be as durable as a sports or carrying tote. Furthermore, they need to provide a sizable carrying capacity, but not so much as a carrying tote.
However, one feature that travel totes require an emphasis of quality is in regard to the closure. Because travel totes carry more necessary contents which are not as easily replaced, losing any of the items becomes more of a problem. Another feature of travel totes is the need for additional compartments–though not necessarily to the degree of a mini tote.
The final type of tote is the carrying tote which once again clues you into its purpose. However, this tote often falls in between the sports tote and the travel tote in terms of durability. Basically, the carrying tote needs to be strong enough to handle numerous heavy items. But those items are generally not as oddly shaped or puncture prone.
Still the primary quality of a carrying tote is its capacity. In this regard, the carrying tote should be the largest kind of tote–though. This tote generally does not need to worry about additional compartments nearly as much as any of the other three types of tote. One unique requirement of the carrying tote is a premium on the strap since this type of tote will often be heavier to carry than the others.
It should be noted that some consider a luxury tote to be its own type of tote. However, luxury totes are not generally defined by their purpose nor their qualities. Instead, a luxury tote is defined by the social cache that owning it confers in certain social situations.
Unfortunately, luxury totes do not follow any set pattern in terms of design or quality. And a tote costing hundreds of dollars will often be of a poorer quality than one under twenty dollars.
Conversely, some luxury brands pride themselves on using the best materials and manufacturing techniques. As such, figuring out whether a luxury tote is also a quality tote requires additional research.
The number of materials used more making totes is fairly extensive. The material of the tote will confer a few qualities on the overall value of the tote. For one, the material will play an important part in how durable the tote it. While the stitching will often play an equally important role, the liability of puncture with a tote generally hinges on its material.
How easy it is to clean a tote will also be influenced by its material. Certain materials repel liquids and stains and do not need to be washed as thoroughly. These materials are also often fairly water resistant in their own right–making them suitable for use at the beach or during a rainstorm.
Leather is generally seen as one of the premier materials used for totes. It is both durable and fairly easy to clean. However, leather is also one of the heaviest materials, making a poor choice for carrying totes, as well as expensive. As such, it is often used for luxury totes and handbags.
The next step down from leather in terms of prestige is canvas. However, for the purposes of totes, both of these materials serve similar ends. Canvas is fairly durable and easy to clean, though it does need to be washed. Moreover, canvas is also somewhat heavy, though nowhere near as heavy as leather.
After canvas, the next material in terms of quality can be seen as a toss up between nylon and polyester. However, since a tote will often be judged more on its general durability, nylon wins out. A distinct advantage that nylon has over both canvas and leather is that it is much lighter.
Polyester is similar to nylon in a number of ways. Both are synthetic fibers that must be woven, both are incredibly lightweight, and both are somewhat water resistant. However, polyester is far more water resistant than nylon, though pound for pound, nylon is stronger. This makes polyester great for beach totes.
Cotton is a fairly low grade material to use in totes. For one, it is one of the least durable materials used, far more liable to puncture or fray. Moreover, it is neither water resistant nor quite as light as either polyester or nylon–though, it is still fairly light. The best quality of cotton is that it is cheap and machine washable.
This is arguably the lowest grade material used for totes. It is synthetic like polyester and nylon but it not made into fibers that can be woven. Instead, polypropylene achieves cohesiveness by being either melted or glued. This leaves the material as the least durable, though it is the only one that is waterproof.
Blends are a fairly common in totes. Generally, polyester will be blended with either cotton or nylon. In the former, this reduces the cost, while with the later this increases the structural integrity. Sometimes, cotton and canvas are blended to reduce cost as well as make the tote lighter.
In the end, the best travel tote for you will depend almost entirely on what you intend to use it for. If you need a large tote to help you carry things, potentially as a reusable grocery bag or something similar, the Dalix Boat Bag and SCOUT are ideally suited for your needs.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a mini tote that could potentially replace your purse. The Ever Moda and Herschel Supply Co. totes offer numerous styles and materials. Moreover, the Herschel tote is the only one on our list that can truly claim to be a luxury tote.
Finally, if you simply require a general tote with all-around solid construction, the N. Gil and Port Authority are both excellent options. While the N. Gil does not have any truly game breaking flaws. The Port Authority is the only tote on our list designed with the male buyer in mind.