One of the most important things a globetrotter needs to know is how to best manage their luggage – different trips require different bags based on activities and travel methods. Unfortunately for your wallet, those luggage purchases can add up, especially if a product doesn't hold up to a hard life on the road (everyone hates a broken wheel or a ripped strap). Here's a list of our favorite travel bags for every occasion; not only are these items good value and quality for the price, but they also keep you looking stylish as you breeze through the airport.
Duffel - Cotopaxi Uyuni Del Día
A duffel is perhaps the most dynamic bag in any traveler's closet – it can function as carry-on or checked luggage depending on size, and it's flexible enough to accommodate all sorts of clothing, shoes and souvenirs. The Cotopaxi Uyuni Del Día is a chimera duffel suitable for all purposes; the 46L bag has a stowable cross-body strap and handles on all sides for easy grabbing in any orientation. The bag also has a handy bottom pocket perfect for storing shoes or dirty clothes, as well as a padded laptop pocket. Plus, the bag comes in a number of bold color combos sure to stand out at baggage claim.
Shoulder bag - Longchamp Le Pliage Tote
Sometimes we just need a simple shoulder bag that covers all manners of packing sins: just throw your stuff in there and go. Longchamp makes an excellent shoulder bag that's perfect for just that; the nylon body of the bag is rip-resistant and easily cleanable, and the reinforced handles are strong and well-sewn. The bag comes in three sizes (the medium is perfect for an airplane 'personal item') and a rainbow of colors; pick your favorite and take to the sky. Check for sales on this one, as they often crop up depending on the tote color.
Day Pack - Patagonia Arbor Daypack, 20L or 25L
Patagonia is a titan in the travel bag world, and for good reason; their repair and replacement policy is nigh unbeatable, and the company itself has routinely demonstrated its dedication to responsible and sustainable travel. The Arbor Daypack combines Patagonia's classic utility with a sleek design suited either for a city wander or a day-hike. It comes in two sizes – 25L and 20L – and several lovely earth tones suited to match any outfit you're sporting on the road. The two bags vary slightly in design: the smaller is a front loader while the larger has a drawstring top.
Travel Pack - REI Ruckpack, 40 or 65
For travelers headed off on extended trips, REI offers some good value bags that hold up against wear and tear but won't break the bank. The REI Ruckpack is a traveler favorite thanks to its tough but streamlined design and its large carrying capacity. The bag comes in 40L or 65L sizes, and the latter comes with a removable 15L daypack should you want to leave the big bag at the hostel for an afternoon adventure. The added perk of shopping through REI is that members of their co-op receive a yearly dividend based on the goods purchased, so this item is one that keeps giving back.
Packing Cubes - Pack-It Original Cube
We know packing cubes aren't generally regarded as stylish items, but what's more stylish than immaculately organized and minimized luggage? And when it comes to packing cubes, Eagle Creek is hard to beat; their durable Pack-It Original cubes keep bags organized, even for the most unorganized of travelers. The cubes' material and zippers are heavy-duty, so no amount of squishing will compromise the cube itself; plus, the set now comes in fun patterns along with the standard black. If you're really looking to minimize space, try their compression cubes.
Wheeled luggage - Lipault Original Plume Spinner
When it comes to traveling in style, these wheeled bags are hard to beat. Lightweight and usefully outfitted with convenient spinner wheels, the Lipault Plume Spinner bags are equal parts practical and chic. The bag itself takes up a minimal percentage of your luggage weight allotment, and its flexible exterior is forgiving should you find that your in-destination shopping spree has led to a luggage space issue. The Plume comes in multiple sizes and a wide selection of quirky colors – we are partial to the rose gold or the coastal blue. Lipault hosts a yearly semi-annual sale, so keep an eye out for steep discounts.