Best Travel Bags and Suitcases for Women

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It seems like everyone I talk to lately is traveling somewhere this summer! Whether it’s a weekend getaway, heading on a cruise, or going overseas, having the perfect piece(s) of luggage can make or break your trip. Gone are the days of two-wheeled suitcases and lugging heavy totes around. Things have changed quite a bit in the travel world, so I’ve rounded up the best travel bags and suitcases for women.

Plus, if you’re traveling anytime soon, be sure to check out my suggested list of travel toiletries to help you get ready for your trip and my post on how to pack a hat. I’ve also got a post on the 8 Things I Always Pack When Traveling.

What Luggage I Personally Own

My husband bought me several pieces of Hartmann luggage for our first overseas cruise twenty-six years ago. I remember the year because it was for my 40th birthday. I continue to use the boxy handheld (similar) to this day. It’s getting pretty tired looking, so I’m hunting for the perfect replacement.

Here is a very old picture of my first luggage…I used a waist bag even then.
  • Personal Carry-On Tote: There’s just something so spacious and functional about this square one (similar) from Hartmann. It fits over my roller handle, and the corners seem to hold a ton plus it fits perfectly under the seat in front of me.
Carry-on bag with Cashmere travel wrap on A Well Styled Life

I upgraded to a four-wheel roller bag several years ago and felt like someone had flipped a duh switch! Why had I been struggling with two wheels when four pivoting ones made life so much easier?

  • Rolling Carry-On: Last year, I upgraded my carry-on again to this Monos bag which has even better wheels! It is ridiculously lightweight, and the wheels help it just fly with a gentle touch.
  • Checked Bag: I don’t own one, which seems crazy, but I stopped checking a bag so many years ago that the ones we did own became dinosaurs, and we donated them. I did need one for my last blogging trip to Miami, so I’m now on the hunt and think I’ll try this one in black so the inevitable smudges don’t show.
  • Travel Purses: I have several travel purses from Lo & Sons and love them.
woman carrying a lo & sons crossbody bag

It comes with several straps, so you can wear it as a shoulder bag, cross-body, or clutch with a wrist strap.


I also have this Waverly bag in both ivory and pale gray. It’s a great belt bag, crossbody, or shoulder bag that doubles as a tiny evening clutch or a makeup bag inside a larger bag.

Best Checked Suitcases

If you’re in need of a new suitcase, it can be overwhelming since there are so many new brands on the market like Away, Paravel, Beis, etc., and then you have your tried and true brands like Tumi, Briggs & Riley, and TravelPro. It really comes down to your budget, how often you’re going to be using the bag, and what features you’re looking for.

In the case of a checked suitcase, the first thing to consider is what size you will need. They typically offer a medium size checked suitcase or a large one. Make sure to ask yourself these questions:

  • Will you be traveling for an extended period of time?
  • Are you trying to bring home some extra goodies?
  • Will you be bringing an additional suitcase that you have to roll around?

From there, you have to decide if you want a suitcase that has a hard shell or something with a soft exterior. I’ve included some of both below, but my personal preference is to go with a hard shell.

Last, but not least, make sure to buy a bag with spinner wheels. My jump to a spinner bag made all the difference in the world for ease and lessened my shoulder strain.

$$$ (Splurge): Monos 30-Inch Check-In Spinner

I’ve been shopping around for a checked bag, and this 30-inch suitcase from Monos is at the top of my list since I love my carry-on from this brand so much. I like that the handle has four height settings. It comes with laundry bags inside and has a limited lifetime warranty in case anything major happens to the shell, handle, or wheels. Plus, you get a 100-day trial, and if you don’t love it, you can send it back.

$$ (Budget Friendly): Travelpro Maxlite 5 25-Inch

Travelpro makes a solid bag that you’ll see lots of flight attendants and pilots using. This pretty blue will also make it easy to spot your suitcase when it’s time to collect your luggage. The nice thing about this one is that they use a coating to help make the soft case stain and water-resistant. The other thing to note is that this one has a two-inch expansion option and one deep area inside! I love bags that expand.

$ (Save): Coolife Luggage Set

While this is technically a 3-Piece set, I wanted to include it in case you’re looking just to upgrade all of your luggage. For the price, it comes with a 20, 24, and 28-inch suitcase, is less than $200, and is perfect if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money or won’t be traveling that often. They nest inside each other for easy and convenient storage in your closet, garage, or attic.

Best Rolling Carry-Ons:

$$$ (Splurge): Monos 23-Inch Carry On

I can say from personal experience that you can’t go wrong with this carry-on. Of course, I love how attractive it is, but it’s truly so much more than that. The wheels are super silent, and I can push it with absolute ease through the airport. The handle has four different settings, which is great if you are taller or shorter than the average person. Fully packed to the brim, it’s still lightweight enough for me to lift into the overhead bin.

$$ (Budget Friendly): Travelpro Expandable 21-Inch Spinner

The contoured grip on this handle looks like it would make pulling or pushing this around the airport a breeze, especially combined with the self-aligning wheels. This carry-on includes a handy garment organizer. The Travelpro brand also sells packing cubes that fit perfectly into their bags. They can help make packing for a trip so much easier.

$ (Save): Amazon Basics Hardside Carry On

I was hesitant to include an Amazon-brand suitcase, but I started to read the reviews and was very impressed. It has 39k+ reviews which said that it was a great value and held up well. At under $85, I think it’s worth a try. Plus, it has four double-spinner wheels for easy rolling and a handy interior organizer.

Best Travel Backpacks:

$$$ (Splurge): Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Have you ever heard of the brand Dagne Dover? Their company was founded by women, and I really appreciate how eco-friendly their products are. This water-resistant, neoprene backpack, for example, was made with 23 recycled water bottles! I’m sharing the camel, but it seems like Onyx would be another great option. The other nice thing I want to show you is that it has a trolley sleeve and can fit right over the handle of your suitcase so you don’t have to wear it the whole time.

$$ (Budget Friendly): Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack

I’ve been a big fan of Longchamp totes for years, so I was pleased to find this backpack. This one could also double as your purse, depending on where you’re traveling. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals that I can wear with everything, but if you prefer bright colors, this one comes in a bright pink, lime green, red, and even turquoise.

$ (Save): Large Travel Backpack

This airplane-friendly travel backpack has all of the bells and whistles for under $40. It’s not only waterproof, but it has padded straps, a laptop compartment, a trolley strap, and an anti-theft zipper pocket for your valuables. It’s similar to one made by CalPak that costs $140+.

Best Travel Totes:

$$$ (Splurge): Tumi Voyageur Packable Nylon Tote

I mentioned before that I am beginning to look for a new travel tote, and this one caught my attention. When not in use, it folds into a compact zip-top pouch that you can easily pack into your suitcase. If you plan to shop once you reach your destination, you could bring this along as a spare bag and then fill it with your travel finds for the way home.

$$ (Budget Friendly): Beis The Weekender Water Repellant Tote Bag

Take this weekender bag with you on your next overnight trip, or add it on top of your rolling bag to bring with you on your next travel excursion. Beis is a newer travel line that I’ve been seeing, and I really like how sleek their bags look. The cool thing about this bag is that you can store your shoes in the bottom of the bag in a separate area.

$ (Save): Women’s Canvas Overnight Tote

If you’re shopping for a new tote bag and aren’t looking for a hefty price tag, this canvas overnight bag is both attractive, durable, and affordable at under $40. Again, it fits over the handle of your suitcase, which is super nice if you are doing carry-on only. If you aren’t a fan of stripes, there are several other attractive colors and prints available.

Best Travel Purse:

$$$ (Splurge): Lo & Sons The Pearl Crossbody

If you spot me while I am on a trip, odds are that I am carrying this bag from Lo & Sons. It’s not only stylish but functional. It has so many pockets that I can stash all of my favorite on-the-go products (like emergency meds or extra sunscreen) while staying organized. Carry it as a shoulder bag, or remove the strap to use it as a large clutch which I like doing for dressier dinner plans.

$$ (Budget Friendly): Madewell Mini Leather Carabiner Crossbody

Sometimes a big bulky purse is annoying and burdensome when you are doing a lot of walking and exploring. This small, chic bag from Madewell is perfect for packing the essentials like your phone, a slim wallet, hand sanitizer, and lipstick.

$ (Save): Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag

I’m always fearful that I’m going to be the target of a pickpocket when I’m traveling, especially internationally. I love that this bag has locking zippers to help keep your belongings safe and secure.

Shop More of the Best Travel Bags and Suitcases for Women:

What are your favorite travel bags? Please share…I’d love you hear what works for you.

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