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Best Overall: Cuyana Classic Structured Tote at Cuyana
"It’s hard to beat Cuyana’s streamlined shape and range of gorgeous Italian leathers."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Zooeass Waterproof Large Tote at Amazon
"This do-it-all tote has everything you need."
Most Versatile: Baggallini Legacy Avenue Tote at Zappos
"This travel tote can be carried in four different ways."
Best for Commuting: Lululemon Now and Always Tote 15L at Lululemon
"Designed to hold everything you need to get you through the day."
Best Nylon: Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Tote at Bloomingdales
"Stands out for its minimalist, modern structure and rich red and navy blue colorways."
Best for Business: Dagne Dover Signature Tote at Nordstrom
"Holds your 15-inch laptop and has plenty of room for toting files and binders."
Best Leather: Madewell The Zip-Top Transport Tote at Madewell
"Made from 100 percent vegetable-tanned leather inside and out."
Best Waterproof: Rains City Tote Bag at bloomingdales.com
"Holds up brilliantly in adverse conditions."
Best for the Beach: Kayu St. Tropez Bag at Shopbop
"Basically comes with the promise of sunny days and cocktails."
Best Oversized: Baggu Travel Cloud Bag at West Elm
"The perfect choice for stressful airport days."
The simplistic design of totes makes them extremely versatile as travel bags or for day-to-day uses. You can take them along as a carry-on bag for a weekend getaway, pack them with gym gear, or fill them with school books and office supplies. Totes made with nylon have the added feature of being water and tear-resistant, and there are a number of different options available for every budget.
Here are our picks for the best travel tote bags.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Cuyana Classic Structured Tote
If you just want a good leather tote bag, it’s hard to beat Cuyana’s streamlined shape and range of gorgeous Italian leathers, from pearl gray to a corner office-worthy croc-embossed black, each finished with blush microsuede lining. You can also adjust the shape by knotting the interior ties on each side, bringing the shape of the bag in at the center. Although there’s no laptop pocket, the travel tote is wide enough to fit the largest Mac laptop horizontally, with room for a case, too. If you'd like a little more organization, Cuyana also sells inserts to keep things all within easy reach.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Zooeass Waterproof Large Tote
This do-it-all travel tote has everything you need: with minimal structure (the better to fit oddly shaped items), it has a spacious main compartment and plenty of thoughtfully placed pockets—one for your phone, one for a wallet, two for documents, and even a zippered one at the base of the bag to store an umbrella. You’ll fit everything you need for hectic travel days and probably have room to overpack, too. Even more, its thin but durable nylon allows you to roll it up and stash it in your suitcase.
Most Versatile: Baggallini Legacy Avenue Tote
Nylon is great for traveling—after all, you’re already hauling so much, you hardly need the extra weight of heavy material dragging you down, too. This Baggallini tote can be carried in four different ways, either in your hand with the short straps, on your shoulder with them, or as a crossbody or shoulder bag with the longer strap. We also like the attention to detail: in addition to five interior slip pockets, the nylon bag has a flat bottom so it stays upright when you set it down, and there’s a trolley sleeve for carrying it on your wheeled luggage. Plus, unlike many totes, the top has a zipper, so your valuables aren’t easy to snatch.
Best for Commuting: Lululemon Now and Always Tote 15L
This Lululemon tote isn't your average gym bag. With a sleek shape and polished exterior, it looks just as good heading into the spin studio as it does when you're on your way to work meetings. It’s designed to hold everything you need to get you through the day, from yoga clothes to a 15-inch laptop (there’s also a pocket for your water bottle), and you can even expand the travel tote bag for storing groceries. The fabric is water repellant, so it’ll keep your clothes and gear dry, and if it gets dirty, you can just wipe it clean.
Best Nylon: Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Tote
Longchamp has been a go-to luxury brand for decades now, and this version of its iconic Le Pliage stands out for its minimalist, modern structure and rich red and navy blue colorways. At almost exactly 12 x 12 x 7 inches, the travel tote bag will hold everything you need for a day around town (even your laptop and tablet). Just don’t keep it out in heavy rain for too long—the outer fabric is delicate in inclement weather.
Best for Business: Dagne Dover Signature Tote
Known for its practical, durable, and super stylish bags, Dagne Dover's signature zippered tote bag is a particular favorite, and with good reason. It holds your 15-inch laptop and has plenty of room for toting files and binders for big presentations (or, alternatively, a change of clothes and shoes for a spin class). If you don’t need that much space, the Classic size holds a 13-inch laptop. Like all sizes, this version has pockets for your phone, metro card, and chapstick, as well as an interior clip for your keys.
Best Leather: Madewell The Zip-Top Transport Tote
Madewell's signature tote bag is made from 100 percent vegetable-tanned leather inside and out. This version comes with a zippered closure and is large enough to hold a 13-inch laptop, a book, and other accessories. Because it's Madewell, you can bet the leather is top-quality—it’s a great all-rounder travel tote that’ll last you for years to come.
Best Waterproof: Rains City Tote Bag
Rains is known for rainwear and backpacks that feature sleek, Danish design and strong waterproofing. Its City Tote holds up as brilliantly as the rest of the line in adverse conditions, featuring a full zipper across the front (and water-resistant fastenings) that keeps your clothes, laptop, and shoes from getting wet. With a 16-liter capacity and a main compartment with two inside pockets, it even holds enough for a long weekend getaway. The minimalist design is still there, too, with a cool black-on-black colorway that's all-purpose enough for any occasion.
Best for the Beach: Kayu St. Tropez Bag
There’s nothing like a straw bag to get you in the spirit of a relaxing beach vacation—the travel tote basically comes with the promise of sunny days and cocktails. Kayu's weaved bag features a cute flared bucket design with playful tassels at the base of the straps and some stripes to break up the beige. It has fully lined handles and measures 11.75 x 19 x 5 inches.
Best Oversized: Baggu Travel Cloud Bag
Baggu is practically the industry leader in reusable, foldable shopping bags, but they also do some great totes. Their Travel Cloud Bag is the perfect choice for stressful airport days or, if you’re a parent, carrying gear for you and your little ones. Made from ballistic weave, the travel tote bag will hold up for trips to come—and when you’re not using it, you can pack it away in its own little pouch. Both handles and shoulder straps give you some carry options, too.
Best Diaper Bag: Dagne Dover Wade Diaper Tote
Having a super-stylish diaper bag makes carrying out its intended function a little more pleasant, and of course, Dagne Dover makes the coolest and most well-designed one out there. A godsend for parents of newborns and toddlers, this diaper bag clips right to your stroller handle so you won't have to rummage around for it on the bottom rack (along the same lines, there’s also a luggage sleeve for transporting via wheeled carry-on). It has a special zipper opening for at-hand wipes and even comes with a mini changing mat and extra pouches—better yet, there's a 13-inch laptop carrier for good measure.
What to Look for in a Travel Tote Bag
Size: If you pick one that’s too small, you’ll have a hard time fitting everything you need for the day inside, but if you pick one that’s too big, you might be tempted to overpack for the day. Take a look at what bags have worked best for you in the past, assess your current needs if they’ve changed, and go from there.
Activity: If you’re looking for a bag for work, what you choose might be different from what you pick for a day at the beach. Keep in mind what you will be using your bag for, whether it’s weekend errand-running and kid-schlepping or something that needs a bit more formality.
Cost: This tote might very well be your new best friend, so if it’s going to be your reliable everyday carry, it’s worth spending a bit more for something that’s good quality and will last. If you just need something for an occasional day out at the beach—or something that might get stained and beat up with kids—going a bit more on the budget side of things might be the right call.