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While size requirements differ between airlines, a safe size for most is 16 x 10 x 8 inches when full. Some airlines also have carry-on weight restrictions, so the lighter your bag itself is, the more stuff you can fit into it.
So, think carefully about what you’ll need to have on you regularly and maybe consider bringing a tablet with a keyboard case instead of your full laptop to economize on bag size.
While you may go for the best-looking bag, it’s important to remember that different materials can also make your bag more or less suited for travel. For example, if you’re looking for a bag that will last you years and can stand a bit of abuse, canvas or leather may be ideal as they are materials that are known to keep to their durability.
Bags can be made with waterproof or water-resistant material; it's good to be aware of the difference between the two. Waterproof means that water cannot get through the material, which guarantees your items stay dry. Water-resistant means that the material does not repel water; instead, there is a coating that keeps water out.
Unfortunately, the water-resistance coating can wear down over time, however, depending on your lifestyle and the weather where you live, this may not be an issue but just something to keep in mind.
For example, a padded laptop or tablet compartment means that you won’t have to carry around an extra sleeve for protection. Having zipped pockets means that things will be less likely to fall out during transit. Hidden compartments or a pocket on the backside of your bag makes it harder for pickpockets to reach your valuables.
For a comfortable fit, look for a strap that has a wide, padded section that allows you to spread the pressure out a little and protect you from materials that might otherwise dig in.
Adjustable straps allow to switch from wearing the bag cross-body to one-sided more comfortably. Straps that are removable make it easier to pack your messenger bag into another bag during transport.
For some extra peace of mind, a few features to look for are slash-proof outer material and straps, RFID-blocking compartments for your credit cards, and locking compartments.
On a side note, it might be worth considering that pickpockets often target tourists, and having a distinctive traveler bag might make you an unwitting target. Maybe look for darker or more neutral tones that do not seek unwanted attention.
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Laptop Messenger Bag
A Versatile Messenger Bag
Canvas Messenger Bag
Durable and Water Resistant
Classic Messenger Bag｜CMBG
A Basic and Simple Large Capacity Messenger Bag
Komal's Passion Leather
Leather Briefcase Laptop Messenger Bag｜AJ-UJIA-S84U
Handsome, High-Quality Leather to Last Years
Metrosafe Shoulder Bag｜30425
Travel With a Compact Anti-Theft Bag
Vintage Canvas Satchel Messenger Bag｜8541570330
Affordable and Smaller-Sized
Practical and Understated for Everyday Use
Command Messenger Bag｜Medium
An Organized Travel-Friendly Bag
Small Messenger Bag｜ AU025GA
Slim and Uniquely Designed to Fit Your Vintage Style
Canvas Messenger Bag｜20190321-1539 Khaki
So Many Pockets to Store Your Goods
Some minor issues that customers have brought up are that the outside zippers can be hard to maneuver since they only zip in one direction and the strap slides easily. However, most users have found the bag to be extremely handy for all their organizational needs.
If you were to get caught on a rainy day, you'd want to be sure to have this bag as it is made with water-resistant material. It also comes with a reflective strip at the bottom, which is a nice addition for those who find themselves commuting in the evening or nighttime.
Some users have commented that it may be a tight squeeze as a laptop bag and that it is suited more for a tablet or smaller laptop that measures less than 15 inches. Overall, many love this option because of its sturdiness and ability to hold its rectangular shape.
There is no extra padding and the bag itself is not structured, so if you need a bag to hold things securely in place, this may not work for you. However, many reviewers like this slouchier aspect of the bag for their daily items when they are on the go. Some say the bag looks good as new even after a couple of years of use.
Perfect for those who travel, go to school, or need a comfortable bag for daily use, this canvas option may be ideal for most. It has a main compartment to hold a laptop up to 13.3 inches and is adorned with a zipper design on the outside flap and pockets for extra storage.
The strap is noted to be on the flimsy side and if overpacked, some customers worry the bag may not be durable over time. However, most reviewers claim that it is still a great deal for its price and seem to be satisfied with this smaller bag for light, daily use.
Noted with minimal yet classic features, this messenger bag is also highly practical for all your needs. It comes with a specialized padded compartment for a laptop up to 13 inches and an adjustable strap that can be over the shoulder or across the body.
Some reviews claim that while the cup holder is a nice addition, it doesn't always hold or expand for larger bottles or portable mugs. On the plus side, the polyester lining on the inside and canvas material on the outside seems durable for most customers.
When in transit, never put your valuables, like your wallet, passport, or laptop, in the overhead compartment. Keep those on your person, or at least under the seat in front of you. When you’re out for the day, keep your passport, extra cash, and other valuables locked up at your hotel or hostel.
It'd be best to not hang your bag on the back of your chair while you’re dining. Instead, keep it on your lap or between your feet with your leg through the strap. While walking, keep one hand draped over your bag, and always orient your bag so that the zipper is in front of you.
If you need more options for your travel bags and accessories, here are our other recommendations that you can check out!
No. 1: CoolBELL｜Laptop Messenger Bag
No. 2: OIWAS｜Canvas Messenger Bag
No. 3: Sweetbriar｜Classic Messenger Bag｜CMBG
No. 4: Komal's Passion Leather ｜Leather Briefcase Laptop Messenger Bag｜AJ-UJIA-S84U
No. 5: Pacsafe｜Metrosafe Shoulder Bag｜30425
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