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In my opinion, your carry-on bag is one of the most important investments you can make. This bag is attached at your hip (literally), goes everywhere with you, and holds all of your precious cargo. It is now hilarious to think back to when I studied abroad in Italy 3 years ago and brought a random canvas bag of my mom’s from the 80’s. Who was I back then? Now I do research before purchasing a bag and don’t just rely on something sitting in the back of a closet.

When I first started this job, I had a cheap knock-off type version of a Longchamp. It broke after a month. By some grace of God it happened on a program I was working in San Diego, and my dad had to drive one of my mom’s work bags to the convention center so that I wouldn’t be bag-less. Not embarrassing at all. That’s when I realized I needed to step up my travel game and find a reliable bag.

Over the past year, these three bags have been my trusty sidekicks. They each have their unique features which make them special so just pick out what you think is right for you. Are you a travel warrior who needs the ultimate bag to suit every possible need you can think of? Buy the Lo & Sons bag. Are you looking for something durable with lots of compartments to hold endless amounts of food, beverage, and office items? Buy a diaper bag. Are you the fashionista professional looking for something functional yet stylish to take on all those miles & meetings? Buy a structured computer/work bag.

Here are the 3 types of bags:

3 Great Types of Carry-On Bags

Lo & Sons OMG Bag

This bag is so good it’s in a category of its own. For over a year I have been going back and forth on whether or not I should get this bag. I already had my trusty C Wonder Diaper Bag (see below) so why spend over $200 on a new bag? But something kept nagging me to get it, so once my C Wonder bag started to show some wear & tear after over a year of use I bit the bullet and dropped the cash. I couldn’t decide for the longest time whether or not I should get the OMG or the OG bag. The OG bag is obviously bigger, but I thought that if I got that bag I would over-stuff it (a common habit of mine) and it would break faster. Well now that I am the proud owner of an OMG bag, I’ve realized how much I actually need everything that I pack. So while my future chiropractor might thank me, I probably should have gone with the OG. But I am still having my own mini love affair with my OMG, so all is good in the world. So what is so life-changing about this bag?

  • Tons of pockets: And I mean TONS. For your electronics, for your pens, for your credit cards, for your notepads, there are literally pockets everywhere.
  • Padded laptop sleeve AND tablet sleeve: Yep, there’s separate ones for each!
  • Separate shoe compartment: Located on the bottom of the bag and zips from the outside. When you’re not using it, it rolls up within the inside of the bag!
  • Slides onto suitcase handle: Complete game changer for me. It slides directly onto your suitcase handle to make navigating through airports a breeze.

I will be doing a more in depth review on this amazing bag in the near future!

3 Great Types of Carry-On Bags
Diaper Bag

Don’t worry, typing out the words “diaper bag” sounded funny to me too. But it’s one of my best kept travel bag secrets. While shopping in C Wonder one day, I came across this bag. I had been searching for a great carry-on bag knowing I would be starting my crazy traveling job soon, but being a broke nearly college grad I couldn’t justify spending over $200 on a bag. And then I saw this one on sale for less than $100, score! Diaper bags are great because they are:

a) Compartmentalized

b) Comfortable

c) Cheap (relatively)

The compartments in my bag are wonderful. There are water bottle (okay baby bottle) pouches on both sides of the bag which I use one for my water bottle and the other for my green juice or kombucha if I have one. No concerns about spilling all over your precious contents inside the bag! There are also little pockets throughout the bag. My specific bag sections the bag into two sections which is helpful as well.

The large detachable strap is super comfortable as well as the straps attached directly to the bag. The nylon fabric feels comfortable against my body which is great for lugging around an airport or city.

The other great thing is that you can usually find good, cheap ones. Of course I would prefer to have the Tory Burch or Marc Jacobs versions, but you can also find some pretty great other options for under $100!

While C Wonder is no longer in existence, I have found a few other diaper bags which I think would be suitable for travel: this Tory Burch bag doesn’t even look like a diaper bag, neither does this large Marc Jacobs bag, and this one is under $100.

3 Great Types of Carry-On Bags
Structured Computer Bag

We all need that adorable yet professional leather office bag. Well since my office is often an airplane, I also use this as a carry-on. I came across this one during Zara’s online sale back in June and ordered it immediately. I love it because from the outside it looks stylish and work-chic, but on the inside it is functional and fits many business-travel needs. I take this bag on shorter weekend trips when I know I’ll have a few meetings but still want to have a cute bag that doesn’t scream “TRAVELER” while perusing a city.

In the back mine has a a separate outside area for me to slip my computer or tablet in. The front outside area has areas to put your pens, credit cards, etc. The inside is large and can easily fit my big camera, food, a big water bottle, books, etc. It can fit a lot more than you would think!

Some other great structured computer bags include: this Kate Spade bag has good compartments as does this Tory Burch bag.

Safe travels y’all!


Chelsea Rose Martin