I'm going to be traveling for a year with only a backpack and one other bag. I need that 'other bag' to be something sturdy and cute that can be my carry-on and hold my laptop, then transform into my purse once I reach my destination. I'd like to spend less than $200.00 and I tend towards more modern/sleek styles.
-Yamsalot, your faithful xoJ reader
This is kind of a tall order, but I do understand what Yamsalot is trying to achieve. In order to meet the airline's two bag carry-on limit, your purse and laptop bag really do need to be one in the same. I'm pretty staunchly anti-checked baggage ever since I spent a week in Paris as a teenager with only a pair of sweatpants and a swimsuit after the airline lost my luggage somewhere in the bowels of Heathrow airport.
After that escapade, I locked my carry-on rig down tight. I always take the same two bags no matter where I travel: a lightweight 22" Le Sportsac roller suitcase
and the most classic travel bag on earth, the Pan Am Airlines "Explorer" bag
. My 95-year-old grandfather (yes, he's still alive and kicking!) was a pilot for Pan Am during the golden age of air travel, so the bag is a tribute to him.
A satchel style bag really is the perfect 2-in-1 computer/travel bag, although the styling may be a little too classic for our lovely Yamsalot. I'm not big on the classics either, but I do love my Cambridge Satchel Company
computer bag, which I got in crazy flouro pink. The color takes a classic and turns it on it's head, making it sort of modern in the process.
The 15" iconic Cambridge Satchel
retails for about $170.00 and the sides expand to hold a lot more than just your computer. I've crammed my 17" laptop, an iPad, a million cords, my wallet and makeup bag into mine and still
had room in the front pocket for a few odds and ends (like my headphones and notebook). It's also crazy-fashionable when used as a purse, as evidenced by fashion bloggers from here to next Tuesday.
Another possible option: J. Crew's laptop/carry-on bag hybrid
. It's made of waxed cotton canvas (to help resist water) and the extra pockets give plenty of room to tote your extra travel essentials. Again, the styling is very classic -- but the functionality really can't be beat. It's also kind of floppy and very lightweight when empty, making it easy to transform itself into a purse once Yamsalot reaches her destination.
This large-sized laptop bag from Mochi Things has a bit more modern flair -- and has room to also hold textbooks and school supplies, so it's a smart mix of useful travel features in one clever package.
One more bag for Yamsalot to consider is specifically a laptop/purse hybrid, meant to handle your computer and other life essentials so you aren't saddled with multiple bags. It's the most modern bag I found, and it kind of seems like the best of both worlds for our intrepid traveler!
The more I searched for one single bag to rule them all for Yamsalot, the more I realized that maybe she should just get the best combo carry-on/laptop bag she can find -- then pack a small fold-up purse to use for sightseeing and swanning about town once she reaches her destination. It's kind of the smartest option, as any bag that's big enough to hold a laptop will end up being an albatross to lug around as a purse. I am, of course, an insane bag snob
so I love the Longchamp
version of the classic fold-up handbag:
It folds down to the size of your iPhone and zips closed at the top to keep your valuables safe. But one could also make do with this lovely $14.99 version
of the original that really performs the exact same functions:
I successfully skirted the two-bags-on-board rule when I flew to Australia with my trusty fold-up Longchamp stashed in my carry-on. I packed all my purse junk in with my computer using this slightly ridiculous bag organizer insert.
The minute the plane took off, I unfolded my little Longchamp bag, popped in my insert and enjoyed having my purse on my shoulder when I landed. Same amount of items, just arranged a different way. Rules: they're meant for suckers. Happy traveling, Yamsalot!
Top: Sumo bag. Bottom: Fold up tote. The perfect pair for Yamsalot! (Total cost? $115.00. My work here is done.)