Late Checkout is TQE’s travel vertical. Whether you’re seeking an Eat Pray Love moment of your own, or a wholesome family sojourn, we hope you embark on an adventure requisite of a late checkout below.
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Summer might be over, but our travel plans aren’t. The weather’s a little crispier (leaf peeping, anyone?), wedding invites have hit our mailboxes, and we’re still dreaming of the last time we got out of town. Fall is an incredible time to book some downtime – or fine, a work trip – and invest in some new bags to get us through it.
We recently compiled our favorite carry on and checked bags. But nowadays, the digital nomad might prefer a backpack or a chic tote to fit on the top of their roller instead. (Who doesn’t love a good pass-through sleeve?)
Read on for the best direct-to-consumer travel bags – the non-luggage edition.
The Classic Travel Backpack
We had to start with the usual. The bag you can take on your commute or to the gym. You know: the daily driver.
Enter Monos Luggage. We know and love the brand for building sleek pieces that have a thoughtful array of details and inclusions: polished colorways, lifetime warranties, many size options, and the ability to nest inside one another for easy storage. Each Monos design looks and feels like a luxury item, while available at a reasonable price point.
The brand’s recently revamped Metro Collection contains some phenomenal bags to add on to and complement your existing hard shells or duffels. My favorite? The Metro Backpack ($200), made of premium nylon twill and detailed with scratch-resistant vegan leather. The external pockets – modular pouches that snap on to the straps – look sleek rather than bulky, and I love that I can choose to use them as organizer pouches inside my bag too. It also has a waterproof pocket for dirty clothes or damp items, a laptop compartment, and plenty of interior pockets as well. I wasn’t expecting such a neatly sized bag to pack such a punch when it came to storage; for that reason, it also makes an amazing everyday bag.
The Two-In-One Backpack
Away Luggage has a reputation for excellence. The brand’s hard shell luggage? Ubiquitous. You’d be hard-pressed to walk through a terminal without spotting an Away carry on. It was only a matter of time before the brand set its sights on a new frontier (literally) with the launch of outdoor-friendly bags designed to be more technical. The F.A.R. (For All Routes) line launched in Fall 2022 – tough, beautiful, and lightweight bags meant to withstand all sorts of weather and situations. I love that it’s made from recycled, water- and abrasion-resistant materials.
My favorite of the line is the F.A.R. Convertible Duffel Backpack ($220). As the name implies, you can wear this pack two ways, and change it up with removable buckles and straps that easily switch from one mode to another. I’ve used this bag as a carry on and it fits about a trip’s worth of clothes and gear inside using its interior compression straps. I also appreciate that it has a chest strap to support the weight when you do load it up as a backpack. In duffel mode, you can also slide it on top of your roller with the pass-through sleeve.
The New Favorite Work Tote
CALPAK is a modern luggage brand with a vast, friendly array of bags, so its priority is creating travel bags that you can use everyday. Each piece is both versatile and stylish. I’ve lusted over CALPAK’s laptop bags for ages, and finally got the chance to try out the Haven Laptop Tote Bag ($179).
Crafted from supple faux leather, this bag is roomy (a must for me) with plenty of interior luggage pockets and a removable laptop sleeve. The pass-through sleeve means it fits perfectly over your carry-on, and there’s an optional shoulder strap in case you’d like to wear it differently. It’s cute and polished enough for work, but very useful to travel with, making it a winner in my book.
The Most Organized Backpack
If you’re a photographer, content creator, or just a human who loves a little multifunctionality out of their bags, you might love a photo-oriented backpack that allows easy access to your gear. Enter Brevitē, who makes camera bags for the modern explorer.
Try the Jumper ($169.99), a lightweight, compact, and durable backpack. It’s currently available in eleven different colorways, like Lemon Yellow and Poppy Red, so you’ll never lose sight of your pack with these brights! The vibrant colors make it a fun choice, but more importantly, the quick access pocket, rearrangeable interior compartments, and many pockets ensure you’ll stay organized no matter where your adventures take you.
The Backpack You Never Have To Unpack
In my opinion, the single greatest travel gear trend we’re seeing right now is that of suitcases and bags that you never have to unpack. As an ex-camp counselor, I’m used to living out of a trunk, and that’s a characteristic that bleeds into my travel style as well.
It makes complete sense that BÉIS, a luggage brand founded by Shay Mitchell, would adopt a similar style. The brand’s items are all beyond intuitive – it’s clear BEIS knows how and why people, especially women, choose the bags that they do.
Needless to say, I’m obsessed with the Hanging Backpack ($128). You can pack directly into the shelf system then (voila!) remove and hang the organizer immediately in a closet upon reaching your destination. You’ll never forget anything at the hotel ever again either.
Shop the edit below and get packing – you’ve got places to be!