These 10 Stylish Tote Bags Are Roomy Enough to Use As Carry-ons — and They Start at Just $19

Amazon, Samsonite, Béis, and Away have genius, lightweight bags that still fit under the plane seat.

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Oversized Tote Bags Under $50 Tout

Travel + Leisure / Pamela Jew

I’m a full-time traveler, and I’ll let you in on a secret: Tote bags are the best type of carry-on. Last summer, I bought a gold one in Cascais, Portugal, that changed the game, allowing me to carry an array of things like my laptop, change of clothing, and an umbrella in addition to my keys and wallet. On any given day, I still had space left for an impromptu supermarket run or an impulse buy.

Why ditch the bulky carry-on luggage for a tote? For starters, totes are easy to carry — it’s even in the name! Most are pretty lightweight with flat straps that stay put, so they’re comfortable, too. They hold a deceptive amount, and they’re usually pretty wide, so they distribute the weight evenly (your back will thank you). Style-wise, tote bags keep things casual yet cool. Add extras like compartments, expandability, anti-theft features, and waterproofing, and you’ve got the makings of a great piece of luggage that prevents you from overpacking, whether you’re flying for business or pleasure.

So in honor of my trusty tote bag, I’ve rounded up the best options out there right now starting at just $19, from a stylish Béis weekender to a flight-attendant approved, three-in-one Cyureay Convertible Tote Backpack. The standard Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) size for carry-on luggage is 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches, and all 10 of the standout tote bags below obey the size limits yet hold an extraordinary amount of stuff securely. With carry-on totes this cool, your ticket may say “economy,” but your style will broadcast “frequent flier.”

Samsonite Foldaway Packable Tote Sling Bag

Samsonite Foldaway Packable Tote Sling Bag


You expect a lot from Samsonite, and this tote bag delivers. It’s packed with pockets that can hold small electronics like tablets, e-readers, headphones, and earbuds. The main compartment comfortably holds in-flight essentials like a light sweater, sleep mask, and toiletries, plus any souvenirs you pick up along the way. The nylon-polyester tote has thick, sturdy straps so it’s comfy to carry, but here’s the best part: When not in use, the lightweight tote folds down to fit a compact pouch. Just stick it in your suitcase so it won’t get lost!

“It will hold a weekend’s worth of clothes for when you want to fly but don’t want to pay for a carry-on,” one fan wrote, adding that it “is a good, big size but the material is thin…so it doesn’t seem like a carry-on, though it can hold just as much stuff.”

To buy:, $26

Fit + Fresh Metro Tote

Fit & Fresh Insulated Lunch, Work, School Bag, Travel Purse


This multitasker is business on one side and party on the other. The insulated half of this tote bag is lined with BPA-free PEVA, 5-mm thick interior padding and 300D polyester, so you can stash all your favorite snacks, hot foods, and cold drinks for a long flight ahead and keep them at the optimal temperature for a full day. The other side is spacious enough for a laptop, magazines, compression socks, an extra outfit, and whatever else you need to work or relax in-flight. The lightweight tote has heat-welded seams so it won’t leak, and it wipes clean easily.

“This tote is perfect for anyone who wants to keep a cool drink/sweaty water bottle away from important documents,” wrote one wise reviewer. “There are two completely separate compartments, so you won’t worry about spillage from the insulated side to the non-insulated side. It’s truly a game-changer.”

To buy:, $21 (originally $30)

Béis The Mini Weekender

The Mini Weekender


Color me smitten: It’s a tote bag that’s also a weekender! Imagine a tote bag you can use as your personal item, carry-on, and only piece of luggage: This Béis bag is it. In addition to a spacious main compartment, is has the all-important laptop sleeve (easy to access when you’re going through airport security) and a zippered bottom compartment for your shoes or toiletries (or snacks). It also has a passthrough that attaches to your suitcase handle, making it efficient in every way we can think of. Your only problem will be choosing which cool color you like best.

“High quality, very sturdy, and fits loads,” one Béis customer said of their Mini Weekender. “[I] will be using it for years to come.”

To buy:, $88

Bagsmart Large Tote Bag

BAGSMART Large Tote Bag


This roomy carry-on tote takes packing space to the next level — not only can it store your clothes, work supplies, personal electronics, and other travel essentials, but it also has space for a yoga mat, too. (Anyone who’s ever tried to fly with one knows how impossibly awkward and cumbersome that can be without the right gear.) This large tote bag saves the day with a brilliant fixed buckle made just for the job, so you can attach your mat to the top with no fuss. It also has a side pocket that fits your water bottle and a front pocket for easy access to things like your phone or passport.

“The shoulder straps are comfortable, and the bag is easy to carry....not too heavy when full,” wrote a happy customer.

To buy:, $30 (originally $43)

Away F.A.R Tote 45L

F.A.R Tote 45L


This spacious tote by Away was built to be a carry-on. Made of recycled materials with an abrasion- and weather-resistant finish, it will safely store clothing, shoes, electronics, and more and keep them safe and dry in any condition. It also has some stealth storage, including a hidden exterior pocket for easy access to your passport or phone, an interior mesh pocket for smaller valuables like earbuds or jewelry, and an interior webbing loop to keep your keys secure. Thanks to a trolley sleeve, you can easily attach it to your luggage handle and zip to your gate. Choose from five colors, including the popular orange.

“I like to keep my hiking gear separate from other clothing so this bag is ideal for that — hiking shoes, bladder backpack, poles, leggings, shirts, hats, electrolytes and granola bars, first aid kit etc,” wrote a savvy shopper.

To buy:, $98 (originally $140)

Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag

 Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag


Attention, light packers: this is the only tote bag you’ll want to fly with. Thanks to a front pocket with RFID protection, which blocks thieves from remotely scanning your credit cards, passport and other important documents, you’re free to focus on more pressing airport matters like exchanging your money for foreign currency or finding a public charging station for your phone. The tote has other safety features, too, like a front pocket with a locking zipper and a key clip with an LED light.

“I purchased this bag for a recent trip to Brazil and it was great; it held everything I needed and gave me an added sense of security,” wrote one savvy shopper. They added that the “zippers locked, and I could dress the bag up with pretty scarves or leave it plain depending on the situation.” 

To buy:, $90

Cyureay Convertible Tote Bag/Backpack

CYUREAY Convertible Backpack Tote


This tote bag is an impressive three bags in one: in addition to a rugged tote, it converts into a backpack and crossbody — how’s that for versatility? It’s made of durable, scratch- and water-resistant nylon with a padded, reinforced shoulder strap for comfort while you wait in never-ending airport lines. Speaking of, this tote also has a built-in USB port for charging up your phone. It’s got you covered on all fronts, with the spaciousness to hold a large laptop as well as many compartments, including an anti-theft pocket in the back.

“As a flight attendant, I need one multipurpose bag, and this is it,” One shopper wrote, adding that they tried at least 19 others. “It has a luggage strap, handles, backpack option, and long handle. I’ve washed it and thrown it around endlessly. It’s a real winner in my book.”

To buy:, $30

Baggallini Any Day Tote with RFID Phone Wristlet

Baggallini Any Day Tote with RFID Phone Wristlet


Lightweight and water-resistant, this nylon tote has pockets galore, and most of them are hidden inside where valuable things stay safe and out of reach. External zippered pockets keep things like your passport and wallet handy, though. It’s easy to carry and maneuver this bag thanks to an adjustable strap and a sleeve that lets you slide the bag right over your suitcase handles. The cherry on top is the matching anti-theft wristlet, which is armed with RFID technology to prevent your cards and ID from being scanned by would-be thieves.

“This bag was everything and a bag of chips. This helped so much for our travel over to Europe,” wrote a five-star reviewer. “Even the flight attendant stated that she had the same bag and loves it. I am so happy to have this. Plus, the extra security of RFID made it a no-brainer.”

To buy:, $80 (originally $118)

Orshawer Carry-On Tote Bag

Orshawer Large Capacity Folding Travel Bag


This lightweight tote bag is just $19 but is more efficient for travel than plenty of tote bags 10 times that price. The waterproof and rip-resistant bag has lots of space for up to five days’ worth of clothes, cosmetics and more, but it’s the compartments that really make this one a winner. Internal pockets are specifically designed to let you separate dry and wet belongings, and a hidden pocket on the bag’s luggage sleeve conceals important items where you least expect it. When you’re not using it, just fold the tote up into its compact case and stow it in your luggage.

“It’s bigger than expected but can easily be reduced to a smaller size. I was shocked at how much it held and still fit under the airplane seat,” wrote a fan.

To buy:, $19

Kenneth Cole Reaction Chelsea Quilted Chevron

Kenneth Cole Reaction Chelsea Quilted Chevron 15" Laptop & Tablet Business Tote


Getting through airport security with a laptop in your carry-on can be daunting, but this well-designed tote makes it easy. That’s because its laptop compartment opens out, making it a cinch to slip the device in and out without holding up the line, and the compartment even hides spots and sleeves for valuables like your tablet, phone, passport, and even your toothbrush and toothpaste. This bag actually has pockets galore, both zipped and unzipped, including a zippered front pocket for things you need at the ready. A trolley strap in the back just completes the convenience of this beloved bag.

“This bag is classy and great for traveling,” one reviewer wrote, saying they even “like it so much better than the Tumi I was originally shopping for. [It has] great pockets and protection for [my] computer and iPad.” They concluded that it “looks professional and [is] very sturdy.”

To buy:, $80

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