I’ll Never Buy Another Carry-on Personal Item Again Thanks to This Genius 4-in-1 Bag
As the daughter of a flight attendant who has worked at a top airline for 35 years, I know a little something about carry-on bags. I can tell you which bags will definitely get gate-checked because they’re too big to go under your seat or there's no room left in the overhead bin. (By the way, it’s a big no-no to try to take a bag that’s too large because you’ll get called out by the gate agent and will have to gate-check your bag, so beware!)
But in all my 26 years of traveling with and without my mom, I’ve constantly been searching for the perfect carry-on bag — the one that’s considered your “one personal item.” Over the years I’ve tried too-small cross-body bags, too-clunky shoulder bags, and too-heavy backpacks while lugging around laptops, books, magazines, my clear bag full of TSA-approved liquids, plus all my other devices along with their multiple chargers.
Finding a carry-on bag to fit all those essentials isn’t easy, and I know how important it is to make sure you’re comfortable while on the go (with as little stress as possible!) — and that includes making sure everything on your packing list fits. I know the struggle of finding a carry-on bag with enough pockets that’s also stylish and includes the most crucial feature: that extra strap or sleeve that allows you to slide your bag over your suitcase handle. And, of course, you always need to have a carry-on bag with enough space to fit extra stuff in case you’re checking a suitcase that’s over 50 pounds (yep, I’ve been there too).
It’s safe to say, after all the criteria a bag needs to pass before I’ll even consider it, I’ve finally found the one. Everything about the Samsonite Encompass Convertible Brief Laptop Backpack was designed with purpose. While its name might be a little long, it does describe everything the bag can do for you. It’s four bags in one, which means you can change it from a shoulder bag while you’re on the plane to a backpack as soon as you’re off and ready to sightsee.
To buy: ebags.com, $240
With just a few adjustments to the main removable strap, this bag can be a backpack, a shoulder bag, a cross-body, or a tote bag. On the inside it includes a laptop sleeve, which will fit up to a 14-inch laptop, plus plenty of pockets to keep you organized, including an attached key fob so you can always easily find your keys.
While one of my favorite features about this bag is the fact that it’s multiple styles in one, allowing you to leave that extra cross-body bag at home, my favorite aspect is the fact that you can slip it over your suitcase handle without worrying about carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder or back.
Even better? For the minimalist traveler who doesn’t want to stand out in a crowd, this bag comes in two simple colors made from water-resistant fabric: black and a bordeaux red. And I can’t forget to mention the super cute lavender-colored interior! You seriously can’t go wrong with a bag that’s four for the price of one, especially one that’s approved by a flight attendant’s daughter.