If you love a good vacay, we're sure you've been anxiously waiting to be given the green light that travel is finally safe again. As restrictions ease, it's clear that travel is no longer on hold and is becoming a reality for our post-pandemic world. To help you get ready to hit the road, we've compiled a list of 10 travel bag must-haves, from hard-shell suitcases to our favorite laptop bag.

So get those passports ready and read on to find your next favorite travel bag. Bon voyage!

The winners at a glance

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The 10 Best Travel Bags

Nordstrom

1. Rains Waterproof Backpack

Best Travel Backpack

This is made of durable, waterproof neoprene and has enough room to fit all of your gadgets and gizmos. Bonus points for its hidden back pocket to help keep your valuables safe and secure.

Buy it ($110)

Baboon to the Moon

2. Baboon to the Moon Small Go-Bag

Best Multi-Functional Bag

We love this guy for more reasons than we can list. Not only is it TSA-approved as a carry-on size, but its water-proof shell has backpack straps, different sized handles, an over-the-shoulder strap, a lockable zipper, four different pockets and easily stashes three to five days worth of your gear.

Buy it ($169)

Calpak

3. Calpak Luka Duffel Bag

Best Duffle Bag

Whether you’re taking this by bus, train or plane, this duffle is the ideal travel buddy. It has nine different pockets, so you’ll have a spot for literally everything—even your shoes. Plus, the puffer coat-like exterior is so sleek and cool.

Buy it ($110)

Nordstrom

4. Dagne Dover Canvas Tote

Best Travel Purse

This cutie is going to keep you looking stylish whether you’re grabbing after work drinks or jet-setting to Europe.

Buy it ($159)

Nordstrom

5. Beis Weekend Travel Tote

Best Laptop Bag

We love how easy-to-clean this tote is. And with all of its compartments you’ll have no trouble keeping everything organized, from your Airpods to your makeup bag.

Buy it ($98)

Amazon

6. Freetoo Waist Pack

Best Fanny Pack

We’re obsessed with how sturdy this fanny is. And it comes in ten different colors so you’re sure to find one that matches your vibe.

$20 at Amazon

Amazon

7. Samsonite Solyte DLX Expandable Softside Carry On

Best Soft Shell Suitcase

This comes with extra pockets so you can easily organize all of your things. And the soft-shell is malleable enough to stretch and fit all your clothes, while still keeping them protected.

$170 at Amazon

Away

8. Away The Carry-On

Best Hard Shell Suitcase

This is one of our tried-and-tested favorites. We love how protective its sleek styled shell is and it earns extra points for having a security lock for extra safety. Plus, it has a USB charging port so no more desperately searching for an outlet that’s close to your gate.

Buy it ($225)

Amazon

9. Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag

Best Crossbody

We love this for its simple, yet super functional design. Not only does it come with more than enough space to fit all of your stuff, but its slash-proof fabric and locking clips means no one can get away with your goods.

$75;$46 at Amazon

Amazon

10. Coollife Luggage 3-Piece Set

Best Luggage Set

Durable hard shell? Check. Spinner wheels? Check. Three different sizes? Check.

$179 at Amazon

How to Choose the Best Travel Bag

Domestic vs International Travel Carry-Ons

We know that you’ve probably gotten away with taking a suitcase that definitely was not a carry-on size, as a carry-on. Typically, domestic flights are a bit more lenient with your luggage dimensions, but a good rule of thumb for domestic flights is to make sure your carry-on bag fits within 22" x 14" x 9". This size basically ensures that your bag—along with everyone else’s—is going to fit in the bins overhead on your flight. If you’re flying internationally however, these airlines are more likely to be a little bit more strict. We suggest finding a carry-on that is 20 inches or shorter to take on your international flights.

Soft Shell vs Hard Shell Luggage

If you’re a no-fuss kind of traveler and notice that your suitcases tend to undergo some mid-trip damage, a soft shell suitcase is for you. They’re able to withstand a bit more wear and tear whether you’re taking it glamping or stuffing it in the overhead compartment. And, if you tend to pack on the heavier side, a soft shell should definitely be your go-to due to its ability to be stuffed to maximum capacity because of the added give of its fabric lining. On the other hand, if you are packing items that need some added protection (think: a pair of heels you don’t want to break or a beloved designer bag), we suggest going with a hard-shell suitcase. These guys will easily protect your goods as you get from point A to point B and make sure none of your valuables sustain any damage.

Two wheel luggage vs Four Wheel Luggage

If you have ever been down-to-the-last-second late for a flight and almost missed it because you had to drag your heavy suitcase behind you, we suggest you get a spinner suitcase. A spinner has four wheels, which tend to be multidirectional, helping you not only have full control over your bag, but also guaranteeing that you’ll be able to comfortably glide your luggage alongside you as you maneuver through security to your gate. Say goodbye to shoulder cramps and backaches because of heavy luggage. The only catch is those four wheels take up precious inches that are taken into account when the TSA measures your bag to determine whether it’s a carry-on or a checked bag. On the other hand, two-wheeled suitcases typically have wheels that are inside of the main compartment.

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