I personally, really like tote bags because of their functionality and roominess. And so I often use a tote bag myself – both while traveling and on a daily basis. But if we speak about traveling, what makes tote bag a better choice than a casual handbag, is its size.
Totes usually are bigger, and thus you can fit in more. If you are traveling with checked-in luggage you can easily use your tote as a carry on luggage, where you can keep not only the essentials, but also bigger items – like your laptop. Traveling with carry on only, it can be your personal item (mostly allowed to be taken on board for free). But going on a short trip, you can use a large casual tote as your only piece of luggage. I would only recommend you to look for one with several pockets and compartments to keep your things organized.
All in all, tote bags are really practical and versatile. In this article you will learn about different types of totes and also – what are the best tote bags now, in 2018.
Best Tote Bags for Women
Now let’s take a look at the list of the best tote bags for women!
All of the tote bags I have sorted by style – tote bags with a laptop sleeve and tote bags without a laptop sleeve. To learn more about every one of them scroll down! Most of these tote bags are available in different colors. For more photos, availability, latest price and user reviews check them out on Amazon – just click on the name or image of the tote bag! I have also included a link to Amazon under every tote bag review.
|NAME||IMAGE||DIMENSIONS||LAPTOP SECTION||COLORS||PRICE ON AMAZON|
|*** - our favorites|
|BfB Laptop Tote***|
with a code LATVIA10
(Only on Amazon.com )
|15.5" x 11" x 5"|
(39.4 x 27.9 x 12.7 cm)
|Yes||Black, gray, red||Check the price!|
|Le Donne Laptop Tote||18” x 12.5” x 5”|
(46 x 32 x 13 cm)
|Yes||Several (black, gray, red, coffee, tan)||Check the price!|
|Baggallini Avenue Tote||bottom - 13” x 12” x 6” (33 x 30.5 x 15 cm);|
top – 17” x 12” x 3” (43 x 30.5 x 20 cm).
|Yes||Several (black, magenta, red, navy, etc.)||Check the price!|
|Kenneth Cole Reaction Computer Tote||17” x 13” x 5”|
(43 x 33 x 13 cm)
|Yes||Black, red, charcoal||Check the price!|
|Samsonite Luggage Jordyn Tote||21.25” x 12.0” x 7.5”|
(54 x 31 x 19 cm)
|Yes||Black, red, amethyst||Check the price!|
|Kipling Johanna Solid Tote||15” x 14.5” x 3.8”|
(38 x 36.8 x 9.7 cm)
|No||Several (black, gray, blue, etc.)||Check the price!|
|Vera Bradley Vera Tote***||17” x 14” x 6”|
(43 x 36 x 15 cm)
|No||30+ colors and patterns||Check the price!|
|S-ZONE Tote Bag||11.8” x 6.3” x 3.4”|
(30 x 16 x 34 cm)
|No||Several (black, brown, red, dark blue, etc.)||Check the price!|
|Scarleton Ostrich Tote||16” x 15” x 4”|
(41 x 38 x 10 cm)
|No||Several (black, red, green, etc.)||Check the price!|
|Everest Luggage Deluxe Shopping Tote||16” x 14” x 7”|
(41 x 36 x 18 cm)
|No||Several (black, blue, lime, teal, etc.)||Check the price!|
Our Choice – BfB Jennifer Laptop Tote
Material: Vegan leather
Colors: Black, grey, red
Dimensions: 15.5″ x 11″ x 5″ (39.4 x 27.9 x 12.7 cm)
Weight: 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg).
Handles: My Best Friend is a Bag replacement handles are available from Amazon, detachable crossbody strap
- Top quality handmade bag
- Many pockets and compartments
- Great tote for traveling
- Padded laptop compartment
- The bag is pretty heavy
What Is a Tote Bag?
A tote bag is a large handbag with two parallel handles which may or may not be long enough to put the bag on your shoulder. In the latter case the tote bag can be carried it in the crease of your elbow.
At first tote bags were used as practical handheld bags, but the first fashion tote bags were introduced in the 1960’s.
Now many tote bags have an open-top and only a couple of additional compartments, mostly small sized slip pockets. However there are plenty of more functional totes, as well. Manufacturers are adding some handbag and laptop bag functionality to the totes – pockets, dividers and padded laptop sleeves.
Tote bags can be made from different materials. Mostly it’s leather, artificial leather, sturdy canvas and nylon fabric.
There are several types of tote bags:
- Smart work totes – tote bags ideal for business women. Features a lot of pockets and compartments. May be with or without built-in padded laptop sleeve.
- Travel tote bags – durable yet lightweight functional large handbags with several pockets and compartments.
- Beach tote bags – simple, mostly open-top, bags with only a couple of pockets / compartments.
- Luxury tote bags – elegant designer bags, also available in smaller sizes.
- Casual tote bags – practical large handbags for everyday use.
- Shopping tote bags – simple large sized sturdy bags for shopping and everyday use.
In this article I have reviewed several work and travel totes, as well as a couple of casual and shopping totes.
How To Find the Best Tote Bag for Yourself?
Before buying a tote bag, consider these things:
1. Why Do You Need a Tote Bag?
Are you a going on a business trip? And taking a laptop with you? Then look for a laptop tote bag. There are plenty of different laptop totes available! You just need to decide if you want a smart-looking or casual laptop tote.
Will you use a tote bag only while going grocery shopping? Then look for a shopping tote. Those totes have a simple design but they are well-built and sturdy.
Do you need something simple and for day-to-day use? Then buy something practical and versatile you can use on various occasions! Something like the Kipling Johanna.
2. Do You Need a Tote Bag With a Laptop / Tablet Sleeve?
Do you travel with a purse and a laptop bag while commuting to work? If the answer is yes – maybe you should consider “combining” the functions of those 2 bags and get yourself one large laptop tote with a padded laptop sleeve instead?
It will make your life easier, as carrying 1 bag is way more comfortable than carrying 2 separate bags!
3. What Size Tote Bag Should You Get?
The answer is easy! What are you planning to carry? What you are buying the bag for? Do you plan to carry it as a purse putting in only a few small sized items? Or you have a lot of stuff to tote around? A laptop, several notebooks, planner, large wallet and more?
Most tote bags I have reviewed here are large-sized. But you can also find a tote bag that is smaller than these ones.
Some totes are sold in several sizes – small, medium and large. Just look at all the options a seller offers.
4. Number of Pockets and Compartments
Again – depends on your needs. Do you carry a lot of different things (big and small) and want to keep all of them organized? Then look for a tote with lots of pockets and compartments.
If you are looking for just a simple beach tote, where to throw your beachwear and towel, then a simple bag with only a couple small compartments for your phone and wallet will be good enough.
Tote Bag Reviews
1. BfB Jennifer Laptop Tote and Tablet Bag Review
When I first saw the bag I was surprised how sturdy the BfB Jennifer tote looks! It’s made of textured faux snakeskin (vegan leather). The material is sturdy and durable. The handles look very strong. They have have extra webbing and stitching to make them more durable. Zippers of the Jennifer tote are shiny and smooth. As well as they look durable. Every bag is handmade.
Looks like the bag is going to last! Great thing – if the handles wear out, you can buy brand new BfB replacement handles!
Let’s look inside!
The inside of the bag is very pretty – it’s lined with bright good quality material. I have a grey bag, and its lining is pink. The black bag has an orange lining. The red one – blue lining.
The BfB Jennifer tote has 3 large zippered compartments: a large padded compartment for a laptop (up to 13″), large unpadded compartment with three slip pockets and a smaller padded middle compartment for a tablet computer (up to 10″).
My 5.5″ phone in its hard case fits in the two smallest slip pockets. The third pocket is larger and accommodates my Amazon Kindle without its case. The dimensions of the Kindle are: 6.5″ x 4.5″ (16.5 x 11.5 cm). There is a detachable key fob next to slip pockets.
My 10″ tablet computer fits in the middle compartment, as well as my 10″ laptop. But I wouldn’t carry my laptop in the middle compartment, since it’s a tight fit – the zippers might break. I will carry my 10″ laptop (in its case) in the padded laptop section. Since the padded laptop section is designed for 13″ laptop it’s too big for my tiny laptop and it shifts. Putting it in a case before storing it in a laptop compartment prevents it from shifting around.
I tried putting a 11″ laptop in its case and it fit easily, too.
All in all – this bag is great! It holds all my electronics securely! A tablet in the padded middle compartment, 10″ laptop in its case in the padded laptop section, Kindle without its case in the largest of slip pockets, my large smartphone in one of the smallest slip pockets. With a room to spare for some cables, chargers and other small items, like keys, USB sticks and some make-up.
The bag has sturdy flat bottom, and it stands up by itself (on a flat surface), even when empty. There are 5 round feet at the bottom that help to keep bag stable.
The Jennifer tote comes with a detachable decoration and detachable crossbody strap.
Dimensions of the BfB Jennifer laptop tote: 15.5″ x 11″ x 5″ (39.4 x 27.9 x 12.7 cm). Weight: 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg).
Get a 10% discount with a code LATVIA10 (Only on Amazon.com)!Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
2. Le Donne Laptop Tote Review
It has plenty of room to hold a laptop, tablet computer, wallet, a couple of notebooks, cords, chargers and other small items. There’s a special padded computer sleeve in the main compartment. The manufacturer says that this sleeve can hold laptops up to 15.4”, but I would say that it will be a really tight fit. But it will work perfect for smaller laptops.
There’s 1 wide zippered inner pocket and several slip pockets in the main compartment. There’s 1 slip pocket on the outside of the tote.
The Le Donne tote is made of beautiful soft leather and features 4 sturdy metal feet for stability and protection, as well as elegant antique hardware.
Dimensions of the Le Donne tote: 18” x 12.5” x 5” (46 x 32 x 13 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
3. Baggallini Avenue Tote Review
It fits perfectly on a roller suitcase – the 2 straps will fit over the telescopic luggage handle. Or leave the back zippered pocket empty, unzip the second (bottom) zipper and put the telescopic handle through.
Remove the long handle, to wear it as a crossbody bag.
The tote is made of lightweight good quality water resistant nylon, which doesn’t feel cheap. It’s not slippery and neither too shiny. The bag looks professional and attractive.
There are several compartments to help to keep your stuff organized. The bag is roomy and can hold surprisingly a lot of stuff.
There’s a padded computer sleeve in the main compartment, as well as a zippered inside pocket and a few small slip pockets for small items, like pens, pencils and a small notebook. Key attachment can be found in the main compartment, too. The computer sleeve can hold 13” MacBook Air inside its soft sided case.
There are few pockets on the outside. Back zippered pocket can hold magazines and a paperback book. Or, as I mentioned above, leave it empty and unzip the bottom zipper to place the bag over luggage handle, when you are traveling with with tote.
There is another zippered pocket are 3 slip pockets on the outside. Each of the 2 largest slip pockets are large enough to hold a small bottle. The middle slip pocket has a luggage tag in it.
When packed the Baggallini tote stays upright and doesn’t tip over. The tote will look good even on a petite woman, as it is not too bulky.
Dimensions of the Baggallini Avenue Tote: at the bottom – 13” x 6” (33 x 15 cm); the top – 17” x 3” (43 x 20 cm). The height of the bag is 12” (30.5 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
4. Kenneth Cole Reaction Computer Tote Review
A great laptop tote bag by Kenneth Cole! It’s functional, so it’s ideal for work and business travel. It has several roomy compartments to help you keep your things organized. Most important feature – the padded laptop sleeve with a Velcro strap.
The Kenneth Cole will fit the needs of those who constantly need to carry quite a lot of things, such as a laptop, tablet, notebooks, a couple of books, planner, some toiletries and make-up, office supplies, etc.
The main compartment of the tote has a Velcro secured padded laptop compartment (for laptops up to 16”), large zippered compartment in the middle, another large compartment (without a zipper) and a couple of slip pockets. There’s an outer slip pocket and a larger front pocket with a flap. The front pocket has several small compartments for smaller items, like pens and ID.
As the straps aren’t flat, but rounded, the tote bag will feel heavy on your shoulder. But that’s to be expected with any bag that can carry a lot of stuff.
This bag is great, as it looks professional yet feminine and stylish. It is very sturdy and will last long. It’s roomy without being too bulky. It’s very comfortable to travel with this bag, as you can place it under a seat on an airplane and have an easy access to all your essentials during the flight!
This tote bag is available in several colors.
Dimensions of the Kenneth Cole Reaction Computer Tote: 17” x 13” x 5” (43 x 33 x 13 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
5. Samsonite Luggage Jordyn Tote Review
It’s lightweight, yet durable, and surprisingly roomy. It’s made of quality water resistant matte nylon material, which is easy to clean.
The Samsonite tote looks professional yet stylish. It can hold a laptop (up to 15.6”), tablet, cords and chargers, a couple of notebooks, cosmetics, reading glasses, wallet, phone.
Laptop compartment is in the middle of the main compartment, and it’s padded, so you won’t need to put a laptop in a protective sleeve before putting it into a bag. It has a two-way-zipper closure for ultra protection.
There are separate compartments on both sides of the built-in laptop sleeve. One side is roomier than the other. The narrowest side is ideal for notebooks, while the other – for a cosmetic bag or a folded jumper.
There are few other pockets: zippered inner pocket for a phone or passport, a special slip pocket for a tablet with brushed Poly lining and a slip pocket on the outside.
The only drawback is that the straps of the tote might seem uncomfortable to some users, since they aren’t flat, but rounded.
The bag is available in several colors.
Overall dimensions of the Samsonite tote: 21.25” x 12.0” x 7.5” (54 x 31 x 19 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
6. Kipling Johanna Tote Review
The Kipling Johanna tote is well made and very functional. It’s a great every day purse, as well as it’s one of the best tote bags for travel. It can be placed on the suitcase – the 2 straps will fit over the telescopic luggage handle. Or it can be worn as a crossbody bag, as it features a non-removable crossbody strap, as well.
The distance between the top of the shorter straps to the top of the bag is about about 7” (18 cm), so the bag can be carried on your shoulder.
The Kipling Johanna has several compartments and pockets to help your things organized. Some totes I’ve used don’t have compartments, so some smaller things tend to disappear… This is not the case with the Johanna, fortunately! It has a large main compartment inside of which 3 interior slip pockets and 1 zippered pocket are located. There are 4 outer pockets – 2 of them zippered and rather chunky, 1 slip and one – with a Vecro closure.
An iPhone 7 will fit in one of the rectangular front pockets. Anything bigger (for instance, Galaxy Note 7) will be a tight fit.
A 13” Macbook Air will fit in a main compartment. But note, that there is no padded sleeve designed for a computer or tablet.
The tote bag is made of canvas, so it’s easy to wash!
It’s available in several colors.
Dimensions of the bag: 15” x 14.5” x 3.8” (38 x 36.8 x 9.7 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
7. Vera Bradley Vera Tote Review
I really like Vera Bradley products, especially handbags. They are unique and stand out among other bags because of the vibrant colors. As a lover of flowers I prefer the ones with those cute flowery patterns.
The Vera tote is a durable multi-purpose tote. It holds much more than you might expect. It’s roomy and has 6 open slip-in interior pockets for smaller items. The tote has an open top with a loop and tortoise toggle closure. There are 2 outside pockets on each of the bags sides. One of those pockets is zippered.
A couple of notebooks, tablet computer, planner, wallet, make-up bag, bottle and some snacks will fit in with a room to spare. Your laptop will fit in the bag, unless it’s too packed already. Note, that there’s no special laptop sleeve inside the bag.
The Vera tote is made of soft quilted fabric with a removable sturdy fabric covered bottom insert. Thanks to the flat bottom, it doesn’t tip over.
The Vera tote is versatile. It will work great for a commuter, student or traveler! You can take it on board as a carry on and place it under a seat in front of you. Easy access to all your essentials during a flight! While transporting your luggage, put the Vera tote on top of your suitcase. Or carry it in the crease of your elbow if you are traveling with a backpack instead of a suitcase.
Approximate dimensions of the tote: 17” x 14” x 6” (43 x 36 x 15 cm). Strap length – about 11” (28 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
8. S-ZONE Vintage Tote Bag Review
It’s large and sturdy enough to carry a 11” laptop, a tablet and a couple of notebooks with some room to spare. All the hardware of the bag is metal, so it makes the bag durable enough to carry heavy things – max 11 lb (5 kg). The zippers are good quality and the nylon lining is silky, yet durable.
The bag is made from coated cow split leather. To create a vintage look the leather is polished and oiled. The leather is supple and anti-scratch. The S-ZONE bag may have natural odor at first, but it will go away after a couple days.
This leather bag features 2 spacious inner compartments for laptop and notebooks, central zippered pocket for tablet computer, side zippered pocket and 2 slip pockets for smaller items like phones and cables. There is an outside zippered quick access pocket. The straps of the tote bag can be adjusted a bit.
Note, that even though the S-ZONE tote bag can accommodate a tablet computer and a laptop, it doesn’t have special padded compartments and sleeves for this purpose. You should be careful when carrying electronics, or just put them in a protective sleeve before placing them in this tote.
The tote bag has a sturdy bottom, so it’s not tipping over when you place it in upright position on a even surface.
The bag is large sized, so it might look very big and bulky on a petite woman.
Available in several beautiful colors.
Dimensions of the S-ZONE tote: 11.8” x 6.3” x 3.4” (30 x 16 x 34 cm). Handle length: 11.8” (30 cm), which is long enough to put on shoulder.Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
9. Scarleton Ostrich Tote Review
Inexpensive, stylish and functional bag – that’s how I would describe the Scarleton Ostrich tote! This chic bag has got a lot of possibilities for organization and can hold a lot – a laptop (up to 13”) sideways, a couple of notebooks, tablet computer, wallet, smartphone, a few snacks and some small items, like pens and pencils.
There’s a large zippered compartment, which is divided in 2 sections. The divider itself is a zippered compartment. There’s a couple smaller slip pockets and one zippered pocket, as well as one zippered pocket on the outside of the tote.
Please note, that there’s no special padded sleeve for a laptop. So, you’ll need to place your laptop in a sleeve before putting it in a bag.
The bag is made of soft synthetic ostrich leather and lined with fabric. The bag features 15” straps, which can be adjusted. The straps are put through metal grommets at the top of the bag.
Even though the leather is artificial, the bag feels nicely made and durable. It looks more expensive than it is, because the faux leather looks great – it’s not shiny and slippery to the touch.
Note, that this tote is soft and its bottom doesn’t have a flat plastic / cardboard insert. So it doesn’t stand on its own.
Available in several beautiful colors.
Dimensions of the Scarleton Ostrich Tote: 16” x 15” x 4” (41 x 38 x 10 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
10. Everest Luggage Deluxe Shopping Tote Review
This Everest tote is not one of those fancy professional looking totes. But it’s a great option if you are looking for an affordable yet functional bag. The design is simple, but the bag is still cute enough.
The Everest tote is versatile and will be perfect for travel, commute, beach and shopping. It can be taken on a weekend trip or used as an overnight bag. It’s not a gym bag, but it can be used for this purpose as well.
The bag features several convenient pockets that will help you keep all your things organized. There’s a large main zippered compartment, inner zippered pocket, 2 front slip pockets, 1 front mesh pocket. The padded zippered bottom compartment is a great feature! You can place your shoes there, or damp gym clothes, if you are using it as a gym bag. There’s an inner elastic pocket for a water bottle.
The Everest tote comes with a small detachable coin purse and features wide adjustable straps which won’t dig into your shoulder. The bottom of the tote is flat because of a hard insert.
Made from 600 denier polyester, bag is durable and lightweight. Bag’s material is coated on the inside. Which makes it water resistant, and will protect your things from getting wet.
Available in several colors, some of them bright.
Dimensions of the Everest tote: 16” x 14” x 7” (41 x 36 x 18 cm).Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!
If you have any more questions about travel gear, check out our other gear guides! Or contact us!
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.