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Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

The Season’s Best Specialty Bags and Luggage

A quality bag should make your life easier, especially when work is intertwined with travel

January 30, 2024

Maxwell Scott’s The VareseW / Photo: Courtesy of Maxwell Scott bags

Luggage doesn’t merely express your style. It also reflects your personality. If you doubt whether the bags you choose offer clues about who you are, recall the last time you caught a glimpse of a cool piece of luggage rolling through an airport, and you glanced at its owner. It made you wonder about that person, didn’t it?

These days, we tend to buy carry-on and checked luggage with both fashion and function in mind. But for many, the latter takes priority, especially when work is intertwined with travel. It’s also worth remembering that a quality bag should make your life easier. Just ask anyone who fell in love with the look of a suitcase, only to realize later it was heavy when full and inconvenient to carry. This roundup offers solutions for a handful of scenarios that either you or the favorite traveler in your life might recognize, each with a recommended bag sure to make the next trip effortless.

For the Road Warrior

Levenger’s LevTex Rolling File Tote

Levenger’s LevTex Rolling File Tote

Do you know someone whose livelihood depends upon successful transactions on a convention floor? This faux-leather rolling tote is essentially a desk on wheels, designed with maximum organization in mind. The main compartment includes both a padded laptop sleeve and a removable frame that accommodates hanging file folders that can be purchased separately, while both the front pocket and underside of the top lid offer a wealth of zipped and open pockets to store everything needed to seal the deal and roll on to the next meeting.
$289.50, at levenger.com

For the Traveling Professional

Maxwell-Scott’s The VareseW

Maxwell Scott’s The VareseW

Whether you’re a paralegal lugging files or a pharmaceutical rep who needs samples within easy reach, this stylish leather case by British brand Max-well-Scott blends classic details with the ease of a rolling bag. Handcrafted of a full-grain, vegetable-dyed leather, this structured case, which can be personalized, features a flap-top opening that reveals a spacious lined interior to accommodate documents or items. A laptop can fit in a front slip pocket, and accessories such as pens and business cards can be placed in leather open pockets on the case’s back wall. Seen here in a chestnut hue, but also available in black or dark brown, the leather will develop a beautiful patina with age.
$1,329, at us.max-wellscottbags.com

For the Animal Lover

Away’s The Pet Carrier

Away’s The Pet Carrier

Whether you or someone you know loves to bring a pet wherever they go, knowing the little one is comfortable is always a top priority—and if the bag looks good, all the better. That’s why we love The Pet Carrier from Away. It comes in basic black, the go-to color of most travel bags for animals, but this blue, dubbed Coast, instantly feels upscale. Inside the pet can snuggle on a Sherpa bed with a raised edge, a detail that’s decidedly more thoughtful than the basic mat in most bags. Other features include a water-proof lining, mesh panels on three sides for ventilation, a side pocket that can store a collapsible water bowl, and safety measures such as a collar clip to prevent a quick escape and exterior latches to secure the bag to a car’s seat belt. The bag meets FAA standards for under-seat storage and can accommodate pets up to 18 pounds.
$225, at awaytravel.com

For the Passionate Golfer

G/Fore’s Icon Camo Tour Bag

SKB Cases’ iSeries 1309-6 Case

Ask any convention planner which amenities rank high among attendee preferences, and chances are an on-site golf course will top the list. For the golfer who loves to combine business with play across 18 holes, consider a bag that’s sure to be noticed. G/Fore’s Icon Camo Tour Bag is crafted of a lightweight, tour-grade material in a brilliant blue hue that’s sure to catch the eye in an airport’s oversized-baggage section. Organize clubs to your liking with the bag’s six-way top. Other features include 11 pockets to hold everything you might need, from apparel to beverages, a magnetic, velour-lined ball pocket, and a hidden umbrella sleeve, while a matching rain hood and dual-purpose bottle opener/towel ring are also included. Personalization of a last name or monogram is available.
$800, at gfore.com

For the Creative

SKB Cases’ iSeries 1309-6 Case

For the Creative: SKB Cases’ iSeries 1309-6 Case

For the photographer, musician or art director in your life, or perhaps the artist who must transport fragile pieces to weekend art shows, padded cases with durable hard sides are a necessity for travel. California-based SKB Cases offers an incredible variety of options in carry-on and checked sizes, many with interiors that can be adapted to your specific needs. The iSeries case seen here is part of a collaboration with Think Tank Photo, blending an exterior that’s watertight and dustproof with an interior of cubed foam or padded dividers, either of which can be adjusted easily to suit specific equipment or merchandise samples. Inserts also can be purchased separately to create a truly custom piece.
$189.99, at skbcases.com

For the Instant Traveler

Briggs & Riley’s Baseline 22” Carry-On 2-Wheel Garment Bag

Briggs & Riley’s Baseline 22” Carry-On 2-Wheel Garment Bag

For those who plan a work schedule that kicks off immediately, knowing that what you’d like to wear will emerge from your luggage with minimum wrinkles is vital. While garment bags were created to solve this problem, they’re often oversized and must be checked. That’s why Briggs & Riley designed an upright rolling bag that combines the convenience of a carry-on with the ability to hang garments. The two-section design features a flat packing area and a built-in suit compartment, with added compression to keep pieces from shifting. Above the hanging section, detachable corner pouches are ideal for accessories and toiletries. The telescoping handle is mounted on the bag’s exterior to maximize interior space, a front pocket is large enough to hold a laptop, and a back Power Pocket stores a battery pack and cell phone for charging at the gate. Best of all, this 22-inch rolling bag fits into most overhead baggage compartments.
$659, at briggs-riley.com