Backpack or purse for business travel

Which is better for business travel, a backpack or a purse? Reader L asks….

I’m ready to get a new bag for my business trips. Right now I usually travel twice a month. In the past I’ve tried purses and backpacks but I’m not really set on either one. Do you think one is better than the other?

Interesting question! To be honest, whether you should buy a backpack or purse for business travel really depends on the types of travel you do. I have both a purse and backpack that I love, but which one I travel with varies. Here are some things to consider.

  • Day trips. Do you do a lot of one-day trips? If so, a backpack may be the better option. I love my purse, but it gets really heavy and is far more comfortable riding on my suitcase rather than my shoulder. Anytime I’m doing a day trip I choose a backpack.
  • Walking. Will you be traveling to a large city that requires a lot of walking? If so, a backpack may be the more comfortable choice.
  • Formality. Is the office you are visiting more formal? In that instance I would recommend a tradition purse rather than a less formal backpack.
  • Ease of access. I like to be able to access my wallet, phone, water bottle, and keys easily. My purse is far easier to get into and find small items, especially when I’m walking around with it.

A while back I asked readers if they thought a backpack was appropriate to sub in for a purse for female business travelers. Overall the general consensus was yes, as long as it’s clean and sleek (more grown-up than student). At the same time, know your office.

If you do choose a backpack, consider bringing a small purse to use in your off-time so you don’t have to schlep a huge bag to dinner.

Regardless of which type of bag you choose, make sure it has quality construction, plenty of pockets, and a trolley strap. I love my Lo & Sons O.G. (purse) and Hanover (backpack). However if you’re looking for more formal options, the leather Renwick backpack (pictured) is lovely, streamlined, and has that all important trolley strap.

Readers, do you prefer a backpack or purse/briefcase for business travel? Or do you use both?

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Comments

  1. Hi! I thought to post a response as this is something I have had to consider more than a few times. And I though trial and error – I ended up with a hybrid bag from the Canadian company Lole – it’s a cross between a backpack and a lap top bag/gym bag. You can tuck the straps in to give it more oomph or “up-it” a bit. Black would be the way to go if you’re in a more formal business org. This way I pack laptop, inflight necessities with me and it substitutes for a walkabout bag should I need it. I always bring a smaller purse with me – a bit smaller than what I would have at home yet packable. Hope this helps. Thanks.

  2. I am a big fan of the Baggalini Integrity Tote as a happy medium between something that is highly functional while still looking professional and somewhat feminine. The bag itself is very lightweight, so it takes a fair amount of stuff to make it too heavy to carry on my shoulder.

  3. I have a Tumi backpack – black leather and the straps tuck into the back so it looks like a portrait style briefcase. It’s organized like a purse so it’s very easy to find what I need. I also Have their purse briefcase and the backpack wins hands down. I travel every other week, walking cities and always carry 1-2 laptops. This bag still looks new two years in. Worth every penny.

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