Fact Checked

How Do I Choose the Best Leather Travel Bags?

Elizabeth West
Elizabeth West

Many different types of leather travel bags are available to help you keep your belongings contained and protected. To choose, you should first consider what you need to carry, and how much you want to spend. A cheaply-made bag may not hold up and can be difficult to repair. If you find a well-made bag and take good care of it, you should be able to use it for years to come.

Most business travelers will need something to hold a laptop computer and various other electronic devices. A leather travel briefcase may fit the bill, if you are checking a bag for a longer trip or don’t want to carry on additional luggage. These bags look like a regular soft-sided briefcase, with a padded pocket for your laptop. Leather travel bags styled like a messenger bag are also quite practical, and are a nice alternative for women who don’t want to carry a purse along with a briefcase.

Bonded leather, which is sometimes used to make travel bags.
Bonded leather, which is sometimes used to make travel bags.

Some computer bags, as well as duffel bags and backpacks, have space for a laptop, a few files and room for a couple days’ worth of clothing for short trips. Since they can be heavier than other leather travel bags, they often have wheels and a handle so they don’t have to be carried through a busy airport. When choosing a bag with wheels, it's important to remember that the frame will take up room, robbing you of space inside the bag. Wheeled bags are also more rigid and may not fit in an overhead compartment or under an airplane seat.

Look for bags that have good solid stitching on the seams. Messenger bag styling looks more like a personal bag and less like a computer one, making theft less likely. Some companies sell security leather travel bags with stainless steel mesh in the bottom and steel cables in the straps to deter slash-and-grab thieves. Zipper locks and anchor clips also help keep your valuables safe. They cost a bit more than a regular bag, but if you’re worried about losing things, or traveling somewhere pickpockets are a problem, the security bag might be worth the extra money.

If you travel often, quality leather travel bags can last for years. They need regular care to stay in good condition. You can clean your bags with a leather cleaner or mild soap, or have them professionally cleaned. Applying a leather conditioner afterward helps prevent drying and cracking, and protects against scuffs and scratches.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


In my experience with leather bags, you get what you pay for. You can find cheap leather travel bags in lots of places but they are likely to fall apart, loose their color or just get worn out a lot quicker than you would expect.

If you spend a little extra money and get a quality bag made by a professional leather maker it might last you a lifetime. There is a wide range in quality, you can get really bad stuff and really good stuff.


I have been looking at leather travel bags for women and it is really hard to choose a nice set that I feel comfortable actually using. I know airlines can be really tough on checked baggage so I just can't see spending a lot of money on something that is going to get roughed up.

Do you think it is best if I stick with a nice carry-on bag in leather, or should I just go for broke and get a whole set, despite my worries?

The main appeal for me about leather is that it should last a lifetime and hold up to damage. It is still so expensive though that I am afraid I won't want to use the luggage when I can't keep an eye on it.


@lonelygod - I personally love men's leather travel bags that fall into the messenger bag style. I still think that tote bags look a bit to womanly for my tastes. There are plenty of nice travel begs for men that include a laptop compartment, especially in the messenger style, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding something that works for you.

You may want to check out the Modern Satchel-tribe bag from Roots Canada as it is a quality piece and I find it has enough room in it for quite a few clothes. I just use a laptop sleeve if I want to put my computer in it. I like that it has a good warranty.


What are the best style of leather travel bags for men? Do you think it is better to go with a large messenger bag or tote bag?

I usually dress in a preppy manner and would like to find something that matches my look and will hold enough for a long weekend trip. I figure I don't need something huge so I will forego checked baggage in favor of a stylish carry on.

I think that my current travel set is a bit to big, so I am definitely going to have to buy something new that works for me. I also carry a laptop so a compartment for that would be great.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Bonded leather, which is sometimes used to make travel bags.
      By: Jim Mills
      Bonded leather, which is sometimes used to make travel bags.