Each August as teachers are preparing their classrooms and buying school supplies, I am on the prowl for the perfect travel computer bag for my busiest work season. By looking at my online order history, one can see that this is a quest that I have been on for a while. Being a true travel nerd for six years, I have specific requirements for the perfect computer bag. It should be colorful, lightweight, multi-pocketed, and sturdy. It should hold a computer, iPad, charging cables, a Diet Coke, and snacks; an easy access pocket for boarding passes, headphones, and my phone are also important. These are not impossible characteristics to locate in travel bags because I can search Amazon, Google Marketplace, and eBags to try and find the perfect fit. Alas, I am still in search of the perfect bag after trying several possibilities.
First up is the basic businessman black rolling bag. It is functional as it holds my computer as well as my other electronics and handouts for the training; however, even with the convenience of the wheels, it is not attractive. I have also misplaced many a charger for my computer and my phone because I forget about that one awesome pocket where it made so much sense to put those things when I was boarding my plane. A day later when I am unpacking, I have totally forgotten the existence of that very special pocket and thus cannot find those chargers.
So I moved on to a vibrantly colored Vera Bradley for January through August or the Alabama patterned one for football season. These shoulder totes are so roomy they can hold everything and the kitchen sink. This, however, is a problem because I then pack TOO much into this bag that I will be carrying on my right shoulder. No matter how many times I try to remind myself to pack lighter and to alternate shoulders, this option causes shoulder and back pain. In addition, without internal pockets to corral things I often find myself rooting around in my pocketbook like my great-grandmother used to do when she was looking for a Kleenex—not a pretty sight! In this kind of bag, I also usually end my trip by finding a smashed granola bar, a bruised apple, and a leaky water bottle at the bottom.
Next, I chose a bright red backpack with wheels that seemed to fit my specifications. Brightly colored, lots of pockets, and wheels were wonderful, but the internal frame made it impossible to put in the overhead bins of the teeny tiny regional jets I often take to get to smaller towns. Having to grab my computer, phone, meds, and chargers as I am walking and trying to board a plane got very old very quickly. So nope, this alternative didn’t work either and was soon abandoned.
At the moment, I am using a hip Manhattan Portage bag in bright red recommended by my much cooler brother, Lee. He had one that I admired and he gave me the info for ordering my own; however, my brother has much less to carry when he travels. The bag has many advantageous features. It has lots of pockets that are very convenient; it has a padded laptop sleeve; it can convert from a back pack to a messenger bag. But, it also is so durable that I can pack six books, an umbrella, a sweater, snacks, magazines, and a crossword puzzle book so it gets cumbersome in a hurry.
Never one to give up on a quest, I have recently ordered a new smaller shoulder back that will hold my new work computer, some handouts, and my mini iPad. Let’s see if this bag is a finalist for the best travel computer bag or if I will revert to a previous choice or continue looking for the perfect bag. My hopes are high and I am ever optimistic that THIS will be the perfect bag. What do you look for in a travel bag? I would love to hear your comments.