I’m going to a destination wedding in France in a month and I already have anxiety about packing. I’m a chronic overpacker and if there’s anything I learned while studying abroad, it’s that European airlines have no tolerance for oversized bags. Let’s just say, I’ve had to throw out several bottles of toiletries during my travels. Yet about a year ago, a new bag came into my life and significantly helped me become more organized while traveling—and receive fewer critical stares at the airport.
I’m talking about Baggallini’s Fifth Avenue Weekender Bag. Thanks to its ideal size that fits under every airplane seat, I’ve taken it on countless flights and road trips over the past 12 months, and it still looks and works as good as new. You bet I’m taking it to Paris, where the functional pockets will help me glide through the busy streets with ease. As the name suggests, it’s also a great companion for shorter trips, like a bachelorette weekend. While it normally is a reasonable price for the quality and value ($150), this Mother’s Day, the brand is offering an additional 30 percent off sitewide from May 4-13. Read on for my in depth review of the bag and get your online shopping cart ready.
Baggallini’s Fifth Avenue Weekender Bag
Buy it: $100, normally $150, Baggallini.com
What makes this bag stand out is all of its functional pockets. There are three zipped pockets in the front, one of which has RFID interior protection to protect your credit cards. This is where I keep the items I want easily on hand, like sanitizer, lip balm, and sunglasses. I usually keep my phone in the open side pocket, so that it’s easy to slip in and out. This pocket also has a grommeted opening for charging and headphone cords. With my portable charger tucked away, I can securely charge my phone on the go while still having access to it.
Inside the main compartment is a padded laptop sleeve. I almost always travel with my laptop and this extra security makes me feel that much more comfortable when boarding flights. I don’t have to worry about turbulence breaking it and my entire life's worth of writing disappearing. There’s also a large zipped pocket inside for anything that I want to keep stowed away.
As a petite person, I appreciate how the bag isn’t too big or bulky. I’ve used backpacks in the past that practically were bigger than me. This one stays sleek and secure on my side but it still holds all that I need. I took it on a business trip where I used it as my work tote as well. Commuting through the busy streets of New York City called for an extra pair of shoes, and I easily tucked them in the shoe compartment alongside all my other essentials.
Yet my favorite part of the bag is probably the luggage sleeve. I know that sounds like a basic feature, but let me tell you, nothing feels better than zipping through an airport with nothing weighing you down. Again, the bag fits the dimensions of my carry on to a T, so it never topples it over, as one too many backpacks have done. The bag also comes with a cross body strap when not carrying it over your shoulder or on your luggage.
Made from nylon, the bag is lightweight, water resistant, and stain resistant. After using it for a year, it’s still free from any significant stains or scratches. To give you a better idea of where this duffle has traveled, I’ve taken it on vacations to Europe, ski trips, camping trips, and of course, business trips. I’ve stuffed it into many car trunks, tucked it under dirty airplane seats, and thrown it on hotel room floors plenty of times.
Founded by two women, Baggallini’s goal is to create functional yet stylish bags that empower women to travel and work with ease. The Fifth Avenue Weekender Bag has certainly made my life easier, because now I can focus on going from point A to point B rather than trying to remember which pocket I put this or that. For anyone traveling to a destination wedding or honeymoon, finding a sleek yet functional bag is essential. Misplacing your phone charger or makeup pouch is the last thing you want to do while experiencing this special moment. So do yourself a favor and get yourself a good travel bag before wedding season truly takes off. Everything on Baggallini will be 30 percent off May 4-13, so you can buy my favorite as well as other styles like backpacks, packing cubes, and toiletry bags.
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Emily Cieslak is an Associate Commerce Editor at Brides, covering all things beauty and fashion. Besides writing, one of her favorite activities is travel. While studying abroad in London, she traveled nearly every weekend and quickly learned a lot of travel hacks along the way.