The 9 Best Foldable Travel Bags of 2023
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The 9 Best Foldable Travel Bags of 2023

Jun 23, 2023

From folding totes to backpack pouches, here are the best just-in-case bags to use on your next trip.

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Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington

Whether you tend to pack light — and hate the idea of lugging around any more than necessary — or always seem to come back from vacation with more than you arrived with, foldable travel bags can come in quite handy. They typically don't take up much space but the extra room they provide makes all the difference. The best ones come in an array of shapes, sizes, and silhouettes at any price point — which means options abound, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

To help narrow things down, we’ve researched the best foldable travel bags on the market from brands like Paravel, Longchamp, Tumi, and more. Our top picks combine fashion and function, while prioritizing key features like durability and portability at the same time.

Made with water-resistant nylon, this lightweight backpack is ideal for those on the go.

Overpackers may find the compact size to be more of a burden than a benefit since it can get heavy when fully loaded.

If you’re looking to dip a toe into folding bags for travel, it's hard to get more practical than the Paravel Fold-up Backpack. Whether you’re using it at your destination or as your in-flight personal item, it's roomy enough to hold an extra pair of clothes, a 15-inch laptop, and more in the main compartment, plus small essentials such as chargers, a wallet, and travel documents in the zippered front pouch. We especially love the fact that its lightweight, water-resistant nylon material is made from 15 upcycled plastic bottles.

When it's time to unpack, just fold and zip the backpack up into itself — no extra pouch (to lose). Coming in six colors including canyon yellow, safari red, and scuba navy (plus a mini version), opt for personalized initial embroidery to add a custom touch.

Price at time of publish: $75

The Details: 13 x 16 x 9 inches (unfolded); 6 x 6.5 x 2.5 inches (folded) | 0.63 pounds | Nylon


It may be called a "just in case" tote, but it's functional and fashion-forward enough to be an everyday bag, too.

The shoulder straps are on the shorter side.

Available in eight beautiful hues, the Tumi Voyageur Just in Case Tote is just made better by its space-saving design. This lightweight, travel-friendly tote can fold completely flat into a small zippered pouch (that attaches to the tote's interior while unfolded). This means the bag can easily be stored inside larger bags and take up next-to-no room in a suitcase. Plus, thanks to its main zippered compartment, you need not worry about your belongings spilling out if using this tote as your personal item, and a built-in trolley sleeve finishes things off.

Price at time of publish: $150

The Details: 14 x 23 x 9 inches (unfolded) | 11.2 ounces | Nylon


This machine-washable reusable tote can hold up to 50 pounds.

There are no zippers.

Baggu's signature reusable tote is a fan-favorite for its ultra-lightweight construction, and affordable price. A compact design, which folds into the corresponding pouch for convenient storage, is an added bonus. Despite the fact that it weighs less than 2 ounces, this one-of-a-kind bag is sturdy enough to hold up to 50 pounds. It's also machine-washable and made with recycled nylon. Lastly, the durable bag is available in 20 colors and patterns to suit anyone's style preferences from pistachio green to a raspberry print.

Price at time of publish: $14

The Details: 25.5 x 15.5 × 6 inches (unfolded); 5 x 5 inches (folded) | 1.9 ounces | Nylon

This chic bag, which expands in height up to 20 inches, can be carried several ways.

It may feel heavy if overstuffed.

The foldable Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Travel Bag is exceptionally unique since it can be expanded and contracted depending on your specific needs. It pulls double duty as both a handheld and hands-free bag thanks to top handles and a long adjustable strap (for crossbody or shoulder carrying instead). Meanwhile, the interior lining and zippered closure offer an extra sense of security, protecting against spillage and other mishaps. The leather trimming adds extra flair whether you’re using it as a daily bag at its shorter 14-inch height, or fully expanded at 20.5 inches for a weekend trip instead. When you’re done, the entire bag folds up into itself to make a little handheld pouch.

Price at time of publish: $265

The Details: 17.75 x 9 x 14-20.5 inches (unfolded) | 1.56 pounds | Nylon with leather details


This backpack can be folded up into a pouch that also serves as an interior pocket when it's open.

It's constructed with polyester, which may be less durable than nylon.

Searching for the perfect carry-on backpack? Look no further than the Samsonite Foldable Backpack. While suitable for everyday use, it's especially convenient for travel thanks to its compact, functional, and lightweight construction (at less than half a pound!). The spacious main zippered compartment is perfect for storing souvenirs, while the exterior comes with one large zippered pocket and two side mesh pockets. After your trip, all you have to do is fold up the backpack and stick it inside the interior pouch, which, when in use, also doubles as an interior pocket. We’d be remiss not to mention the adjustable mesh shoulder straps for optimal comfort and support, too.

Price at time of publish: $38

The Details: 18.5 × 13 × 6 inches (unfolded); 5.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches (folded) | 7.4 ounces | Polyester


Made with water-resistant ripstop fabric, this duffel bag is designed with durability in mind.

The bottom isn't super structured, so it may not be ideal for storing on top of your luggage, even though it has a trolley sleeve.

Constructed with a water-resistant nylon exterior, the Calpak Compakt Duffel is designed to last for seasons — if not years — to come. The bag folds into its zippered pocket to maximize storage space and offers several exterior and interior pockets to keep your belongings as organized as possible. Additional highlights include a removable adjustable strap and a luggage trolley sleeve, but we especially love the range of available patterns from polka dots to daisies.

Price at time of publish: $56

The Details: 18 x 12 x 8 inches (unfolded) | 12 ounces | Nylon, polyester


This fold-up belt bag can be worn three different ways; plus, it's made with recycled materials.

It's pretty small in size, so it's really only ideal for those who travel light.

Whether you call them belt bags or fanny packs, there's no denying this budget-friendly pick from Paravel is exceptional since it folds flat and zips into a discreet pouch. Despite its small size, this belt bag offers a zippered front pocket plus a main zippered compartment so you can store all of your essentials (think: credit cards, cash, a smartphone, earbuds, sunglasses, and even some snacks) within arm's reach. We also love how the bag is crafted with recycled, water-resistant nylon and recycled zippers. All you need to do is adjust the strap to sling it over your shoulder, wear it crossbody, or buckle it around your waist. The bag comes in six colors and can be monogrammed for an additional $10.

Price at time of publish: $35

The Details: 8 x 5 x 2 inches (unfolded); 5 x 3.75 x 1 inches (folded) | 5 ounces | Nylon


It's incredibly spacious inside.

It only has one zippered pocket.

Coming in at 43 liters, Away's Packable Carryall is spacious enough to hold pretty much all of your essentials, from clothes to books to a laptop. It weighs around half a pound and folds down to little over 4 x 6 inches, making it a compact and lightweight secondary bag, too. The recycled nylon construction (which comes in four colors) is also water-resistant, and a trolley sleeve finishes up the exterior design. When not in use, simply roll it up, finish folding, and store it in the included zippered pouch.

Price at time of publish: $75

The Details: 15 x 19.7 x 9 inches (unfolded); 6.3 x 4.3 x 2.4 inches (folded) | 8.8 ounces (with pouch), 8 ounces (without pouch) | Nylon


This collapsible carry-on is chock-full of functional features like spinner wheels and interior pockets.

While the suitcase meets carry-on requirements for most major U.S. airlines, you may want to opt for the international carry-on size for those flights.

The Rollink Flex 360° Carry-on Spinner Suitcase weighs just over six pounds and offers a durable, impact-resistant polycarbonate hard shell. However, what makes it stand out from a regular carry-on is the fact that it folds flat to just 5 inches thick (from 9 inches), so you can easily stow it in a closet or under the bed when not in use. Meanwhile, the interior has two slip pockets and one zippered compartment. Its smooth-gliding, 360-degree spinner wheels, built-in TSA lock, and adjustable telescopic handle are all bonuses. Select from eight colors, including bright yellow, warm gray, and rose pink.

Price at time of publish: $249

The Details: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (unfolded); 22 x 14 x 5 (folded) | 6.2 pounds | Polycarbonate

While shopping for folding travel bags, it's important to consider how much room you’ll need for gear and other essentials. For example, if you want it for everyday use, you’ll want to prioritize a smaller bag you can easily carry as backup. If you tend to take a fair amount of shorter weekend trips, you likely won't need a large piece of luggage. Instead, you can probably get away with a duffel, weekender bag, or even a large tote. On the other hand, if you often embark on longer trips, buying a larger bag, like a compressible checked suitcase, is a good idea.

As you narrow down your top picks for foldable travel bags, you’ll want to take into account how compact they actually get — because, in this case, size truly does matter. Can the bag fold small enough to fit in your pocket or purse, like the Paravel Belt Bag? If it's a bulkier piece, such as a rolling suitcase, make sure it can fold flat for easy storage.

Foldable bags function the same way as standard bags, except they’re even more convenient for travel. Put simply, what you can fit inside all depends on the size and type of foldable travel bag you’ve purchased. The folded bags can be carried inside another day bag while at your destination, and used for souvenirs, groceries, and other purchases. For fuss-free organization, consider snagging one equipped with built-in zippered or slip pockets to maximize space.

Foldable travel bags come in an array of shapes and sizes. With this in mind, it's worth flagging that foldable travel bags can serve as a carry-on or personal item, depending on the specific one you’ve purchased. Just keep in mind that in order for your foldable travel bag to count as a personal item (as opposed to a carry-on) it has to fit underneath the seat in front of you. As always, check with your carrier before bringing it onboard.

For this article, T+L contributor Lauren Dana Ellman used her personal experience as a freelance travel writer and editor to choose the very best foldable bags for every type of trip.

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