For years, I travelled with a standard sports backpack by Puma.
Practical? Yes. Pretty? Hell no.
But times have changed since then. Nowadays, brands are much better at mixing practicality and comfort with style.
The women’s travel backpacks that I recommend in this post are suited to those of you looking for stylish, yet practical bags that would be ideal for either a day trip or a city break.
You’re welcome to jump straight ahead to the comparisons via the links below if you wish:
9 best travel backpacks for women
1. Fiorelli Anouk Mini, £59
Bonus: Fiorelli Avery Mini, £49
2. Waterproof Oxford Small Backpack, £20.00
3. Ollie & Nic Stella Mini Backpack, £55.00
4. Rivet Mini Backpack, £27.99
5. Mi-Pac x Tatty Devine Mini Green Gin Backpack, £34.99
6. Dune Studded Backpack, £39.99
7. Tartan 3 in 1 Backpack, £20.99
8. Kopack Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack, £32.99
9. PacSafe Citysafe CX Anti-Theft Backpack, £119.90
Otherwise, I want to first tackle a few considerations you’ll need to make when choosing the best (and most fashionable) travel backpack…
Backpack features to look for
Multiple compartments: Not only does this help to keep things organised and within easy reach, but it also ensures the weight can be more evenly distributed… which is crucial for long sightseeing days!
Water resistant material: Particularly when travelling in the UK and Europe, choosing a waterproof backpack is essential. In fact, it’s so important that I’ve dedicated an entire section to this to help you choose the right material! Keep reading…
Comfortable shoulder straps: Padded straps are most ideal, but they should also be wide, and able to comfortably fit around your body (especially if you’re curvy like me!) Sadly, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to backpacks so be sure to try on a bunch in store if you can.
It’s possible to buy backpacks that have been especially designed to prevent theft – think features like lockable zips and invisible zippers – but they can be a little pricey.
I’ve recommended a few of these below, but if your budget is a little smaller, then there are budget backpack styles that can deter pickpockets as well.
Zip openings are always going to be slightly harder to get into than flaps, and if you can find a travel backpack that has both a flap and a zip opening?
Well, then that’s pretty great!
You should also ensure the backpack has a number of smaller compartments inside that are zippable too, ensuring your most valued possessions have several layers of theft protection.
Extra features: As we’re focusing on style and fashion alongside practicality in this blog post, I am (of course) going to recommend you hunt for a backpack that is able to set you apart from the rest.
Things like studs, two-tone details, interesting shapes and bright colours are all things that you can match to your own unique style.
Ideal backpack sizes
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, everything I’m recommending here is for those of you looking for the ideal bag for day trips and city breaks.
Therefore, size should also come into consideration during your search.
You don’t want a large backpack designed for hikers or backpackers after all, as it’ll just get in your way when visiting museums and little cafes, as well as when using public transport.
At less than 30 cm in height, mini backpacks are all the rage at the moment and are perfect for day trips.
You’d be surprised at just how much you’ll be able to fit in there.
During a recent day trip to Cheltenham, I was able to fit a notebook, purse, camera, umbrella, waterproof mac, lipstick, perfume, keys and phone inside my mini backpack!
While medium backpacks (generally between 30 and 40 cm in height) are best for slightly longer trips, such as weekend city breaks or week-long European adventures.
Bags of this size are able to provide you with the extra space you need for a water bottle (something that mini backpacks usually don’t have room for) as well as an iPad, tablet or small laptop (if you’re planning on doing some work or watching movies while travelling).
Best materials for women’s travel backpacks
When it comes to choosing backpacks, especially fashionable ones, material is often an afterthought.
But in rainy parts of the world like the UK and wider Europe, and if you’re accident prone (like me!), then material is one of the most important considerations when buying a new travel backpack.
Materials that are more likely to be waterproof and stainproof include:
- Faux leather
Where is best to buy women’s travel backpacks in the UK
Some of the best stores and online sites in the UK for women’s travel backpacks are:
Best mini travel backpacks for women – perfect for day trips
The Fiorelli Anouk Mini Backpacks have several compartments inside including zipped pockets and mobile phone pockets, as well as hidden zippered pockets against your back for valuables.
The bags are made out of a PU (fake leather) material so they’re both waterproof and easy to clean.
Plus the bags come in a variety of patterns and styles – I particularly love this monochrome zigzag one!
Fiorelli bags are of superb quality, ensuring they last you a long time, which is why I’m also going to recommend another Fiorelli backpack in this list…
Bonus: Fiorelli Avery Mini, £49
If you like the other Fiorelli bags above, then you’ll also probably like this Avery Mini Backpack, also by Fiorelli.
It has most of the same features above (except for the hidden back pocket), and the super stylish floral and stripes patchwork pattern screams individuality!
This Waterproof Oxford Small Backpack is an ideal budget option for those of you who like hidden zippered compartments in the back for valuables.
It’s made of a lightweight, yet durable and waterproof nylon material, has multiple compartments inside for organisation, as well as a side pocket for your water bottle.
And with three separate zippered compartments in the front, there’s more than enough room for all your day trip essentials.
The contrasting black fabric with silver zips also gives it a stylish edge.
This cute Wine Stella Mini Backpack from Ollie & Nic packs a punch in the style stakes.
The deep red exterior colour will give any of your darker fall/autumn outfits a pop of colour, while there’s a treat waiting inside in the form of leopard print.
Although the style of the bag itself is fairly simple, you’d be surprised at how much can fit in it.
In fact, this is the same bag I use for day trips, which has enough space for a notebook, purse, camera, umbrella, waterproof mac, lipstick, perfume, keys and phone!
This Rivet Mini Backpack is another fantastic budget option, complete with studded rivet detailing and is available in black, beige or gold.
As it’s made out of a PU fake leather material, it’s easy to clean and waterproof.
And at 25 cm, there’s more than enough room in this bag for all your day trip essentials.
This super fun Mi-Pac x Tatty Devine Mini Green Gin Backpack is probably the most practical of these five mini backpacks.
At 30 cm, it’s the largest, and comes with padded straps so that you don’t need to worry about carrying around extra weight with you.
It’s made out of a synthetic plastic fabric, which makes it easy to clean and highly durable. Plus, the bright green colour and ode to everyone’s favourite tipple on the front is pretty damn fun!
Best medium travel backpacks for women – perfect for city breaks
This stylish Studded Backpack by Dune comes with a magnetic flap and zippered opening, which adds an extra layer of security for your belongings. Plus, there’s an extra zippered pocket inside for even more theft protection.
The gold studded detailing also makes this bag uber stylish!
This impressive Tartan 3 in 1 Backpack is really stylish but incredibly practical as well.
It has a 3 in 1 design, which means it can easily serve as a handbag, shoulder bag or backpack by attaching and detaching special straps.
It also has an anti-theft zippered pocket in the back, multiple front zippered compartments, two side pockets for water bottles or an umbrella and a hole for your headphones to come through.
And at just £20.99, it’s such great value for money!
A lot of specially designed anti-theft backpacks are not very attractive to look at, and can be very pricey, but I like to think I’ve found a superb option in the form of this Kopack Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack.
Its lockable zips, hidden side pockets, back pockets and even waist pockets ensure your valuables are kept extra safe, while the padded shoulder straps and back padding ensure comfort whilst using it.
Personally, I love that it has ten compartments inside, including a section for your laptop, which makes for super organised travelling!
Although a little on the pricey side, the PacSafe bags come highly recommended when it comes to complete anti-theft protection.
And this Citysafe CX version is quite attractive, especially when it comes to the most practical of bags.
It has multiple organisation compartments including a padded section for your laptop, as well as different pockets in the front compartment and a side pocket for your water bottle.
Unique to PacSafe bags are their trademark security features such as Roobar-style lockable zippers, RFID blocking pockets and material, slashproof material and straps, TurnNLock security hooks for attaching your bag to a chair while sitting down, as well as a secured zip tab for the front compartment.
I hope this guide to the best women’s travel backpacks has been helpful! Did you find one that you like? I’d love to know which one(s), so please feel free to drop a few notes down in the comments section below…
Are you also looking for a backpack for longer trips? Check out my review of the Cabin Zero bags >>>
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