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The Perfect Totes For Work, Play and Travel


February 23, 2020

Is anyone else a tote hoarder? Are you always searching for the perfect ONE, the one bag that can do it all: look good for work, traveled well and can carry around a laptop, chargers, makeup, snacks, a water bottle, a change of clothes for the kiddos and books you never get to read?

Yeah, me too.

Until this past month when I found not one, but TWO perfect bags!

I’m so excited to share these finds with you!

The Joules Hallaton Leather Rucksack

If you read the post about my trip to Scotland with my hubby, you’ll know that I became obsessed with Joules while in the U.K. The quality of the brand’s products is unreal.

So, when I stumbled across the Hallaton Leather Rucksack in my favorite camel color, I waited for a coupon to purchase it (and here’s one for you). And boy, did it exceed my expectations.

I know not everyone is into leather (if that’s you, scroll down for a non-leather option), however, Joules is a member of the Leather Working Group, which means they responsibly source their materials.

The leather is soft and the color is rich. But, the best part? It’s CONVERTIBLE!

I can use this as a tote, shoulder bag or backpack and I don’t have to adjust anything.


Oh, and it gets better: look at how much STUFF I can fit in the bag and still zip it up!

A traveling businesswoman can fit all of this into her bag!
A traveling businesswoman can fit all of this into her bag!
All of the “stuff” in the previous picture fit in the Joules Hallaton Leather Rucksack and I could still zip it up!

DISCOUNT: Get free shipping and 20% off your first Joules order by clicking here and using the code NEW20.

My only knock against this bag is that it is SO gorgeous, I don’t yet want to bring it on a plane and stick it on the floor under the seat in front of me. So, I starting poking around and came across option #2…

The Kate Spade Taylor Convertible Backpack

BINGO! This Kate Spade bag is everything: stylish, practical (it’s nylon, so it’s easy to clean) and it was able to fit every single thing in the pictures above, plus two small bottles of water in the side pockets.


The Kate Spade taylor convertible backpack

Again, just like the Joules rucksack, the Kate Spade Taylor can be used as a tote, shoulder bag or backpack.

As a bonus, it also has an exterior pocket that slips over the handle of a suitcase!

The Kate Spade taylor convertible backpack slips over the handle of a suitcase.
The Kate Spade Taylor Convertible Backpack slips over the handle of a suitcase.

Here’s a money-saving tip for you: wait for a Kate Spade sale and/or check out a Kate Spade outlet to score this bag at a lower price. I found mine at an outlet for half price. In fact, it wasn’t even on the floor–I asked the sales rep if they had convertible backpacks and she got it out of the back!

I’d love to know if you have a favorite tote that works just as well for work, family and travel, so please leave a comment below!

Perfect totes for work, play and travel
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  1. Pam says:

    The first bag is BEAUTIFUL! However, I rarely carry leather as it just seems heavier to me, so the Kate Spade bag looks perfect! When life is normal, I’m often traveling and usually have to bring TWO laptops – which is crazy I know, but that’s my job … It looks like a great bag for that.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Oh, you’d definitely like the Kate Spade then because it has an inset for the laptop, so you don’t have to carry it in a case. I fit my HP Spectra and iPad in it on my last trip (along with my usual stack of magazines and snacks) and had no problem fitting everything.

  2. I’ll take the Kate Spade one. Very cute!

  3. Cindy says:

    Wow you did a great job displaying all of the great attributes of this tote. It looks like it hold a ton of stuff which is a plus for me!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you, and yes, it does! I really love the backpack feature, as it helps when toting too much stuff!

  4. Casandra says:

    I have a bag addiction as well and I love that leather bag! I also have the exact some dress that you are wearing in the elevator. You have great style ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. kmf says:

    Cute bags! I especially like the convertible backpack.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you! They are both convertible and I don’t think I will ever go back to a regular tote. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Tricia Snow says:

    Cute options! I really like it!

  7. Eva Keller says:

    Great photos! Definitely cute totes that can be used for a variety of things!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you, and yes, absolutely! It’s great that I don’t have to keep switching for work, travel and the weekend!

  8. melissa says:

    I think I need both bags!!! I love bags that fit a lot of stuff and still fit under an airplane seat… and the fact that they are convertible and cute make them even more amazing! Thanks for sharing your finds!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      You’re welcome! It’s been a couple of months since I purchased both and they’re still going strong!

  9. Missy says:

    I really like the backpack. Nice that it can slide on to the suitcase handle.

  10. I love that the Kate Spade bag is convertible. There are so many times I wish my bag had a backpack option so that I could be completely hands-free to help with the kiddos. This looks like it would be a great option.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      I know…such a huge bonus! I was never really into backpacks unless I was, well, backpacking. But with the kids (and even when I have to walk somewhere for work), these bags are so convenient.

  11. Jennifer says:

    The convertible bag is handy for travel

  12. Lisa Manderino says:

    This looks like a great bag! I love great travel bags!

  13. Cool bag! I have been thinking about getting a new one. My current work back is about 15 years old! It’s getting rough on the bottom. I may need to look into this one!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Treat yourself! LOL

      Yes, that’s exactly why I wanted to get a new one: my trusty Kate Spade work bag split on the bottom after 15 years and instead of getting it fixed, I figured it was time for a new style. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Cathy says:

    Oh my, I love that Kate Spade Convertible Backpack! It’s the perfect travel bag!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thanks! Yes, it was great on my flight to Florida in January because it transitioned from the snow (where the bag kept everything from getting wet) to the Florida heat without any issue.

  15. Hera says:

    Totes are so cute. How is it I need bigger ones the older I get? Lol! Itโ€™s getting more creative too with all the convertible features available now

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Hera, haha, I know, right? I carried the same tiny Prada purse for 10 years. So I went from that to this huge bag. Go figure!

  16. Melanie Kis says:

    I love a good bag and both of these look amazing! I’m a huge fan of LUG another great brand.

  17. Taci- Life Beyond Zebra says:

    That bag is cool! It seems to hold a lot too!

  18. Trisha says:

    Oh my!! You totally just made my day! I have been searching for a bag just like this! Everything I find either doesn’t have a zipper on the top or it doesn’t hold anything! I will be getting one of these! Thank you!

  19. I love both these totes. The brown leather one looks gorgeous, and I’m like you I wouldn’t want to put it on the ground either. Very roomy too! Love Kate Spade bags I have my fave. I do like that it fits on your luggage handle, smart design!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      I love Kate Spade bags, as well. Knock on wood, mine have lasted forever (my first is more than 20 years old!). I also have a super cute black and white striped Kate Spade laptop bag that I use if I’m just running out to a quick meeting with my laptop. I scored that one during Nordstrom’s summer clearance.

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