Laptop Travel Bags Tips

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What is a laptop sleeve?

Laptop Sleeves

If you don't need to tote around a stack of files, a Lean Cuisine and a paperback novel, a laptop sleeve provides protection for your computer in a slim, easy-to-carry package.

Some laptop sleeves don't even have handles! They're meant to be carried inside totes or suitcases, but can be removed when the laptop isn't needed.

For a standalone laptop carrying case, look for a sturdy shoulder strap, comfortable handles and room for cables and other essential accessories.

   
What is a messenger bag?

Laptop Messenger Bags

If you've graduated beyond backpacks but you're not yet ready for the mobile office, a messenger bag is the business-casual style of choice for laptop carriers.

Meant to be worn across the body, these bags -- many in the "flap" style with a fold-over flap protecting the insides -- are universally sturdy, and most can be carried by men or women. They're not as formal as a leather briefcase, but definitely a step up from a backpack, perfect for a casual office environment.

The classic messenger bag is nylon, brightly colored, and designed for an urban environment. Today this style of bag has been re-created in a range of looks, from black leather to fun, feminine florals. Swiss Army laptop bags are a great choice for durability and understated style.

   
Can I use my laptop bag as an overnight bag?

Computer Luggage

These days, the line between wheeled laptop bags and carry-on cases is thin indeed -- in fact, many people use the same bag for both purposes.

If your computer luggage is going to do double duty, it needs to be extra flexible and easy to handle. Here are some features that will help you get more use out of your bag:

  • Removable padded laptop carrying case
  • Removable file holder
  • Removable toiletry kit
  • Inline skate wheels
  • Telescoping handle
  • Padded, contoured, non-slip shoulder strap
  • Padded compartment for computer peripherals

   
What are some reasons to consider a laptop bag with wheels?

Laptop Bags with Wheels

A laptop bag with wheels is the perfect solution for the person seeking a true "mobile office" -- carrying not just your laptop, but papers, books, reference materials, projectors, even lunch.

Laptop roller bags started out as adaptations of standard airline carry-on bags, but have evolved to a number of different uses. Today's contract workers, who may work at different job sites every week, use a wheeled laptop bag to keep track of multiple priorities. They're particularly popular among people who have bad backs, or who simply prefer not to shoulder a heavy bag.

Good wheeled laptop bags roll on inline skate wheels for durability, and have single handles that retract with a touch of a button. They're also lightweight, yet professional in appearance, with room for files, computer cables and personal items.

   
How can I haul around a laptop and still maintain a stylish look?

Women's Laptop Bags

A utilitarian laptop carrying bag can be used by anyone, regardless of gender, but women face a special challenge if their professional or personal style demands something a little more chic.

Fortunately, there are many attractive laptop bags in distinctly feminine styles, available in a variety of colors and shapes.

Check out classic leather laptop bags in an easy tote style, or more sophisticated models patterned in an elegant plaid. For a more distinctive look, try faux crocodile or quilted pink suede. Whatever your style, there's a piece of laptop luggage out there for you.

   
How do I know if my laptop will fit in a certain bag?

Get the Right Size

More and more, travelers are making laptop computers part of their journeys. Of course, investing money in a laptop means you want to keep it safe from theft and damage. The first step is selecting a laptop carrying case that matches your computer.

This isn't as easy as it sounds. For instance, Apple's MacBook Pro model with a 17" screen is 15.5 inches wide, but a Gateway with the same size screen is more than 16 inches wide and needs a bigger bag. So you can't just shop for "17" laptop bags" and be sure of getting the right fit.

That doesn't mean you have to haul your laptop to a store and try all the laptop luggage. Instead, shop at online retailers that ask you to enter your specific type of computer and show you only results that match it.

   
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Jolyn Wells-Moran