Cute Backpacks for Travel

By Kate Riley May 31, 2018

I’ve started packing for my two week vacay in Europe in June and whenever I travel I prefer to carry a small backpack instead of a purse. It holds my camera, my water bottle, my phone, and leaves just enough room for a little souvenir. I like backpacks because they leave my arms free, I also prefer them on a beach vacation for the same reasons.

Recently I got attached to the Herschel brand, their extra small backpack is the perfect size and this pale gray colorway is the second one I’ve purchased. My trusty black floral backpack (the one I mention among my travel essentials) was worn out so I was in need of a new one for this summer’s adventure.

This backpack I chose is a pale gray but I wanted to personalize it, so I brought it to my local screenprinting and embroidery shop and had the black floral detail sewn on to dress it up. It wasn’t the exact design I wanted, I was looking for something a little more edgy, but my selection was limited so I settled on a simple floral stem in black and white thread.

If you’re curious how I customized this backpack with embroidery, I’m sharing the process in my Instagram stories today. :)



A crossbody digs into my shoulder so I prefer the softness of a backpack straps for carrying all day when I’m sightseeing. I’ve convinced my travel mates to carry backpacks too! There are so many cute ones out there and I’ve grown so fond of mine I started to carry mine around town even when I return home.


grove island / miss plume / marc jacobs nylon (multiple colors)

longchamp ‘le pliage’ (multiple colors) / fjallraven mini (multiple colors) / aotian daypack

herschel brick red / downtown kane   / taikan black & white


One travel tip: it’s always important to be aware of surroundings and pickpockets! In crowded places or on a train, I’ll wear my backpack on the front of my body just to keep an eye on zippers. I don’t care that it temporarily looks silly, I’d rather hang on to my money and bank cards :)


PS. I’ve mentioned I pack a few dresses when I travel to Europe, they’re so comfortable and work for day or night. The red striped cami dress is from a favorite source for inexpensive summer dresses, the one I’m wearing is less $20. :)


  1. Thanks for all your great travel posts lately! I am heading to Europe in a few weeks and it looks like it’s going to be warmer than usual where I’m going. I’m a big fan of dresses for travel in warm weather. Every year I buy a few Old Navy jersey dresses to get me through summer travel. I find them to be very versatile and easily packable.

    I don’t like to wear backpacks and prefer a very small cross body for everyday sightseeing and a tote for airplane travel. My tote fits over the handles of my rolling luggage, so my hands can be free.

    I love the idea of personalizing the backpack! Fabulous!

  2. Watch for people who bump into you on purpose and get into the backpack in a flash. That happened to my sister-n-law and her phone was gone in an instant. Other than dangers like that, I like a small backpack, too. Have a wonderful time!

  3. When we travel to pickpocket areas like Paris we put lobster claw clasps on our zippers to clasp them together and make it virtually impossible for someone to sneak into a pocket.

    We are headed to Scandinavia at the end of July and hoping this unusual heat they are having disappears!

    • Kari – tell me what type of clasps you used – we just got back from Italy and were told never to carry them on our backs, which rendered them very uncomfortable and not as handy.

  4. We spent a month in Italy in 2016 and again in 2017. I find 3 dresses, 2 pairs of shoes and a back pack the easiest way to go. Of course, I am wearing one dress and one pair of shoes, so my luggage is so easy to deal with. I have this back pack with silver hardware, it has a little snap with the zipper that made me feel a little more secure, but it was still not bothersome for me. I only wore it on my chest in certain crowds, I certainly don’t think you have to wear them like that all the time.

    I do like Rick Steve says and every single day wear a money belt with our passports, extra money and credit cards. It’s so great to get home and ditch that money belt! But traveling is worth it.
    I love your dress, the colors are beautiful.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)