One of my favorite things about living in New York City... Is leaving it. Coming from the West Coast, I am still impressed by how easy it is to reach places that feel worlds away from Manhattan, even if it's just Washington, D.C. or Boston. If you've got 3 hours and access to a train or a car, New England and much of the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic is at your fingertips.
Thanks in large part to GM's Drive the District program and my bevvy of friends with adventurous spirits, I've really stepped up my weekend travel game in the past few years. From July jaunts to The Hamptons to 36 hours in Niagara Falls and ski trips to Vermont—I'm all about making the most of my days off and exploring NYC's (rather expanded) backyard.
With spring temperatures kicking into gear (finally!) and summer looming in the not-too-distant future, true "weekending" season is basically here. Forget trying to stuff giant down coats into backpacks and wondering if you can use bungee cords to strap a pair of skis to the roof of a car—this is the season of "throw some dresses and stuff in a bag and get the hell out of town." Whether you're traveling with friends, lovers or a gaggle of fellow bridesmaids, I still think there's something so romantic about weekend travel and the idea of stealing away for a few days with only a single bag... and perhaps a really great hat.
In my perfect world, I'd have the space in my apartment and the budget to have a wide selection of weekend bags to suit all kinds of destinations. Like, Splendid's 'Monterey' bag would be exclusively for long weekend escapes to Mexico or California, Baggu's affordable striped weekender for The Jersey Shore and The Hamptons, and then a cool canvas option for rustic getaways in The Catskills or the Adirondacks.
With neither the space nor the budget to have a wardrobe of weekenders, I'm left with the reality that what I need is a classy, sturdy, versatile weekend bag that will look great anywhere I take it—and support whatever persona I've packed inside it. In that regard, Madewell's Transport Weekender shoots to the top of my list, along with Longchamp's oversize tote in navy. Both have the benefit of handles and a shoulder strap—cornerstones of the ideal weekend bag.
Whether you're looking for a catchall carryall or have the flexibility to build your getaway bag collection, I've rounded up some excellent and relatively affordable options below:
DO YOU HAVE ANY GREAT ESCAPES PLANNED FOR THE SPRING?
[Image credit: KJP]