Here's How a Popular Weekender Bag From Target Held Up as My Personal-Item Carry-On

As a new frequent flyer who likes to save money, I’m always searching for the cheapest flights. In most cases, that means traveling on no-frills carriers like Spirit and Frontier or getting basic economy seating. With airfares skyrocketing and airlines charging more for carry-on luggage and checked bags, I’ve been on a mission to find and test out the top-rated personal-item carry-on bags. Because it’s the only bag I can carry that’s free of extra costs, my biggest requirement is that it can house all my travel necessities and then some. And it has to fit underneath the seat in front of me. Plus, if it’s cute, it’s the cherry on top! I came across the Open Story Weekender Bag ($80) at Target, which has a near-five-star rating with plenty of rave reviews. Once I got my hands on it, I had to see for myself why it’s a bestseller.

What I Like About the Open Story Weekender Bag

The Open Story Weekender Bag is designed to prioritize organization with a durable construction that can endure spills, bumps, and scratches. It has a large-capacity main compartment, which features a padded laptop compartment on one side, two small mesh pockets, a medium-size open pocket, and a zippered pocket on the other side. The exterior has two water bottle pockets on either side, a trolley strap that doubles as an external zippered pocket when not in use, and another zippered pocket on the other side. This zippered pocket is ideal for all your grab-and-go travel essentials like boarding passes, passports, wallets, masks, sanitizers, and more. It has an internal zippered pocket, two medium-size open compartments, a mesh pocket, and smaller slip pockets, plus a key-ring strap. That’s a lot of compartments and pockets to keep everything for your travels in a dedicated spot.

This bag also has a structured construction, so it can stand up on its own, which made packing my things convenient. I packed a pair of sneakers at the bottom of my bag in a tote bag because there isn’t a specific shoe compartment. I also packed my makeup bag, skin-care kit, and toiletries pouch at the bottom of my bag. Then I packed heavier clothing and items in the middle layer, including a pair of jeans, a sweater, my undergarments, a travel hair dryer, and a straightener. I was also able to fit in a dress, a jumpsuit, a pair of pajamas, a pair of leggings, and two tops. I used the padded laptop pocket for my iPad and stored my electronics pouch with chargers and extra headphones in the exterior zip compartment. I also put a handbag, a wallet, a pair of sunglasses, face masks, and hand sanitizers in that compartment. This is clearly way more than I needed for a weekend trip, and I didn’t end up using the majority of the clothes I packed. Even then, I still had room for a few snacks and a water bottle.

You can carry this weekender bag by using the top handles or the adjustable crossbody strap. I really appreciated being able to switch between using the top handles and slinging it over my shoulders, especially because it was pretty heavy for me to carry. The detachable padded strap was a must to alleviate discomfort on my shoulders and back.

What’s Worth Noting About the Open Story Weekender Bag

I was able to fit enough clothes and options for a four-day trip (even though I only needed clothing for two days), but I probably shouldn’t have. Carrying this bag around the airport was not the best experience because of my incessant need to overpack. I highly recommend packing as much as you can carry, especially if this is your only bag and you don’t have a carry-on suitcase to rely on. It’s best to pack smart and light so you won’t feel exhausted from carrying too much weight across terminals and through security. I also wish this bag had a separate shoe compartment for keeping my shoes away from my clothing and for storing other heavy-duty items like hair tools and toiletries.

Because traveling is rough, I purposefully chose black so that any scuff marks or wear and tear aren’t noticeable. However, this bag is durable and made with a water-resistant nylon fabric. You can easily clean it with a damp cloth or hand towel.

Who the Open Story Weekender Bag Is Best For

The Open Story Weekender Bag is best for those who love to take weekend trips or are frequent flyers. The bag is great for all your travel needs, whether it’s a road trip, a redeye flight, or just a simple commute. The dimensions fit most airline requirements for a personal-item bag. I could also slide it both horizontally and vertically underneath the seat in front of me.

Is the Open Story Weekender Bag Worth the Splurge?

If you’re in the market for a personal-item carry-on bag that prioritizes organization, this is the bag for you. It has plenty of interior and exterior pockets to keep your necessities in specific zones, so you can easily access and see where your things are.

The Open Story Weekender Bag is one of the more affordable quality weekender bags that can fit underneath the seat of most airlines. Most domestic airlines that charge for a carry-on suitcase charge around $35 one way, or about $80 round trip. This weekender bag costs as much as a checked bag or a carry-on for one round trip. To me, it’s worth the one-time investment for a quality personal item that can fit all your weekend trip must haves and save you baggage costs for future trips.

Additional Details:

  • The Open Story Weekender Bag is 12.5 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 10 inches deep.
  • It has an internal capacity of 35 liters. It weighs 3.15 pounds on its own and can hold up to 45 pounds of weight.
  • It has a coated, water-repellent nylon construction.
  • It’s available in black and purple-toned taupe.

Where Is the Open Story Weekender Bag Available?

The Open Story Weekender Bag is available at Target.


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