I‘ve been a traveling teacher for 8 years and I can attest that owning a good “teacher” bag is a must.  If you travel from room-to-room in just one building, organizing all your stuff on your cart may be a higher priority.  If you’re like me and travel from room-to-room and building-to-building, then that bag makes all the difference. Being at 3-4 schools each year, I don’t want to have to buy 3-4 of everything so I lug around all my essentials.  Finding the perfect bag wasn’t easy, though.  It genuinely took me 6 years (and unfortunately a lot of money) to find the perfect bag.

major fails

Year 1: traditional cloth messenger bag   [similar items]


  • cheap (already owned it)

Years 2-4: scrapbook tote on wheels (went through 2)   [similar items]


  • wheeled, so less back strain
  • lots of pockets/places to organize items

Year 5 (Part 1): small briefcase/suitcase on wheels   [similar items]


  • wheeled, so less back strain
  • lots of pockets/places to organize items
  • meant for business travel (so I thought it would be durable)
  • lighter than scrapbook totes (so I thought it would put less strain on the handle)

partial success

Years 5 (Part 2) & 6: clear (thick) plastic tote from textbook company   [similar items]


  • free!
  • two looped straps, sewn all the way up and down the body of the bag (prevented straps from ripping away from bag)
  • super durable


Years 7-8: Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote   [exact bag]


  • can cause back strain if I overload it (but that’s my own fault, lol)
  • tiny bits of fraying on the exposed canvas edges, but only on some of my bags

Look how easy it is to organize my stuff!  There are 3 canvas pockets in front, 2 in back, and 2 mesh pockets (one on either side).

Click on images to view in larger detail.

Inside my bag I keep a water bottle, recorder, slide whistle, scissors, small clutch purse (to hold my phone, small brush, ibuprofen, etc.), 2 back-up plan DVD’s, small notebook, folders (one for each school), and miscellaneous papers.

I can’t recommend this bag enough – it just plain rocks!  To make it last a little longer (and to change things up seasonally), I’ve bought several of the bags in different prints and switch them every 2-3 months.  I would love to have a different bag for every month, but I’m not there yet, lol.  Thirty One only offers each print for a limited time, so I’ve had a ton of luck with buying out-of-print patterns on Ebay.

Hope this helps other travelers!  If you’ve got a go-to bag, I’d love to hear about it.  🙂



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