I'm looking for some advice for what to buy. Here are the details:
I'm a PhD student and travel to conferences somewhat frequently. I've been bringing a rolling carry-on bag (clothes for 2 - 5 days in packing cubes, a pair of shoes) and a backpack (13'' macbook air, ipad air, kindle paperwhite, travel tray filled with misc stuff, snacks) with me. I also visit my family for longer amounts of time (1 - 2 weeks), but have access to laundry and so still generally don't need more than 5 days worth of clothes. I really want to get rid of the rolling bag and replace it with a Tom Bihn carry-on sized bag, but am a little nervous about carrying a large bag. Getting to the airport often involves and walking and public transportation, and I'm 5'3''. I'm guessing that it would work better to wear my carry-on as a backpack at least some of the time.
However, if I was wearing my carry-on as a backpack, I'd need my personal item to be a briefcase / messenger bag type thing and not a backpack. I really like having a backpack once I get to my destination - I use it to bring my laptop / ipad to the conference, take day trips to NYC, go hiking, etc. I really like that backpacks hold a laptop but aren't super flat - you can stuff in a sweatshirt or the travel tray.
Any suggestions on what bags I should buy? Let me know if there's any other information about my travel habits that would be useful. Thanks in advance!