19 Unique Travel Gifts That Are Worth A Spot In Frequent Flyers’ Carry-Ons


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If you have an itinerant friend or family member on your list, consider yourself lucky. These frequent flyers have a slew of wants and needs unmatched by more Earth-bound spirits, and this actually makes them easier to shop for. Anything that’s small, practical, and portable can be a win, and thankfully, for us gift-givers, that usually translates to more affordable. 

And, yes, we know travel gift guides favor the usual suspects — the carry-ons, the packing cubes, the compression socks — but we fixed our gaze past the luggage tag on the horizon to round up 19 unique travel gifts. There’s an automatic light that illuminates a suitcase in the dark, a smart bracelet that tells the body to warm up or chill out, and a tech organizer that just might be a peace treaty for the cord wars. These are the kind of presents that keep your traveler organized, stylish, and put-together while they’re up in the air remembering what a good gift giver you are. Good enough for a souvenir? Let’s hope so.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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FITISHactive Secret Pocket Scrunchies

Ditch the small purse and stash the carry-on in the overhead. This scrunchie with a hidden zipper pocket has just enough room for tiny non-negotiables: gum, earbuds, Chapstick, etc. And for valuable jewelry you’d rather not wear, this lets you keep it close to the…hair?!

Shop Etsy

FITISHactive Secret Pocket Scrunchies, $, available at Etsy

Simply Stationery 2024 Mini Calendar

If home is where their luggage is, this mini calendar allows nature lovers to make any desk their desk — no matter where their actual travels take them.

Shop Anthropologie

Slightly Stationery 2024 Mini Calendar, $, available at Anthropologie

Uncommon Goods Automatic Handbag Illuminator

They’ll never have to rummage through the dark abyss of a bag again with this orb-shaped, battery-powered light. Just pop it in a purse, carry-on, or suitcase, and it’ll automatically turn on for eight seconds when it senses a frantic hand.

Shop Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods Automatic Handbag Illuminator, $, available at Uncommon Goods

Cadence The Originals – Set Of 6

We’ve already sung Cadence’s praises in our review of its modular travel capsules. Now, you can give the gift of portability to a frequent flier looking to bring their routine on the road. Reusable and leakproof, these customizable capsules hold medication, skin-care products, jewelry, and other knickknacks prone to pulling disappearing acts.

Shop Cadence

Cadence The Originals – Set Of 6, $, available at Cadence

Embr Wave 2.0 Heating & Cooling Bracelet

For anyone who runs too hot or too cold, this smart bracelet promises the Goldilocks treatment. With the press of a button, it warms or cools, telling the brain to get on board the temperature-regulating train. At $349, it’s a splurge, but on a freezing plane, it just might be a godsend.

Shop Anthropologie

Embr Labs Heating & Cooling Bracelet, $, available at Anthropologie

Nocs Standard Issue 8-x-25 Waterproof Binoculars

Whether they picked up a bird-watching hobby this year, want to go sightseeing under the sea, or moonlight as a spy, these waterproof binoculars bring the whole wide world into focus.

Shop Nocs Provisions

Nocs Provisions Standard Issue Waterproof Binoculars, $, available at Nocs Provisions

Calpak Large Clear Cosmetics Case

You’ll find this clear cosmetics case in a few of our gift guides this year. Mostly due to its TikTok fame, sleek design, and a multitude of practical pockets. It’s every organized traveler’s dream.

Shop Calpak

Calpak Large Clear Cosmetics Case, $, available at Calpak

Uncommon Goods Travel Challenges Card Deck

Getaways don’t automatically equal a good time. Uncommon Goods pocket-size challenge cards will get them out of their hotel room and into memory-making mode.

Shop Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods Travel Challenges Card Deck, $, available at Uncommon Goods

Skims Cotton Rib Tank

Make sure your loved one’s comfy and cool from the airport commute all the way to their plane’s final descent with Skim’s breathable cotton tank. According to reviews, this wardrobe staple is “the softest comfiest thing ever,” “so flattering,” and “versatile.”

Shop Skims

Skims Cotton Rib, $, available at Skims

T3 Afar Lightweight Travel Size Hair Dryer

There’s always a chance that the hotel hair dryer will actually catch on fire (they almost always smell like they will). Prevent any on-the-go disasters with a nifty travel-size blow-dryer. Plus, this one comes in a lovely light-pink colorway.

Shop Anthropologie

T3 Afar Lightweight Travel Size Hair Dryer, $, available at Anthropologie

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag 1L Fleece

Lululemon’s fuzzy version of its popular belt bag is a worthy addition to anyone’s outfit this winter. It’s currently available in ivory, soft pink, and black fleece.

Shop Lululemon

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag 1L Fleece, $, available at Lululemon

Noshinku Refillable Pocket Hand Sanitizer

Skip the pile-up of hand sanitizer bottles with a surprisingly chic refillable container. According to the on-site description, each refill produces 270 sprays of pharma-grade ethynol to eliminate germs along with hydrating botanicals to moisturize skin.

Shop Noshinku

NOSHINKU Refillable Pocket Hand Sanitizer, $, available at Food52

World Market Collapsible Travel Straw Set

While reusable straws are not necessarily a travel necessity, they are a handy accessory. This kit includes one stainless steel collapsible straw, a cleaning brush, and a compact carrying case that can easily hide out in a purse or backpack.

Shop World Market

World Market Collapsible Travel Straw Set, $, available at World Market

DedCool Room + Linen Spray Milk

DedCool’s linen spray keeps clothing smelling fresh and clean minus the washing machine. The scent is a combo of bergamot, white musk, and amber, making it a perfect addition to a long-term traveler’s suitcase.

Shop DedCool

DedCool Room + Linen Spray Milk, $, available at Dedcool

3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger

PhoneSoap sanitizers rid your device of grime via germicidal UV technology. Its universal charger and small size also make this gift a great addition to any adventurer’s duffel bag.

Shop Amazon

Phonesoap UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger, $, available at Amazon

Roadie 24 Hard Cooler

A Yeti cooler will keep contents cold for two to four days, making it a long-lasting gift that’s worth the hefty price tag.

Shop Yeti

YETI 24 Hard Cooler, $, available at YETI

Uncommon Goods Adventure Essentials Travel Kit

Another compact travel kit that will make packing 100 times easier for thrill-seekers.

Shop Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods Adventure Essentials Survival Kit, $, available at Uncommon Goods

Dagne Dover Arlo Tech Pouch

What’s one pain in a traveler’s ass? Tangled tech cords. Keep those woes at bay for your friends with a neoprene-organizer pouch.

Shop Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover Arlo Tech Pouch, $, available at Dagne Dover

BioLite CampStove 2

Outdoorsy types who can’t live without their tech will love this efficient campfire. It’s a charging station, light, and stove in one.

Shop BioLite

BioLite CampStove 2+, $, available at BioLite

The Road Trip Book

With TSA lines longer than ever, it’s never a bad idea to hit the road. Skip the planning with the help of The Road Trip Book by Darryl Sleath — inside there are “1,001 drives of a lifetime” of all lengths and difficulty.

Shop Amazon

Amazon The Road Trip Book: 1001 Drives of a Lifetime, $, available at Amazon

The Everywhere Bag

Away The Everywhere Bag, $, available at Away

— PAID —

Power your next getaway with the most reliable batteries available, Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™.

Energizer Ultimate Lithium™ Batteries, $, available at Energizer


Lean into the French spirit by gifting your friend a bottle of Grand Marnier. The orange liqueur can be drunk in a variety of cocktails or enjoyed neat or on the rocks. 

Grand Marnier Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, $, available at Drizly

S’well Insulated Stainless Steel Roamer

Every traveler needs a sturdy water bottle, and S’well sells them in all shapes, sizes, and shades — like this pitcher-sized model ideal for camping trips. The best part? They keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold, whether you’re scaling a mountain or just picnicking.

Swell Insulated Stainless Steel Roamer, 40oz, $, available at Amazon

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