Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

One of the best gifts to give a traveler this holiday season is something that helps them avoid checking a bag for a flight. We all saw photos of lost bags mounting up in airports over the summer and heard stories of weary vacationers whose suitcases never showed up for their much-needed getaway. Eliminating that stress for your favorite traveler is a gift that lasts a lifetime, and there are some great products out there to help them join “team carry-on only.”

From packing cubes to convertible backpacks, here are eight travel gifts that can help a jetsetter say goodbye to checked bags for good.

Parker Clay Asosa Convertible Backpack

A cool, functional backpack like this one from Parker Clay is a must-have gift for a traveler who wants to keep their precious cargo with them on a flight. The timeless leather beauty is small enough to count as a personal item, but has plenty of space to stash a laptop, personal care kit, a spare swimsuit, and other essentials you can’t live without on a trip. The comfy straps leave a traveler’s hands free to carry their boarding pass and passport. And once they arrive at their destination, a traveler can flip the backpack down into a messenger bag for more styling possibilities on the ground. Choose from classic rust brown or sophisticated black leather. $288 at

Coola Sunscreen Travel Kit

This four-piece sun-care travel kit from Coola ensures that travelers will have everything they need to protect their skin from harsh UV light right in their carry-on bag. It contains mini versions of Coola’s most popular SPF-30 products, including sunscreen body spray, sunscreen face lotion, and lip balm, along with an after-sun recovery lotion, all in travel-friendly sizes that won’t draw unwanted attention from the TSA. Plus, they come in a limited-edition, ocean-inspired pouch that can be repacked with new minis when a traveler is ready for a refill. $40 at

Lexxola Jordy Sunglasses

When a stylish traveler only has enough room in her carry-on for one pair of sunglasses, those shades better make a statement. Enter this eye-catching pair from Lexxola. The distinctive sunglasses stand out with thick, deep red frames and custom-dyed peach-hued lenses. They’re durable, especially when packed in their vegan leather pouch, so the recipient of this travel gift won’t need to worry about their new favorite sunglasses getting crushed in their tightly packed carry-on bag. Tossing these sunglasses on once you’re wheels down at a destination will instantly put you in vacation mode. $250 at

Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie

This packable jacket from Outdoor Research will be an asset to anyone traveling in cold weather who isn’t interested in checking a suitcase for a flight. This classic puffer packs can compress to the size of your palm. It doesn’t sacrifice warmth, though. The coat is packed with down and synthetic insulation to guard against gusts of wind and frigid winter air—perfect for taking on a city trip or any outdoor adventure. $219 at

EzPacking Packing Cube Starter Set

Gift a traveler the magic of more space in their carry-on bag with this set of four packing cubes from EzPacking. Designed specifically for carry-ons, these zippered cubes allow travelers to squeeze up to a week’s worth of clothing into a single bag. It’s also easy to see what’s inside and stay organized on the trip, thanks to the cubes’ clear design. Take it from someone who relies on packing cubes for dozens of trips each year: This is a gift that will change the way a traveler packs their carry-on for every trip, whether it’s a short getaway or a lengthier vacation. $54 at

True Botanicals Glow on the Go Kit

The TSA’s rules on liquids can make it hard for a traveler to keep up with their skincare routine if they’re not checking a bag, but this “Glow on the Go Kit” from True Botanicals can help. The pink pouch comes packed with mini versions of the brand’s cult-favorite skincare products, including the Nutrient Mist, Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm, and Renew Pure Radiance Oil. The recipient of this great travel gift will also get a rose quartz facial roller—just the thing to de-puff jetlagged skin after a long-haul flight. $95 at

KonMari Tidy Tech Kit

A sleek tech kit is just the thing a traveler needs to prevent their charging cables from getting tangled up in their carry-on bag. This one aligns with the KonMari Method, an organizing approach from tidying queen Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The eco-friendly, zip-up case has separate compartments for a power bank, mouse, digital pen, USB memory stick, earbuds, and just about any charging cable you might need to stay powered on the go. $59 at

Sondergut Roll-Up Backgammon

Help a traveler ward off boredom during long travel delays with a roll-up game set from Sondergut. It includes everything you need to play backgammon at a moment’s notice. The travel gift clocks in at less than half a pound and rolls up to the size of a pocket umbrella—the recipient will barely notice it in their carry-on bag. The penny-size pieces all fit within the zippered pocket, making for easy storage and transport. But most importantly, the game set gives travelers just the right amount of friendly competition they need to make the most of down time on a trip. $39.95 at

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