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10 Gift Ideas for the Carry-On Traveler

10 gifts for carry-on only travelers

*This post contains affiliate links, denoted by asterisks. See our disclosure here.

The holidays are creeping up on us, and we’ll be sipping eggnog before we know it!

Traveling friends can sometimes be hard to shop for since they spend most of their money on experiences rather than things. But a few thoughtful items can go a long way in helping that friend travel carry-on only.

If you’re a carry-on traveler, add some of these gift ideas to your wish list!

1. Cute Compression Socks

Vim & Vigr Cotton Compression Socks
Vim & Vigr Cotton Compression Socks

Long flights can lead to swelling of the feet and legs, and in the worst scenarios, life-threatening blood clots. Compression socks combat these issues, but they aren’t always the cutest… until we found these.

>> Search for Vim & Vigr compression socks on Amazon*.

2. TSA-Friendly Toiletry Bag Filled with Goodies

toiletry bag and solid toiletries
Carry-on Toiletry Pouch with Nalgene travel bottles. Right: Solid Conditioner, Solid Shampoo Bar from Lush, Solid Perfume Sticks by Aroamas

For carry-on only travelers, one of the biggest issues is toiletries. Liquid toiletries in particular need to be placed in a quart-sized clear plastic bag in bottles or containers no larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml). Help a friend out by upgrading their disposable ziploc bags with a nicer, TSA-friendly pouch (like this one from Nalgene*)- filled with new travel toiletry bottles and even some solid toiletry alternatives.

3. Stuffable bags

gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

Stuffable bags can be used as a day pack, beach bag, grocery bag, laundry bag, and so much more. Since they fold up inside themselves, a stuffable bag takes up almost no space and can be stored in your main backpack or suitcase, which means it won’t put you over the carry-on limit.

4. Carry-on sized backpack or suitcase

gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

At Her Packing List, we think 40 liters is the perfect sized backpack for someone who doesn’t want to check luggage. It’s just big enough to hold what you really need but still small enough to meet most airline carry-on regulations.

Not a backpack person? There are tons of great carry-on sized suitcases, too, like Caroline’s Hartmann Lineaire, Jenny’s Briggs & Riley, or Kate’s Dakine Carry On Valise.

5. The Amazing Travel Jacket

Baubax Travel Jacket

You know- THE jacket. It’s been passed around the Internet with global popularity, and for good reason. This jacket has 15 features in ONE! And if you’re going carry-on only, then conserving space inside your luggage is pretty important. With this jacket, you have a neck pillow, eye mask, zipper pen, gloves, and special pockets galore. It does, however, come with a price.

>> Check out the Baubax Travel Jacket.

6. Luggage scale

gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

Help your carry-on traveler friend stay under the weight limit with a simple luggage scale. Carry-on restrictions often include a weight limit, and no one wants to be forced to check a bag for being a pound or two too heavy. Plus luggage scales are small, so you can pack it with you to check the weight at the end of the trip after you’ve bought some souvenirs.

>> Search for luggage scales on Amazon*.

7. Kindle

gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

Books are heavy to lug around, and they take up a lot of precious space in a girl’s carry-on bag. A Kindle is lightweight and let’s you carry virtually as many books as you want. If your friend already has one, get her a Kindle gift card*.

>> Check out Kindles on Amazon*.

8. Turkish travel towel

gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

Regular towels are too bulky to travel with. Turkish travel towels solve this problem by being thin, packing up small, and serving multiple purposes. You can use them as a shower towel, beach towel, cover-up, blanket, and so much more.

9. Collapsible Water Bottle

Vapur Water Bottle

Help a friend save money on airport beverages, and stay hydrated while on the plane, with a collapsible water bottle. When not in use, it packs ultralight and small.

>> Grab a Vapur water bottle on Amazon*.

10. Grid-It

gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

This is a great item for carry-on travelers who have a lot of cords and other smaller things that can easily get lost in a backpack. The Grid-It helps you keep your cords separate all in one place without getting tangled up. Just a few of the many other things you can keep organized with the Grid-It include your iPod, batteries, phone, and memory cards.

>> Check out Grid-It organizers on Amazon*.

10 gifts for carry-on only travelers pin

More Travel Gift Ideas:

Written by Ali

Ali Garland is a freelance writer, blogger, and travel addict who made it to all 7 continents before her 30th birthday. She enjoys travel planning, encouraging others to see the world, and packing carry-on only. She and her husband are expats living in Berlin. You can find Ali at Ali's Adventures and Travel Made Simple.

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Gear We Use

speakeasy hidden pocket travel scarf ad
Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Scarves


Splice Jaisalmer Reversible Tunic
Splice Reversible Jaisalmer Tunic


Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes
Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes


tom bihn 3d organizer toiletry bag
Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube


Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack - Fits in the palm of your hand!
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack


Turkish Travel Towels


Travel Resources

HPL Learnables

Handbag Packing Masterclass – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing class run by HPL founder, Brooke.

Creative Ways to Minimize Your Toiletry & Beauty Kit – Practical tips alongside DIY recipes designed to help you pack lighter, smaller & with fewer liquids. (Also included as a bonus to Handbag Packing Masterclass.)

Book Your Trip

Viator – Enhance your trip experience by booking from thousands of tours across the globe. – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. debd says

    Make sure that your stuff sack’s color doesn’t run. Non-colorfast in the rain can stain some of the few clothes that you have with you.

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