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10 Gift Ideas for the Carry-On Traveler

10 gift ideas for the carry-on traveler

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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. If you are shopping for someone who packs carry-on only, this is even harder since they don’t want to add unnecessary extras to their bag.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best gift ideas that the carry-on only traveler in your life is sure to love. 

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.

2. TSA-Friendly Toiletry Bag Filled with Goodies

Travelon Wet Dry 1 Quart Bag with Plastic Bottles
Travelon Wet Dry 1 Quart Bag with Plastic Bottles

For a carry-on traveler, 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 filled with new travel toiletry bottles and even some solid toiletry alternatives.

3. Stuffable Bags

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Ultralight Day Pack
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Ultralight Day Pack

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

Carry- on traveler gifts: The REI Trail 40L Backpack and the Hartmann Lineaire Expandable Spinner
The REI Trail 40L Backpack (left) and the Hartmann Lineaire Expandable Spinner (right)

At Her Packing List, we think 40 liters is the perfect sized backpack for someone who doesn’t want to check luggage but still wants to have the most space possible. It’s just big enough to hold what you really need without struggle but still small enough to meet most airline carry-on regulations.

Not a backpack person but still want to be a carry-on traveler? There are tons of great carry-on sized suitcases, too!

5. Packable Rain Poncho

Gift for carry-on travelers - Rainkiss Rain Poncho
Rainkiss Rain Poncho in Storm Camo (left) and Timo ‘The Dance’ (right)

A rain jacket, although a necessity, can often be bulky and hard to pack. Gift the carry-on traveler in your life with a packable rain poncho that will take up almost no space in their bag. These ones from Rainkiss come in a whole range of fun prints and are made from recycled polyester which makes them perfect for the eco-friendly traveler.

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.

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 lets you carry virtually as many books as you want. If your friend already has one, get her an Amazon gift card to buy books with.

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.

10. Tieks Fold-Up Ballet Flats

Tieks Fold-Up Ballet Flats in Matte Black
Tieks Fold-Up Ballet Flats in Matte Black

Tieks fold-up ballet flats are constructed from durable, Italian leather and are designed to fold in half, making them super easy to pack. They are super versatile and you can dress them up or down depending on the occasion.

Bonus: They have a huge range of fun colors available for you to choose from.

If you or someone you know would love to be a carry-on only traveler but just can’t seem to make it work…then check out HPL’s Handbag Packing Masterclass. A proven 4-week program to help you learn to pack so confidently light that you could travel for a week in a personal-item-sized bag.

If you want some more travel gift ideas, take a look at these posts:

Do you have any amazing gift ideas for a carry-on traveler? Let us know in the comments.

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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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