Where to Buy Travel Gear (That You Wouldn’t Expect!)

Shopping for travel gear in unlikely places.

When you think of where to buy travel gear, you probably just think of specialty or travel specific stores. However, you might be surprised at how many things from your packing list can be bought at places you hadn’t considered, often at much lower prices. We’ve talked about shopping at thrift or secondhand stores for travel gear and even looking online, but there are even more great places to buy affordable essentials.

Home and Organization Stores

Home stores aren’t just for when you’re moving and need new furniture and storage solutions. You can pick up a surprising number of items here that can also help you on the road, if you know where to look.

Buy Travel Gear in Unlikely Places

IKEA: The Swedish wonderstore Ikea carries their own brand of luggage and packing cubes, not to mention travel mugs, ponchos, electronics cases and neck pillows. They also have travel bottles, umbrellas and duffels. Just be sure you make a list of exactly the items you want to check out or else you’ll most likely get lost in the Ikea abyss for an entire day!

Muji: Muji is a Japanese company that has stores worldwide selling home goods with a travel section. Here you’ll find everything from comfy clothing for long haul flights to duffels and suitcases as well as travel bottles, pouches, pillows and converters.

Dollar Stores: Dollar stores and discount stores are also ideal for picking up those knickknacks you’ve waited until the last minute to buy. I usually go to these stores for items like locks, door stops, sewing kits, and travel sized toiletries. You can also pick up everything from travel mugs to laundry bags to sleep masks. It helps that everything is only $1 or thereabouts!

Container Store: If you’re based in the United States, another surprising place is the haven for organization: the Container Store. In addition to travel organizers like packing cubes in every shape and size, they also sell luggage from brands like Eagle Creek and Pacsafe. Also pick up your travel clothesline, mini sewing kit, jewelry cases and compression socks. But be sure to check the website before heading to the store as stock may vary.

Hardware Stores

Depending on where you live, your local Home Depot (or Bunnings down under) might have some extras just for your packing list. Think of things like carabiner clips, flashlights, duct tape, and cord organization options. Locks you can use for your luggage (yes, some even have the TSA friendly ones), along with plug adapters, and even basic camping supplies (camp stove, fold-up chairs, etc.) might be on offer.

Grab a luggage lock at the hardware store
Grab a luggage lock at the hardware store.

Garage and estate sales

Before you get bent out of shape about getting pre-owned travel gear, consider the fact that many people have items sitting in their garages that have only been used a few times. You never know what you might find! It could be a like-new travel backpack or a vintage steamer trunk. And don’t forget about sporting equipment, electronics and technical clothing. Check your local newspaper or drive past neighborhoods to see when these sales are going on.

Etsy

No, Etsy isn’t just for jewelry or cards or home decor. They have a Luggage and Travel section where you’ll find everything from camera straps to luggage tags to backpacks to passport covers. Not to mention some of our favorite products, including Aroamas solid perfume and Speakeasy travel scarves! You can also find vintage pieces of luggage.

Buy Travel Gear in Unlikely Places

Ebay

This one’s probably our most likely of the unlikely places to buy travel gear, but we thought we’d throw it in anyway in case you hadn’t thought of it. If you are on the hunt for a deal on something specific, try the online bidding site Ebay. You can watch the prices and, if you’re prepared to stalk it out, get travel gear for well below retail. Brooke got her first backpack, the Osprey Ariel 55, in “like new” condition for under $100 on Ebay, which would normally be in the $250 range.

Craigslist, Gumtree, and Local Sales Websites

Buying local allows you to see before you buy while also getting a deal. Scour these sales websites for brand new or like new luggage, backpacks, photo equipment and more. I’ve seen backpacks that would ordinarily cost upwards of $200 sold for $75 or best offer! And don’t be afraid to negotiate. Search under the “For Sale: General” section for best results.

Have you shopped for travel gear at any other unlikely places?

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

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

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Mandy says

    TJ Maxx is a U.S. store that has a big luggage/travel section and the prices are marked down. I’ve bought marked down packing cubes so far.

  2. Clariza says

    Target in the US has a huge travel size section in the pharmacy aisles. Also check their travel, camping even baby section for small sizes of toiletries and personal comfort items.

  3. Carol Wolters says

    Cable ties / zip strips at hardware stores. Secure your suitcase in hotel room. Maids could have TSA lock keys. Good ideas. Bed Bath & Beyond has great travel toiletries section with LOTS of choices.

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