Holiday Gift Idea: The Perfect Carry-On Bags

Meg Cale

Travelers are notoriously hard to shop for – It’s a consequence of valuing experiences over stuff. But sometimes you have a situation where the gift needs to be something physical and not a $2000 flight to Tokyo – Enter the perfect carry-on gift bag. It’s basically a gift basket – but instead of using a basket we’ll use a suitcase or a cute carry on tote. It’s a great gift because it can scale depending on your budget and it obviously caters to the traveler’s interest. See below for some of my favorite must-have travel items in a carry on.

Pink Phone Charger

Okay- I know- It’s “just a charger” but it’s also low key the most useful gift I could ever be given. It doesn’t matter how many chargers I have, I inevitably end up somewhere without one and have to go buy another one. Cause let’s be real, the battery power on my phone is directly correlated to my level of anxiety.

iPad Air 2

True Life: people who travel spend an incredible amount of time waiting. Waiting at the airport, on the flight, driving to a tour, etc. Then once we’re back home we’re researching the next trip. An IPad is amazing for long flights. I owe my sanity to the Kindle App.

Shop: IPad Air 2 $348

Pink and Gold Headphones

These ones are a bit of a splurge, but they’re so damn cute. I use the shit out out of my headphones. Literally use them every single day while I’m working on ye ole blog posts. Might as well get something cute and high quality.

Macbook Envelope

It always amazes me how many people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for their tech devices but don’t protect them. This felt envelope is perfect for leaving your Macbook dent and scratches free.

S’well Water Bottle

Bottled water in airports is stupid expensive. Travel hack for ya, get one of these water bottles and it’ll keep the water fountain H2O in your bottle cool for most of your flight. I was gifted one of these from a former employer and I couldn’t believe how well it worked. I’m talking 3 hours laying by the pool in the hot summer sun and my water was still ice cold. The one in the picture is a beautiful rose gold color, it’s also $129 – don’t buy that- you could get a flight to a nearby country for that price- get a different color for the reasonable price of $29 like the pretty marbled one I linked below.

Kate Spade Passport Holder

This leather Kate Spade document holder is the perfect accessory for the organized traveler. They come in a variety of colors but I loved the pink with the gold toned hardware. The trim interior keeps it easy with a few card pockets.

Delsey Luggage Chatelet 19 Inch Carry-On Bag

This carry-on is a wheeled bag with a design that will stand out on the baggage return. It’s Delsey so you know it’s high quality and designed to last. There are two fully lined compartments with tie down straps and a large zippered compartment. Delsey does things big and bougie so they’ll also throw in two interior bags and a travel hanger to make you feel like the ultimate jet setter. It also comes with a recessed TSA approved lock and front locking wheels. It’s a beautiful versatile bag.

Shop: Delsey Luggage $165

Michael Kors Women’s Medium Anabelle Top Zip Top-Handle Tote

LAWRDDD this bag is pretty. It’s like drool worthy pretty. It’s like lay your face against it and just breath in the smell of rich leather pretty. For my new year’s resolution, I’m really trying not to lust after physical possessions… but I might make an exception for this delicious piece of arm candy.  It comes in different colors, has a pocket for your phone, and has 18k gold-plated hardware – ‘cause of course it does.

Marbled Gold Makeup Bag

I really want to be the type of woman who is organized enough to have cute little travel accessories like this makeup bag. If I’m being very honest, I’m not that woman. All my shit gets tossed in zip lock bags and the same makeup case I’ve been using for years. Maybe this year will be the year that I get my life together and upgrade.

Travel Sleep Mask

Another wildly practical gift idea. Sleeping while in transit sucks, it doesn’t matter how sound you sleep. It always ends up sucking, unless of course, you’re flying in one of those $40,000 private air bedrooms – in that case, fuck off. 😉  But seriously, anything to get a better snooze on a flight is something I’d recommend.

Travel Neck Pillow

In the same vein of sleep being super important, grab a travel neck pillow for your perfect carry-on gift. This is particularly amazing if you get screwed and end up stuck in the middle seat. I wouldn’t wish the middle seat on my worst enemy.


A versatile scarf is the most underrated travel accessory. You can use it as a blanket, beach cover, pillow, modesty wrap, literally the list is endless. This is the one item that MUST find it’s way into everyone’s carry-on bag.

Shop: Scarf $17

Cat Socks

There are two types of travelers – those who take their shoes off on the flight and those who do not. I’m the first one. No shame. I can’t get comfortable without taking my shoes off. I gotta have cute fresh socks just in case anyone notices. These cat ones are too cute for words.

Shop: Cat Socks $10

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream


This hand cream will keep your mani fresh no matter how long your flight drags out. It’s only 1 ounce so it’s TSA compliant and the shea butter scent is mild and airplane friendly.

Shop:  Hand Cream $12


ChapStick Dual-Ended Hydration Lock Day and Night

No one wants to get off a flight and end up in paradise with some busted chapped up dry AF lips. Don’t let your friend be that girl. Just don’t. Her Instagram will thank you for this one.

Shop: ChapStick $3

Bad Feminist By Roxanne Gay


Flights are long and boring. Once your ipad and phone die, you’re pretty much on your own. Give the gift of smart- fierce entertainment. Bad Feminist is definitely my pick for travel carry on reading.


Shop: Bad Feminist $10


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