If you’re looking to support local makers in your own community or in your favorite destinations abroad instead of heading over to Amazon this holiday shopping season—you’re not alone.
This October, American Express surveyed 8,000 adults from seven different countries and found that 72 percent of them prefer to shop at small businesses during the holidays to get more personalized and unique gifts. Need some ideas? We’ve gathered 23 travel gifts from some of our favorite small businesses and e-commerce startups from across the globe. Whether you’re looking for ideas that will bring the world to your loved one’s doorstep or travel accessories they can bring along on their next trip, we have something for every type of traveler.
1. Monterey Sling Bag by Long Weekend
Buy now: $50, shopmoment.com
Started by two photographers in 2021, Long Weekend sells bags designed for carrying cameras that are also suited for anyone who likes the brand’s outdoorsy meets street style aesthetic. Made with recycled nylon, this sling bag has enough room inside for a wallet, phone, and even a point-and-shoot camera. There are also smaller cargo pockets for a pair of AirPods and lip balm.
2. Travel Belt by Cincha
Buy now: $40, cinchatravel.com
Owned and operated by a BIPOC couple out of their Oakland, California, apartment, Cincha makes colorful travel belts that secure any type of personal item to a suitcase handle so it doesn’t slide off while maneuvering through the airport. Here’s how it works: Simply slip the elastic loop of the belt over the handle of your carry-on and snap its buckle around the front of your personal item. It’s made with vegan leather accents and is adjustable to 45 inches to accommodate even the most overstuffed tote bag. Plus, for every belt sold, Cincha donates 100 airline miles to Miles4Migrants to help reconnect migrant families.
3. Cold Brew Gift Box by Explorer Cold Brew
Buy now: from $20, explorercoldbrew.com
Between bitter beans and suspect water, the coffee served on airplanes is never satisfying. Thankfully, LGBTQ-owned Explorer Cold Brew scaled down its bottles of single-origin cold brew coffee concentrate to a travel-friendly two ounces and sells them in gift packs of 4 or 12 bottles. To enjoy good coffee at 30,000 feet, simply mix a two-ounce bottle of the cold brew concentrate with water (or milk) over ice and enjoy. For every box of cold brew purchased, Explorer Cold Brew funds clean water access for someone in need through Charity: Water for an entire month.
4. Vaccination Passport Holder by Pelle Leather Design
Buy now: $19, etsy.com
While most countries have lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions, some continue to require proof of vaccination to enter so it doesn’t hurt to keep your vaccination card handy during your travels. We love this rugged leather vaccine card case from Ukraine-based Etsy maker Pelle Leather Design. Its clever design doubles beautifully as a travel wallet: you can store your vaccine card on one side, and multiple slot pockets on the other can hold your passport, plus multiple credit cards and IDs.
5. Men’s Waterproof Mesa Moc Toe Boot by Manitobah Mukluks
Buy now: $190, manitobah.com
Made by Canada’s Indigenous-rooted Manitobah Mukluks, these lightweight leather and suede boots were designed by Diné artist Dewayne Dale Jr. and are inspired by the four sacred mountains that surround the Dinétah (Navajo homeland).
6. The Mug by East Fork
Buy now: $40, eastfork.com
Travelers who collect locally made ceramics will love these handmade mugs from Asheville’s East Fork, crafted with regionally sourced clay. Run by Alex Matisse, the great-grandson of French artist Henri Matisse, and his wife Connie, East Fork also gives back to its community by supporting various racial equity organizations in western North Carolina through its “Spread Wealth, Shop Seconds” program.
7. Rutherford Beanie by Sh*t That I Knit
Buy now: $135, shitthatiknit.com
Sh*t That I Knit is a woman-owned company that employs more than 400 artisans in Lima, Peru, who earn a fair wage for hand knitting these sporty winter beanies. Made with 100 percent Peruvian merino wool, the hats are available in 14 different colors and come with a detachable faux fur pom-pom.
8. Shorty Spice Set by Fly By Jing
Buy now: $25, flybyjing.com
Inspired by her hometown of Chengdu, China, Jing Gao created a line of pantry staples in 2018. The Fly By Jing Shorty Spice Set includes TSA-friendly two-ounce bottles of her fan-favorite Sichuan Chili Crisp, Zhong Sauce, and Mala Spice Mix. This makes a great stocking stuffer for travelers who BYO hot sauce in their personal item.
9. Portable Solar Lamp by Little Sun
Buy now: $30, goodeeworld.com
Designed by artist Olafur Eliasson, this portable flower-shaped solar lamp can be used as a nightlight indoors or worn around the neck as a flashlight outdoors. For each lamp sold, one is donated to Little Sun’s partners in rural Africa, who are working to bring solar energy to those living without electricity. One of hundreds of environmentally minded products sold on Goodee, a socially conscious online marketplace, this solar lamp comes with a personal stamp of approval from cofounder Byron Peart’s niece who says she loves using it to read in bed at night.
10. Beaded Earrings by Lillie Nell Beadworks
Buy now: from $45, lillienell.com
Holly Nolan began Lillie Nell Beadworks—named after her paternal grandmother—as a way to find a connection to her Indigenous heritage. Each set of earrings contains about 1,200 beads and takes two to four hours for Nolan to make in her Minneapolis studio. While Nolan does incorporate traditional Choctaw patterns into some of her designs, she says that because the earrings aren’t considered regalia it is appropriate for people of any background to wear them.
11. Taste of Memphis by Phillip Ashley Chocolates
Buy now: $59, phillipashleychocolates.com
Bring Tennessee to you with these 12 hand-painted chocolates from Black-owned Phillip Ashley Chocolates in Memphis. The “Beale St. Margarita” chocolate is filled with Honeybell Vodka and barrel-aged honey lime salt, while the “King Me” chocolate features peanut butter and banana flavors. Elvis would approve.
12. Jackson Pollock Studio Floor Mat by Yoga Zeal
Buy now: $99, yogazeal.com
Woman-owned and L.A.-based, Yoga Zeal has a limited edition Jackson Pollock yoga mat that will have you dreaming of your next trip to MoMA during your downward dog. These luxurious mats have a soft suede-like top to prevent slipping while you sweat. Better yet? The ecofriendly mats are made with 99 percent natural rubber and 1 percent polyester. Did we mention they’re machine washable, too?
13. Pine Needle Baskets by Mayan Hands
Buy now: From $11, mayanhands.com
Made by artisans in Guatemala, the baskets sold on Mayan Hands are all crafted with sustainably sourced longleaf pine needles and pajón, a native wild grass found in the Guatemalan Highlands. While you can certainly use these baskets to hold fruit on your dining table, the design is beautiful enough that you might want to hang it on your wall as an art piece.
14. Cadence Capsules
Buy now: from $14, keepyourcadence.com
Made from recycled ocean-bound plastic, these capsules from AAPI-owned brand Cadence also help eliminate the need to buy miniatures of your favorite travel toiletries. Simply dispense up to 0.56 ounce of your favorite face wash, moisturizer, etc. into each capsule from the larger bottle you keep at home. They’re seriously leak-proof, too. Sold individually and in sets, each capsule magnetically attaches to the others so you can build a honeycomb of sorts.
15. Resting Beach Face SPF30 Sunscreen Serum by Everyday Humans
Buy now: $24, everyday-humans.com
Everyday Humans is a Climate Neutral Certified sunscreen company founded by Charlotte Chen Pienaar in 2018. For those who love a good pun as much as they love skincare, Resting Beach Face SPF30 is a great stocking stuffer for anyone planning on being in the sun this winter. Made in Australia without parabens, sulphates, or animal testing, this sunscreen is invisible on all skin tones and includes hyaluronic acid for an extra dose of moisture—crucial in the dry winter months.
16. Out of Office Pet Carrier by Roverlund
Buy now: $149, roverlund.com
This durable yet stylish soft-sided pet carrier from LGBTQ-founded Roverlund can function as a car seat during road trips and is also airline compliant. Once you arrive at your destination, the shoulder strap converts to a leash and the bag can be used as a mobile pet bed. Suitable for both dogs and cats, the small version fits animals up to 15 pounds, while the large is best for animals up to 25 pounds.
17. Trtl Travel Pillow
Buy now: $50, trtltravel.com
Take the discomfort out of sleeping on long flights or drives with this AFAR-approved travel pillow from Scotland-based travel company Trtl. It may just look like a soft fleece scarf, but inside the Trtl Travel Pillow is a slim neck-support frame that holds your head in place while sleeping upright. The Trtl is also machine washable so you don’t have to worry about germs either.
18. Collagen-Infused Lip Masks by KNC Beauty
Buy now: $25 for five, kncbeauty.com
KNC Beauty is a Black-owned skincare company named after its founder Kristen Noel Crawley. These lip masks help ward off chapped lips and create instant spa vibes. Each mask is infused with glycerin, collagen, bitter cherry extract, hyaluronic acid, rose flower oil, and vitamin E. Give them as a stocking stuffer—or tuck them into a dopp kit with a few other travel-size toiletries.
19. Rico Travel Candle by Vela Negra
Buy now: $23, thevelanegra.com
Know someone who is dealing with a stressful WFH situation? Transport them to the Caribbean instantly with a little bit of aromatherapy. Vela Negra founder Aisha Cort draws on her Afro Cuban and Guyanese heritage to inspire the scents in her candle line. The Rico candle smells like wild cassis, rhubarb, and sweet jasmine, with top notes of almond, cocoa, and vanilla. Handmade in Washington, D.C. with 100 percent vegan coconut soy wax and wooden wicks, these candles are also available in larger 10- and 20-ounce sizes, but the 4-ounce travel candle is a great stocking stuffer and can be used on future trips.
20. Yellowstone Geysers Intarsia Beanie by Parks Project
Buy now: $40, parksproject.us
Parks Project’s Yellowstone-inspired beanie makes a cozy campside essential that’s also stylish enough for everyday use. Best yet: This gift gives back. The Parks Project donates a portion of its proceeds to public land funds like the Yellowstone Forever Cougar Project and the National Park Foundation.
21. Golden Hour Bug Repellent by Kinfield
Buy now: $22, kinfield.com
Nichole Powell founded Kinfield after she struggled to find clean alternatives to the skincare products she was using on camping trips. The result is a DEET-free bug repellent that actually works. Kinfield Golden Hour uses a mix of citronella, lemongrass, and cloves to keep you bite free (and smelling amazing). Plus, the three-ounce spray bottle is TSA friendly.
22. Geo Pour Over Coffee by Treeline Coffee Roasters
Buy now: $26 for a 12-pack, treelinecoffee.com
Suffer through instant coffee on any camping trips or cabin getaways this summer? Enter the Geo, from Bozeman, Montana’s Treeline Coffee Roasters. These single-serving pour overs are packed with high-quality single-origin coffee and are ready to brew: All you need is a mug and boiling water—no filters or other contraptions necessary.
23. Bertie Baby Blanket by Block Shop
Buy now: $148, blockshoptextiles.com
Founded by two artist sisters in 2013, L.A.-based Block Shop celebrates and supports traditional Indian hand-block printing. Woven by hand with organic cotton by WomenWeave in Maheshwar, India, these baby blankets also can double as a picnic blanket or throw on your sofa for those without children.
This article was originally published in 2020; it was updated on November 3, 2022, with new information.