To crib a line from William Morris, the 19th-century British designer, you should never give a gift that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful. Thankfully, some of AFAR’s favorite travel gear not only combines substance and style but also includes another important element of gift giving: good value. From a packable duffle made from recycled water bottles to a cheeky luggage tag, here are 17 travel gifts that cost less than $100.
1. Paravel Fold-Up Bag
Buy now: $70, tourparavel.com
Made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles, Paravel’s ultra-light nylon bag collapses and zips down neatly into a small pouch when not in use. It’s a suitable gift for both notorious overpackers who always need a spare bag to bring home souvenirs, as well as for minimalists searching for a new weekender that takes up virtually zero closet space. That said, it holds so much more than you’d expect.
2. Yina Divine Bio-Cellulose Sheet Masks
Buy now: $20 for one, $85 for five, pinkmoon.co
Flying can be harsh on your skin. These moisturizing sheet masks from Yina, an organic skincare brand founded by doctors of Chinese medicine, are packed with skin-soothing ingredients like cucumber root, ginseng, and white peony root. Though they may seem expensive for a sheet mask, just consider them an affordable alternative to a facial at the hotel spa. They’re really that good.
3. Calpak Luka Laptop Backpack
Buy now: $98, calpaktravel.com
Weighing just 1.75 pounds, this lightweight backpack has a pocket for all your travel essentials. There’s one for a 15-inch laptop, as well as a hidden zipper pocket in the luggage sleeve to keep your phone or passport handy. There’s even an entire compartment to keep shoes separate from everything else. The Luka Laptop Backpack is available in classic colors like black and gray, plus limited-edition ones that sell-out quickly.
4. Bombas Gripper Slippers
Nobody wants to pack a full pair of slippers when they travel, but cold feet can put a damper on a cozy cabin getaway. Regular socks may suffice in a pinch, but this pair of Bombas comes with special grippy bottoms to prevent slipping and sliding. Also available in youth and toddler sizes, starting from $22.
5. “Tripping” Luggage Tag
Buy now: $10, genuinefred.com
This luggage tag is a trifecta of gift perfection: It’s useful, beautiful, and just plain funny, too. The pastoral scene emblazoned with the word “TRIPPING” is the work of multimedia artist Wayne White, who’s also known for his Emmy-winning art direction on Pee-wee’s Playhouse in the late ’80s. He’s designed a similarly saucy passport wallet, if you’d like to complete the set.
6. 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 ounces of your favorite face wash, moisturizer, etc. into each capsule from the larger bottle you keep at home. They’re seriously leak-proof, too. (I found them upside down in my dopp kit after checking my bag recently and not a drop had spilled.) Sold individually and in sets, each capsule magnetically attaches to the others so you can build a honeycomb of sorts.
7. Away Jewelry Box
Buy now: $85, awaytravel.com
Traveling with jewelry doesn’t have to be a tangled nightmare. This smooth leather boîte from hard-shell luggage maker Away is cleverly designed with a flat panel for storing earrings, a padded cord for rings, as well as slip pockets for keeping necklaces separate. Chunkier earrings and bracelets can be stored in the center.
8. Anker Magnetic Battery
Buy now: $70, amazon.com
Every traveler needs a powerful portable charger in their tech kit. This one delivers its juice wirelessly to all iPhone 12 and 13 models and magnetically attaches to the back of your phone, so you can use it on the go. It also features a built-in foldable kickstand so you can watch videos on your phone while it charges. When the charger needs recharging itself, just plug it in with a USB Type C cord.
9. Aesop Adventurer Roll Up
Buy now: $65, aesop.com
Even though hand sanitizer shortages are so 2020, it never hurts to upgrade someone’s hand care regimen. This trio includes TSA-friendly bottles of Aesop’s Rinse-Free Hand Wash Gel, Rinse-Free Hand Mist, and Aromatique Hand Balm, all in the Aussie brand’s Resurrection scent—a refreshing blend of mandarin, rosemary, and cedar. The gift set comes with a roll-up pouch designed specifically to hold each one of the bottles.
10. Trtl Travel Pillow
Can you put a price on a good night’s sleep on an airplane? Yes, if you pick up a Trtl Travel Pillow. Ergonomically designed using a lightweight padded frame wrapped in fleece, this under $50 invention provides neck support without the bulk of a traditional travel pillow.
11. Yeti Rambler 20 oz. Tumbler
Buy now: $35, yeti.com
Lukewarm coffee is gross, whether you’re on a road trip or out camping in the woods. The Yeti Rambler Tumbler provides some serious insulation so hot drinks stay hot (or cocktails cold) for hours.
>> Read more: Camping Gift Ideas
12. Dare to Roam Steward Dopp Kit
Buy now: $48, daretoroam.com
Sure, everyone already owns a toiletry bag. But it’s probably coated with a few years’ worth of makeup stains and toothpaste smears. Replace it with this roomy dopp kit from Dare to Roam (founded by singer Ciara) that’s made with a special antimicrobial and water-resistant nylon fabric.
13. Matador Laptop Base Layer
Buy now: $60, matadorup.com
From reusable toiletry bottles to packable beach blankets, Matador makes some of the most durable travel accessories out there. This padded laptop case is no different. Suitable for 13- to 16-inch laptops, it comes with an inner drybag liner that can be rolled over and secured for waterproof protection. Plus, there’s an external pocket to store a charger and a mouse.
14. Teva ReEmber Camp Shoes
Buy now: $75, teva.com
The Teva ReEmber Moc is the ideal travel shoe. Thanks to its easy slip on/off design, you’ll want to wear these slipper-like sneakers everywhere from TSA security lines to lounging around campfires.
15. Opinel No. 10 Corkscrew Stainless Steel Folding Knife
Buy now: $36, food52.com
Anyone planning on camping a lot this summer needs the proper tools to eat—and drink—outside. The dual-purpose Opinel No. 10 Corkscrew Stainless Steel Folding Knife is not only an all-around great knife, but it also has a corkscrew stashed in the handle.
16. Royce New York Leather Vaccine Card Holder
Though local vaccine requirements may have been dropped, many countries still require travelers to show a hard copy of their vaccine card to enter. Protect it with this luxe vaccine card holder from Royce New York that is made of real leather, has a clear vaccine card panel on one side, and includes card slots on the other.
17. Nomadix Original Towel
Buy now: $40, nomadix.com
Sustainable travel accessories are a thoughtful gift for the recipient—and the environment. Made from postconsumer recycled plastic bottles, these fast-drying, stylish travel towels are a multi-purpose solution to any traveler’s towel needs—shower, beach, yoga, camping. Plus, purchases help fund the brand’s beach cleanup initiative, Bare Coast, which organizes coastal community groups to comb shorelines collecting plastic waste. Nomadix also donates 1 percent of its sales (not just profits) to environmental causes via 1% for the Planet.
This article was originally published in November 2021; it was updated with new information in February 2022, and again on May 4, 2022.