Holiday Gift Guide: Best Luggage and Travel Accessories for 2022

Travel and Luggage

If you’re shopping for gifts for your road warrior this holiday season, we’ve got you covered when making a list and checking it twice. After all, this has been the year of “revenge travel,” and I’ve been flying and cruising more in 2022 than I have in the past – even before the pandemic. With all that time in the skies and on waterways around the world, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to test drive new luggage and travel accessories so that you don’t have to, and I’ve compiled some of my favorites in this holiday gift guide.

I’ve always had favorite carry-on bags and suitcases that I use for most trips – but those selections often change when I check out and review new pieces. Luggage companies are constantly updating and improving their bags – from making them more lightweight and durable – to adding nifty and innovative features. If there’s something unique that a new suitcase offers, then I’ll typically go with that for a while when I travel.

Many new bags are designed to have more packable space, so if you must take a smaller carry-on bag for whatever reason (and not a checked bag), it’s now possible to stash all your stuff in a sleeker option. It’s also freeing to travel with less luggage, especially with the airlines canceling and delaying flights and losing checked bags. If you can travel with a carry-on bag, you’ll be guaranteed to have all your belongings when you arrive.

In addition to my top luggage picks, I’ve included accessories and smaller bags that will simplify the packing process, organize your stuff and maximize whatever space you have. There are also a few fun items that make great stocking stuffers.

So, if you’re ready to find the best gifts for family or friends that will be hitting the road, flying in the skies, or sailing on the high seas – or you’re personally looking to invest in a few new pieces for travel – here are my top picks for the best luggage and travel accessories for 2022.

Ricardo Rodeo Drive 2.0 Carry-On

                                               Ricardo Rodeo Drive 2.0 Carry-On

I’m going to brag about this piece since I was shocked at how much I could pack into the carry-on bag – and that it could hold enough clothing and shoes for me for three days. Besides its impressive capacity, I also love the durability of the exterior shell – a textured scratch resistant 100% Makrolon® by Covetsro polycarbonate. The bag is well built with recessed, dual smooth-rolling any-direction wheels, top and side carry handles and a sturdy telescoping handle with triangulated tubes for enhanced strength. There’s also a Travel Sentry®-recognized combination lock and a covered USB port for charging your devices.

The spacious interior is lined with beautiful soft fabric and has several great pockets and features. I like the second packing compartment with a zipper divider and the adjustable compression wings in the main section to flatten and secure your clothes. There are also two zippered pockets in the partition, a zippered side pocket, a removable laundry bag, a detachable TSA-friendly plastic bag, a pouch for your removable battery and the internally routed cord to the USB port.

This is my top pick if you’re looking for an attractive, sleek, smartly organized and well-made carry-on bag.

Weight: 8.6 lbs. Overall dimensions: 23.25 in. H x 15.25 in. W x 9.75 in. D

Price: $229.99

Beis Convertible Mini-Weekender

      Beis Mini Weekender

I opted to buy the Beis Convertible Mini Weekender to downsize the extras and accessories that I take on work trips. It’s challenging to use a smaller bag when you need a computer, notebooks, batteries, charging cables, jump drives and other items – and keep them organized – and take personal items, too. I’m also not good with packing just one or two pairs of shoes or skipping on accessories, so my goal was to find the perfect bag that looked stylish yet ticked all the boxes regarding functionality and space.

I like the durable material of this bag (I bought it in grey), the rolled handles (vegan leather), the wide-open zippered top and the spacious interior where I can pack the TSA-size bag of toiletries, items I didn’t want in my checked bag and my laptop. My laptop even fits in the padded sleeve in its padded, zippered protective cover. There’s also an interior key-ring strap and other pockets inside, a small zippered outside pocket for items like your passport and boarding pass, an external trolley pass through and an optional shoulder strap.

One of the features that sold me on the bag was the completely detachable bottom compartment that comfortably fits two pairs of shoes and a few other small items. I didn’t plan to use the bag without the base attached – although you can – but I liked that the top of the detachable bottom was sturdier than it is on the regular Beis Weekender shoe compartment (which doesn’t fully detach). I also prefer the size of the smaller bag because I was concerned about the weight when carrying it full – and without a wheeled suitcase to support the load. It gets heavy to take on its own when walking through long airport corridors (trust me). The ideal situation would be to travel with this bag as a personal item and secure it on top of your carry-on suitcase if you’re flying. You can also purchase one of these small luggage trolleys if it’s too heavy to carry by itself.

Weight: 3.4 lbs. Dimensions: 16 in. L x 16 in. W x 8 in. D

Price: $108.00 (on the Beis website)

Travelpro Maxlite Air Medium Check-In Expandable Hardside Spinner

Travelpro Maxlite Air Medium Check-In Expandable Hardside Spinner

I waited a while to check out this bag because I was trying to find a clear plastic cover to protect it. I don’t have to tell you what bags look like after one or two flights (beat up not new anymore), so I had to find the right size to keep the champagne color intact – at least for a few trips.

The lightweight bag – at just 8.5 pounds – is made with 100% polycarbonate, so the exterior is tough and won’t split, crack or puncture. The finish is also resistant to scuffs and scratches – and the company goes through rigorous testing to ensure the bag can withstand roughing up by baggage handlers. The spinner also has a built-in TSA lock, a zippered expansion that extends two additional inches, two zippered divider panels to keep your items secure en route and accessory pockets. As a bonus, the interior lining is eco-friendly and made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. I appreciate the two roomy compartments in the bag since they don’t have the support bars you get with soft-side luggage. It makes it easier to pack more inside and even use packing cubes (if that’s your thing).

Other features include the PowerScope Lite handle that extends to two locked positions – 38 inches and 42.5 inches. You’ll also love the ease of rolling the bag through terminals, train stations and even on those European cobblestone streets with eight smooth-gliding spinner wheels that rotate 360 degrees.

Weight: 8.5 lbs. Overall dimensions: 27.5 in. L x 17.5 W x 11 in. D

Price: $186.99 (on Amazon)

Eagle Creek Caldera Convertible International Carry-On


Made with 100% recycled Cordura® water-resistant polyester, this convertible international-size carry-on duffel is versatile and ideal for short excursions out of town, work trips or overnight hiking trips. The bag has many excellent features, including hidden zip-away backpack straps and a zip-off daypack. The interior is generous in size with a zippered mesh pocket, and it’s compatible with Eagle Creek’s Pack-It bags and organizers. There’s also a large front compartment, a padded laptop sleeve, an exterior pocket to store last-minute items, and a built-in NFC chip and ID tag window. I also like that the duffel has wheels when it’s too heavy to carry, and the retractable handle is in a zippered compartment. You can also secure the exterior zippers with straps that latch on the front of the bag.

Weight: 6.2 lbs. Overall dimensions: 20 in. L x 33.5 in. W x 13.5 in. D

Price: $469.00 (On Eagle Creek’s website)

Ricardo Rodeo Drive 2.0 Medium Check-In

Ricardo Rodeo Drive 2.0 Medium Check-In

Since I was such a big fan of the Ricardo Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive 2.0 Carry-On, I couldn’t wait to check out this larger bag from the same company, especially in the beautiful Silver Lilac color. Made of the same durable and scratch resistant 100% Makrolon® by Covetsro polycarbonate as the line’s smaller piece, this expandable checked bag is nearly unbreakable and perfect for extended vacations and getaways. Features of the check-in piece include protective corner guards, an externally mounted telescopic handle with a comfortable, rubberized grip and vegan leather accents. The well-organized interior features a fun print with a suiter system that includes a secondary packing compartment, a zippered divider, and a hanger loop. There’s also a removable laundry bag, a side zip pocket and a pair of shoe bags.

Additional exterior features include 360-degree recessed, dual smooth-rolling any-direction wheels; a Travel Sentry®-recognized combination lock; top and side carry handles with a bottom carry grip and a secure and a recessed card holder. And the interior features a colorful and bold print with Panetone’s color of the year (2022), Very Peri. This collection is a top pick of mine for hard-side luggage. They also make a large, checked bag for even longer trips away from home.

Weight: 10.2 lbs. Overall dimensions: 23.25 in. L x 15.25 in. W x 9.75 in. D

Price: $249.99 (On Ricardo Beverly Hill’s website)

Eagle Creek Migrate Wheeled Duffel Bag 110L

Eagle Creek Migrate-Wheeled-Duffel-130L

I was introduced to Eagle Creek’s wheeled duffels when writing a piece for a major outlet on the best travel duffel bags. Eagle Creek’s duffels typically appear on many of the best duffel bags lists, so when I found out I was headed to Antarctica, I decided to check out the bags for myself.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pack up my cold weather gear in a tough-as-nails duffel to visit the far reaches of the Earth and the Last Continent. Of course, in my excitement, I requested the 130L size knowing that I always overpack only pack what I need, and I thought I would require this much space. In the end, I swapped the larger bag for the 110L size, which was a much better choice. And if I need more space, it has the capacity to expand to 114L.

The Migrate Duffel Bags are made from 100% recycled materials – and they are a customer favorite as they’re water-resistant, extremely durable, and have a wide opening for loading all your gear and clothing. Tuck-away backpack straps are included if you’re up for the challenge of carrying your bag rather than wheeling it along. Just in case you’re wondering, that won’t be me. I’m all about the “wheeled” part of this duffel bag.

The external compression straps keep gear in place, and there’s a #10 lockable main zipper with a large finger loop, should you need to open your bag and you’re wearing gloves in sub-degree temperatures. The bathtub construction prevents water from entering the bag – even when placed in a puddle – and the treaded wheels are heavy-duty, yet move smoothly with minimal effort, even over rough terrain. If you’re buying a gift for your outdoor adventurer, this is definitely a bag you’ll want to consider

I chose the Mesa Blue color, so I’ll recognize my bag immediately as it comes around the luggage carousel. The duffel also comes in more basic colors like black and a light grey (River Rock) and a cranberry red (Burnt Berry) or another bold shade, Dandelion Yellow, which is orange with green trim (as in the photo).

Weight: 5.2 lbs. Overall Dimensions: 14.5 in. H x 30 in. L x 13 in. D (regular capacity)

Price: $169.00 (on Eagle Creek’s website)

Dux Backpack 30L by STM Goods

Dux Backpack 30L by STM Goods

I was interested in trying out this backpack because of the nifty pockets and storage spaces that make it versatile for different types of travel. The Dux Backpack is also padded, so it’s a better option for carrying fragile items like laptops and cameras. The company claims it has a “360-degree foam fortress” around the bag, and it is much sturdier and heavier than a traditional lightweight backpack.

The features of the pack include protected, padded and suspended spaces for laptops and tablets. The wide-open interior can be divided into three compartments by attaching removable shelving with Velcro. This configuration is perfect for carefully packing and storing cameras and lenses. There’s also another space at the top accessible from the exterior zipper. Other notable highlights include a small, soft, cushioned zippered pocket and drop-down zippered pockets inside the top of the bag and two large side entry zippered flaps that are convenient for access when using the interior dividers. Inside those flaps, you’ll find additional zippered and pocket storage spaces for small electronic items like chargers, batteries, cords, headphones and camera essentials like memory cards and card readers. And on the outside of the flaps, there are pockets for holding a smartphone, ID, or other small items for quick storage – or they can expand to accommodate water bottles or oversized items.

If that’s not enough, you’ll find a deep stash back zippered pocket for items you’ll want to secure like passports and wallets. The padded straps are ergonomically designed. There’s also a lumbar support that doubles as a pass-through to attach to the handle of a wheeled suitcase. Plus, there is a padded zippered pouch that comes with the backpack.

Weight: 3.92 lbs. Overall dimensions: 20 in. H x 13 in. W x 9.5 in. D

Price: $249.95 (on STM Goods’ website)

Ranier Deluxe Backpack 17L

Ranier Deluxe Backpack 17L

If you’re looking for a traditional backpack with lots of great features, then check out this version from The Skyway Luggage Co. The items in the Ranier collection are manufactured from recycled PET plastics (recycled water bottles) that are converted into fabrics – rather than sitting in landfills or littering our oceans. Depending on the size of the bag, between six to 26 bottles are used for each product. This backpack is made with 10 recycled plastic bottles.

The Deluxe Backpack is designed to safely transport a laptop with its interior padded pocket. Additional interior and exterior pockets and zippered compartments keep small items organized. The generous interior is perfect for carrying other work essentials – or even stashing a quick change of clothes. Other features include multiple carrying options, with top bail carry handles; a side-mounted handle; and the adjustable, padded backpack straps that tuck away into a back compartment. You can even place the bag over the handle of a wheeled case with the strap on the back.

Price: $99.99 (on The Skyway Luggage Co. website)

Baggallini Naples Convertible Backpack

Baggallini Naples Convertible Backpack

My go-to travel bag is typically a Longchamp Le Pliage Nylon Backpack. And I prefer backpacks over traditional handbags most of the time when I’m traveling since they’re easy to toss on your back, free up your hands and don’t fall off your shoulders like so many other types of handbags do. So, when the company reached out, I was excited to check out a different style backpack (and a colorful one) for my next several trips.

I have other Baggallini items, and I do like the line. This bag is another winner. I love all the slots and pockets that allow for quick access, especially for your smartphone and keys. The RFID-blocking card slots are an excellent addition so you can put credit cards and a driver’s license directly in the bag and not bring a larger wallet, but maybe just pack a small wallet for your cash. There’s also a padded tablet pocket and convertible straps so the bag can either be a sling or a traditional backpack. I like the size of the bag since it held everything I needed and more for an international trip – and I could stash small items like my earphones and the charging cord for my iPhone in individual pockets where I could easily find them. What’s more – the bag comes in a lot of unique colors and prints, including the pretty shade of lavender that I have.

Price: $110.00 (on Baggallini’s website)

Tribit FlyBuds C1 Pro

Tribit FlyBuds C1 Pro

The wireless technology with these earbuds, called hybrid ANC, features Audiodo Personal Sound™ technology which, “allows users to completely custom tune their listening experience for both their music and phone calls.” With the in-ear design that physically blocks out the noise, these earbuds are an excellent choice for travelers, especially when trying to listen to music on loud planes or in busy airports. Other features include up to 36 hours of listening time between the charging case and the buds, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connection up to 32 feet and an IPX4 waterproof rating. In addition, there are tactile mechanical press buttons to play music or answer a call – and the earbuds come with six sizes of antibacterial ear tips to ensure the perfect fit. What I noticed immediately was how well these blocked out the surrounding noise. The clarity when listening to music on my iPhone is so impressive that I can hear sounds in the background that I missed in the past with my traditional earbuds. I’m even looking forward to using these to work out and listen to music or watch television upstairs in our exercise room. Now that’s inspiration.

Price: $90.99 (on Tribit’s website)

trtl Cool Travel Pillow

trtl Cool Travel Pillow

If you’re looking for a soft, non-bulky and not inflatable pillow option for your favorite frequent flyer, check out this unique design from trtl. The soft fleece fabric is hypoallergenic, washable, and wraps around your neck like a cozy sling. Once you have a comfortable and snug fit, you can secure the “pillow” with the Velcro strap. And the internal support structure keeps your head in an ergonomic position, so you won’t wake up with a sore and stiff neck after your nap. It also comes with a pouch that you can attach to the hardware on your carry-on bag or purse. The company makes other fun accessories great for stocking stuffers, including travel wallets and compression socks.

Price: $59.99 (This new pillow will be available on on trtl’s website beginning Nov. 25, 2022.)

Pack-It by Eagle Creek

                         Pack-It by Eagle Creek

I love the Pack-It pieces from Eagle Creek because they’re lightweight, made of 100% recycled fabric and they’re treated with “Protx2®, an anti-microbial agent formulated to combat harmful, odor-causing bacteria for effective, long-lasting stink protection.” Every time I return home from a trip, I have to air out the luggage and clothes, and all the packing materials (plastic bags, shoe bags, etc.) or wash everything (which no one wants to have to do). So, this is a game-changer. If you want to give a collection of versatile packing pieces and cubes, these are some of Pack-It’s top picks to get your traveler organized in style.

The Starter Kit includes a folding board and instructions on the best techniques to fold your clothes, and the large packing folder holds up to 12 items, perfect for use in a carry-on bag. Packing with this method also keeps wrinkles to a minimum, in addition to maximizing space. Another top accessory is the Isolate Compression Cube Set, which includes a small and medium cube. I love the compression feature as it saves even more space in your suitcase, especially when you’re limited to a carry-on piece. Two other items to consider are the Containment Set, which has three bags perfect for small or damp items and bringing back dirty clothes. The one cube is two-sided so you can separate what’s left of your clean clothes from the ones that are dirty. And the Shoe Sac will keep one to two pairs of shoes (depending on the size and style) separate from the other items in the suitcase or duffel.

Price range: $13.00 – $60.00 (The collection of pieces is available on Eagle Creek’s website.)

Here are two other articles with additional travel gear accessories and favorites:

Best Travel Accessories for 2021

10 Gadgets and Accessories to Make Your Summer Travel a Breeze


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