Inflation-Busting Travel Gear

Make your travel budget work, whether you’re comfortably roughing it, or looking for deals without compromising quality and features.

The post-pandemic travel boom has pushed American domestic leisure travel and overall travel spending above pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, travel spending is up in part because of inflation, with prices of flights, car rentals, hotels and meals away from home also higher than in 2019.

In response, consumers are looking for ways to stretch their travel dollars — and the right gear can make the difference. A thoughtful, lightweight bag or accessory can help consumers go carry-on only (especially on no-frills airlines), feel comfortable in budget accommodations, make the best of low-cost choices, and get no-compromise features at a great price.

Commit to Carry-on Only $48-$299.99

With consumers hungry to travel and looking for deals, low-cost airlines are enjoying an extraordinary post-COVID resurgence. Ryanair and Wizz Air report higher 2022 sales compared to 2019, before the COVID era. In the U.S., low-cost airlines like Breeze and Spirit are adding multiple new routes. And travelers are benefitting from their healthy competition.

There is one catch.

With a few notable exceptions (Southwest Airlines’ “bags fly free” policy), budget carriers have aggressive and complicated baggage fee structures. For example, Allegiant charges fees to use their overhead bins and to check luggage. Only underseat bags are free on Allegiant Air — and underseat dimensions are typically 18” x 14” x 8.” French Bee is one of the many European airlines that weigh carry-ons, and will charge to check them if they are over 12 kg (26 lbs).

But, navigating hidden fees can be worth it to score fares under $50. This quartet of bags will help you commit to carry-on and keep all that inflation-busting savings.

A great value for little travelers, Stephen Joseph children’s Rolling Luggage allows young fliers to transport their own carry-on. And (critically for low-cost airlines), the bags are a perfect underseat size. Stay organized with two compartments and a large outer pocket, all in a multitude of charming prints. Luggage and handle height are child-size — but the handle extends so a grown-up can comfortably pull it, too.

Stephen Joseph children’s Rolling Luggage
Photograph courtesy of Stephen Joseph

Available in a rainbow of gorgeous prints (including sharks, leopard, dinos and unicorns), Stephen Joseph children’s Rolling Luggage fits easily underseat (12.5″ x 6.5″ x 18″) for easy snack and blankie access and fee-free travel. MSRP: $48

Sales contact: Conny Rector,, 806-791-2877

Ultralight and ultra-durable, the Manhattan Portage Packable Three Decker Duffel is perfect for budget airlines that restrict carry-on weight. Fitting easily within underseat dimensions and weighing in at 0.32 kg/0.71 lbs, the duffle is designed with a large main compartment with an additional zippered mesh compartment for keeping smaller items organized, plus a large zippered external pocket and one smaller slip pocket.

Manhattan Portage Packable Three Decker Duffel
Photograph courtesy of Manhattan Portage

The feather-light Manhattan Portage Packable Three Decker Duffel is constructed of water-resistant fabric and offers two carry options: a top-carry handle and a shoulder strap. At 12.5” x 7” x 17” it fits easily underseat, and can be folded for storage into its own external back pocket. MSRP: $119

Sales contact: David Chen,, 212-925-1085 x-102

Everything you need and nothing you don’t, the Travelers Club EVA Euro Value II Collection 3PCS Value will inspire you to commit to carry-on only with a matching 20” Carry-on, 14” Boarding Tote (easily fitting underseat), and 10” Travel Kit for your toiletries and essentials.

Travelers Club EVA Euro Value II Collection 3PCS Value Set
Photograph courtesy of Travelers Club

The 600 dernier polyester Travelers Club EVA Euro Value II Collection 3PCS Value Set includes 20” Carry-on with telescopic handle, inline blade wheels, and two spacious front accessory pockets; 14” Boarding Tote with padded handle and removable shoulder strap; and a 10” Travel Kit. MSRP: $135

Sales contact: Sam Hur,, 714-523-8808 x-215

A recent Briggs & Riley travel trend survey found that 83% of consumers consider cost first when planning a vacation — and that carry-on bags were preferred by 73% of respondents over checked luggage. The Briggs & Riley Expandable Cabin Bag, part of their reimagined Baseline Collection, fits easily underseat, but also expands 4” if needed (or if overhead bins are available at no charge). A three-section design includes a garment panel which reduces creasing in transit, a SpeedThru™ pocket providing convenient access to your stored items at security checkpoints, and a front organizer.

Briggs & Riley Expandable Cabin Bag
Photograph courtesy of Briggs & Riley

The Briggs & Riley Expandable Cabin Bag increases from 25L to 31L in volume. The three-section design is constructed of exceptionally durable ballistic nylon fabric, soft contrasting interior lining, and self-repairing YKK® RC zippers with lockable double zipper pulls.

Sales contact: Julie Hoffman,, 631-741-1933

Rough it Without Regret $24.99-$39.99

Forgoing hotel accommodations is a great way to travel on the cheap — and enjoy a culturally immersive experience. Hostels and campgrounds can be great options, but for a peaceful and delicious experience try a farm stay (check out Farm Stay Australia or Agriturismo in Italy for examples) or Monastery Stays. But non-traditional accommodations may lack amenities. Rough it without regret with this trio of inexpensive travel luxuries. If you’re experimenting with budget accommodations, it’s important to have a backup plan in case your bedding is unimpressive — or non-existent. The Talus Smooth Trip Travel & Sleeping Bag Liner folds down into a convenient 3.5″ x 9″ tube to be tucked into your carry-on — just in case. The silky polyester pongee fabric with built-in pillow pocket will add a luxurious layer to your sleeping bag, or keep you protected from questionable bedding.
Talus Smooth Trip Travel & Sleeping Bag Liner
Photograph courtesy of Talus

Roughing it? Upgrade your camping or hostel experience with the Talus Smooth Trip Travel & Sleeping Bag Liner. The liner unfolds to a generous 33.5″ x 86.5” and is naturally mold and mildew resistant. In silky-soft quick-dry polyester pongee with an included travel bag. MSRP: $24.99

Sales contact: Sue Osier,, 207-871-9230

The best combination of strength and light weight, the 12 oz Ultralight Starter Hammock by Grand Trunk adds breezy seating to your campsite or cabin. It features triple-lock stitched seams and two nautical-grade carabiners for durability.

Ultralight Starter Hammock by Grand Trunk
Photograph courtesy of Grand Trunk

King Rhombic ripstop polyester Ultralight Starter Hammock by Grand Trunk is designed for one person, with a lounging capacity of 300 lbs and unfolded dimensions: 9’6” x 4’6.” MSRP: $29.99

Sales contact: Kevin Kaiser,

Opting for car camping? Pump that air mattress (or giant inflatable flamingo) with the mini yet mighty Flextailgear TINY PUMP 2X. The 3-in-1 pump also works as a vacuum, compressing vacuum storage bags in 30 seconds, as well as a 10-hour reading light. We recommend spending a few more dollars for the adorable Flame Lampshade.

Flextailgear TINY PUMP 2X
Photograph courtesy of Flextailgear

Streamline your camping experience with the multifunctional, truly pocket-size Flextailgear TINY PUMP 2X — 8” x 1.7” x 2.3” and 96g, as small as your AirPods. MSRP: $39.99 ($45.99 with Flame Lampshade)

Sales contact: Henry Yu,, +86-136-7152-9080

Upgrade Your Experience $25.95-$39.95

Sometimes the best way to tighten your travel budget is to get back to basics. This trio of clever, affordable accessories will help you upgrade your existing bag, comfortably save money by shopping at local supermarkets, trek through local (often free) attractions, and upgrade your economy seat.

The MouseStrap replaces your existing shoulder strap with an instantly retractable padded strap that won’t drag on a dirty floor, snag on armrests, or flop inelegantly off your briefcase. It’s great for packed airport shuttles, underseat storage, public transportation, and other crowded environments.

Photograph courtesy of MouseStrap

Save money and upgrade your existing your briefcase, duffle, or camera bag with the MouseStrap, a retractable universal shoulder strap that won’t dangle or snag. MouseStrap LLC provides jobs for a cottage industry of neighbors in North Wilkesboro, NC. MSRP: $25.95

Sales contact:  Bill Joyner,, 833-MY-MOUSE (696-6873)

Want a culturally immersive experience and money savings? Live like a local: shop at local markets, and then trek through cultural attractions and walking tours with a bottle of water and a sandwich stowed in your day pack. Weighing just 2.5 oz, the 20L Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack packs down to the size of a tennis ball. Stow it in your checked bag or carry-on, and you’ll be ready for any day trip.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack
Photograph courtesy of Sea to Summit
Tuck the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack into the corner of your checked bag, or clip it to your carry-on with the attached carabiner. Explore your destination on foot as you comfortably carry up to 15 lbs of groceries, bag lunch or souvenirs. MSRP: $39.95 Sales contact:

The unique, multi-functional Serenity Tray Organizer slips over your tray table, providing a clean surface when your tray is down, and four functional organizer pockets when the tray is up. Easily access toys, devices and snacks — Serenity’s lightweight, antimicrobial and washable material is strong enough to hold a laptop.

Serenity Tray Organizer
Photograph courtesy of Serenity Organizer

Cover a dirty airline tray and stash all your belongings within easy reach in the antimicrobial Serenity Tray Organizer. When you land, slide the organizer off and it transforms into a washable drawstring tote, ensuring you deplane with all your essentials. MSRP: $45

Sales contact:  Audrey Hanneman,, 310-963-3051

All the Bang Without the Bucks $99.99-$189.99

When you need to invest in new luggage but still want a great price, this trio of bags has it all. Enjoy thoughtful design, sustainable construction and unique style at reasonable price points.

Mobile Edge backpacks are designed to be feature-rich, protective, and not break the bank. The collection includes value-priced laptop backpacks for students, award-winning bags for gamers, and commuter bags and air travel personal items. The ScanFast™ Backpack 2.0, part of the Mobile Edge ECO Collection, is fabricated from a corn-based material which requires 30% less energy to manufacture, reducing greenhouse emissions. The ScanFast 2.0 follows TSA guidelines, allowing an unobstructed security scan of the computer. As you speed through security checkpoints your laptop can stay in your bag, protected from thieves and bumps.

Mobile Edge ScanFast™ Backpack 2.0
Photograph courtesy of Mobile Edge

The eco-friendly Mobile Edge ScanFast™ Backpack 2.0 fits laptops up to 17” with plenty of additional room for mobile devices and accessories. Mobile Edge offers aggressive pricing for bulk purchases and specializes in branding products with customer imprints. MSRP: $99.99

Sales contact: Paul June,, 310-503-1149

Showstopping style, sustainable construction: the earthy, edgy Vaan & Co Hardy Tan Duffel is handcrafted using upcycled 100% genuine leather. The personal item-size duffle (20″ x 11″ x 7″) with removable shoulder strap and exterior pocket goes equally well with jeans or a business suit.

Vaan & Co products are constructed using the technique of hand patching, with no two bags exactly alike.

Hardy Tan Duffel from Vaan & Co.
Photograph courtesy of Vaan & Co

The Hardy Tan Duffel is part of the Vaan & Co Collection, upcycling one leather remnant at a time since 2015. Upcycling can be greener than recycling, as recycling requires energy and resources to collect, sort and process unwanted items. MSRP: $179

Sales contact: Jay D,, 732-798-6710

Travel sustainably in the family-size Solo Re:treat Check-In from the new Solo Re:cycled Collection. Made from recycled PET water bottles and recycled ABS plastic from household appliances and automobile parts, the Solo Re:cycled Collection is one of the most sustainable luggage lines on the market. Roomy, durable, and water-resistant, this full featured, full-size bag is both ethically produced and reasonably priced.

solo Re:treat Check-In
Photograph courtesy of Solo

The roomy Solo Re:treat Check-In features green design, germ-resistant antimicrobial coating, lockable zipper pulls, interior travel checklist, and a 76.5 L capacity organized with a full complement of exterior and interior pockets and compression straps. MSRP: $189.99

Sales contact: Nick Byrne,, 631-434-7070

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published.


Advertisement 1


Facebook Feed

Advertisement 2