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When you think of where to buy travel gear, you probably just think of specialty or travel specific stores. However, you might be surprised at how many things from your packing list can be bought at places you hadn’t considered, often at much lower prices.
We’ve talked about shopping at thrift or secondhand stores for travel gear and even looking online for travel gear bargains, but there are even more great places to buy affordable essentials.
Home and Organization Stores
Home stores aren’t just for when you’re moving and need new furniture and storage solutions. You can pick up a surprising number of items here that can also help you on the road, if you know where to look.
IKEA: The Swedish wonderstore Ikea carries their own brand of luggage and packing cubes, not to mention travel mugs, ponchos, electronics cases and neck pillows.
They also have travel bottles, umbrellas and duffels. Just be sure you make a list of exactly the items you want to check out or else you’ll most likely get lost in the Ikea abyss for an entire day!
Muji: Muji is a Japanese company that has stores worldwide selling home goods with a travel section. Here you’ll find everything from comfy clothing for long haul flights to duffels and suitcases as well as travel bottles, pouches, pillows and converters.
Dollar Stores: Dollar stores and discount stores are also ideal for picking up those knickknacks you’ve waited until the last minute to buy. I usually go to these stores for items like bag locks, door stops, sewing kits, and travel-sized toiletries.
You can also pick up everything from travel mugs to laundry bags to sleep masks. It helps that everything is only $1 or thereabouts!
Container Store: If you’re based in the United States, another surprising place is the haven for organization: the Container Store. In addition to travel organizers like packing cubes in every shape and size, they also sell luggage from brands like Eagle Creek and Pacsafe.
Also pick up your travel clothesline, mini sewing kit, jewelry cases and compression socks. But be sure to check the website before heading to the store as stock may vary.
Depending on where you live, your local Home Depot (or Bunnings down under) might have some extras just for your packing list. Think of things like carabiner clips, flashlights, duct tape, and cord organization options.
Locks you can use for your luggage (yes, some even have the TSA-friendly ones), along with plug adapters, and even basic camping supplies (camp stove, fold-up chairs, etc.) might be on offer.
Garage and estate sales
Before you get bent out of shape about getting pre-owned travel gear, consider the fact that many people have items sitting in their garages that have only been used a few times. You never know what you might find!
It could be a like-new travel backpack or a vintage steamer trunk (not great for travel, but awesome home decor). And don’t forget about sporting equipment, electronics and technical clothing.
Check your local newspaper or drive past neighborhoods to see when these sales are going on.
No, Etsy isn’t just for jewelry or cards or home decor. They have a Luggage and Travel section where you’ll find everything from camera straps to luggage tags to backpacks to passport covers. Not to mention some of our favorite products like Speakeasy travel scarves!
You can also find vintage pieces of luggage.
This one’s probably our most likely of the unlikely places to buy travel gear, but we thought we’d throw it in anyway in case you hadn’t thought of it. If you are on the hunt for a deal on something specific, try the online bidding site Ebay.
You can watch the prices and, if you’re prepared to stalk it out, get travel gear for well below retail. Brooke got her first backpack, the Osprey Ariel 55, in “like new” condition for under $100 on Ebay, which would normally be in the $250 range.
Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and Local Sales Websites
Buying local allows you to see before you buy while also getting a deal. Scour these sales websites for brand new or like new luggage, backpacks, photo equipment and more.
I’ve seen backpacks that would ordinarily cost upwards of $200 sold for $75 or best offer! And don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Craft stores, like Michaels in the US or Spotlight in Australia, are a treasure trove of items that can be used when traveling. Our favorites are tiny containers meant for organizing craft supplies. These can be used for storing toiletries, earrings, mini sewing kits, and the like.
Jewelry pouches work well for extra lightweight organization, and let’s not forget about the possibility of using vials and dropper bottles meant for inks as alternative liquids containers.
Fishing & Outdoor Sports Shops
A big part of preparing for fishing trips is sun protection. Therefore, fishing shops are often excellent places to scope out packable hats, polarized sunglasses, and quick-drying tops that have built-in sun protection.
You can also score water shoes, flip-flops or sandals in fishing shops!
It doesn’t stop there. Places like Bass Pro Shops, while housing a range of gear for hunting, fishing, and boating, also have a wide selection of cute travel clothing, comfortable shoes, and camping supplies.
Have you shopped for travel gear at any other unlikely places?