While every year seems to bring new Kickstarter campaigns for innovative travel gear, we rarely get to see products designed, created, made, or sold by Black-owned companies. Even though Black travel is a multibillion-dollar industry, we’re still not finding a huge range of travel accessories tailored specifically to this market.
If you need to update your own travel gear or you’re looking for a holiday gift and want to support Black-owned companies, here are a few suggestions of where to start.
We hope you love the products we recommend from Black-owned companies! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to purchase. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
1. Tote & Carry for travel totes
Tony “Stitch Doctor” Dennis is the co-founder of Tote & Carry and an Atlantian by way of Buffalo, New York. He designed his line of affordable luxury travel totes with one idea in mind: “travel with luxury.” Tote & Carry’s designs are made to be eye-catching and tailored in classic lines, and they come in colors as conservative or as bold as you prefer.
Dennis began his career in fashion design in his basement, where he assembled his first handful of pieces on an old sewing machine. From there, he progressed through the ranks, slowly expanding his business until he secured himself as a premier stylist and designer for magazines, TV shows, athletes, and stars.
Tote & Carry makes many bags and totes, but the signature travel set, the Apollo I, is at the core of the brand. Comprised of a small, under-seat backpack and a carry-on tote — both crafted in eco-friendly, snakeskin-embossed leather — these pieces are made for you to carry around the world for a lifetime.
Price: From $158
2. CISE for vegan leather duffle bag
A Los Angeles-based brand CISE, uses its luxury bags and other apparel to convey its strong brand message. Their “Protect Black People” duffel will spread a powerful message wherever your travels take you. CISE also has a community-based focus, giving back by donating to the Anti-Racism Fund.
3. Ebby Rane for luggage
Ebby Rane’s tagline, “never check a bag again,” stands true. Their rolling luggage cases come with multiple pieces to help you organize and maximize space in your carry-on. The Q2 Aviation Gray comes with seven pieces — a laundry bag, shoe bag, essentials pouch, two packing cubes, a luggage tag, and even a suitcase valet for once you reach your destination. If you want to go big, order The Quartermaster, which comes with 12 pieces, including a bag just for underwear, a vanity, and a clutch purse.
Price: From $495
4. JADE Swim for swimwear
Brittany Kozerski, the former fashion market editor at Marie Claire, JADE Swim because she was having trouble finding the perfect swimsuit. Today, her swimsuits might just be your new favorite go-to suit to toss in a carry-on. Designed to act as both a swim and bodysuit and more than just loungewear, they perform just as well in the pool as they do at dinner.
JADE Swim utilizes fabrics that are meant to keep their shape wet or dry, so you never have to worry about wrinkling or bunching. They are made with sustainable fabrics in Los Angeles to exacting standards — and they’re built to last. These pieces are made to be much more than just a simple swimsuit and could become a staple in your resort wardrobe.
Price: From $105
5. Baxter Wood Company for raincoats
Baxter Wood Company is redesigning classic rainy gear with a stylish twist that’s also good for the planet. Kweku Larbi and Sarah Smith founded Baxter Wood Company in 2018 after seeing the amount of plastic that was left unregulated on their trip to Ghana. Their travel essential raincoat is a classic yet modern fishermen’s coat made from 22 plastic bottles and is meant to last. It comes in both men’s and women’s sizes. And when it’s finally time to retire the cherished garment, you can recycle the coat by giving it back to Baxter Wood Company, and you’ll receive a $30 in-store credit.
6. Haute Box for styling service and a personalized box of clothes
One of the most daunting tasks about traveling is knowing what to pack, especially when you know you’ll need a new outfit for the perfect Instagram photo! Haute Box takes all the legwork out of packing and does the shopping for you.
Haute Box offers a personal styling service that will give you a brand-new look without ever having to shop for yourself. All you need to do is pick a size for your box, each of which has a point value, and fill out a survey covering sizes, fit, personal style, and the occasion. A stylist will then choose items based on your needs. If you don’t like surprises, the Haute Box Unlimited service is a styling session that will come with curated looks you can purchase on your own. And there’s also the Haute Box Boutique for items like sunglasses and dresses that are sold in-house.
Price: From $100
7. Ashya for passport holders and other travel accessories
Co-founders Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece created Ashya, which makes products at the confluence of utility and luxury. Several expertly crafted, unisex travel accessories round out the brand. In the company’s philosophy statement, the brand states that its hope is for each piece to help and inspire you to “move more thoughtfully and fluidly throughout the world.”
Sustainability and ethics are at the center of the Ashya line. All of the products are manufactured and assembled in New York City. Ashya is committed to using only responsibly sourced materials, reducing manufacturing waste, and assuring that everyone involved in creating these works is treated well and compensated fairly.
Though all of the pieces are straight-up envy-inducing, the passport bolo might be the most luxurious. Trimmed in hand-tooled, 14-karat gold plated hardware, this bolo can hold your passport, a couple of cards, a bit of cash, and a boarding pass or two. If you’re not sold on wearing it around your neck, you can style it as a skinny belt to wear it around your waist.
Price: From $225
8. Breezy Tee for travel hair towels
If you’re fed up with scratchy hotel towels that seem designed to destroy the natural pattern of your curls, kinks, and coils, you may want to invest in the super packable, jersey-knit Breezy Tee. These are small enough for even the most minimalistic traveler, they dry quickly, and they can protect your hair from frizz and damage.
The line was created by Brie Moore after her own “big chop” and a new commitment to maintaining her own hair, according to the company bio. Finding strategies and products that worked well with her newly natural tresses was a challenging adjustment after years of chemical relaxing. The rough terry cloth typically used in towels caused her hair to frizz, break, and dry out. Instead, she used jersey cotton fabric.
Though their best-known product is the jersey knit towel, there are several other curl protection products in the line. You may also want to pack one of their satin-lined beanies or silk scrunchies to round out your arsenal.
Price: From $27.50
9. Swimma for swim caps
“It is vital that we do not let our children grow up feeling that their hair is a problem because a swim cap is too small,” she told Shoppe Black.
These swim caps come in sizes suited for toddlers, kids, and adults, as well as different capacities to encompass different hairstyles. For folks with locs, braids, afros, and weaves, this product can be a revelation, as traditional swim caps simply aren’t made to fit over such styles. But you may also want to consider them if you’re prone to wearing rollers or a protective style, too.
Price: From $13.95
10. NiLu for travel tea infusers and other accessories
Based in Harlem, NY, NiLu is a Black-owned gift shop that’s all about creating high-quality, unique accessories that make the perfect gifts for your family and friends. The majority of products sold are by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
Every traveler needs a reusable water bottle, but if you prefer a decent cup of tea, this travel tea infuser lets you brew leaves on the go. With this bottle, you’ll get high-quality, freshly-made tea in a double insulated bottle that will keep hot tea hot and cold tea cold, making it perfect for wherever your travels take you. Pair your new bottle with loose-leaf tea leaves from Harlem resident and NiLu’s featured tea sommelier Laura Cepeda. Her line, Modestine tea, sells flavors like “Don’t Stress Me,” made from organic honeybush, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, and citrus to help support the immune system.
Price: From $32
11. Mind the Cork for cardholders
When people purchase vegan leather as an alternative that’s better for the environment, what they don’t realize is that most vegan leather on the market is not actually sustainable. Jenny Espirito Santo, founder of Mind The Cork, is part of the movement creating products that are genuinely sustainable by using the renewable resource, cork.
These slim cardholders are durable, come in 17 different colors, and can hold both cards and paper money. But be quick to order! Because Mind The Cork is built with sustainability in mind, products are ordered in small batches to avoid waste, so it might be a while before your favorite color comes back in stock.
Travel beauty essentials
12. Black Travel Box for TSA-friendly beauty basics
If you’ve ever browsed the travel and trial size section at a pharmacy, you’ve likely noticed a lack of products tailored to Black hair and skin. This is the gap in the market that Black Travel Box seeks to fill with its Carry On Starter Box, which is a collection of mini-sized, TSA-friendly beauty basics tailor-made for melanin-rich hair and skin.
Founder Orion Brown started Black Travel Box after not being able to find products that suit the specific requirements of her hair and skin while traveling. Instead of trying yet another internet-sourced “travel hack” or attempting to sneak full-sized products past the TSA, she created the Black Travel Box to help travelers of color.
Whether you’re traveling down the road or around the world, this is a super easy, convenient way to have access to elegant personal care no matter where you end up.
Price: From $35
13. Black Girl Sunscreen for sunscreen
For us melanated folks, finding a sunscreen that delivers excellent protection without leaving a lavender-hued whitish film on our bodies can feel downright impossible. And for many of us, our skin is too sensitive to handle some of the harsh chemicals that sunscreen can contain. Enter Shontay Lundy’s Black Girl Sunscreen.
Lundy created Black Girl Sunscreen in part to educate Black and brown folks about the need to wear sunscreen. “Normally, Black people don’t wear sunscreen because we weren’t taught to do so,” she told Business Insider. By designing a product that eliminates many of the complaints that people of color commonly have with traditional sunscreens, she’s hoping to both tap into an underutilized market and educate people on how to care for their skin.
With two products currently in the line, the flagship SPF 30 formula and a new SPF 50 version for kids, Lundy has garnered lots of excellent press, a multi-million-dollar valuation on the company, and thousands of five-star reviews from thankful and satisfied customers. Though it began as an online-only endeavor, you can now find Lundy’s products at Amazon.
If you are looking for more wellness products, check out our list of the best beauty products for Black travelers.
Price: From $18.99