Travel2020: 9 travel gadgets you never knew you needed
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
This year’s Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas brought forth plenty of new luggage, carry-on solutions, and novel ways to rest on a plane. But the show, which brings together buyers and manufacturers in this $31.1 billion market, also highlighted solutions for things not always identified as problems.
Some useful, if not quirky, innovations surfaced that deserve their moment in the spotlight, even if that light is a dim beam streaming from a ceiling panel on a plane.
1. Heys Transparent Luggage.
For those who have no shame in showing off their underwear or fur-lined handcuffs, Heys Luggage offers a translucent three-piece spinner luggage collection that lets the light shine through. The polycarbonate container comes in soft transparent hues.
Each piece (it comes in 21-, 26- and 30-inch sizes) has a TSA-approved combination lock and can be expanded by 20% through a zipper system. The items start at $299.99 or $1,019.99 for the three-piece see-through set.
2. The EazyCushion.
This item becomes a tool for better middle seat management. We have all been there — the sleeper leaning into us as we fly; the overweight seat mate who bulges deep into our personal space; the middle seat moment with inconsiderate seat mates who take up all the arm space.
EazyCushion is a new twist on an old problem. Made from 3.5 inches of sturdy memory foam, its shape allows passengers to insert it on their side of the armrest with a personal ledge to use an uncontested arm rest. The rest of the cushion serves as a kind of air barrier between the seats to discourage creeping arms and shoulders from neighbors.
The 13-by-13-inch, 15-ounce item easily fits into carry-on luggage and can also serve as a lumbar cushion or extra pillow when needed, as well. The patented EazyCushion sells for $23.95.
3. The FootFidget.
This contraption goes far beyond digit spinning to help nervous nellies get over their fears of flying. The passenger places a foot on the bouncy contraption on the floor and can jiggle away tension.
But that’s not all. The FootFidget also serves as an exercise implement for long plane flights. The fidgety, bouncy, repetitive activity actually improves circulation and staves off DVT? The Traveler FootFidget retails for $60.
4. The Airhook.
The Airhook actually packs plenty of purpose for what it is. The Airhook is a plastic widget of screws and forms that affixes to the airline tray table and holds your beverage as well as your phone or iPad with an easy adjustment.
If good things come in small boxes, this is a powerful convenience tool that is useful on planes, in cars, and even on kitchen counters. It folds into wallet-sized dimensions and weighs about as much as a poor man’s bill fold. The Airhook retails for $30.
5. The Igloo.
The Igloo Travel Pillow was this year’s top choice for those ever-present airplane neck pillows. The red and black memory foam pillow looks like something you might wear after a rear-end car accident.
The cushion completely wraps the neck in 360-degree comfort, supporting the weight of the head and offering strength of support around the neck muscles. The cushioning reaches half way up the head to add some sound protection and privacy.
The item comes with a lumbar cushion that can be used for the seat back or arm rest, and a handy carrying pouch that doubles as a bib with a pocket to support hands and arms. The Igloo Travel Pillow is made in Canada and costs $40.
6. Solite Monreale.
This bag is the embodiment of that great idea you had 30 years ago but never put into action. It’s a 22-inch carryon spinner made of pure polycarbonate with a patented folding formula that flattens the case into mere inches for storage.
The durable case has a TSA-certified integrated combination lock and waterproof lining, all starting for $199.
7. The Potty Pack.
This is a traveler’s johnnie-on-the-spot for clean bathroom use on the road. Packets sell in single and multiple volumes and contain four feet of two-ply toilet tissue; wet wipes with aloe vera and vitamin E; a hand wipe; hand sanitizer; and that always elusive seat cover.
The company that makes these handy packs is called Air Travel Safe and also makes packs for sun and sting relief, menstruation emergencies, hangovers, ticks, first aid and just about any situation that might have a purse-sized “I wish I had a ____” attached while traveling.
8. The Barrier Method.
This travel mask is an attractive scarf accessory that is perfect for those moments when air pollution, repulsive smells and second-hand cigarette smoke threaten to spoil your comfort.
An adjustable breathing mask is affixed to the attractive scarf accessory allowing travelers to keep their sneezes to themselves and other people’s illnesses away. The items run $60.
9. Pocket Socks.
Sometimes the simplest of concepts makes the most sense. Pocket Socks may be that concept. It offers the perfect place to stash your cash, keys and cards without concern for pickpockets, theft or busy hands.
The knee-high socks are made from machine-knitted soft cotton and come in a variety of patters for men and women. A hand-sewn zipper pocket keeps things hidden away and the skin protected from the irritation that comes with sticking items in your regular socks. Pocket Socks sell for $22.
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