I sometimes think my love of travel is fueled mostly by my love of purchasing travel accessories. Sometimes I buy the accessory for a trip I never take. But I digress.
I thought you loyal readers would like to hear about some of the items I have come across that I think would be useful, and then others that seem to be “pushing the envelope” of necessity.
First on the really useful list is a piece of luggage which won the Product Innovation Award at the recent 2012 Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas (see, I’m not the only accessoryholic). It is the Road Warrior M Series by Trunk and Travel. It is six foldable cases that, with the pull of an interior rip cord, collapses to half of their depth for easy storage.
Tied for second place were the Domestic Carry-on Expandable Upright by Briggs & Riley and the Compressor by Samsonite. Both have zipperless systems that expand and contract the cases for more efficient packing.
One of the most clever new products is called the Scanner Bag from The Gadget Duck. The Scanner Bag is a luggage tag that unfolds and exposes a net sack to place all your pocket change and other metallic items you have in pockets while you go through security. After you are through you simply take the contents back out, zip up the sack and you have your luggage tag back.
Now for some of the more dubious accessories (at least, in my opinion).
First, are those nylon pre-board organizers that you store your ID and boarding pass in with see-thru vinyl that you hang around your neck. Now I am not saying they aren’t useful… but every time I see an adult wearing one, I wonder if they have become separated from their school trip, or assume that they are mall walkers.
Second on my “dubious need” list is the ultra mini personal air purifier. This is another accessory that you hang around your neck that is supposed to purify the air you breathe directly under your nose. Caution: this only works if it isn’t covered up by the pre-board organizer also hanging around your neck.
Coming in third is the ultra violet light toothbrush sanitizer. Now, I don’t know about you but
a) I don’t share my toothbrush with anyone, and
b) when traveling where the water is questionable, I rinse the brush with bottled water.
Soooo, whose germs am I killing?
And finally, there is the tray table Cabin Pillow. This is a pillow you blow up (not good for flights under an hour) and place on your tray table and then proceed to try to lie your head and torso on top of it while embracing it. I guess only one question here: what happens when the person sitting in front of you decides to recline their seat?
That’s when you need the ultimate travel accessory: the Knee Defenders (also available through The Gadget Duck). These are two pieces of plastic you place between the tray table rods and the seat in front of you that prevent the person in front of you from reclining their seat all the way, forcing your knees into your lower jaw. Caution: Although not prohibited by the FAA, the Knee Defenders are prohibited by many airlines.
So try diplomacy first.