Life on the road, or in the air, is never easy, but with the right products, travel can certainly be made more enjoyable and less stressful. The goal is always a successful sojourn, not a packing perdition. Given that I routinely log in 150,000-plus air miles along with about 30,000 nautical miles a year, I am always on the lookout for great new items that are designed with the frequent traveler in mind.
Here are some terrific new and soon-to-be-on the market items that have passed the Jet-Fuel-Jules test:
1. TUPLUS X2 Aircraft Grade 6 Aluminum Alloy Carry-on
Winner of the 2018 Red Dot Award for outstanding design and third place winner of the 2018 Travel Goods Association Product Innovation Award, this 22-inch carry-on is a marvel. It is what would result if the fictional animated character George Jetson – who was duly employed at Spacely’s Space Sprockets manufacturing high tech equipment – got married to design Goddess Diane Von Furstenberg.
TUPLUS X2 has quiet Mecanum wheels, a one-piece telescopic handle with three-height adjustability, and has no external zipper! Instead, it has a patented, one-touch, press button opening with invisible hydraulic hinges permitting more internal space. This easily allowed me to pack enough for seven days on the road.
Inside, a large, belted, main zippered section keeps clothes and shoes neat. Also inside, another three zippered sections, two of which are mesh, and a large, Velcro pocket that runs the length of the luggage keeping all other items organized and easy to locate. And of course, it has a built-in TSA-approved lock.
An excellent added benefit is that carrying the TUPLUS X2 you cannot help but look like a seriously cool traveler. And that can never hurt someone on the go. Available now in silver, gold and black. MSRP $529
2. Rockland’s Tokyo Collection Carry-on
This 18″ hard-sided carry-on is perfect for a four or five-day business trip or long weekend away. Made of durable, polycarbonate, it is durable and protective of contents. One of the Tokyo Collection’s best aspects – which few other hard-sided carry-ons have, and which has long been my main complaint about hard-sided carry-on luggage – is this one has a large, fully accessible front zippered compartment permitting quick-access to the padded laptop section large enough for a 15” computer, and plenty of room for other items one would need without needing floor space and exposure to open the main section.
Inside, a zippered sectional keeps clothes wrinkle-free, and a mesh zippered section and two zippered pockets will keep you well organized. There are silent dual casters with 8-spinner wheels that rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuverability, a one touch aluminum handle and built-in TSA lock. Available in September in orange, navy and black. MSRP $200.
3. Throw & Roll Leggings by Aday
As I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on planes, trains and automobiles, not to mention shuttles, ubers and subways, comfort is key, but so is arriving wrinkle-free and ready to go on arrival. Aday’s Throw & Roll leggings are by far, the best I’ve encountered.
Not only does this item pass the comfort and chic test with flying colors, they are all at once, light weight and breathable yet warm on chilly nights or flights. Even more remarkable, they roll up tight and take just a tiny amount of precious carry-on real estate and can be easily washed in a hotel sink at night and dry quickly. As they can be dressed up or down with ease, I will never travel anywhere without a pair of these. Available now in black and navy. MSRP $135.
4. United by Blue Ragg Wool and Leather Gloves
I got these for my husband who generally hates gloves, but hates being colder even more. These USA-made, non-itchy gloves fit the bill perfectly. The palm side leather trim adds a bit of stylish panache while allowing a far better grip than traditional wool gloves to grasp items big and small.
Besides, travelers must love a company that not only provides great products, but also does so with a social conscience. With every product United by Blue sells, it removes one pound of trash from our waterways. That is both good business and good for our planet. MSRP $42.
5. Baggallini Pocket Cross-Body Bag with RFID and Hanging Travel Organizer
This slim, water resistant, adjustable cross-body bag with RFID protection will keep you organized and identity and credit cards protected, all while looking chic. The main compartment has a zippered section, key fob, business card and penholders. There is also a detachable RFID wristlet that can be used in the evenings or when you only want to take your phone and credit cards.
Contrasting internal fabric color make finding things a snap. Also convenient is a quick access phone pocket with an additional front zippered section in front and a secret stash zippered pocket in the back. Available now in a variety of fashionable colors. MSRP $58.00.
Another good item from Baggallini is their hanging travel organizer with five zippered compartments. Though billed as a toiletry bag, I also found it great for stashing my plugs, battery chargers and cords. The clear, see-through panels made locating what I needed easy. Available now in black or purple print. MSRP $35.00.
6. Vanderbilt Men’s Backpack by STATE
Designed for tall people, the Vanderbilt is both sleek and functional. The large main section is deep and roomy with a padded, designated laptop pocket to keep your tech safe amid a hip, black and white geometric interior. The second zippered compartment has an internal zipper, multiple pockets, including one for an I-pad and another for a cell phone.
There is an internal key clip, two side pockets, a secret stash pocket on the back and a large, external zippered front section. With this backpack you can look and feel good since for every backpack sold by STATE, it hand delivers a backpack to an American child in need. Selling well-designed products and giving back – a great combination. MSRP $175. Available now.
7. Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 2.0 Backpack
This lightweight backpack is made from eco-friendly Dreamfel – an abrasion, tear, odor and moisture-resistant fabric manufactured using an FDA-approved, OEKO-TEX®-certified process that produces very little waste.
In addition to the traditional backpack straps, there are top sided dual hideaway handles, an internal padded computer pocket, RFID-safe interior pocket, a key fob, several other compartments to stay organized and a pass-through panel to place it on your carry on luggage handle. MSRP $79.99. Available in October 2018.
8. Richmond Travel Wallet with Alarm Tag by Voyager Blue
Part of VoyagerBlue’s Signature Collection, this large, zippered travel organizer wallet is made of high quality black leather with sleek red RFID-shielded interior, protects up to four passports and 10 credit cards. It also has dedicated bank note, travel document and separate zippered coin compartment.
To keep your items safe and give you added peace of mind, a WalletTag – resembling a micro-mini I-Pod – paired to your cell phone with a free iOS or Android app – aids in preventing loss of the smart wallet using low-level Bluetooth with both audible and vibration alerts. There is also a “last seen” marker reflected by a pin drop using GPS. Naturally, there’s also a built-in slot in the wallet for this cool little device. Currently available in large orders now for promotion, and will be available on Amazon direct to consumer in November. MSRP $79.99.
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Managing Travel Editor, a travel writer for several major publications, a legal columnist and attorney. She is also the author of the award-winning book: Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight.