Seemingly every day, we hear about the new “must-have travel accessory.” Sometimes they’re brilliant—Power solutions! Noise cancelling earbuds!—and some just miss the mark. Then somewhere in the middle are items we debate about furiously—like this Sleeper Scarf. Designed by a self-proclaimed frequent flier, the loop-style scarf (which comes in any of four colors) has a U-shaped neck pillow tucked into a hidden pocket. Blow it up and deflate it easily with a few breaths, or take it out of the scarf to cut the excess bulk.
Developed by two photography fanatics, Miggo is a new camera strap that morphs from a cushioning band to a protective case. Its offers two styles, the “grip and wrap” as well as the “strap and wrap,” each with a different design created for easy access to your camera without worrying about a a bulky camera bag.
Who says there’s not life after travel? Jim Sherman, founder and former CEO of ShermansTravel, is into a new business—a gift box of the month club called Hamptons Lane.
But Sherman (who’s still Chairman of ShermansTravel) hasn’t strayed too far—his new venture keeps alive the globetrotting spirit. Each month, his new company delivers a new box of authentic foods and kitchen products, centered on a theme and sourced from all over the globe.
The inaugural package—just in time for Cinco de Mayo—is Southwestern-themed and includes spices from James Beard-nominated Melissa Guerra; salsa from San Antonio, TX; a lime juicer; and chipotle-spiced margarita salt. Anchoring the box (literally) is a huge lava rock molcajete from Guanajuato, Mexico.
Think packing’s a pain? It’s hard for people—and even more of a drag for pets (paws weren’t made for closing zippers!). So I sought out three essential pieces to pack, whether you're headed for a walk in the park or a sprint through the airport.
1. The Ruffwear Bivy Cinch bowl closes and collapses for a quick bite and storing uneaten kibbles.
3. Last but not least, make sure your small dog gets his share of shut-eye in this Sleepypod mobile bed—for a bark-free transition from the car to the hotel suite. And when your friend's done napping, it makes a great carrier for toys, treats, leashes, you name it.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
I bought my Nikon FE in 1983, after months of careful shopping and comparing and saving of money. I was 14. I had never owned an object I loved as much as this one: it was all black, a beautifully utilitarian piece of machine-tooled aluminum and glass. That summer, my family went on vacation to the Loire Valley, and I took many hundreds of photographs of castles, and a few of my parents and brother, too. The strange thing is not that I still love this camera, though of course I do, but that I still use it. Today it’s technically an antique, but the FE is notoriously rugged, hailed by professionals back in the day for its ability to operate in extreme conditions. Needless to say, the photographs, too, seem more rugged than any JPEG. I pile them in a shoebox—tangible, permanent records, far from the iCloud ether.
Made with water-resistant canvas and full-grain leather, ONA’s stylish Brixton is designed to hold a camera, several lenses, and various accessories—all under an unassuming cover. When you’re not lugging photo gear, the adjustable foam panels can secure your laptop, while a padded shoulder strap makes it easy to carry heavy loads. $269.
As I prepared for my Zambian safari last fall, it wasn’t so much the hippos and crocodiles that worried me; it was the prospect of fitting everything I’d need (clothing, boots, camera gear, binoculars, etc., etc., etc.) into a single 25-pound duffel bag. That’s the typical (I say cruel and unusual) baggage limit on the tiny planes that deliver you into the African bush. And if you already suffer from a chronic overpacking disorder, the whole predicament can send you into flop sweats. After much worrying and winnowing down, I somehow made it work—with 2 pounds to spare, no less. (See below for my packing list.)
My other concern on safari? Looking like a total dork. As any veteran can tell you, there’s not exactly a surfeit of stylish options for safariwear (good lord, the very word). It’s a bland-on-beige world of elastic waistbands, unflattering pleats, and “patented anti-wicking fibers” the texture of Hefty bags. Then again, wearing a J. Crew polo and jeans on a bush walk makes you look (and feel) even sillier. Surely there was some happy medium—comfortable, practical safari clothing without the doofus factor?
Finding a fashionable stroller is close to impossible. When I had my twins, I spent a month searching for just the right one—something functional that wouldn't sacrifice my already waning style. Who would have guessed that New York's The Mark Hotel, in partnership with Maclaren, would develop what might possibly be the chicest one I've seen?
Check out the black-and-white ride above. Am I right? The Mark Hotel Baby Stroller is available for hotel guests starting April 15. I just hope they roll it out to the public soon. We moms need it.
Clara Sedlak is a mom of two and a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
I finally pitched my Droid2 for an iPhone recently and am still floored by how good the camera on it is. But now that I've figured out Instagram, I'm excited to see there's a bunch of new iPhoneography apps out there to play with. Here are some of my favorites:
Piction—$0.99 Want to add text to your photos? With Piction you can easily add captions in a variety of different fonts, seen above, including a few custom ones alongside classics like Futura (so you can make all Instagram photos look like screen grabs from a Wes Anderson movie, if you're so inclined).
Vine—free Vine is like Instagram but for small gif-like looping videos. I'm still figuring out how to use this (confession: my entire feed is just videos of my cat, so far), but it has a lot of potential to share something more compelling than just snapshots. Be warned, the most recent update includes a requirement that users must be 17+ due to some, ahem, questionable content cropping up on the app.
As Trip Doctors, we’re always on the hunt for great luggage to support our regular, on-the-job abuse. So when Biaggi’s collapsible suitcases made their way into my home recently, I found myself surprised that a new brand could bring so much innovation to a fairly standardized market. The premise: each bag’s sturdy sides snap into place while in use, and fold flat when you’re ready to store. The result? Ultra-compact storage—that doesn’t require you to play Russian dolls with your whole set to unearth the carry-on. A stylish design, super-sturdy handle, and four-wheel spinner function add to the appeal—and the pretty colors don’t hurt, either.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.