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Love at First Sight: Leaning Tower of Pisa Cups

Pisa cups

Admit it, we’ve all considered purchasing that apron with the statue of David on it. Some of us—I won’t name names—even own one. If this isn’t quite your style, but you’re still craving a silly reminder of la dolce vita, take a look at these porcelain cups, which, when stacked on top each other, form a mini Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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Relax: The World's First Water for Travelers

RELAX Skywater

Put down the Valium—there’s a new cure on the market for your in-flight fears. The first product by SkyWater, Relax, is calling itself the world’s first water designed specifically for aviophobia. Don’t roll your eyes just yet: the 2.5-ounce, carry-on friendly bottles are formulated to calm nerves and support your immune system with a proprietary mix of passion flower, valerian root, ginseng, and rose hips. New-agey as it sounds, this is a company with a sense of humor: the package promises to soothe symptoms of “Travel Suckiness” including crying babies, touchy-feely TSA agents, and Cell Phone Guy (their words, not ours). And the all-natural, science-backed formula doesn’t come with any side effects, unlike the anti-anxiety pills it aims to replace. But perhaps they wouldn't mind if we used it as a mixer for our baby plane bottle of vodka...

Relax is currently available exclusively at Amazon, where you can order packs of two or twelve.

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Meet Smart Luggage, the Must-Have Travel Gadget of 2015


Just as the year’s latest and greatest tech gadgets are being introduced at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, another must-have tech-enhanced travel item is on the horizon and gaining buzz: smart luggage.

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The Sleeper Scarf: Weird Mash-up or Necessary Object?

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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.

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Miggo: Your Camera’s New Best Friend

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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.

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Can’t Travel This Month? Bring the Destination to You

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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.

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Pet Travel Wednesdays: Travel Gear

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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.

2. Even Fido can get sick, so be well prepared with this Deluxe Pet First Aid Kit.

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 PedoneMaria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of @tokyoshiba

Editor Obsession: Nikon FE

Nikon FE

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.

Photo by Sam Kaplan

Trip Doctor: T+L’s Favorite Camera Bag

Camera Bag: ONA Brixton

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.

Plus: See T+L’s Best Photography Tips

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by Tom Schierlitz

Zambia: Packing for Safari

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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?

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