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Tech Thursday: Jack of All Trades Travel Adapter


The one gadget that makes every hotel a workstation: CB2's ultra-compact Universal Travel Adapter ($23). It's half the size of its competitors and has one simple switch that toggles between built-in plugs for virtually every destination around the world. It comes in four bright colors, making it easy to find in your suitcase.

Nikki Ekstein is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of CB2

The Best New Hiking Backpack for Your Next Adventure


Since we’ve been talking a good bit about hiking around here lately, here’s the one accessory you should plan to pick up before your next adventure. Known more for their tech-friendly messenger bags than for their outdoor gear, Timbuk2 has just launched a new collection of urban-inspired camping backpacks, which are rugged enough to survive your toughest mountain climbs but designed to convert into a rolling suitcase for less elemental pursuits. The Aviator Travel Pack (from $179) is smartly designed with carbon ballistic nylon for durability, padded straps and a hip belt that stow away when not needed, and a water-resistant rain shedding pack cover that tucks into its own dedicated pocket. But what really does it for me are cleverly placed compartments that store (and protect) a 17” laptop, important-to-reach items like your phone and wallet, and separate spill-protecting toiletry panels. If only we could custom-order them in pretty colors and patters, like Timbuk2’s flagship messenger line.

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

Photo courtesy of Timbuk2

This Summer's Hot UK Souvenir: Royal Baby Swag


Last summer, some of the most omnipresent souvenirs found around London featured the faces of Wenlock and Mandeville, the much-maligned, one-eyed mascots from the 2012 Olympics.

This summer, experts are predicting that the image of a more agreeable tyke will draw tourist dollars: the baby expected in July by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her royal baby daddy, Prince William.

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Beauty Road Test: Kjaer Weis Organic Mascara


Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.

The product: Kjaer Weis Organic Mascara, $38

Pros: The Land o’ Lashes is typically strewn with synthetic polymers and plastic tubes that are relegated to the landfill every few months. Enter Italy-made Kjaer Weis Mascara, with a certified organic formula and re-fillable metal packaging that’s actually glamorous.

Cons: My only beef? I love it so much that I’ll now be forced to buy refills at $24 a pop, instead of my cheapie drugstore brand. But if every time I pull out the sleek tube I feel like Grace Kelly—which I do—it’s worth it, wouldn’t you say? 

Verdict:  Packable.

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

Photo courtesy of Kjaer Weis

Canvas Tote Bags for the Beach

Canvas Tote Bags: Anya Hindmarch for Le Sereno

Hotel-and-designer dream teams are offering custom canvas totes, just in time for beach season. We love the bag created by Anya Hindmarch for Le Sereno, in St. Bart’s, $358 (pictured). Here a few other faves:

Kate Spade for Starwood Preferred Guest, $199.

Missoni Home for Seaside Luxe at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, in Hawaii, $350.

Clare Vivier for Shutters on the Beach, in Santa Monica, Calif., $220.

Mimi LombardoMimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure’s style director.


Photo courtesy of Anya Hindmarch

Now You Can Shop At Bergdorf’s 24/7


We all know New York is the city that never sleeps—and now that means the director of personal shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, thanks to a new collaboration with The Mark Hotel. Up at 4 a.m. with the realization that you left the outfit you have to wear in 7 hours at home? Have no fear—a new ensemble is just a phone call away. Complimentary messenger services are another benefit of this 24/7 service.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo courtesy of The Mark Hotel

Pan Am Lives in Miami


Pan Am was grounded in 1991, yet its legacy endures at First Flight Out, an unlikely boutique in Miami's Coco Walk. Recently opened by Stephen Licata and former American Airlines flight attendant Gailen David, the shop showcases Pan Am's glamorous history. You’ll find newspaper articles, a vintage photo timeline, and even a 747 First Class cabin mock-up, replete with dinnerware, and (yes!) “stewardess” uniforms. Definitely a must-see for Americana buffs.

Photo credit: Geoff Shaw / Alamy

Summer Travel-Themed Gift Idea: Map Coasters


This weekend at NYC’s Hester Street Fair (Saturdays, 10am-6pm, Hester Street and Essex Street, hesterstreetfair.com), amid the foodcarts and vintage clothes vendors, a booth featuring travel-themed homegoods called On the Fringe, caught my eye. Decoupage artist Wendy Howard transforms old travel brochures and maps into trivets and coasters, ideal host/hostess gifts for summer travelers, or for graduates taking off for points unknown. (I kept picturing them arranged side-by-side behind my kitchen sink as a map-themed backsplash…)

On the Fringe (onthefringe.ws, coasters $6 each or 4 for $20; trivets from $15- $25.)



Photos by Ann Shields

The Monocle Café Opens in London


Monocle, the London-based magazine of global affairs and style, is as well known for its in-depth articles about far-flung destinations as for its clean, smart look. For both those things, it's a magazine meant to be read as much as be seen with—whether on the plane, or displayed on your (designer) coffee table. Now, the six-year-old publication wants to be known for the taste of its coffee. On April 15, The Monocle Café is set to open in London's Marylebone neighborhood, promising customers a very Monocle-like experience. (Read: posh, international, and very, very stylish.)

The Monocle Café occupies two stories at 18 Chiltern Street and was designed by the same team that created the sharp, classic look of the magazine. The Café features coffee from Allpress, a menu designed by chef Masayuki Hara, and a soundtrack provided by Monocle 24, the magazine's radio station. This being Monocle—where a little exclusivity goes a long ways—subscribers are invited to rent the space out for private parties.

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Nancy Gonzalez’s Adorable Fruit Wristlets

Nancy Gonzalez fruit wristlets

It’s not often that we want to accessorize à la Carmen Miranda. But Colombian-born designer Nancy Gonzalez, known for her exotic-skin bags, has won us over with these too-cute-to-resist woven crocodile wristlets. Cue the samba! Available by special order at Bergdorf Goodman; 800/558-1855; from $2,550.

Photo by John Lawton


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