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Best Travel Gadgets from CES 2010

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Trekking through this year's Consumer Electronics Show in the vast Las Vegas Convention Center, every three steps seemed to bring another new e-book reader; tales of 3D's impending invasion; or glimpses into the not-so-distant future of home automation. But we decided to venture away from those cliché categories and take the exhibition aisles less traveled. Good thing we did. Because T+L discovered 10 truly game-changing gadgets to help you better enjoy your journeys.

SLIDESHOW: Best Travel Gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show 2010

This first handful of products represents some of the very latest, coolest and smartest innovations and trends. This second handful of products represents different twists on how we do video on-the-go...See the slideshow and prepare to be wowed!

Guestblogger Scott Tharler is a gadget, gambling and travel expert currently based in Biddeford, Maine.

Geared for Winter

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On a recent journey to Iceland, I discovered 66° North. Named for the island’s Arctic latitude, this rugged outdoor clothing line is a favorite of Icelandic explorers, mountain guides and the Olympic ski team, competing in the 2010 Winter Games at Vancouver next month. While climbing around glaciers, riding horses in the highlands, and fishing on a long-line day boat off the Westfjords, I wore a black weatherproof Esja parka ($456). My first hoodie! So what if I looked like Kenny from "South Park"?

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One Bartender’s Ultimate Carry-on Bag

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Seems we at T+L aren’t the only ones on a constant search for the perfect carry-on bag. Enter New York mixologist Jim Meehan, the brains behind PDT—a hidden lounge attached to a hot dog joint in Manhattan’s East Village, serving classically and seasonally inspired drinks (recently named the World’s Best Cocktail Bar by Tales of the Cocktail Spirit Award '09, with Meehan as American Bartender of the Year).

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Prada Goes on Vacation

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In the Prada Universe nothing is as it seems. When I attend Prada shows in Milan, I sit transfixed, looking for a hint of the message. What did she mean by that bag? Are the heels on those shoes broken or are they meant to be angular and impossible to walk on? Is that just a wayward thread hanging, or do I see it on other garments? Why are the models smiling?

This season, the Prada show started innocently with basic grey suiting fabrics in designs that one would wear to work. Oh, she’s going back to her utilitarian roots?! But wait, now there's this whimsical beach scene with palm trees that evokes holidays in the sun and ocean breezes. 
The vacation scene caught my eye, since I am always on the look out for travel references.

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Back to the Future: Olympus E-P1

200910-b-olympus-camerajpg An interesting hybrid between digital point-and-shoots and bigger, bulkier DSLRs, the new Olympus E-P1 ($799) combines a lot of the best of both worlds. (Tech writer Jonathan Blum does a great job summing it up here.)

What excites me the most about this camera is the pinhole-camera mode, which approximates the unpredictable, low-fi charm of a 120 Holga or Diana toy camera. It has a way of making the most prosaic of scenes look strangely appealing, with crazy-vivid color.  The center is in focus, and the edges blurred out and nicely vignetted.

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Virgin America's Awesome New Sundries Bag + $100 Cross-Country Fares!

200910-b-virginjpg I already know that Virgin America is a favorite airline of our readers—it scored No. 1 in the domestic airline category of T+L’s 2009 World’s Best Awards—but I’m happy to report that Richard Branson’s company is continuing to impress with new deals and fun in-flight amenities.

Here's a selection of some of its latest low fares:

$109 one-way from San Francisco to Virgin’s newest destination, Ft. Lauderdale
$100 one-way from Los Angeles to Boston
$40 one-way from San Diego to San Francisco (cheaper than a tank of gas!)

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Chanel's Puffy Bag—A Carry On To Curl Up With

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Was it Rachael Zoe, the celebrity stylist on Bravo TV, who said “I die for Chanel"? Seems the allure of the double C’s has no end and this year with two movies about Madame Coco’s life it has fanned the fire even more. Not that it needed any fanning.

In the inexhaustible pursuit of keeping the brand relevant, whimsical and inventive, Karl Lagerfeld has done everything from CC guitars, to CC surfboards. The latest collection of practical but chic bags and small accessories is called “COCO COCOON.”

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NEWS: T+L Store Opens at JFK Airport

200910-b-storefrontjpg Eager fliers got their first glimpse of the new Travel + Leisure retail store in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 2 today, snatching up Tumi suitcases and T+L Greatest Trips of 2009 books, perusing city maps, and grabbing North Face jackets to fight off the wet East Coast chill.

Travel + Leisure's first U.S. retail store—and only the third in the world—opened this week in JFK, in partnership with airport retail giant Hudson News.

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Make Your Own Travel Photo Book

Ever wish you could turn your own digital travel photos into a gorgeous coffee-table tome? More and more people are doing just that; sales of custom photo books are expected to exceed $340 million in the U.S., according to one leading marketing research firm.

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MyPublisher has been in the business longer than most—it began creating affordable, single-copy custom photo books for consumers in 1995. You can download the software for free. Choose your book size and style, including cover options that range from sage- or smoke-colored European linens to hand-stitched Spanish leather.

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Timbuk2 Debuts Travel Line, and Rescues "Bad Packers"

I have a shameful confession to make: I’m a horrendous packer. My guiding philosophy, which can be summed up with the phrase more is more, has resulted in numerous excess baggage charges (that full-size bottle of conditioner? Yeah, I wash my hair a lot! Those over-the-knee stiletto boots for a weekend trip to Napa? Hell, you never know!) and countless hours cooling my heels by the baggage carousel when I could have been well on my way out the airport. So when I heard our editor-in-chief say that all she took on a 10-day trip to Italy was one carry-on bag, I was inspired. If Nancy Novogrod can do it, so can I!

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