What's New, What's Hot: April 2014


What's New, What's Hot is Travel Weekly's look at useful and fun travel gadgets, edited by Joe Rosen. Click here or on the image to open a slideshow of all of the featured products for April.

NapAnywhere: No, this is not an "OK to doze off" permission slip you can use when things get slow at work. In fact, it is the latest thing in travel pillows -- small enough to fit flat in a briefcase or laptop carry-on and designed to provide effective head support when you are seated, for example, in an airplane. The foam-padded top part of the NapAnywhere, which can be shaped by the user to fit like a cradle, sits below the chin and back of the head while the bottom part molds over the shoulder and acts as a support. An adjustable strap that runs under your armpit then keeps it in place. Fortunately, this contraption is a lot more comfortable than this description might suggest and could be the difference between sleeping through a long-distance flight or arriving, instead, sleepless and with a stiff neck. $59; www.napanywhere.net.  

NapAnywhereBreathometer: More a don't-travel product than a travel product as such, the Breathometer gives you the ability to be a DUI preventer both for yourself and your friends after a night on the town. Designed to function as a breathalyzer when used in conjunction with an app downloaded to a smartphone or tablet (all iOS devices that support iOS7 and some Android models), the Breathometer, which is small enough to fit on a key ring, simply plugs directly into the audio jack of your device. To test your blood alcohol level, wait until 20 minutes after your last drink, then blow into an illuminated tube. The Breathometer, which is registered with the FDA, has a detection range from 0.00 BAC (blood alcohol content) to 0.20. Travelers take note: Many foreign countries have even tougher DUI laws than here in the States. $49. www.breathometer.com.  

Ogio Newt 15 Laptop Backpack: Some travelers prefer to carry their essentials in a backpack, wherever and whenever they go, and for them an all-purpose carrier such as the Newt 15 should suit them perfectly. The backpack has a padded back panel for comfort; dual, adjustable foam shoulder straps and sternum strap for stability; an easy-access mesh pocket; a zippered stash pocket on the back panel; a zippered, fleece-lined valuables pocket; a padded tablet sleeve in the main compartment; and a fleece-lined, protective pocket for electronics. Vital statistics: weight, 2.2 pounds; capacity, 1,050 cubic inches; dimensions, 18.75 by 12.75 by 6 inches. $100; www.ogio.com.  

Switch Sticks: When first written about in this space almost two years ago, these cleverly designed walking canes from the Briggs Healthcare firm in the U.K. were described as "at once practical and stylish," and nothing has changed in the interim other than the fact that new Scandinavian designs called "Shadow" and "Berlin" ("Vienna" and "Kiki" are to follow in the fall) are more attractive than ever. Made from durable, high-grade aluminum, Switch Sticks are a traveler's delight in that they can be folded down into four sections and easily strapped together with an enclosed Velcro strap. When the strap is released, the sections snap back into place without the need of screwing them together. Each walking stick, which weighs only 13.5 ounces and is adjustable in 12-inch increments from 32 to 37 inches, comes with a coordinating wrist strap, ferrule, the Velcro band and carry bag. $45.99; www.switchsticks.com

Skooba Laptop Weekender V.3: Sized to fit any standard airline overhead luggage bin, this versatile carry-on can handle a two-days'-worth wardrobe as well as a 15-inch laptop. The bag features a padded laptop compartment protected by bumpers on the sides and bottom to provide shock absorption. Moreover, the laptop can be easily accessed and removed for TSA inspection without having to open the main compartment. Protected by a water-repellent, micro-ballistic nylon exterior, the Skooba Weekender has more than 12 pockets, compartments and organizers, including fully padded pockets for tablets and other electronics. Other attributes include a shock-absorbing shoulder strap, double hand straps and a rear trolley strap. Vital statistics: weight, 42 ounces; dimensions, 18 by 12 by 11 inches. $134.95; www.skoobadesign.com.  

Got something for What's New, What's Hot? Email Joe Rosen at [email protected].

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