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There are new gadgets galore for the modern-day traveler. Some work; some don't. Some make life on the road a bit easier, others just end up taking up precious space in your suitcase.
Even some of the oldest ones, such as safety pins and nail clippers, have new uses, said mimimus.biz co-founder Paul Schrater. "Safety pins," he said, "can be used to take out a splinter, hold jewelry together, open a disc drive or hit the reset button on some electronics."
We rounded up some fresh, useful items out on the market now. Don't see something you like? Don't worry. Inventors are travelers, too, and many of them are hard at work making tomorrow's must-have travel gadget.
—By Harriet Baskas, special to CNBC. Follow Road Warrior on Twitter at @CNBCtravel.
Posted 27 September 2014
Created by the designers and engineers at Fuse Chicken, the Une Bobine (French for "coil") is at its core a charger and syncing cable for iPhone and Android devices. But where most chargers have a noodle-like connecting cord, the Une Bobine (prices start at $20) has a strong but flexible metal cable that allows the unit to be coiled like a cobra, flexed and wrapped around objects. That allows the device to double as a tripod or a stand and makes it easier to conduct video calls, take pictures or just put the phone where you need it.
Stuffy hotel rooms dry out your throat and your skin and make it hard to sleep at night. Taking a large home humidifier on the road isn't possible, but this Personal Misting Humidifier from Violife ($39) might do the trick. It comes with a 27-ounce refillable bottle or can be used with a standard water bottle and, once plugged in, helps put moisture in the air for up to 13 hours.
Although the interchangeable covers come in nine colors and 16 color combinations, the new Hang Flexx iPhone5 and 5s cases from Hang Accessories ($25.99-$29.99) don't just wrap around your phone and look pretty. These cases are magnetic, so you can go hands-free and attach your phone to the refrigerator, a file cabinet or some other metal surface. Each cover can also be folded up to serve as a stand for your phone or a storage spot for your ear buds.
Frustrated with trying to find a way to easily carry an outing's worth of sunscreen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer and other travel-size essentials for his family, inventor Alex Meyer decided to develop the slimmest-possible flat spray bottle.
What he came up is a line of credit card-size dispensers called MiiSTS for $3.95. Each colorful, flat, tile-like container holds a different personal care product, such as screen cleaner, stain remover and minty breath freshener, and each is filled with enough eco-friendly solution for 150 sprays and/or uses.
Watching someone drop an iPad on the subway inspired Serge Pylkovas to create a line of wearable leather tablet cases that allow people to use both hands to type or swipe on their tablets while standing up, lying down, walking and yes, while riding the subway. "The first prototype was made of a piece of plywood, four wood screws and used a camera strap," Pylkovas explains on the Strotter website. Options include the Across, a carrying case with an adjustable strap that can be used as a mobile desk or a sling-type backpack, and the Platforma, a mobile desk that can also be worn as a shoulder bag, cross-body bag or as a backpack.
Gadget-laden travelers often want to charge more than one power-hungry device at a time, but most portable chargers are single-device units. For those who can't wait, Go Travel's $40 Twin Power Bank is a high-capacity charger that arrives powered up and is capable of charging two devices simultaneously via two 5V USB ports. An LED charge level also lets you monitor the power as it charges and can show how much power remains.
For anyone who wants more freedom typing, a Bluetooth magnetic keyboard for Samsung Galaxy S4 ($59.99) or iPhone 5 and 5S ($74.99) offers a full Qwerty keyboard that attaches to the case magnetically and can be easily stashed away when not in use. It's made by Moguls Mobile, a collection of mobile accessories founded by Daymond John, fashion mogul and star of the business reality show, "Shark Tank."
Also from Moguls Mobile, this clever screen protector called a Mogul Mirror, turns into a mirror when the screen is inactive. Perfect for Fashion Week or just to check if you've got spinach in your teeth.