From the trendy to the fashionable to the outright wacky, the latest in travel gadgets and luggage are on display this week at the International Travel Goods show in Las Vegas.
Thousands of items will be on shown at the three-day show, which opens Tuesday. CNBC has rounded up a small sample of some noteworthy items for a sneak preview.
—By Harriet Baskas, special to CNBC. Follow Road Warrior on Twitter at @CNBCtravel.
Posted 8 March 2015
Can a piece of luggage really be a "dependable and trustworthy partner for the craziest adventures?"
The designers at Estonia-based Playluggage think so. The surfaces of its suitcases double as game boards for backgammon, Chinese checkers, chess, poker and Parcheesi. Erasable markers come with a suitcase you can draw on, and the new design (MSRP $199) has a surface compatible with Lego-style blocks.
Game pieces included with many board designs are magnetic, "so you can always leave the game [set-up], go to next gate and continue from the same spot," said Martin Rungi, Playluggage's export manager.
Road warriors increasingly rely on mobile devices, especially tablets, to view content while traveling. However, "the increase in the mobility of information has caused a consumer need for their information to be kept private," said Jon Davies, president of Solo.
Adhesive privacy screens are one solution; so is covering your screen with an elbow. Yet Solo's new Privacy Screen Slim Case for the iPad Air (MSRP $69.99) has a kickstand and a built-in privacy screen that darkens when viewed from the side. Take that, busybodies.
Keeping laptops, phones, tablets and other mobile devices fully charged when on the road can be a challenge. In hotel rooms and at airport gates, many travelers keep their gadgets plugged in until the very last minute, which means many chargers get left behind in the rush to check out or board. Enter the ChargerLeash, a line of cables that sound an alarm when you disconnect your device but forget to unplug the charger from the wall.
Originally designed for marathon runners, Running Buddy's Buddy Pouch—a water and sweat-resistant pocket that attaches with strong magnets to a waistband—is also useful for business travelers who want to avoid the fanny pack look but still store essentials. Travelers' smartphone, passport, ID, credit card, keys and other lifelines can be "safely and securely at their hips, hands-free," said Running Buddy owner Julie Bradfield.
In response to the popularity of slightly larger smart phones, Running Buddy now offers the Buddy Pouch 6+ (MSRP: $31.99), which has room for the iPhone 6 Plus or other Texas-sized phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Note.
Some lucky travelers have the hotel butler unpack and repack their bags. The rest of us must do all that work for ourselves, and suffer the consequences of wrinkled clothes. But the Shelfpack (MSRP: $349) from McKaba Luggage offers an innovative in-between option.
Travelers can organize their outfits on collapsible shelves built inside the suitcase, push the shelves into the suitcase, then pop them back up on arrival to form an instant dresser.
Travelers can spend a lot of time waiting around in airports, train stations, hotel check-in lines and elsewhere without a place to sit. In those cases, luggage that not only carries your load but allows you take a load (up to 350 pounds) off your feet may be appealing.
The Sit-On-It Carry All from Dbest products comes in a red, black or gray and in two sizes (small: $129.99; standard: $169.99).