It's time to bring those run-of-the-mill suitcases and assorted travel gear into the future.
Last week, the latest designs in luggage and the newest ideas for travel gadgets were on display for three days at the International Travel Goods show in Las Vegas. At the event, the organizers awarded product innovation awards to some of the more innovative items that address the most vexing travel issues. Yet most of the products on display would be useful for the modern road warrior.
From suitcases to gadgets and devices that almost magically create more arm space on a plane, CNBC rounded up a modest sample of the more noteworthy products on display at this year's Travel Goods show.
— By Harriet Baskas, special to CNBC. Follow Road Warrior on Twitter at @CNBCtravel.
Posted 13 Mar 2016
In many boutique hotels and the growing number of tiny-but-hip "microhotels," bathrooms have a common and frustrating feature: There is little counter space around the sink.
The creators of the Orgo Lite have solved that problem with a toiletries case. A foldout panel extends over the edge of the sink, to provide both more working space and easy access to the items being used. The first product from company Everything ORGO the Orgo Lite took first place in the product innovation awards at this year's International Travel Goods Show.
Trunkster won second place in Vegas this year, and also happens to be a Kickstarter and "Shark Tank" success story.
The innovative suitcase has no zippers, but is accessed instead through a rolltop front "door." Other features include a removable battery for charging gadgets, a built-in digital scale and an optional location tracker. The product is not yet available, but a 22" carry-on ($325) or a 27" checked bag size ($495) can be pre-ordered.
Having to remove your belt before going through an airport metal detector is a hassle, and putting it back through your pants loops just wastes more time (Not to mention what could happen if your belt was actually holding up your pants).
Enter the Royce Fly Belt (MSRP, $75), which solves that problem with a metal belt buckle that can be easily detached from the leather belt before walking through detectors, then reattached on the other side.
Who gets to use the middle seat armrests on an airplane?
Andrew Colsky thinks everyone should. So he invented a double-decked gadget called Arm-Share that lets two people share one armrest. Due to hit the market in August 2016 (MSRP $29.95), Colsky describes the Arm-Share as a "win-win" gadget for fliers. "You can bump elbows or do that dance over who gets the armrest, but this lets both seatmates share the space," he said recently.
If you've ever had to unzip and fully fold open a suitcase in a hotel lobby or in an airport in order to access or repack an item, then you'll appreciate the Nuki line of front opening hard shell luggage.
Available in three sizes: 20" carry-on (MSRP: $199), 24" medium checked bag (MSRP: $249) and 28" large checked bag (MSRP $299), and in four designs: Hounds tooth, rococo, black and silver.
Zumer Sport makes travel gear and a wide variety of other products out of the same materials used to make a host of athletic balls and other sports gear. This baseball duffel bag shown (MSRP $99) is made from real baseball covering material — and includes real baseball stitching.
Zensah, which offers travel and sports-friendly compression socks and other items, has debuted environmentally-friendly Coffee Comfort Socks (MSRP: $29.99). The accessory is made with yarn infused with coffee-bean shells. So what does that do beside appearing to waste good coffee beans?
"This yarn keeps you warm and comfortable during travel and helps neutralize odors," said Zensah spokesman Alberto Benarroch. Available colors include sky, rosy, cloud and twilight — but not cappuccino.
It's a good idea to keep a flashlight in your travel kit as well as a stand for propping up your mobile phone or tablet on the road. The quarter of an inch thick, 6" tall BendyMan from Walter + Ray puts those two gadgets together for a very affordable $10. The BendyMan is easy-to-spot and is available in green, turquoise black and pink.