The latest in luggage, gear, gadgets and accessories for travelers will be rolled out this week in Las Vegas at the industry-only annual Travel Goods Show.
Thousands of buyers representing everything from big box stores to independent retail shops will be roaming booths hosted by major luggage manufacturers, small start-up brands and aspiring inventors all hoping to get a piece of the U.S. travel goods market valued at more than $31.1 billion.
CNBC got a preview of the products that will be introduced and available at the show and picked a handful of innovative, useful and truly unusual items we think travelers might enjoy. Doesn't everyone need a carry-on bag with an insulated pocket to keep their grab-n-go meal warm?
Paying a hefty extra fee to your airline for an overweight checked bag is a hassle. But so is finding a place to weigh a bag when you're trying to pack up all those souvenirs you've picked up on a trip.
GetSet Luggage has a new polycarbonate suitcase that addresses that problem by weighing itself while you pack. When the suitcase is opened flat and the battery-powered scale is activated, the suitcase provides a continuous readout, in pounds or kilograms, as items are added or removed. In addition to the scale (powered by two AAA batteries), this bag has a TSA-approved combination lock and a removable battery charging station. (Available: April 2019. MSRP: 24": $495; 28": $595)
Solite International's Monreale 22-inch polycarbonate carry-on spinner has a TSA-approved combination lock, top and side-carry handles and a waterproof lining. But this bag also has a secret power: a patented folding technology allows it to be flattened down like a cardboard box for easy storage at home under the bed, in the back of a closet or behind the door in that tiny room at the boutique hotel that looked charming, but much bigger, online. (Available: Fall 2019. MSRP: $400)
Several companies are bringing out collections that include transparent or translucent luggage that seems ideal for travelers who organize their gear inside packing cubes or who want to show the world their fashion savvy.
Traveler's Choice will unveil The Millennial, a special edition transparent carry-on with a built-in power bank that can charge gadgets on the go and be removed when boarding to comply with Federal Aviation Administration and airline regulations.
"A lot of what is 'on-trend' for millennials, and their fashion and travel preferences today, is centered on both form and function," said Roger Yang, CEO of Traveler's Choice. "These characteristics inspired the design for The Millennial carry-on, which perfectly embodies both." (Available: Summer 2019. MSRP: $399)
Heys Luggage will also be showing its Translucent three-piece spinner luggage collection (in 21-, 26- and 30-inch sizes). It is see-through, with accented color-matching on the trims. (MSRP: $299.99/$339.99/$379.99, or $1,019.99 for the 3-piece set)
It's a good idea to put a lock on your luggage, your backpack, your purse or duffel, but what happens if you forget the combination or where you put that tiny, little key?
BenjiLock By Hampton offers another security option with a TSA travel/luggage lock that uses fingerprint technology and stores up to five different sets fingerprints. The TSA-approved lock has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a chrome-plated shackle and comes with a micro USB-charging cable. Available now in white and matte black. (MSRP is $49.99.)
Jackets, pants, hats, belts, bras, underwear and other clothing with hidden compartments can help travelers keep cash, credit cards, keys and other valuables safe. Another option is stashing valuables in your socks. Pocket Socks has a new line of fashionable crew and knee-high socks with a roomy zippered pocket sewn into one sock of each pair. (Available now. MSRP: $19.95)
Travelers susceptible to motion sickness in cars, on planes or on cruise ships often turn to drugs or to tell-tale sets of nausea-relief acupressure bracelets. Blisslets are a fashionable, jewelry-style version of those bracelets, with designs for both men and women. Each set (they need to be worn on each arm to be effective) has bands that complement each other but are not identical. "Acupressure wristbands are a clinically proven remedy for nausea, but until now, the only options on the market were unattractive and medical-looking," said Katie Aparicio, Bliss Bracelets founder and CEO, "We designed Blisslets to be a product people would want wear: one that worked, felt good, and looked good." (Available now. MSRP $28-$60)
There are carry-on bags with cup holders or attachments that help travelers tote coffee or soft drinks through an airport. The Hontus Milano Group goes way beyond that with a carry-on bag with a built-in insulated pocket for keeping foods hot or cold. So that take-out pizza or burger you bought on the way to the gate will still be hot — and edible — when you get on the plane. Brilliant, right? (Available: Spring 2019. MSRP for the Mia Toro RADIAL Dual Pocket System: $350)