10 best travel products for 2012 Tech geek, slacker packer, tea connoisseur — there’s something for every finicky globe-trotter
Travel can bring out the idiosyncrasies in everyone. Just read this for some proof.
For all those looking to get teched up in 2012, we matched the most typical travel personae with the best new products.
1. The technological determinist: iPhone lens dial
You know the guy; he frowns at the girl with the Nokia E71 like she’s an escaped Amish milkmaid.
When it comes to photos, the technological determinist believes the iPhone breathes eternal digital life to all real-life experiences.
He never looks up from his camera and only documents vacations via iPhone where he will Photoshop and upload to Facebook/Twitter/Google+.
This geek will appreciate the gift of a multiple iPhone lens — since the digital SLR will be obsolete in a matter of years.
The attachable extension has three lenses, a 0.7x wide-angle to snap panoramic views, a 0.33x fisheye lens for extra drama, and a 1.5x telephoto lens.
Photo Jojo Lens Dial, US$250, photojojo.com
More on CNNGo: iPhone photos like you’ve never seen
2. The Doraemon: 18-pocket trench
The Doraemon always has a bottomless bag, but instead of guided missiles and dream-reading machines, she unknowingly accumulates lipsticks, lighters, manicure kits, needles and nunchucks.
Airport security is always a nightmare with this one.
With this figure-flattering trench, the Doraemon can pull off her coat and throw it into the X-ray bucket, and there’s no need to sift through a large purse.
iPad, camera, phone, water bottle, sunnies and more can all get tucked into the coat without looking like she’s extremely bloated.
Features include: 18 pockets, clear inside pockets, zipper and magnetic closures on pockets, and water bottle holder. Comes in red, black, mud, mist, thyme, periwinkle and paprika.
Scotte Vest Woman’s Trench, US$150, www.scottevest.com
More on CNNGo: Essential travel clothes for girls on the road.
3. The typo artist: Laser keyboard cube
The typo artist doesn’t like to travel with his heavy laptop so sometimes he just brings the iPad on business trips.
But his untrained fingers have sent enough embarrassing autocorrect gaffes to develop a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Save him, with the 19 millimeter QWERTY Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard. It’s compact (a bit larger than a matchbook), and perfect for banging out emails from the express hotel desk.
The keyboard connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to iPhone, iPad, some Smartphones, and most laptops. It charges via USB and requires no installation. The rechargeable battery lasts for 150 minutes straight.
Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard, US$169, www.thinkgeek.com
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4. The ski bunny: GPS ski goggles
She’s brags about shredding every mountain in the world from Whistler to Niseko, while you’re still figuring out how to tie the boots up without tripping.
How will you win her affection when she won’t give you the time of day? Give her an extremely complicated pair of GPS ski goggles that she can’t understand. That’ll get her off her high horse.
Zeal Optics’ Z3 GPS Goggles have adjustable light levels, and reduce 99.9 percent of glare from the sun. The head-mounted display technology has 3D data-capturing features.
The James Bond-inspired goggles capture your ride by providing real-time access to performance statistics including speed, altitude, temperature, and time during your run down the slopes.
Users can see their fastest and slowest speeds, review individual runs, and see vertical distance covered.
Zeal Optics Z3 GPS Goggles, US$549, www.zealoptics.com
More on CNNGo: 10 top ski resorts to visit this winter
5. The humanitarian: Clear UV water purifier
The humanitarian spends all her winter holiday volunteering in developing countries and never fails to come back with a horror story of waterborne disease.
This makes you feel guilty for playing Xbox all winter and not having diarrhea for five days.
Feel guilty no more, the CamelBak UV Water Purifier will purify her water anytime anywhere. The purifier has an ultraviolet light bulb built in the bottle cap and is good for 10,000 cleaning cycles.
The UV light sterilizes 99.999 percent of the bacteria, protozoa and viruses in 60 seconds.
So get back on that couch and send her on her way.
6. The tea connoisseur: Tipping loose-leaf tea cup
Train or plane, this tea Nazi doesn’t care about the convenience of bagged teas while sitting around a campfire.
He has to quaff his tea in loose-leaf format because the suffocating tea bag might constrict the leaves’ “circulation” and the tea must expand to properly “unfuuurl.”
You’ll never have to roll your eyes again if you get him the tipping tea cup. Just fill the strainer side with tea, tip over the thermo-resistant plastic cup, steep, and tip back to strain out the leaves.
Magisso Teacup, US$20,www.uncommongoods.com
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7. The humanoid robot: The battery messenger bag
This guy is always connected. He can text, type on his laptop, play Scrabble on the iPad, pick songs from his mp3 player and eat a hamburger while walking to a meeting.
But he gets jittery when his life tools are on 15 percent battery power during a long train journey with no plug.
Behold the messenger Power Bag. With a built-in battery system, the bag can charge the average smart phone four times, including Apple, Micro-USB, mini-USB connecters and USB ports. The humanoid will last all day.
The Powerbag, Instant Messenger model, US$180, www.mypowerbag.com
More on CNNGo: iPhone photos like you’ve never seen
8. The dad: Flexible tripod
Dads feel the paternal need to document every single family moment and they will do anything to get that perfect vacation photo for the mantelpiece.
Unfortunately lovable ol’ dad never seems to have any EQ and will ask the busiest, shyest, or most irritated passerby to snap a photo, then make them take it again if it doesn’t come out right.
To avoid the embarrassment, get him a GorillaPod Hybrid so he can wrap the camera around anything to get the perfect family portrait, even in the strangest of places.
The rubber-gripped GorillaPod Hybrid supports point-and-shoot cameras weighing up to one kilo. Includes bubble level for instant setup and perfectly level images.
GorillaPod Hybrid, From €40 (US$52), www.joby.com
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9. The nocturnal drunk: Bedphones
One of your travel mates has come back from the nightclub later than everyone else. He wants to pump his fist to techno, but you want lights out.
Connect any Android or iOS smart phones to a pair of Bedphones to play music that is automatically gradually turned down to lull the wearer to sleep.
These light ear-hooked headphones are wafer thin, and lie flat on the ear, comfortably designed for sleeping.
The app comes with three modes: basic mode turns your phone into the controller with a play/pause button; timer mode sets a timer for when you want to turn it off; smart mode actually shuts the app down by detecting how much you’re moving.
More on CNNGo: 8 best Indian music festivals for travelers
10. The slacker packer: Pocket e-reader
Getting lost in the pages of an enlightening novel is all part of the relaxation process for many travelers.
But then again, on a recent trip to Italy, a friend of mine ripped her 566-page novel in half and discarded the completed 300 pages to avoid traveling with the weight.
E-readers aren’t new, but the new pocket sized Amazon Kindle 3G is particularly handy for travel.
The pocket-sized reader weighs next to nothing and has 3G access all over the world, so there is no wireless connection or international data fee to download books any time. Data like itinerary, travel insurance and medical can be stored in PDF.
Amazon Kindle 3G, US$139, www.amazon.com