When it comes to luggage, it seems one size does not fit all. After all, you surely have different needs and interests than your fellow travelers so why should you carry the same bag?
That appears to be a theme at the Travel Goods Show, which opens in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Alas, the industry-only event isn’t open to the public but NBC News got a sneak peek and found a slew of items that are as unique as the travelers they’re designed for.
"Manufacturers' ability to pinpoint specific needs and solve problems with luggage and accessories continue to improve the lives of travelers,” said Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, which sponsors the show. “New brands and product lines continue to emerge which bring new 'know-how' to the table.”
Business traveler or camera buff, fashionista or family-focused, here are six that are designed with particular travelers in mind:
For the active executive
Henty Wingman combination garment/utility bag
As a bike commuter in Sydney, Australia, Jeremy Grey faced a dilemma: He needed a bag that would keep his daily business suit wrinkle-free and away from his sweaty bike clothes. Unable to find one, he came up with the Henty Wingman ($200), a 56-inch garment bag with accompanying gym bag. The resulting “suiter” has semi-rigid ribs to minimize creasing, can be wrapped around the latter to form a single unit and features a separate pouch that’ll hold a tablet and other necessities. (Available in the U.S. April 15.)
For the jet-set shopper
Morphus 22 by Eagle Creek
Bought too much stuff to fit in the single bag you brought on your last trip? The Morphus 22 ($395) from Eagle Creek resolves the problem by letting you turn one bag into two: As a single unit, it’s a rolling tote with 2,925 cubic inches of space; unzip it and pull the halves apart and you’ve got a hard-backed wheeled case and a separate, fully functional backpack that together provide twice as much room for your new clothes and souvenirs. (Available in stores on July 1.)
For the high-tech shutterbug
Flaked Extravaganza camera bag from Crumpler
Used to be a traveling photographer could get by with a bag that would hold a camera body or two and a handful of lenses. Not anymore as the typical digital set-up requires a whole slew of new accessories. The Flaked Extravaganza ($355) rolling carry-on from Crumpler fits the bill with a fully configurable main compartment with 13 padded dividers; a large mesh pocket for cables, memory cards, etc., and a separate sleeve for a 15-inch laptop for on-the-go uploading and editing.
For the little traveler
PlayAway Case with removable "pod"
Practical but playful, too. That’s the idea behind the PlayAway Case ($124), a 2-in-1 polycarbonate case designed by Jo Kerley, a mother of two from Ipswich, UK. The wheeled carry-on cases feature pop-out compartments (“PlayPods”) that contain crayons, card games and other kid-friendly activities. Underscoring the practical/playful approach, the brightly colored cases are emblazoned with cartoon characters which means they’ll stand out in a crowd and be less likely to get left behind. (Available in the U.S. in April.)
For the garrulous globetrotter
Faced with exorbitant roaming charges when using their phones overseas, more travelers are turning to interchangeable SIM cards that essentially give them local numbers in foreign countries. The problem is that the fingernail-sized chips are easily lost, which is where the Sim Card Passport Holder ($100) from ComforTravel comes in. The leather, wallet-sized case has pockets for six SIM cards, along with sleeves for a passport, business or credit cards and travel documents.
For the long-haul flier
Ultralight AirCore Pillow by Cocoon
It’s the essential conundrum of travel pillows: The bigger the cushion, the more comfortable but less packable it tends to be. The new Ultralight AirCore Pillow ($38) from Cocoon seeks to bridge the gap by surrounding an adjustable air bladder with synthetic fill. Inflated, the result is a full-size, 19” x 25” pillow that provides more support than traditional travel pillows; deflated, it fits into a diminutive 4” x 6” bag. It can also be used semi-inflated as a lumbar support or as stuffing to fill that annoying gap between the window seat and the fuselage.
After all, whatever type of traveler you are, arriving well-rested increases the odds that you’ll enjoy your trip.
Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him on Twitter.
First published February 27 2013, 6:34 AM