With all the challenges that traveling presents these days, we can use all the help we can get. Here are a few products that will help make traveling a bit less of a hassle.
When frequent traveler Pamela Gort of Oceanside got fed up with tangled and scratched jewelry, she invented blingzy, a cushioned, roll-up jewelry carrier that takes up a minimum of room in your luggage, purse or carry-on. Just lay your jewelry in neat rows spaced at one-inch intervals and you’ll never spend time untangling again. Gort’s company, Simply Sown, employs women at Hope House in Oceanside, which provides shelter and counseling for victims of human trafficking. “Each woman is paid a fair trade wage,” says Gort, “and a portion of the proceeds goes to Hope House and other organizations that support similar causes.” The blingzy comes in five jewel tones. $25. HYPERLINK “http://www.blingzy.com” www.blingzy.com.
I confess; I am spatially challenged when it comes to understanding three dimensions or creating something that turns into something else, so thank goodness for the people who can invent such things as the Sholdit Infinity Clutch Wrap, which serves two purposes. It’s a traditional “infinity” scarf with hidden pockets sized to carry travel essentials, but fold it and voila! It becomes a clutch purse. The Sholdit is not only fashionable; it’s also about a safe place to hide your passport, cash, sunglasses and any other can’t-do-without items. Amazing. Works as a shoulder wrap, too. Many colors. $40-$59. HYPERLINK “http://www.sholdit.com” www.sholdit.com.
I recently visited St. Louis where I nearly froze to death during a lunch with friends in a popular restaurant because the air conditioning was cranked so high. I could’ve used a Pocket Poppet Cardigan on the Go. This gem-of-an-invention is an open-drape front, long-sleeved cardigan created to fold into its own protective pocket so you can stash it in your purse, backpack, stroller or glove box. (Thanks again to people who can think in three dimensions.) When you wear the cardigan, you can use the secret pouch to hide ID, credit card or passport. Pure genius. Made in Chicago and comes in eight jewel-tone colors and white. $99. HYPERLINK “http://thepocketpoppet.com” http://thepocketpoppet.com.
Being stuck in the middle seat is not conducive to napping during flight, but the NapAnywhere will permit a little shuteye no matter where you sit. Unlike bulky travel pillows, NapAnywhere is a portable head-support device that can be tucked into a backpack or carry-on. Comes in four colors, three sizes, and has a carrying case and an easy-clean cover. $59. HYPERLINK “http://napanywhere.net/” http://napanywhere.net/.
Ironing may become a thing of the past for travelers with Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. This magic-in-a-bottle makes wrinkles disappear with a spritz, an ideal solution after your clothes have been smashed in a suitcase for a day-and-a-half. Just spray, tug and smooth the fabric, wait a few minutes and your clothes look as though you’ve packed a portable iron. The product works by coating fabric fibers with silicone that allows them to relax and slide apart. Comes in a 3-ounce travel-size bottle. Sold in grocery and drug stores everywhere. $1.99.
How many times have you had to search the depths of your purse for your car keys? (I do it at least three times a day.) Los Angeles resident and former flight attendant Sandy Stein came up with the perfect solution: the Finders Key Purse, “a fashionable solution” to the aggravation of “the hunt.” The unique jewelry-like design keeps your keys handy, regardless of the size of the purse. “This simple little accessory saves time and is a safety measure as well,” says Stein. There are 100 designs from which to choose, from whimsical to professional. $4-$9. HYPERLINK “http://finderskeypurse.com/” http://finderskeypurse.com/.
E’Louise Ondash is a veteran, award-winning journalist who was an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Times Advocate and the North County Times. She has written travel features for The Coast News since 2003.