Function, fashion and design team up in these cool travel accessories
Words Laura Goldstein
Travel is back with a force. Whether your journey involves planes, trains or automobiles, planning a trip is lots of fun. Add in these travel accessories to create a stylish and less frenetic experience. And then? Get packing!
with kid-friendly carry-ons
In a galaxy not too far away, kids can travel with Grogu (Baby Yoda).
Samsonite Canada, a 100-year-old company that owns American Tourister, sparks imagination with its PVC-free American Tourister Star Wars Kids 18” Upright carry-on.
Always the gold standard for reliability and sturdiness, the luggage company entered the competitive kids’ travel market in 2015.
“Our American Tourister Disney Kids Luggage was built to be fun for kids, but also durable to handle real travel,” says Samsonite brand manager Erin Reynolds, from the company’s headquarters in Stratford, Ontario. “It goes through the same testing as our regular adult luggage. We kept the inside simple with a mesh pocket and cross straps, so it is easy to keep track of items inside, but also stays lightweight.”
It’s big enough to hold toys, clothes and a small light saber.
This kids’ carry-on costs $145.
who can resist a ‘kiss’ in the rain?
When Dutch entrepreneurs Wessel Buis and his wife Juliska Kiss travelled to Bali, they had to contend with heavy downpours and cheap disposable plastic ponchos to shield them from the rain. That’s when the Rainkiss brand was born.
“The entire concept is to blend sustainable [certified recycled] materials with ethical manufacturing, fashion inspired prints and most of all—fun,” says marketing manager Shane Lakatos, from the Rainkiss studio in Amsterdam. “Our in-house designers are focused on product development, and they consistently challenge manufacturers with new ways to improve our materials and processes,” he explains.
Originating in Latin America, the poncho is basically a square or rectangle of cloth with a hole cut out in the middle for the head.
“A hood, colourful graphic patterns and sleeves were natural additions to the Rainkiss poncho. As we are based in Amsterdam, the cycling capital of the world, it is an essential part of staying dry in the city,” says Lakatos (incidentally, a Canadian born in Ontario).
Recycled PET bottles are flaked, heated and spooled into fabric to create vivid unisex prints for adults and kids that are 100 per cent waterproof. From designs sporting gigantic black polka dots and pink panther animal prints, and names ranging from Disco Dream and Japanese Blossom to Digi Spring Camo, these ponchos might even make people hope for rain. When dry, they fold up into their own convenient carrying case for easy packing.
With a price tag of $86, they ship free to Canada.
barista on the go
So, you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and suddenly you think, wouldn’t an espresso just hit the spot? Or maybe you’re camping with the family and a shot of espresso is your usual morning wake-up call. You’ll be so glad you packed the Nanopresso, designed by Wacaco.
Built around a patented pumping system, the ergonomic espresso maker is only 6.14 inches tall and weighs just 336 grams. It comes with its own cup, filter basket, brush, carrying pouch, warranty and multi-language instruction book. Easy to use, it works best with finely ground, carefully tamped down coffee. Holding it with two hands, just press to pump.
One caveat: it doesn’t heat water, so you need to find hot water to add to it. After each shot, Nanopresso easily separates for deep cleaning. Don’t forget to pack the biscotti!
Nanopresso costs $99.90.
A travel toothbrush that gives you something to smile about
Can a toothbrush be sustainable and still have a cool design? That’s a resounding “yes” from Saskia Coleman Foley, the CEO and president of oral care company RADIUS.
Originally founded in 1983 by her architect father, the company is now run by this exuberant product designer, who is on a mission to create toothbrushes that don’t pollute the environment.
“Billions of toothbrushes made of various plastics are thrown away every year and go straight into landfills,” says Coleman Foley from her manufacturing company in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. “All of our toothbrushes are made from up-cycled materials like wood-based resin, coconut shell, hemp and more.”
The 2-in-1 Tour Travel Brush is an ingenious wide, eco-friendly, vegetable-derived-bristles toothbrush with replaceable brush heads that flips easily into its own transparent plant-based travel case. The collapsible design comes in a variety of colours, and tiny holes drain away any water from the bristles.
SOS (Save Our Suitcase)
Who can forget the airport chaos last summer when the whole world seemingly rushed to travel at the same time? The result: hundreds of pieces of luggage sat marooned in overwhelmed airports.
Apple AirTag to the rescue! Whether attached to a handbag, keychain, backpack, bicycle or another item, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My app network and can help locate a lost item like luggage, all the while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
Small and lightweight, it even has a built-in speaker that plays a sound to locate it. (Or you can ask Siri.) That’s especially helpful for users who are blind or have poor vision. Apple does not suggest attaching AirTag to pets.
It’s available in a variety of colourful accessories, and fashionistas will also be pleased to know that Hermès has partnered with Apple to create an exclusive AirTag Hermès travel tag Bag Charm and Key Ring in Barenia leather. Made in France, it’s etched with the iconic equestrian Hermès Clou de Selle signature.
The AirTag starts at $39. Hermès accessories $449 to $879.
The Parliament Wallet:
The smart travel wallet for men
Those savvy Dutch designers have done it again. Ekster, based in Amsterdam, has created a collection of men’s wallets, bags and travel gear in vegan, recycled leather made from car windshields or environmentally certified leather.
The Parliament Wallet, available in a variety of sleek colours, holds one to 12 cards and bills, and boasts a patented ejection mechanism that allows credit cards to be fanned out at a touch of a button to protect against skimming.
Every Ekster accessory can be paired with a solar-powered tracking tech card (extra), allowing for two-way ringing to call your wallet from your phone or vice-versa.
Cost is $90.