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The Healthy Traveler

Gifts That Keep on Going

December 17, 1995|KATHLEEN DOHENY

Keeping healthy and happy on the road can be enhanced, thanks to an avalanche of portable products that could make good holiday gifts. Here's a sampling of what's available, from the practical to the luxurious, for leisure and business travelers.

(Prices quoted do not include tax or shipping and handling charges.)

* Finding the closest hospital in the United States is made easier with UltraFinder, a hand-held computer that can direct you to the nearest facility. The user types in his or her location and the computer display provides directions. It also stores information on 24-hour food and gas service, city-to-city directions for 70 major cities and a multitude of other geographic details. $99.95 from The Sharper Image; tel. (800) 344-5555.

* There's no excuse for avoiding workouts if your suitcase contains the Lifeline Tote Gym--a resistance band with handles on the end that can be attached to doors for an upper body workout. About $30 at Busybody Fitness Equipment in Glendale; tel. (818) 502-1354, and other Southern California locations.

* The Spider Mosquito Net is touted as a lightweight favorite for solo travelers, but it's also big enough to enclose a king-size bed. A ceiling attachment kit is included. $69.95 from Travel Medicine; tel. (800) 872-8633.

* Drowning out jet engine rumble and other road noise can be accomplished with NoiseBuster, an electrical box with headphones that cancels out irritating sounds by blocking them with steady white noise. Speech, music and warning signals are still audible. $99.95 from Going In Style, Century City Shopping Center; tel. (310) 277-0209.

* Relax the Back's Inflatable Neck Rest provides good support for long airplane trips. The U-shaped pillow stores compactly. $6.95 at Relax the Back stores' seven Southern California locations. (For the nearest store, tel. 800-451-5168.)

* A personal water purifier provides safe drinking water no matter how remote the locale. One choice is PUR's Portable Purifier. Pour water into the chamber, push down the plunger and the filter traps organisms that can lead to disease, including the hard-to-kill Giardia lamblia parasite. It comes with a drinking cup. $49; $29 for replacement cartridges, from Magellan's Catalog of Travel Essentials; tel. (800) 962-4943.

* Tutto luggage on wheels makes transporting heavy bags easier for travelers with arthritis, back problems and other mobility difficulties. A 21-inch weekender case is $200; a 20-inch Compucruiser, designed for a laptop computers, $200, from Mascot Metropolitan; tel. (800) 949-1288.

* The Lumbar Comfort Seat Cushion can save the trip. Made of polyester over foam with nonslip backing, the cushion has elastic straps to secure it to car seats. There is a lateral lumbar insert that conforms to one's lower back. $30, from the Rand McNally catalog; tel. (800) 234-0679.

* The Exer-Toner Door Knob Exerciser is promoted as a "portable total body toner." It's small enough to stuff in a purse or carry-on luggage. It has four loops for hands and feet, pulleys and another loop that's slipped over a doorknob. An instruction book featuring three exercises is included. $6.99 at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Studio City; tel. (818) 769-5526.

* The World Traveler Medical Kit makes handling accidents or illness easier. It contains a first-aid manual, thermometer, water tablets, rehydration salts, trauma pad, dressing, bandages, tape, antibiotic ointment, surgical gloves, forceps, painkillers, Pepto-Bismol, Mylanta, cortisone and anti-fungal creams and other necessities. $69.95 from Travel Medicine; tel. (800) 872-8633.

* The Back Knobber is an S-shaped massage device designed to soothe tired back muscles. A travel version collapses to half of its 19-inch unfolded size. $34.95 at Relax the Back stores.


The Healthy Traveler appears the second and fourth week of every month.

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