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A Gift Grab Bag of Comforts for the Road Weary

November 26, 2000|KATHLEEN DOHENY

Never mind that your last flight was delayed, your luggage was lost, the hotel room reeked of cigarette smoke or the hiking trail was pure mud. Intrepid travelers know how to cope. But they could use a boost. Here are some items on the travel gadget market that are designed to make it easier to stay healthy and comfortable on the road.

For heavy packers and those with bad backs, the Healthy Back Bag, a shoulder purse, promises to make your load feel 33% lighter. The secret, the manufacturer says, is a strap system and pocket system that distributes weight over the length of the bag and reduces back and shoulder stress. Priced from $69 to $155, depending on size and material, at Going in Style in the Century City Shopping Center, telephone (310) 277-0209; also from Magellan's, tel. (800) 962-4943, Internet

For those who are fastidious about gum health, there's the Traveling Water Pik, about $81, from Going in Style. It measures about 7 by 3 inches.

A related choice: the Dental Dot, a fingertip toothbrush about the size of a nickel. A pack of 18 is $4.99; a six-pack is $1.99. From Distant Lands Traveler's Bookstore & Outfitters, 56 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, tel. (626) 449-3220, Internet

For women who drink a lot of water, there's the Restop 1, a pocket-size disposable travel toilet kit. The plastic bag with a funnel top contains a biodegradable filling that absorbs and deodorizes urine on contact. After use, it can be disposed of in any trash container, the manufacturer says. A pack of four bags, tissues and antiseptic wipes is $9.85 from the manufacturer,, and Magellan's.

Related options: DBS personal toilet tissue, about the size of travel tissue, 99 cents a pack, or TravelSmart SaniGuard antibacterial spray for toilet seats or any other potentially germy surfaces; $4.99, from Distant Lands.

For guests in gloomy or smelly hotel or motel rooms, candles can help. The Bucky Aromatherapy Candle is $5.95 at Distant Lands. The elegant silver-plated Travel Candle from Magellan's comes in a flannel carrying pouch and costs about $40.

For travelers on medication, Brookstone's Pill Box With Timer beeps as many as four preset times. About $15 from Brookstone catalog and stores; for locations, see

For travelers destined for long airplane or car rides, travel pillow options abound. Brookstone's basic inflatable travel neck pillow is $10. Bucky Products makes an array, including the Bucky Travel Pillow for adults, about $25, or the kids' model, in a cow pattern or a more sedate blue velour, about $24, from Magellan's. Creature Comforts inflatable pillows come in adults' ($12.85) or kids' sizes ($10.85), in washable covers of jungle-inspired animal print patterns; from Magellan's. Then there's the Cadillac of travel pillows, the Tempur-Pedic, which was developed for NASA astronauts. The heat-sensitive material conforms to your neck or other body parts and then springs back. It folds down to 10 by 3 inches and has a washable cover. Price: about $75, from Brookstone.

The sleep-deprived (or antisocial) traveler should check out Bucky Shades, a soft eye mask that blocks out light and comes with reusable earplugs that fit into the built-in storage pocket. It's about $25 at Rand McNally, Glendale Galleria (and other mall stores), tel. (818) 242-6277; Internet For $20 more, Magellan's has the Bucky Serenity Set--shades and buckwheat neck pillow.

For contact lens wearers who hate to tote big bottles of soaking solutions and other supplies, there's Magellan's Travel Contact Lens Kit. The silver-plated pewter and steel case houses a mirror, two refillable bottles for wetting and soaking solutions and a lens storage case, and it weighs only 4 ounces. Price: about $45.


Healthy Traveler appears on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. Kathleen Doheny can be reached at

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