There's still time to pick up a gift for your favorite traveler. We've assembled a list of top travel gear from 2010, things that really do make travel even more of a joy.
A) Of everything we have reviewed this year, this is the one that tops the list for me: the Swany JetCart Seat. It's a carry-on size bag with a foldaway seat. Measuring 22 by 12 by 8 inches and weighing 6.8 pounds, it fits easily in an overhead bin. But the real selling point is the surprisingly stable 9-by-9-inch seat, which folds flat against the underside of the bag and deploys with the push of a button. When you roll it up to a crowded airport gate, where all the seats are taken, no problem. Just deploy the seat on your bag. Cost: $165. Available from walkinbag.com
B) Travel gear doesn't have to be costly to be useful. The True Utility CashStash is a great example. It's a tiny capsule made of aircraft-grade aluminum and capable of holding one bill of any currency. It also has a rubber O-ring to keep water out. Great for the beach or just an emergency fund for college students inclined to go broke. Cost: $7.21. Available from amazon.com
C) The Joby Gorillatorch Flare is a superbright flashlight/warning light/strobe light with bendable plastic legs that can wrap around all kinds of objects so the light can be directed precisely. At the ends of the legs are powerful magnets that stick firmly to metal surfaces, such as the side of a car while changing a tire. This new generation of the Gorillatorch can illuminate an entire campsite. Cost: $34.95. Available from joby.com, or look for it in stores.
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D) I had tried some lame "all natural" substances that were supposed to deter mosquitoes. None of them worked, but this one did: La Fresh All Natural Biodegradable Insect Repellent Towelettes. The travel wipes contain peppermint oil, sesame oil, olive oil, castor oil, wheat germ oil and vitamin E. The best part: no DEET. La Fresh makes an entire line of travel products (deodorant, sunscreen, shaving gel) that will help whisk you right through that airport security line, because you don't have to carry fluids. Cost for the bug repellent: $3.99 for a six-count travel pack, $19.99 for 30 towelettes or $24.99 for 48. Available from lafreshgroup.com
E) The empty house back home can be a big worry when you're on the road, but Fake TV will give a burglar enough doubt to keep his distance. It's a small lamp that produces flickering lights that mimic a television. When someone outside your house sees the TV-like light coming from your windows, he will move on, thinking you're home watching old "Mannix" reruns. Cost: $29.95. Available from faketv.com