Once a year the luggage and travel accessories retailers get together with manufacturers and distributors to see what's new and up and coming. So what stood out at this year's 2016 Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas? Here are our picks for 5 trends based on the products that were showcased in March 2016.
Trend #1: Sleeping face forward
Incarnations of the ubiquitous head support pillow abounded in this year's show.
It has come a long way from the simple U- shaped inflatable pillow with flocked vinyl pouch selling for under $10. Now you can tether your forehead so it doesn't fall forward while dozing using an eye mask with straps that attach around the back of your seat. In fact, sleeping with your head in a forward position is the new frontier in sleep comfort design. Some, like the ratcheted adjustable board with a clamp, use the airplane tray table to rest your head. Another design has hinged dual U- shaped pillows; one serves as a brace and the other cradles your face while leaning forward. In addition there are cozy armrest covers if that's where you like to rest your head or a mini pillow for the hand that cushions the side of your head when you lean against the window.
The big buzz at the show was a cool version of the popular memory foam pillow, cool because it now has air vents and will sell for a cool $90 Canadian dollars.
Shop Air Evolution - Inflatable Neck Pillow
Trend #2: Tracking devices
Image source: 52tiger
There are many tracking companies using Bluetooth, GPS and GPM and their accompanying apps that locate your luggage anywhere in the world and alert you at any given moment. Almost all charge a monthly fee for their tracking service and their apps promise the capacity to perform such tasks as flight check-in and seat selection some time in the future. Several manufactures have already started integrating theses devices into their suitcases.
Trend #3: "Smart" Bags With Power
Image source: Planet Traveler
Bags and luggage designed with USB ports, chargers and cables make it easier to keep your electronic devices powered en route. Some have built -in speakers, plugs for headphones and weight scales. Fingerprint technology is not yet ready to replace a conventional TSA lock on the models we saw using it but it may some day soon. Most models in the “smart" luggage category still seem to be in a development phase and are still costly for the bells and whistles they provide. The few already established in the marketplace are gearing for version 2.0. with additional "smart " features built in like location tracking. Their carry-on specs are all geared for the U.S. airline industry and are one inch too big for Canadian carry-on size requirements.
Trend #4: Hardside Graphics
Image source: Wayfair
Rigid suitcases in polycarbonate, polypropylene, ABS, Makrolon® and other thermoplastics are more popular than ever and many are now fashioned with imaginative graphics, from Minnie Mouse to the Eiffel Tower, cool abstract designs and photo reproductions. The bags not only identify your personal taste but also help your bag stand out on the baggage claim conveyor belt. Half of all luggage sold in Europe is hardside and it looks like we are quickly catching up to match the trend.
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Trend #5: Compression Socks
The number of companies selling socks to keep your legs from swelling and clotting not only on the plane but also for everyday use has multiplied. Now available in fashion colors and designs, the socks are comfortable enough to wear to work, on long walks and to keep your legs energized at trade shows! These are not your grandfather's leggings but sophisticated tech wear for tired feet suitable for everyday use.
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