Audiophiles, foodies and golfers might be the most gullible consumers on earth, as anyone with a magnetic resonator, escargot tongs or a complete set of radar golf balls can attest. If there’s a group of people who can give them a run for their wasted money, though, it’s travellers. Maybe it’s the jet lag or the lack of oxygen at 30,000 feet, but there’s a reason Sky Mall exists only on airplanes – I’m looking at you, “complete set of battle armour.”
The well-equipped business traveller knows that form and function are equally important and that superfluous amenities have no place on the road. Here’s a look at some of our favourite gear and gadgets for the well-accessorized road warrior:
An illuminated manuscript for the 21st century, the new Kobo Glo eReader with its 15-centimetre , touch-screen and built-in ComfortLight makes it readable in low light and in bright conditions. Even the darkest airline cabin is no match for the lightweight, 185-gram reader’s adjustable LED light, and in bright sunshine the screen is always legible. Gimmicky aspects like the “reading rewards” function that recognizes readers who read after midnight or complete books in record time are less appealing than the ability to change fonts on the fly and the ability to hold up to 1,000 books.
A perfect example of form and function coming together to create great design, Logitech’s new Ultrathin Keyboard Cover turns your iPad into a laptop. A simple magnetic clip adheres the Bluetooth keyboard to the tablet and when closed its titanium backing complements the iPad’s design.
A business traveller’s most important accessory is her phone. Protecting that lifeline and making sure it is operational are crucial to effective productivity. The ingenious new Power Skin cases, constructed from shock-absorbing silicone, protect your smartphone and, thanks to a built-in 2,000 mAh battery, double its battery life.
Like going business class, once you travel with a good set of noise-cancelling headphones, flying any other way seems incomprehensible. Our favourite is the Sennheiser CXC 700 in-ear headphones for their excellent noise-cancellation qualities and phenomenal audio performance. Three settings, one for subways, trains and cars, another for airplanes and a third for crowded spaces, means that nearly all unwanted noise is eliminated. We love that they come with an inflight 3.5-mm double mono jack adapter so you can tune in to all aircraft’s inflight entertainment. Best of all, unlike over-the-ear versions, you don’t even have to remove these for landing.
Although Connecticut-based leather gear manufacturer Ghurka has been around only since the mid-’70s it evokes the timeless style of the sophisticated gentleman adventurer: think Royal Tenenbaums meet Phileas Fogg. A recent push to introduce the brand to a wider audience has seen Ghurka open a flagship store in Manhattan and enter into partnerships with everyone from the New Yorker magazine and Maserati to basketball superstar LeBron James. One of the brand’s original designs, the Express No. 2 with its spacious interior, multiple pockets and umbrella hoops, is simply the ideal city-to-country weekend getaway bag.
Frequent fliers are passionate about their luggage and an informal poll suggests none more so than those who carry Rimowa’s polycarbonate bags. Even people who couldn’t tell a Tumi from a Briggs & Riley have probably noticed the bags’ distinctive grooves in various paparazzi snaps of celebrities making their way through airports. Bradley Cooper, Diane Kruger, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are all fans.
Clothing and accessories
Based on the original ‘80s design, Porsche’s folding aviator sunglasses have just the right amount of retro cache to be cutting edge.
As an added bonus, the lightweight titanium frames and polycarbonate lenses fold into a neat 6-by-6-centimetre package saving valuable space in your carry-on luggage.
Savvy women business travellers know that a good wrap is crucial for travelling comfortably without looking like you’ve just stepped out of a yoga class.
The ultra-functional Bliss Wrap from Icebreaker is constructed from 100 per cent merino wool so it’s light and breathable, easy to pack, machine washable and quick to dry in the sun.
For men, the ultimate travel suit remains one built from Zegna’s Micronsphere traveller material.
Not only does it resist wrinkling, but the fabric, based on the design of the surface of a lotus leaf, is extremely water repellent, allowing stains to be removed with a quick wipe.