The Winner's Circle

Must-Have Travel Gadgets

Just in Case
Airlines are clamping down on the size and number of carry-ons. Fortunately, the luggage industry has risen--or in this case, fallen--to meet the challenge. Atlantic's Upright Virtual Office is a wheeled business case, computer case and overnighter in one. After 9/11, designers reduced its size so it can fit in even the tightest overhead compartment.

Another innovation: Tumi's Expandable Carry-On with Suiter, a compact carry-on with storage for hanging clothes and a back sleeve that slides over a wheeled bag. The bag features two outside pockets, a front storage compartment and a back compartment with a removable suiter with zip mesh pockets to let you get into and out of the luggage faster.

Jet-Set Headset
A new hands-free device is liberating business travelers from the handset. Plantronics' MX100 headset for mobiles phones uses new technology called "Flex Grip" so the unit won't slip off your ear. The company has also upgraded its noise-reduction technology so the person you're talking to can hear you even if you're sprinting through a terminal.

10th Annual Business Travel Awards
· Best Car-Rental Company
· Best Hotels
· Best Airlines
· Must Have Travel Gadgets
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE:Travel Trends for 2003

Pillow Talk
Travel can be a pain. That's why Dr. Scholl's introduced a line of cushions designed with travelers in mind. They're all made from high-density foam that responds to your body's heat and weight, then "remembers" its original shape. Among the new pillows are a U-shaped neck cushion for long flights and a lumbar cushion designed to fit behind your back on marathon car trips. If you're looking for more high-tech relief, try the battery-operated lumbar cushion with a massage motor that keeps a gentle, consistent vibration on your back.

Cool Tools
Ever been stuck at a hotel without a screwdriver? Or needed a pick to remove a phone line stuck in a jack? The McGuyver XT from Topeak is a new 16-function stainless steel tool in a magnesium body that includes a fork, bottle opener, screwdriver, can opener, scissors, saw, knife and tweezers.

Swiss Army also offers a comparably priced tool, the SportRatchet, which features a bottle opener, screwdriver, wire stripper and toothpick. It also comes with several sizes of wrenches. Though these gadgets can be useful, check them with your luggage, or they'll get confiscated.

Convenience Call
As far as wireless devices go, Hop-On's new disposable cell phone isn't much to look at. It's small, doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, and could almost pass for a toy. But the real beauty of the Hop-On is unseen: With 60 minutes of prepaid calling time, you get to skip the contract, plus avoid long-distance and roaming charges and other fees. Early reviews say despite its somewhat awkward appearance, the Hop-On is as easy to use as any portable phone. Once you're done, you can return the unit for a $5 rebate certificate, or just throw it away.

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This article was originally published in the April 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Winner's Circle.

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