Travel innovations that repel bugs and keep germs away


Whether you’re trying to keep coronavirus at bay or need a backpack with a seat or a language translator, new travel products have your back. Here’s a sampling from this month’s Travel Goods Show 2020 in New Orleans.

Get thee away, bugs

Pang Wangle (in Southern speak, bearing life’s misfortunes with a smile) makes bug repellent travel wear. The Essential Wrap with Insect Shield (the same eco-friendly permethrin repellent used by ExOfficio in its insect-repellent gear) is a soft, sustainably made stylish 6-foot-long scarf that can be worn over the head and neck, draped over the shoulders, etc.

Info: The Essential Wrap sells for $58 and comes in sandshell, rust, black and faded denim.


It stands between you and germs

Freshflight describes itself as a “clean sheet for your seat.” It acts as a barrier to germs and grime found on planes, trains, etc.

The Freshflight sheet comes with adhesive tape that attaches it to the seat and keeps it in place. It can be removed without leaving residue. (The company recommends customers roll up the sheet and take it off the plane — and wash their hands after trashing it.)

It’s made in the U.S. and by late spring, the sheet will be biodegradable.

Info: Two versions of Freshflight are sold on its website. The kit with a mask sells for $9.95; without a mask, $8.95. Both include an antimicrobial wipe for tray table, armrests and seat belt.

Have a seat

Standley’s LeanBag, which won the Travel Goods Show award as the best new backpack, comes with a built-in stand and an attachable seat so you can sit and lean back.


Instead of a bleacher-type seat, the stand provides back support so you can lean back at a picnic, when your flight’s delayed, etc.

Info: The LeanBag is available in black, red and camel and retails for $89.

Store me anywhere

Rollink makes stylish, practical luggage. Its polycarbonate Flex Vega 21-inch suitcase is lightweight and water-resistant and folds down from 7.9 inches to 2 inches.

Info: Flex Vega comes in seven colors, including yellow iris, Atlantic blue, deep lagoon and rose smoke. It will be available this summer and retail for $79.

No more language barriers


Sourcenext’s Pocketalk is the company’s second-generation pocket translator. It’s a smartphone dedicated to helping people converse in 74 languages, including Arabic, Chinese (simplified, traditional, Cantonese and Mandarin), French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Turkish. And it can store 10,000 translations.

When I tried Pocketalk at the show, I was impressed with its ease of use and accuracy when I spoke my limited French versus the awkward results my Google Translate app usually produces. Features include one-button translation, a large touchscreen and a text-to-translate camera for instant translation of text, signs, etc.

Pocketalk also computes currency exchange rates and converts measurements. It comes with a free two-year cellular data plan with coverage in more than 130 countries.

Info: Pocketalk is available in white, gold or black and costs $299.