Once again, I have been giving my body over to science to try out and bring to you a variety of must-have travel necessities currently on the market. Here are just a few of the latest to make your travels more fun, convenient and, in many cases, just make you look wonderful!

Medical Alerts never looked so good

For many people, living with a health issue such as asthma, a heart condition, diabetes or other ailment can make travel a bit more challenging. However, having a way to communicate, should you be unable to do so verbally yourself, with others in the event that you have an episode has just been made easier, and much more fashionable, with Medical ID Marketplace.

Along with a custom-engraved plate that alerts medical personnel to your particular issue, the company has incorporated all types of fun and stylish beads, stones, bands and more to suit men, women, teens and children, with themes for sports enthusiasts and others, all designed to look like beautiful and cool pieces of jewelry. The company also sells a variety of write-on, specialty and other products.

877-651-5186, www.hopepaige.com

Expert sun protection year round

Because winter is upon us and many are dreaming of warm locales, sand and surf, and lounging around under the sun, the products from MDSolarSciences immediately caught my eye. According to the product’s CEO and founder, Dr. Robert J. Friedman, a leading dermatologic oncologist and clinical professor at the NYU School of Medicine, whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall, protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is of the utmost importance.

“The intensity of the sun’s UVA rays, which cause sun damage to the skin … and contribute to skin cancer, is more or less the same year-round,” according to the company. In fact, its staff says the sun’s intensity increases with increasing altitude by about 5 percent for every 1,000 feet of altitude. Therefore, if one looks at UVB intensity at 10,000 feet, in Colorado on Vail Mountain at the end of December, for example, versus in Times Square at sea level on the 4th of July, they are more or less the same.

To that end, the company offers a range of broad-spectrum sunscreens, including organic and mineral products. I tried their SPF 40 Quick Dry Body Spray and loved the ease of use, lack of harsh chemical fragrance and the protection it offered while going in and out of the pool and ocean on my last trip. And because they use non-dangerous chemicals, I feel good about not adding potentially hazardous substances to bodies of water or spraying them into the air. A Mineral Screen Tinted Gel SPF 30+, Mineral Screen Lotion SPF 40 and Natural Mineral KidCreme SPF 43 are also among their numerous product offerings.

877-301-5355, www.mdsolarsciences.com

“Stick ’em up, ponder!”

Speaking of heat, I love this next must-have–the Hot Iron Holster. Designed to hold all of your heat-related hair styling tools–curling iron, flat iron, hot comb and the like–the Hot Iron Holster clings to any smooth surface without suction cups or adhesives. I agree with the company that it “makes a perfect gift for women everywhere,” because it frees up precious bathroom counter and dresser space, especially when you have to wait for your appliance to cool before putting it away. But the kicker is that it is made of a heat-resistant silicone that absorbs temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is totally portable. Hot Iron Holster comes in black, purple, white and–my choice–hot pink!


Does that say savory or sausage?

Restaurant owners and managers, take note! As much as we love to dine out, and as beautiful and descriptive as your menus can be, many of us simply can’t read all of the small print. And if we forget our own reading glasses, well, we just might order something we really don’t want or take a lot more time asking the waitstaff to describe what everything says.

But take heart, there is an easy way to be sure all of your customers can read all the hard work you put into each menu item–with FoodieSpecs. According to the company, “Statistics show over 65 million people need reading glasses, especially in lower lighting, and they cover the whole age range of any restaurant customer base. … Make your customers happy by offering them a pair of sanitary, individually wrapped reading glasses. … It is fast becoming a service people expect. … Goodwill brings repeat customers, bigger orders and bigger tips!” FoodieSpecs are just $19.99 for 20 pairs, plus a window sticker for the establishment and free shipping.

I tried out a pair and, to be honest, they work better than the convenience-store variety I keep at my bedside and in my purse. And I look fashionable wearing them!

800-915-2160, www.foodiespecs.com

It’s All good in the hood

One of the downsides to rainy or cold weather is what it does to your hair the second you walk out the door after spending so much time to get your hair looking the way you want it. And if you opt for a hat, it may prevent the frizz–but it will flatten all the curls. And then there’s the attempt to still look stylish and warm at the same time!

Well, colder weather shouldn’t compromise style. So here’s a solution: Coiffie, “a weather-defying fashion hood created for women who are tired of hat hair.” Made of lightweight construction with a special water repellent to protect you from rain and snow, the Coiffie minimizes hat hair with a silky lining and roomy adjustable hood that folds back to create a custom fit. It can also be flipped back to wear like a scarf. My black exterior with animal print interior really looks great and folds up very neatly to fit in my coat pocket or purse. One size fits all, and they come in a variety of colors.

877-592-2622, www.coiffie.com

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at lallmanbaldwin@kc.rr.com.