TRAVEL / Creature comforts for castaways: Remote doesn't have to mean uncivilised, as Rosalind Russell's round-up of gadgets shows

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The Independent Culture
AS YOU hack a steamy path through the lush, parrot-filled Amazon rain forest, 10 to one you'll be thinking you're glad you packed a travel plaque remover. No? Braun will be disappointed. They have just launched Oral B D5, confident that holiday-makers won't risk ostracism by neglecting their daily oral hygiene programme. Rechargeable with a universal voltage charger, it costs around pounds 65.

For the nervous traveller, it is almost impossible to avoid reminders of possible disasters waiting in a corner of some foreign field. At travel agents Trailfinders' holiday shop, the gloomiest Cassandra can buy a blood transfusion kit. It comes in two sizes: pounds 10 for small, or pounds 17 for a two-person job. The fear of contracting HIV through blood contamination has fanned the flames of paranoia, but boosted sales of travel medical kits.

At pounds 6.99 each, can you leave home without an Emergency First Aid Kit For Teeth, or an Emergency Sterile Medical Kit, both produced by Travel Accessories (UK)? The DIY dental kit includes filling cement, mixing tray, spatula and multi-angled mirror for instant patch-ups.

If you must take your own tea, Boots sells an automatic mini kettle for pounds 13.50 and a Pifco mini boiler at pounds 10.99; and the Philips Travel Iron at pounds 14.99. If you really can't bear to take the ironing with you, Pifco does a Worldwide Travel Fabric Steamer ('the essential travel companion') at pounds 14.99.

Getting steamed up isn't a problem if you've had the foresight to buy a Travel Accessories battery-operated mini-fan at pounds 4.99 - 'ideal for air travel, slips easily into handbag or pocket when blade removed'. Quite.

The luggage alarm that looks like a baggage tag, but shrieks for help if tampered with, is just one of Samsonite's offerings to the tentative traveller. It costs pounds 8.99 and runs on two button cells. The Samsonite pilfer-proof luggage strap lock at pounds 8.99, with heavy-duty double combination lock, should slow them up at Thiefrow - and only slightly add to the weight of your case, which will then need a Shoulder Protector ( pounds 3.99) to relieve you of pain when heaving it along.

Foreign food looms large in the nightmares of the thoroughly British egg-and-chips man. The Go Travel Menu Mate was invented for him. The 'language free meal selector' is in fact a small book with over 100 food illustrations in it - lobster, fish, etc - to which he can just point while shouting at the waiter in English. It costs pounds 2.99 and comes in a credit card-size pouch.

The Take Apart Cutlery Knife relieves you of the worry of possibly unwashed utensils, and separates to become knife, fork or spoon ( pounds 7.95). A collapsible Go Glass with built-in pill box erects telescopically in seconds (pounds 3.25) to deal with the resulting need for Andrews salts. And the inflatable Personal Pillow - 'your own fresh clean pillow anywhere you travel' - is a must at pounds 6.50.

To look impeccable, try a Go Travel Tie Saver at pounds 9.99, which features the 'unique Roll-A-Tie anti-crease system in executive carry case' or the Clothes Company's folding travel brush ( pounds 5.49) which doubles as a shoe horn. Shirt button popped off? Boston Man makes an emergency no-sew shirt button set at a mere pounds 1.99.

Well, that's just about everything but the kitchen sink. Oh, except for Go Travel's Bathplugger. Fits any bath or sink at pounds 3.10. Bon voyage.-

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