Don't leave home without it

WE HAVE become seasoned travellers over the years and must have bought and used almost every travel gizmo available at sometime or another. Some are useless toys but the rest I have built into a useful collection and all are well used when we travel. Here is a selection of my favourites:

Pifco World-Wide Mini Kettle (pounds 14.99)

I bought one of these to make babies' formula milk when my kids were newborn and now we still use it for our morning cuppas when we are away. It saves money on room service, and comes with two cups, teaspoons and a tea or coffee filter that all pack neatly inside.

For stockists tel: 0161 947 3170

Kenwoods ST5O Discovery Jet of Steam Travel Iron (pounds 16.99)

I have tried several travel irons and found most to be useless, but this one is different. It delivers a shot of steam to cope with really difficult creases. I can also recommend Go Wrinkle Rescue (pounds 3.99) from Go Travel Products. It's a small can of fabric relaxant, which you spray and smooth onto any creases then pull the fabric and the crease disappears.

For stockists tel: Kenwood 01705 392333.

Carmen 4U Micro Travel Sport Dryer (pounds 12.99)

This has to be the funkiest, smallest (l3cm high) dual-voltage hairdryer around. You'll always be able to spot it on the dressing table as it comes in either blue and lime, or purple and tangerine. It packs away neatly into its carrying pouch and I always pack mine inside one of my shoes.

For stockists tel: 0161 947 3170

"That's Donald"! Kids Fliptop Insulated Flask - Gio'style (around pounds 6.99)

I have two of these kids' insulated drinking flasks and they have travelled with us all round the world. They come in various colours with a Donald Duck on the front and a shoulder strap so kids can carry them around their necks. My kids are always thirsty so this is particularly useful for us. And if you're heading to Florida's theme parks where you can pay up to pounds 2 per drink it will save you money as well.

For stockists tel: 01908 361500

The Currency Changer by Go Travel Products (pounds 6.99)

A silly mistake in your mental arithmetic could cost you a fortune. This mini calculator works it all out for you. All you need do is enter the rate of exchange for each new currency once. This is retained until it is reset. Key in the amount and convert currency at the touch of a button.

Go Travel Products are available in most major stores.

U.V. Sun Watch - UV Tech (pounds 14.95)

This is a must for sun lovers who don't want to frazzle. First you analyse your skin type using the "skin analyser" then enter it into the watch. It will tell you the correct factor sun cream you should use. Set the time, enter the SPF number on your suntan lotion, enter your skin number and an alarm will sound when it's time to get out of the sun.

Available from UV Tech on 0l 252 844880.

Anti Mosquito Gizmos

Mosquitoes absolutely love me and ever since receiving 25 bites on my face while staying on a romantic island in the Caribbean, I never travel with out my anti mosquito protection bag. This includes a plug-in mosquito machine which gives off a vapour (harmless to humans) that repels mosquitoes (from Boots pounds 6.50), Mosquito Wipes pounds 2.99 and No Bite Bands pounds 3.29 both available from Masters London.

For stockists tel: (Boots) 0845 0708090, (Masters London) 0181 543 3324.

Travel Bands For Adults and Children (pounds 7.50)

The most effective drug-free way to control any form of travel sickness. You simply put the bands on your wrists and they help prevent travel nausea. I tried these when suffering from sea sickness on a cruise and they worked.

Available from Boots, tel: 0845 0708090

Oregan 7 Language Data Bank Translator (pounds 29.99)

Seven language translator combined with 3Kb data bank. Capable of storing over 150 names and telephone numbers. Has an 80,000-word database with 195 phrases.

Translates the main European languages, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and Portuguese. It also has a built-in alarm, 12-digit calculator, currency and metric conversions.

Available from Argos, tel: 0870 600 3030.

Casio JY1O Personal Colour TV (pounds 99.99)

This always comes in useful and it was the only way I could get my husband to travel while the World Cup was on. It's bright luminous yellow and has a clear screen with a good sized picture. You can also tune into local television networks overseas.

Karen Banyon is a travel writer and broadcaster.

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