When tech gets cool and allows you to look the same way. With speakers tucked into earpieces, Bose Frames enhance life without anyone else knowing. The sound quality is superb, the leakage minimal; they look like ordinary sunglasses while a subtle gold button allows you to pair with devices, skip tracks and take calls. Download the app and you do get to play around with some augmented reality apps but actually the joy of the Bose Frames is that you blend into the world rather than turning yourself into the story and are particularly good for runners and cyclists since they leave the ears free for alerting you to hazards. Frames come in two basic shapes, the Raybanesque Alto and rounder Ronda and with a range of lenses (all with solid UV protection) that pop in and out, and come in at a pleasingly lightweight 45g. Ok, so the charge (about 3 hours) isn’t the longest, but Bose Frames have made me smile more than any other tech of 2019 and have had serious amounts of use from me, even in cloud cover. From $199
Thread Tales scarf
Katherine Maunder started Thread Tales in 2017 to help maintain traditional handweaving skills in Myanmar and Nepal. Part of the Positive Luxury group that ensures ensures ethical standards in manufacturing, the results are as thoughtful as they are beautiful. Local women create works of art with global appeal in their own villages and homes from cashmere, yak wool and – most precious of all – lotus silk; sustainably sourced from the plant’s stem.
Thread Tales’s feather-light wool ombre scarf is my travel winner though. This translucent, dip-dyed scarf that takes the chill off from in-flight air-conditioning and restaurants, drapes delightfully and at 53g, packs down to nothing (there’s a bag to pack it away into too). From $140
Diptyque bracelet and stickers
When travelling, there’s usually too much glass and liquid going on with standard perfume bottles for my liking but Paris-based Diptyque has managed to solve this problem in a most charming way. With its bracelet (which comes in floral-based Eau Rose and Do Son plus the more sandal-wooded Tam Dao) all you have to do is liberate enough of the scented rope from the container – the lid will cut it in the right place, and use the clasp to link the two together.
The scent lasts two to three days and there’s enough rope to make around 30 bracelets. Even more portable are the stickers which come in variations of rose scents, L’Ombre, Dans L’eau, Eau Rose and Do Son. With five per pack – all patterned and coloured black to act as temporary body art – they can be re-used two or three times before the scent fades. Playful, innovative and best of all, they take me straight back to those heady tween years of scratch’n’sniff stickers and friendship bracelets. From $52
Venetian furlane slippers
Tipping the scales at just 275g, furlane shoes can pack a real style punch. You wouldn’t want to hike Kilimanjaro in these traditional Venetian slippers but they are infinitely more stylish and urbane than espadrilles. With bicycle tyre soles and uppers usually made in velvet, Pied a Terre, which operate from a tiny shop in the Rialto, also do very desirable woven silk versions. If you don’t have time to dash to Venice in the run-up to the holiday season, mail order is available. From $250
Dollar for dollar the best – and most portable – fitness aid you can pack in your suitcase. Used by professional boxers to improve hand-eye coordination, a Boxaball will tone your upper body and stress bust at the same time (there are three different balls supplied, each of a different weight and hardness). Since the ball is attached by elastic to a slightly ridiculous headband, you may want to save it for your hotel room. Yes, it’s an exceptionally good workout. Dignified? Not really. But fun, as well. Really fun. From $26
Briggs & Riley
Travelling light needs a suitcase that understands its importance too. The Rhapsody range from Briggs & Riley. Its tall spinner has the key aspects you’d want – four double swivel wheels, with compression straps to keep clothes in their place, high grade aluminum handles (with a touch of leather), plenty of pockets to stash passports and umbrellas but – above all – at 2.9kb, it really is delightfully light despite having 36.7 litres of space to fill. It’s part of a portfolio of cases and backpacks that can fit together and come in black, burgundy and navy. From $399.
A godsend to travellers who are as obsessed by reading as they are by minimising their luggage. First launched in 2007, Kindles have become cleverer, more waterproof, diversified into mainstream tablets but the reader still holds its own. Evolution includes bluetooth so you can listen to Audible but the basic premise is the same. Just better with a frontlight. The Paperwhite is just 8.2mm wide, weighs in at 183 grams for the wifi-only options and has a battery that lasts several days even with heavy usage. And it’s waterproof too. From $129.95
Mophie Charge Stream Travel Kit
With today’s tech levels, you want to keep things charged. This new product from charger titans Mophie has been flying off the shelf. The different adaptors cover the power socket gamut from US to UK, Europe, China and Australia while the mat will charge your qi-equipped phone and there’s a micro-USB and car charger in there too. From $49.96