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Sunday, December 3, 2006

The businessman who secretly wishes his travels were a bit more Bond than board meeting will love a secret compartment in his laptop. Stash memory cards and other small items in a case that slips into the (pretty much useless) PC card slot. In addition, for stuffy plane rides or airless rooms, plug the battery-less fan into the USB port for a whoosh of refreshing air.

StashCard,$9.95. Available from WirelessGarden.com, http://www.wirelessgarden.com. USB Computer Fan,$9.99. Available from Curio City Online, 781-635-8743, http://www.curiocityonline.com.

For some, foreign languages are fun; for others, they're a nightmare of mangled intentions. The former could use a language book with translated phrases; the more linguistically challenged will appreciate a book filled with pictures, so they can point to what they're struggling to say.

Fast Phrase Translator,$9.95. Available from Fast Phrase Online, http://www.fastphrasetravel.com. Point It picture dictionary, $8.95. Available from the Spoon Sisters, 800-716-4199, http://www.spoonsisters.com.

Backpackers staying in shady hostels and homestays will appreciate your concern against unwanted guests. A plastic door wedge in a cheesy design is a lightweight safety measure that blocks interlopers with a sense of humor.

"Swiss" door wedge,$8.75. Available from the Spoon Sisters, 800-716-4199, http://www.spoonsisters.com.

The epicure who wanders through foreign markets in search of spices and strange fruit should have the tools to put on a proper picnic. A flexible cutting surface and a slim cutlery set with stainless-steel utensils and salt and pepper holders hidden in the handle add a dash of gourmet to any getaway.

SnacPac Picnic Kit,$8.85. Available from Magellan's, 800-962-4943, http://www.magellans.com. Chop Chop Flexible Cutting Board,$3. Available from the Spoon Sisters, 800-716-4199, http://www.spoonsisters.com.

Travelers who meet people wherever they go, but never have a scrap of paper to get an e-mail address, will appreciate a pad and pen slim enough to fit in a wallet.

PicoPad Wallet Notes,$3.99 each, minimum purchase $9.95. Available from Everyday Innovations, 866-438-3087, http://www.everydayinnovations.com.

It's all fun and games until you're stuck in Paris traffic or idling on the tarmac. It takes a twist on a childhood game to add a little laugh -- and reduce the stress -- of traveling. Mad Libs for adults turns psychoanalysis into an amusing diversion, while magnetic games like Sudoku or Hangman entertain any age.

Dysfunctional Family Therapy Mad Libs,$3.99. Available from the Spoon Sisters, 800-716-4199, http://www.spoonsisters.com. Magnetic games,$10. Available from Flight 001, 877-354-4481, http://www.flight001.com.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company


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