Dovetail Travel set – Travel in peace

I’m a frequent traveller – but I’m also five foot two, fond of solo adventures and look glaringly foreign in whichever part of the world I travel in – so safety is something I always try and take seriously. I’ve had a trusty “nude” travel belt for years, which makes me feel more secure – if not comfortable. So while planning a solo trip to Colombia I was more than happy to try out an alternative.

Dovetail’s travel set arrived in the post looking much like a lingerie-stuffed jiffy bag; my boyfriend stood keenly by as I pulled formless straps, nylon and sheer mesh from the package – before the postcard tucked inside revealed what it was.

Photo: Dovetail
Photo: Dovetail

The “travel wing” sounds ultra sleek – it’s a pocket held in place in the middle of your back by what look like a series of bra straps. But the straps lack one vital element: adjustability. It fit me poorly, and I ended up not giving it a go. 

The travel band, however, was fantastic. It fit comfortably, and worked under skirts (without riding up), shorts (without a belt strap to dangle out the bottom) and – remarkably – skinny jeans. It’s genuinely been designed for women’s hips; I forgot I was wearing it. The “portfolio” (a soft, fabric wallet) is a neat idea for storing cards and notes, as well as my hostel locker key. Crucially, it can also be accessed if necessary. Many would argue that this defies the point of a concealed travel belt, but as a keen photographer, one of the things I’m most anxious about losing when I travel are my SD cards. I could tuck these into the belt, then walk to an internet café to back them up – removing the portfolio discretely once I was sat behind a computer, and tucking it all back in at the end. The black nylon is a nice touch – if it peeked above jeans, it didn’t scream “I’m a camouflaged moneybelt!” in quite the same way as my nude original would. It also doesn’t assume all travellers have the same skin tone.

The portfolio’s water resistant fabric is also welcome. It might detract slightly from Dovetail’s sexy, feminine image – but lower back + backpack + tropical climate does not make for a happy environment for important documents. Or SD cards.

Photo: Dovetail
Photo: Dovetail

Colombia turned out to be far, far safer and friendlier than my South London neighbourhood, and I thankfully never got to test if it stopped me from getting robbed. However, peace of mind is everything while on holiday – whether that’s being protected from pickpockets, muggers – or just my own absentmindedness. So ultimately, Dovetail did the trick, and knowing I had it on me as a precaution did keep my boyfriend back home happy in the end, too.

This was a guest post from my fellow travel writing colleague and pal, Vicki Brown, who writes her own lovely blog La Nomadita. 

Give me back my Turtle

Gillian_coral_for_amazon brighterThe minute I unwrapped my new toy, the children had whisked it away to play with it in minutes. This is the TRTL, or turtle as it has become known in my house and it is one of the most ingenious inventions for travellers in a long time. In short, it is a neck support that you don’t have to inflate, and that looks rather chic when you are wearing it too. Made of soft fleece, you wrap it around your neck in one easy move and so it looks just like a scarf. Except that it has a cleverly disguised bit of plastic inside it, which offers just enough support for your neck to make that all important ‘loll’ as you dose off on the train or plane. Or indeed, the back of a car. This bit of patented plastic, aka an Internal Support System,  is extremely adaptable and can be worn anywhere across the front of the neck – either side or under the chin.But whatever way you wear it, you don’t look like a dork, and it is gloriously warm and comfort blanket like. I love also that the manufacturers describe it as ‘dribble proof”….never a good look.

My kids didn’t believe it would work, but within seconds they were squabbling over who was going to wear it in front of the telly that night. The older one won, using revision as the trump card, whisking it off to his room for a study session.  Apparently it made for very comfy Spanish vocabulary learning. My advice, however,  if you have boys, and sorry for sexism, get it in pink like I did. There is no way they will nick it from me on our next journey together. Sorry, if that seems like adhering to stereotypes, but sometimes a mother just knows her kids’ limits. Exam season reward for my son is an Interrail Card, however, so I feel a gift coming on. In a more sombre grey perhaps. And having tried and tested it on a three hour train recently, when I did sleep for an ache free 45 minutes (and no sign of dribbling I might add), I have no hesitation in buying a second one. Product shot 5 for Amazon_coral final

Two other pros of this ‘napscarf’ as the manufacturers call it – first, it is a Scottish creation and brainchild of a young kickstarter and second, it is also only 139 grams in weight, so no big issue when it comes to luggage weight limitations. The only downside is that the plastic inside means it doesn’t roll up so easily to pack, but it is no big deal as it is still very neat and small. And as I always suffer from aching neck syndrome, and I hate those inflatable pillows, I would sacrifice something else in my bag to bring this guy on any trip. If I can ever get it away from my kids. Who summed up their review of the TRTL as, simply, ‘This is sick’.