New vending machines are swapping Pepsi and pretzels for things you might actually need along your travels. Here are a few that caught our eye.
1. Cosmetics. Forgot to pack your mascara? Skip an emergency drugstore run by hitting up a Benefit Glam Up & Away! kiosk. Found at more than 20 airports across the country — including New York’s JFK, Las Vegas McCarran, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood — each features top-selling products, including the brand’s They’re Real mascara. Prices are from $10.
2. Flip flops. If you’re ever in Sydney and realize you’re without flip flops — or thongs as they’re known Down Under — there’s a more convenient way of buying these vacation essentials than wandering from store to store. Head over to the Galeries Victoria or the World Square Mall to snap up a pair of flip flops from the Havaianas vending machine for $13. The Brazilian brand is known for its stylish, yet sturdy sandals.
3. Toiletries. We’ve all been there: You disembark your long-haul flight, and make your way bleary-eyed to baggage claim, only to discover that your luggage has been lost. Now what? If you’re at one of the five airports around the country that has a vending machine filled with Jessica Alba’s Honest Company products, you’re in luck. The machines are stocked with items like toothpaste, deodorant, shaving oil, and conditioner — all in TSA-approved sizes, from $2.95. Currently, the Honest on the Go machines are at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, JFK, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
4. Souvenirs. Vacations aren’t complete without a souvenir. For a truly unique keepsake, artist Clark Whittington uses old-fashioned cigarette vending machines to dispense boxed, cellophane-wrapped artwork. Called Art-o-mat, the machines operate with a pull-knob and sell pieces created by more than 400 artists from 10 countries at $5 a pop. There are more than 100 machines across the U.S.; The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas stakes claim to six of them.
5. Baguettes. This isn’t a travel essential per se, but when you’re in out for a day of sightseeing in Paris, undoubtedly, an urge for carbs will strike — so it’s nice to know that you can snag a crispy baguette anytime from a vending machine. The brainchild of baker Jean-Louis Hecht — who was often disturbed at his home next door to his bakery by callers demanding le pain at all hours of the day — the machines distribute bread at the cost of €1 (about $1.13) per loaf. The machines are loaded with pre-made bread and once a customer places the order, it takes 30 seconds to bake. There are about 20 such machines found around France, including one in Paris’ 19th arrondissement.