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‘The Amazing Race’ host designs a luggage line

Phil Keoghan knows a thing or two about packing for a trip.

As the host of CBS’ The Amazing Race, he stays as busy as the contestants, hopping around the globe on flight after flight. Some viewers may think he just stands by a mat at exotic destinations to welcome racers and announce the straggler team that’s eliminated in most episodes. But he says he has to stay a beat ahead of them, learn what happened along the way from camera crews and introduce each tricky challenge.

So he was a natural to put his name on luggage, which recently launched at (don’t call it the Home Shopping Network anymore, a spokeswoman says).

Keoghan told me that “I designed” the line, which includes a small roll-aboard with wheels that spin in any direction for easy maneuvering and packs to efficiently stow shirts, socks, underwear or whatever. After years of traveling, he knows what is needed, he says.

He also gave me some scoop about the Race, including that the camera and sound crews that follow teams are not allowed to help them. (Some viewers could not believe that a racer in the current season who dropped her passport at a gas station near LAX actually got it back when someone brought it to the airport. Keoghan says that the finder tweeted about a TV crew and lost passport and one of his Twitter followers said it had to be TAR and that the car with camera crew was probably headed to Los Angeles International. The former Vegas showgirl got her passport back after she thought she wouldn’t be allowed to get on an international flight. Far-fetched as it may sound, Keoghan says that’s what really happened.)

Back to the luggage. It can be purchased at

Keoghan also told me a personal travel essential, in which he has no stake. “I would be naked” without the pocket-sized Moleskine notebook that he constantly carries to keep track of his itinerary, record thoughts, sketch and more, he says. He gives the notebooks — the brand once used by Picasso and Hemingway — as gifts.

To see his and other travel pros’ holiday gift picks for USA TODAY, click here.

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