The first USB flash drive that I had owned, RiDATA 1 GB flash drive, had a hardware USB write protect switch. This was really cool as whenever I had to take a printout at some Internet cafe, I'd lock it and then only attach it to any computer. This way I was confident that even if the Internet Cafe's computer was infected with some virus, it would by no means affect the flash drive (which I'd later be using on my computer). However, of late, manufactures seem to have stopped putting this hardware write protect switch on USB flash drives. Only a few of the flash drives now come with this option. The list of drives that have a write protect switch are being maintained at: http://www.fencepost.net/2010/03/usb-flash-drives-with-hardware-write-pr... .
I recently purchased Kanguru FlashBlu 2 8GB as this particular model had good reviews and also seemed to be reasonably priced. I had originally intended to buy the 16GB model but its price did not seem to be justified for a write protect switch. As soon as I get the flash drive, I plan to setup multiple LiveCDs for any time troubleshooting and installation :).