Once again, it’s time for a roundup of great gadgets for gadabouts.
If you need a gift for your favorite traveler or are looking for products that make your travels easier, check out the following:
If you are of a certain age, you might remember those tablecloths made of brightly colored oilcloth, often used on the back yard picnic table. Big advantage: they easily wipe clean. A Utah mother-of-three who goes simply by the name of Sarah Jane may be single-handedly responsible for the resurrection of oilcloth, but her products are adapted to today’s lifestyle.
My fav: her whimsical-print SARAHJANE BEACH BAG ($35; more choices than you can imagine) is roomy, tough as nails, highly utilitarian and couldn’t be more perfect for the beach. At day’s end, just hose it down. Also great for hauling groceries, storing reusable bags and as a catch-all for the road-trip backseat. If you’ve got kids, you can’t do without this tote. Visit sarah-janes.com .
Speaking of beach sand, we know it’s fun but the devil to get off. A Sand-Off Mit is the answer to this age-old problem. Clap it and it releases a powder that, when applied to the skin, makes sticky sand a thing of the past. It’s effective regardless of sunscreen and/or perspiration, and lasts for up to 40 uses. Also removes grass clippings, dry wall material and just about anything that sticks to skin. Comes in packs of one to six mitts. Starts at $7.99. Visit sandoff.com
Worried about losing your pet when you travel — or anytime, for that matter? PetHub Tags are the answer to your anxieties. Tags feature QR (quick response) codes — matrix barcodes that can be scanned with any smart phone. This takes you directly to the website PetHub.com where you’ll find the pet’s emergency contacts, necessary medication, allergies, immunizations, vet and insurance providers, dietary needs and more. The advantage over microchips? No need to find a scanner. Just a thought: These tags might be great for bracelets for kids or older adults suffering with dementia.
Plane rides don’t come with many frills these days. Gone on domestic flights are the pillows and blankets we used to take for granted. The Travelrest 4-in-1 Blanket the antidote to bare-bones service. It’s a blanket, a pillow or a lumbar support that morphs into its own carrying case. Also features a built-in strap for attaching to suitcase or backpack. Made of super-soft fleece, the poncho-style blanket comes in beige or navy blue. Price is $24.95. Visit travelrest.net.
NiteIze Innovation has come up with a whole catalogue of products to illuminate night travelers. Wear a moldable Slaplit on your wrist or arm, or wrap it around your bike and drivers will know you are there. The approximately 14-inch-by-1.5-inch band of durable nylon glows or flashes. The Spotlit carabiner light (also glows or flashes) can be hooked to a key ring, purse, jacket, travel bag or tent. Great for trick-or-treating and nighttime dog-walking. And just for fun, how about playing with a glowing hacky-sack? Check out the Astrobrite L.E.D. Bean Ball and many other bright-light products at niteize.com.
Admit it. You can’t leave home (or work) without your iPad, Kindle or other e-readers. Octa of Denver ( http://octa.com) is a creative group of innovators who love their mobile electronics, too, so they’ve invented the TableTail ($49.99). It includes two pieces; the Vacuum Dock ensures a good grip, and the WhaleTail lets you prop up your tablet on almost any surface. You can even hang it from a pole. OK, it’s hard to picture, so see how cool it works at youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1YIw3EDx76Y.
Know a world traveler or frequent flier? He or she could use the World Time Sport Watch by Art Technologies of Long Beach. It displays 24 time zones and cities (choose two at once), world time (Greenwich Mean Time or GMT), a calendar, you can change modes with the swipe of a finger. The sleek design makes it lightweight. Travelers will stay oriented regardless of the number of time zones they cross. Check out this watch, as well as many others ideal for travelers, at phosphorwatches.com.
E’Louise Ondash is a freelance writer living in North County. Tell her about your travels at firstname.lastname@example.org.