The art of travel changes constantly with the introduction of new products that make getting there easier, more fun and convenient, and maybe even cheaper. New gadgets let us take our creature comforts with us and can make traveling with children less stressful. Speaking of which…
There was a time not so long ago when, if you were under 3 feet tall, you didn’t go anywhere beyond the back yard or grandma’s house, but today, babies and toddlers seem to go everywhere. A couple of new products make taking along baby not so difficult.
The first is ciao! baby Portable High Chair (for kids up to 3 years old; theportablehighchair.com; $68.) The high chair, an engineering marvel, opens with a couple of easy motions.
It’s constructed of sturdy canvas and is ideal for travel, camping (I would have loved this when my kids were young). It’s also ideal for the grandparents’ home because the chair folds easily and takes little storage space. Comes in a multitude of college team colors and logos, too ($99).
The second parent-helper is the Baby Change-N-Go (babychangengo.com; $99), which was born of the frustration that comes with the lack of diaper changing facilities or facilities that are downright filthy.
Long flights or car trips sometimes require diversion for kids as well as adults. You can make sharing one tablet, phone or laptop easy with loveBuds (mylovebuds.com; $25.49), which can be used with any device that has a regular audio jack (3.5 millimeters). The ultralight earbuds come in metallic gunmetal on one side; pink on the other. Each side has its own volume control, and it comes with extra bud covers of three sizes.
Should you choose to share your music at the beach with a bottle of wine, don’t worry about having to transport breakable wine glasses. Flexible, durable and colorful, Bendiware glasses (bendiware.com; set of four $25) are fun and negate the need for disposables (hooray!).
If that weren’t enough, the 100 percent BPA-free silicone glasses are foldable so you can stow them in your backpack or bag. They won’t freeze, crack or shatter, so they are safe to put in the freezer or dishwasher.
Need something to sit on at the beach? The Parasheet from Grand Trunk (grandtrunk.com; $40) is just the thing.
The 7-foot-square blanket, constructed of ultra-lightweight, quick-drying parachute nylon, has sand pockets in the corners to make it easy to anchor, and loops for those situations that call for stakes. (Stakes not included.) Parasheet comes in several color combinations and the entire thing compresses into a small, attached stuff-sack, so it takes up little space.
While you’re enjoying the beach, do you need insect repellent, sunscreen, breath freshener or sanitizer?
These are all available from MiiSTS (miists.com), which has figured out how to dispense these liquids in flat, pocket-sized spray containers that make it easy to carry a variety of first-aid and beauty needs when you travel. MiiSTS also offers tiny spray dispensers that contain bite and bug relief, stain remover, lens and screen cleaner, zero-calorie sweetener, wrinkle-releaser and hairspray. Easily fits in purse and backpack. Six-pack for $21.
Speaking of engineering genius, check out the Kelvin 36 (kelvintools.com; $49.99), an entire toolbox in one amazing gadget that measures just more than 5 inches long.
Included are a knife blade; hammer; wine-opener; level; screwdriver and 26 bits; flashlight; tape measure and a whole bunch more. Ideal for camping and the car. Comes in four colors and packed in a hinged, metal gift box.
Feel intimidated by 36 tools? Try the Kelvin 23 ($29.99).
E’Louise Ondash is a freelance writer living in North County. Tell her about your travels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E’Louise Ondash is a veteran, award-winning journalist who was an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Times Advocate and the North County Times. She has written travel features for The Coast News since 2003.