Always on the lookout for products that make travel easier and cheaper, I offer these for your consideration:
It’s difficult to keep track of small items when traveling, especially something like AirPods, those new, pricey little Bluetooth (cordless) earbuds for Apple’s iPhones. Where to safely store them? Try PodPockets, a sturdy, precision-molded storage cover that comes with a ring and clasp so you can hook the unit onto a backpack, gym bag, belt loop or keyring. Earbuds can remain in the PodPocket while charging. Comes in multiple colors and designs. Also works for storing non-Apple (Android) wired earbuds. $19.95. https://podpockets.com/
Speaking of little things and traveling … the Lay-n-Go Cosmo makes a lot of sense when it comes to organizing and saving space and time. What can be more frustrating than hunting for that eyeliner, lipstick, nail clippers or floss? Place all small items in the Lay-n-Go, pull the string and take it with you. Do the opposite when ready to use the contents, which are corralled by a raised border. Features a zippered pocket and handle. Also a great way to store and carry kids’ art supplies and toys (think Legos). Available in several colors and patterns. Washable. Sizes from 13 inches to 44 inches in diameter. $19.95-$49.95. https://www.layngo.com.
Take some leftover fabric, a desire to reuse and recycle, and an artistic eye and you get Dona Bela Shreds. “Up-cycled” fabric remnants have been transformed into colorful, lightweight, versatile neckwear and headwear. Easy-to-pack and no worry about breaking or losing this soft bling. These low-environmental-impact fabric creations can be worn with jeans, T-shirts or casual dress. According to the company, a portion of every sale is donated to charity. Handmade in Des Moines. Various sizes, colors and styles. www.donabelashreds.com.
Nuu Muu dress
You’ll love the Nuu Muu silky, polyester/spandex dress that you can dress up or down or even wear during athletic endeavors. It’s the ultimate in travel clothing; takes nearly no suitcase space, doesn’t wrinkle, stain or tear, and dries in 15 minutes. Comes in two necklines, a bunch of beautiful patterns and sizes XS to 3XL. Kids’ sizes, too. SPF 50. Sale prices start at $66. https://nuu-muu.com.
What to do with a soggy swim suit or any other wet item when it’s time to pack and go home? And how to store travel items that you want to keep separate and safe? Pop wet or dry items into one of many travel bags made by Case+Drift. The bags have waterproof linings, and outsides are laminated 100 percent cotton. Available in a variety of sizes, colors, patterns and prices. https://caseanddrift.com
How often have you arrived at your airline seat to find it covered with various kinds of human residue, leftover food and/or trash? You don’t have to be a germaphobe to appreciate Seat Sitters, a lightweight, black-fabric, reusable cover that places easily on airline seats. The package also includes a tray cover and wipes, great if your child has a peanut allergy or if you are flying during flu season. Approximately 24 inches by 61 inches. $14.99. www.seatsitters.com.
It’s the answer to the eternal question, “Now where did I put my keys/phone/wallet/whatever?” The Cube Tracker, using Bluetooth and smart phone technology, could make misplacing important items a thing of the past. Just ping the Cube with your mobile phone to make the lost items ring. Range: 100 feet. $24.95. To come: the advanced Cube Pro with greater range and volume. https://www.cubetracker.com/
Sound Oasis: Baby Oasis
Traveling with children is always a challenge, especially when bedtime arrives in a strange home or hotel. Baby Oasis Sound Machine by Sound Oasis can help. It produces six sounds, including “car ride,” “heartbeat” and one called “dolphins” that mimics soothing ocean surf (my opinion), to help lull children to sleep. Yes, adults who like white noise will like this sound machine, too. Can pre-set it for auto-shutoff at 30, 60 or 90 minutes. Plug it in or run on four AA batteries. Several models. $49.99 and up. https://www.soundoasis.com.
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.