Always on the lookout for products that make travel more fun and hassle-free, I’ve discovered the following:Here are three travel accessories for your electronics: Never lose your smartphone and/or tablet again with these bright, sassy, highly visible and interchangeable covers by PlusMotif. Not only fun, fashionable and versatile (16 cover colors and 14 bar patterns), but utilitarian. Covers come with a notepad and stylus/pen, and fit iPads, iPad Minis, Kindles and Android tablets, and consist of two parts, sold separately: the larger cover ($17.99-$39.99) and the snap-on interchangeable bar ($3.99-$5.99). Try the mix-and-match game at https://plusmotif.com/.
Secondly, let your subjects see you as you take pictures with your smartphone and tablets. This sturdy MirrorCase allows you to hold your device at a more natural, horizontal angle. It also acts as a support while you type and play games. Various bonus features available. Visit MirrorCase.com.
Lastly, consider the agony of a dying battery in a cell phone, camera, tablet, e-reader or MP3 player. It’s happened to all of us at least once, but it’ll never happen again with Juicebar, a mobile charger that can be charged via USB ports or a laptop. Promises to hold its charge for a month before you use it.
Behold Bambooee paper towels, made of — you guessed it. They are environmentally friendly, washable and reusable. Other reasons they are a good idea: Bamboo is the world’s fastest growing plant, requires no pesticides or fertilizers, and sucks up to 400 percent more greenhouse gases and produces 35 percent more oxygen than trees. Bambooee towels also are compact. One 20-piece roll replaces up to six months’ worth of regular paper towels, so you’ll contribute nearly nothing to the one million tons of paper towels that go into landfills annually. Visit bambooee.com.
Never chase a baby blanket again. Former San Diego resident and registered nurse Romeda Arsanjani and friend Alma Moussa, of New York, have invented a six-in-one blanket that keeps baby covered while in an infant or car seat. Babee Covee also converts to a nursing cover, stroller and playtime blanket, and a cover for shopping carts and high chairs. Nine colors and patterns; $39.99 to $49.99. Visit babeecovee.com/.
Sometimes less is more, and HuMn Mini Wallet gives you lots of bang for your bucks, which can be carried along with credit cards between these two pieces of powder-coated aluminum and its “shock strap.” There’s even room for your magnetic hotel key. You can stow this wallet in a secure pocket with no tell-tale bulges. The plates, which come in 16 colors, also block access to magnetic strips on credit cards. Visit
From Coghlan’s in Canada, which has kept campers and travelers happy for more than 50 years: The Dynamo Flashlight — No need to worry about outdated batteries with this small (1 inch by 1 ? inch) LED flashlight (two-bulbs) powered by turning the crank. Turning 60 seconds produces 30 minutes of light. Includes a clip.
The Emergency Survival Horn — Blow into this little lightweight orange container and the blast (up to 120 decibels) can be heard a mile away. No batteries or compressed air needed. Scare off animals or signal if you’re lost.
The Flint Striker — No need to carry matches with this lightweight fire-starter. Its size makes for easy handling, but it still takes up little room. Works even in the wet and cold, and good for 4,000 strikes. Visit coghlans.com.
Lonely Planet has done it. The guidebook-publisher supreme has amassed 1 million fans on both Twitter and Facebook. To say thanks and to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the publisher offers for free publication, “Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013.” The book reveals the hottest travel destinations and trends. You must grab this freebie by March 31. Comes in PDF or for iPad and iPhone. Visit lonelyplanet.com/campaigns/one-million.
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.