Gadgets can make your trip more enjoyableBy Amy Higgins
Destination known or unknown, there’s an inherent feeling of freedom driving off into the big blue yonder. No long-term parking fees, airport security checks or missed connecting flights.
This year, plan wisely and conquer the open road. These gadgets just might be a key element to a triumphant road trip.
At any given moment, you can get a flat or need a jumpstart. The 600 PEAK Amp Jump-Starter with Inflator offers peace of mind. It lets you jumpstart your own car and pump your tires, relieving you of the burden of finding a person or place to get assistance. This product has an alarm and light that will warn you if you hook up the jumper cables incorrectly. It also comes with a digital LED display that shows your tires’ PSI, a built-in AC charger, a 12-volt outlet and a 1-amp USB port. You can purchase a jump starter with inflator with more juice, but expect to pay more. This particular model costs around $60 and is available at most major car service centers. (More tips on emergency car items.)
The art of organization
Staying organized may not be your strong suit, but there are handy products that can help you get there. For example, GRID-IT! uses a system of rubberized elastic bands and zippered pockets that hold your personal items firmly in place. From cell phones and cords to hairbrushes and breath mints, the organizers keep important items secure and make it easier to locate belongings when they’re needed. GRID-IT! organizers range from very small to very large and come in a variety of colors such as black, gray, blue and red. Prices range from $9.99 to $49.99. cocooninnovations.com
When road tripping, sometimes there seems to be more luggage than your car can handle. Most roof racks on the market are expensive, bulky and difficult to use. That’s not the case with the HandiRack rooftop storage system. To use, place the un-inflated HandiRack on your vehicle’s rooftop, pass the strap through the open doors and clamp the strap to the heavy duty buckle on the other side. Next, close the doors, inflate the rack with the double-action HandiPump (included with the rack) and strap on your luggage. When you’re done, release the buckle, deflate the rack, fold and pack it away in the drawstring travel bag. The HandiRack can hold up to 175 pounds, is completely portable and fits most cars. It starts around $85. handiworld.com
Comfort is critical
Long road trips can do a number on your back. Tempur-Pedic has a solution: the LumbarCushion-Travel. Designed specifically for those who sit for a long period of time, the LumbarCushion’s ergonomic design helps support the back, making your trip more pleasurable. The LumbarCushion-Travel costs $59. (888) 811-5053 or tempurpedic.com
When your kids listen to their favorite music and audiobooks, you don’t want them to damage their eardrums. The volume control in Kidz Gear Safe Headphones doesn’t exceed 90 decibels, a level that researchers have determined safe. Kidz Gear Safe Headphones come in gray, blue, orange, purple, green, pink and white, and cost $19.99. (800) 828-4514 or familysafemedia.com