The Coast News Group
Hit the Road

Small gadgets can be big travel help

When it comes to gadgets, I ride the slow-to-accept-technology train.
Maybe it’s because I’m too busy already and who needs another thing that comes with a 50-page instruction booklet? And when it comes to travel, I like to keep it as simple as possible without totally deserting the things I really need.
However, Florida-based has come up with several travel accessories worth mentioning — gadgets that are small, easy to use, serve a purpose, are reasonably priced and make traveling a better experience. Consider the following:
The Juicebar Multi-Device Pocket Solar Charger: This tiny little pocket charger is a lot smaller than its name but produces big results. (It measures 3.5-by-1.5 inches.) For about $43, you get a power source for your cell phone, MP3 player, gaming systems, iPod and more. It comes with a dozen of the most commonly used adapters for devices made by Sony, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG, Apple, Nintendo and others. And here are the two best features: Its battery is solar-powered so it’s “green” energy, but in a pinch, you can recharge the Juicebar using your laptop.
USB Heated Mug: Don’t you hate it when your cup of coffee or hot chocolate goes cold? With this durable, stainless steel, insulated mug, that won’t ever happen, and it’s as good for those long road trips as it is for that commute to work. It’s called a USB mug because, once again, your computer or laptop can act as the power source. It also comes with a 12-volt DC power adapter to plug into the cigarette lighter in your car. This gem is about $21.
Pelican Protective Micro Case: Accessories for electronics often cost a bundle, but this is an exception and well worth the $10. If you or your kids have an iPod and like to take it to the gym, on the trail, airplane or train or anywhere there is water, dust, dirt, crowds or sweat, this Pelican Micro Case will keep your iPod in pristine condition. Made of impenetrable polycarbonate (comes in several colors), the case is crushproof. (The ad says that it withstands pressure of up to a 5,000-pound truck, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t test this). The impact-absorbing inner liner acts as an O-ring to make the case watertight and waterproof. The case also comes in several sizes to fit other electronic devices like cell phones and PDAs. Great for protecting the electronic gadgets that younger kids might drop or try some other ingenious way to destroy them. The case comes with a carabiner for hooking onto your backpack or other luggage.
Dashboard Map Light: Ever get lost on a dark road or just need a good strong light to read that map? This miniature (half the size of a tennis ball) but mighty (six super-bright LEDs) lamp will give you all the light you need without blinding the driver. It plugs into the car’s DC port, and if you’re one of those lucky travelers who can actually read in the car without getting nauseous, this little light illuminates like no other. Yours for about $26.
You can find these gadgets and other travel gear at