When packing for a summer road trip, you may want to travel light but there are some travel accessories you’ll still want to make a minimal amount of room for. With these gadgets, you won’t hesitate stopping for a roadside snack and stretch. You’ll feel good knowing you have with some electronics on hand that won’t drain your brain, but will give the car or phone an easy charge and more.
While a summer time road trip may be a chance to unplug and disconnect from your normal day to day activities, there are some travel accessories you’ll still want to bring along for the ride. Consider these convenient travel accessories that may get the engine running, allow you to stop for a roadside rest, or keep the kids volume to a minimum. Here are some of TravelingMom’s favorite items to accompany you on your journey.
Travel Accessories: Jump Starter Battery
There’s something very comforting about knowing in the event you need your car or truck to be jumped (or your phone, tablet or computer to be charged while you’re in transit) that a portable jump starter/rechargeable battery pack you can store in your car is nearby. The Weego Jump Starter Battery + is designed to get your vehicle up and running without having to wait for another vehicle or recovery service to show up and help out. And it’s a tool that’s small enough to easily leave it in your trunk or possibly your glove compartment. (If you don’t store as many napkins there as I do.) I was able to recently test the device on a neighbor’s car in Brooklyn that had a dead battery, and he’d gotten stuck in a spot that would not permit another car to pull up and help him jump it without blocking traffic. And despite the fact that I’d not charged it up myself since receiving it for testing, when I pulled it out of the box, it was charged and able to get the job done. The folks at Weego pride themselves on this product losing such a small amount of power each month that if you were to leave it in your car and come back to it in a year, it should still have approximately 50% charge left. In addition to an 18-month warranty, the set comes with the main charger/portable jump starter, cables (red and black), manuals and a wide array of compatible cables for phones, tablets, computers and more.
A Portable/Multi-Use “Blanket”
When my sister-in-law introduced me to the Resto Presto I knew right away this was a product that I’d have around for a long time, and want to tell others about. This little pouch quickly converts from a compact ball (that fits in a purse or bag or that you could put in your glove compartment) to a large piece of versatile material that covers a multitude of issues and can be configured for many uses. Need an instant picnic blanket? The lightweight material is a rectangular shape and can be laid out on your choice of surface. It’s water-repellant and could be transformed into an instant rain tarp/rain cover for you. If traveling on public transport, you could fold it up into a small layered “cushion” to layer between you and the seat. With a series of drawstrings and loops attached to the fabric, you could hang or tie it strategically in a campsite for extra shade and coolness. (It’s UPF 50+) Or in the event you became cold, wrapping it around yourself would allow for a bit of extra warmth.
(It’s thin, so we’re not talking about using it in frigid temps.) Also included are a carabiner and four small stakes to help in the event you want to secure the blanket to the ground. It comes with an instruction guide—although it’s intuitive to “re-fold” (or just smush it all up into itself) and stash it. It’s $39.99 and comes in black, red or royal blue.
Folding Kids Headphones
Time in the car can be quite different for kids than it was when I was growing up. Hours of boredom (not that I’m against this!) are now often replaced with hours of movies and music. But when your child is asking to watch Ella Enchanted for the third time as you’re making that 12-hour drive to Atlanta, and you just can’t bear to hear it out loud again, it’s time to get out the headphones. As a general rule, I’m not a fan of headphones for children, as most aren’t geared for their ears. JBuddies from JLabAudio are folding headphones made especially with kids in mind. The smaller size works to ensure they don’t slide down their ears or head. (The kids describe them as “puffy and soft”.) And more importantly, these headphones come with “safe-volume control”—in other words, built-in volume regulators. This means your children can’t push the volume up past 85db.
The headphones fold down to 5.5 x 4 inches and fit into a small travel bag. They also come with 3-D stickers that the kids can choose to (or not to) stick on the outside of the headphones. Good for kids up to about 8-years-old, they run $24.99. A more sophisticated version for tweens through about age 14 is the JBuddies Studio over ear headsets.
Portable Body Roller
It’s called “The Original Worm” and the silly name does somewhat describe what it looks like, but this portable body roller comes in handy to have around both on the road and at home. Packaged in a small carry-bag that cinches closed, this roller multi-tasks. You can use it to help relieve stiff or sore areas (both muscles and joints) throughout your body using myofascial/trigger point release. Four balls are covered in a soft neoprene cover that can be rolled underfoot, along your back or neck, your glutes, hips, arms or other spots that may be in need of a mini-massage. We took this little gadget with us on a car ride to Maine and it was surprisingly easy and effective to use even in the car.
(Picture it at the base of your spine or the middle of your back or the lower neck while driving long stretches. Or using it for just a few minutes at rest stops.) It’s small enough and light enough to leave it in the car permanently or pack it in a purse or backpack if you’re on the run. It comes in two sizes (the 6.3 cm or the 7.0 cm) and colors (a bright pink with black bag or black with a black bag). Starting at $24.00.
Flexible LED Flashlight
Available in three sizes, Whistler’s FlexiGlo Flexible LED Flashlights are a great safety accessory for the car (or the bike or campsite). An orange strip covered in multiple rows of LED lights can both be bent and hung for multiple uses. The smallest model has 12 lights and measurements of 8.125” by 2.85” it also has a magnetic back so it can be hung in more unusual spots. It’s made of a silicone and has a battery life of approximately 16 hours. Note: It does require 3-triple-A batteries. Prices start at $19.95 for the most compact model. It also has multiple settings for lighting options including a setting allowing the lights to blink. Hanging from the side of a window, it can act as a safety device, signaling that the driver needs help.
Enjoy your travels but travel safely this summer!