Joby-GorillatorchA handful of cutting edge road trip goodies and gadgets have already proved to be the Mooney family’s new favorites for making our family vacations a little safer and more cost effective, and did we mention fun?


C’mon, if saving money doesn’t sound too exciting, then think of all that saved cash equaling a lot more day-cations and getaways throughout the year.


The first cool new “must have” is  Joby’s Gorillatorch Flare, the ultimate flashlight unlike any predecessor. This clever gadget is mounted on flexible legs and powerful magnetic feet. It lliterally grips to almost anything, allowing travelers the light to illuminate any target hands-free. We’ve used it in our RV trips a bunch of times. Our kids love it for reading and making animal silouhettes, and dad loves it for tinkering around the RV and campsite.

It has four powerful LEDS that provide six unique light settings.  It even has a flashing white light, or steady and flashing red light.  It’s also water and drop resistant and its compact and lightweight design allows for easy storage in a car glove box, RV, or a camping backpack. We won’t go anywhere without this highly cool little gadget.

“The Gorillatorch Flare is a must-have for the outdoor enthusiast,” said Joby CEO Forrest Baringer-Jones. “Whether you need some light  preparing a meal at your campsite, or fixing a leaky pipe under the sink, the Gorillatorch Flare provides powerful illumination and frees up your hands for more important tasks.  In addition, it makes a great flare to signal a roadside emergency; keep one in your car or truck and always be prepared.”

The Gorillatorch Flare weighs just 9 ounces (including batteries), is 8-inches tall, has a MSRP of $34.95, and, features a 1 year limited warranty.  It is available for purchase at selected global retailers and REI. Fun and safe—a winning combo in our travel repetorire!

Balanzza Mini

Balanzza-MiniBalanzza, makers of the first ever digital luggage scale for travelers, now offers the Mini, a smart, light and easy way to pack and avoid overweight luggage fees at the airport.  As the third generation of handheld Balanzza scales, the Mini is the smallest yet, but features an over sized LCD screen for improved visibility, weighs less than one-third of a pound and has a weighing capability of up to 100 pounds.

We detest all the new baggage fees and this is one great way we have found to avoid this pitfall. This great little travel must-have helps our family avoid unexpected overweight charges at the airline ticket counter as well as the embarrassment of having to repack on the airport floor in front of strangers. Ewwww!

“Balanzza is excited to bring another solution for every traveler’s struggles with luggage weight and fees,” stated Ronald Kritzler, president of Balanzza.  “Time and money are common worries when we travel, and the Mini provides convenient peace of mind.”

The Balanzza Mini is available directly on, in select Bed Bath & Beyond stores and in specialty stores nationwide for $24.95.


EconoDriverWithKeys-150x150Lemur Monitors knows that traveling frugally is important to everyone with rising gas prices and now they are proud to announce the immediate availability of a new auto monitoring solution designed to empower vacationing families with additional insight into their vehicles’ operation.  EconoDriverTM increases awareness of fuel consumption and inefficient driving. (great for teen drivers and exhausted dads) It installs within minutes and doesn’t require additional tools or even a  computer connection.  We just plug the sensor into our vehicle’s Data Port which then wirelessly relays the pertinent info to the display.

EconoDriver is a must on any road trip as it helps travelers drive smarter and more economically by relaying real-time fuel economy to understand how efficiently they drive.  Road tripping families can even program in the current cost of gas and it will indicate how much money they spend as they drive. Admit it; saving money really can be kinda fun: more money for roadside treats, souvenirs….what will you spend the extra cash on? The possibilities are endless. But we found this fun and frugal gadget gets everyone interested in saving money and everyone can be mindful and involved with this cool little travel goodie.


iMainGo-X-1-150x150Portable Sound Laboratories, Inc, is a leading innovator of portable speaker systems, and now offers our newest favoritet: the iMainGo X.  This premium travel must was designed to offer high-end sound quality and amazing light weight portability to customers who use the iPhone, any Apple iPod, the Microsoft Zune, and most other MP3 players. Our tweens always have to bring the personal music players and game players but this is something the entire family enjoys….quality sound on the go. Mom and dad steal this one from the tweens. Often my husband and I will “borrow” this little beauty for a romantic walk, or to take to our room for some quiet time. Recently we had a rented ski cabin and this little powerhouse had much better sound than the cabin’s expensive stereo system. We were so glad we brought it along to jam to tunes while we all played Trivial Pursuit in our snowy cabin.

Complete with premium high output stereo speakers, tuned porting for amazing bass reproduction and an ultra-efficient digital music amplifier, the iMainGo X  provides  much greater sound performance and quality than other systems many times its size and price. iMainGo X also custom fits and protects all iPods (except Shuffle), iPhone, iPod Touch and most MP3 players.

iMainGo X can even be used as a premium external speaker system for any device with a 3.5 mm connection, such as the iPad, Kindle, or a laptop computer. An amazing value at only $69.99 MSRP (USD), the iMainGo X includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, two headphone jacks, mic input, plug-in charger, custom travel bag and two carry straps.

“Our goal with the iMainGo brand was to create a new standard in ultra-portable stereo products, providing iPhone, iPod and MP3 users with the best in sound quality and design, at a very affordable price.” said Tim Jacobus, President of Portable Sound Laboratories, Inc. “With the introduction of the premium iMainGo X, we are again raising the sound quality bar, while adding the features that many of our customers have requested. The iMainGo X includes rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, greater functionality and a more modern look. Once again, we’ve heard our customers, and responded to their needs”.

iMainGo is available at: and

This past year, we’ve found some great new gadgets that are already enhancing our family’s vacations and are helping to make our road trips more rewarding, affordable, and memorable.

(these are Carmel Mooney’s own personal, unbiased opinions. Some of these gadgets may have been provided as samples to the writer)