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11 Clever Gadgets for Travelers

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There are hundreds of gadgets on the market meant to make travel safer, easier and more enjoyable.* Here’s a look at 11 that you might want to invite along on your next trip…

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Portable humidifier: Boneco Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier 7146 reduces the odds of parched throats and nasal cavities when visiting arid ­climates or staying in overly air-conditioned hotel rooms. (It sometimes is sold under Air-O-Swiss.) Dried-out sinuses also make us more vulnerable to ­vacation-ruining viruses. This humidifier’s designers came up with a clever way to make it travel-size—they didn’t include a water tank. Instead, you simply attach it to a disposable plastic drinking water bottle. A standard 16.9-ounce bottle should get you through the night. The humidifier comes with exchangeable plugs so that it can be used in both North America and Europe without an additional converter. Price: $59.99. Weight: 11.2 ounces. AirOSwiss.ne

blackoutbuddyTravel carbon monoxide ­detector: American Red Cross Blackout Buddy—CO from Etón. Almost all hotels have fire alarms, but in most parts of the US and the world, they are not required to have carbon monoxide detectors—and that can be deadly. A 2012 study found that at least 170 US hotel guests had been treated for carbon monoxide poisoning during the previous three years, and eight had died. This lightweight Etón carbon monoxide sensor also features a night-light and a flashlight, so if its alarm sounds in the middle of the night, you can grab it and get out fast without fumbling around for a light switch in an unfamiliar hotel room. Price: $59.99. Weight: 4.8 ounces. EtonCorp.com

transcendUltra-portable sleep apnea machine: Transcend miniCPAP machine provides the continuous positive airway pressure that people who have sleep apnea often require to sleep safely through the night. Unlike most CPAP machines, this one is small enough and light enough to take almost anywhere—just 6.1˝ x 3.5˝ x 2.8˝. It’s quiet, too—29 decibels…compatible with any CPAP mask…and approved by the FAA for use on commercial aircraft. Price: $449. It may be covered by insurance—check with your insurer. Weight: 14.4 ounces. MyTranscend.com

Helpful: An optional multinight rechargeable battery ($250) and solar charger ($299.99) also are available. With these, the Transcend miniCPAP can be used on camping trips and in other places with no electrical outlets.

wirelessbloodpressureLightweight blood pressure monitor: iHealth Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor offers the accuracy of a full-sized digital blood pressure cuff from a significantly smaller, lighter unit. Unlike most digital blood pressure cuffs, it does not include a display unit—it wirelessly pairs to an iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth. Its app does not just report blood pressure readings, it can track them over time and share this information with a doctor, caregiver and/or loved one from anywhere in the world as long as there is a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Price: $79.95. Weight: 3.7 ounces. iHealthLabs.com

steripenTiny water purifier: SteriPEN UV ­Ultra Water Purifier is a small, battery-powered device that uses ultraviolet light to quickly kill almost all of the bacteria, viruses and protozoa responsible for water-borne illnesses—it can sterilize 32 ounces of water in just 90 seconds. That’s a potential vacation saver when you visit a country where the drinking water is not as well-treated as it is in most parts of the US…or on a camping trip where you drink water that is not treated at all. It can sterilize up to 50 liters of water on a single battery charge (it recharges via a USB cable) and up to 8,000 liters of ­water during the unit’s life. Price: $99.95. Weight: 4.9 ounces. SteriPen.com

PORTABLE POWER PRODUCTS

P_14_Kodiak_Plus_PowerbankGo-anywhere phone and camera charger: Kodiak Plus from Outdoor Tech is a lightweight, durable battery that can be used to recharge a phone, digital camera, tablet or anything else that charges via a USB port—up to two devices at a time—even if you don’t have access to an electrical outlet. It is waterproof and shockproof and small enough to fit in a pocket—it’s just 5.1˝ x 3.1˝x 0.8˝—yet it can charge the typical smartphone up to four times before it must be recharged itself. Price: $79.95. Weight: 7.7 ounces. OutdoorTechnology.com

Downsized laptop charger: Zolt Laptop Charger Plus (shown above) is a small, light, more versatile replacement for your laptop’s power supply—and a way to eliminate the tangle of charging cords that accompany us on our travels these days. Not only can it charge most common laptops, it also can charge electronic devices that recharge by connecting to a USB port, including phones, tablets, digital cameras and portable speakers. In fact, Zolt can charge up to two of these devices at the same time that it’s charging a laptop. Price: $99.99. Weight: 3.5 ounces. GoZolt.com

globalcharginghubGlobal plug adapter and USB charger: Ventev Global ChargingHub 300 is ultra-versatile. There are many plug adapters on the market, but this adapter offers so many different prong configurations that it works virtually everywhere—150 countries in all. It also has a pair of USB charging ports to power up things such as phones and digital cameras. Price: $34.99. Weight: 8 ounces. Mobile Accessories.Ventev.com

OTHER CLEVER GADGETS

Incredibly bright pocket-size flashlight: Olight S1 Baton flashlight is tiny enough to take anywhere—just 2.4 inches long—yet its beam can shine usefully up to 110 meters, roughly the length of a football field. Expect 50 minutes of use per battery at the maximum 500-­lumen setting…six hours at 80 lumens…or 40 hours at eight ­lumens. (The 80-lumen setting provides enough light to read by, while the eight-lumen setting is sufficient to walk down a dark road.) One catch—it uses two somewhat unusual CR123A batteries. A 12-pack can be purchased online for less than $20—but they could be tough to find if you run out in the middle of a vacation. Price: $49.95. Weight: 1.5 ounces. OLightWorld.com

smartcarryonLuggage you can track with a smartphone app: Bluesmart Carry-On is a rolling suitcase that has a built-in ­tracker. If it is forgotten in a cab, lost by an airline, snatched by thieves in a hotel or otherwise misplaced anywhere in the world, you can find out its exact location using the Bluesmart app, available for iOS and Android phones. This durable, hard-sided bag also features a charging dock with two USB ports—you can use your luggage to charge your phone, tablet or digital camera while on the road. It has a scale built into its handle so that you can easily confirm that your bag does not exceed airline luggage weight limits. At 22˝ x 14˝ x 9˝, it is small enough to meet virtually all carry-on bag dimensional restrictions. Price: $399. Weight: 9.4 pounds. Bluesmart.com

globalhotspotPortable international Wi-Fi hotspot: Skyroam Hotspot makes it easy and affordable to obtain secure Wi-Fi access in 80 countries around the world. With it, you can obtain unlimited data for up to five digital devices for a very reasonable flat fee of $10 a day, avoiding the risk of big international roaming charges and eliminating the need to install local SIM cards in your digital devices. One catch—while Skyroam provides “unlimited” data, its connection speed slows considerably after 350MB of data are used each day. So while Skyroam is a wonderful way to send and receive e-mails and texts and to access the Internet, it is not appropriate for streaming video or sending large photo files. Price: $99.99. Weight: 2.4 ounces. Skyroam.com

*Prices listed are manufacturer’s suggested retail.

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Source:  Gary Kaye, founder and chief content officer of Tech50+, an Internet site that covers consumer electronics–related topics. Based in Oxford, Connecticut, he has reported on technology for more than 30 years at NBC News, ABC News, CNN, Fox Business Network and other organizations. Tech50Plus.com Date: May 15, 2016 Publication: Bottom Line Personal
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