Gadgets that will make you giddy

Gadgets that will make you giddy

A picture of the HandiRack on a car.

Use the HandiRack to boost your luggage-toting capacity on the road.

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. It’s all about you and your destination.

All too often, though, there’s a bump in the road, whether it’s your safety, comfort, or lack of organization. This year, plan wisely, keep your cool, and conquer the open road. These gadgets just might be a key element to a triumphant road trip.

Safety first

You throw caution to the wind when traveling by vehicle. At any given moment, you can get a flat or need a jump-start. But the 600 PEAK Amp Jump-Starter with Inflator offers peace of mind.

This device lets you jump-start 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, which could blow up your battery if done the wrong way. 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.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use the ResQMe® escape tool, but if an inexpensive purchase could save your life, it seems crazy not to have one. Imagine being trapped inside your vehicle because of an electronic malfunction or following a car accident. ResQMe® has a sharp steel blade that cuts through seatbelts and a spring-loaded spike that shatters car windows, making it possible to exit your vehicle.

The ResQMe® escape tool is light enough to attach to your keychain and small enough not to get in the way. In addition, it comes in a variety of bright colors — blue, yellow, orange, green, pink, and red — making it easier to locate in a stressful situation. It also comes in black. The ResQMe® escape tool costs $10 to $15.

The art of organization

Staying organized when traveling 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 gadgets and gizmos to hygiene products and tools, GRID-IT! organizers keep important items secure, making 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 $11.99 to $59.99. For more information and to order, visit

When road tripping, there always 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 uninflated 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. Starting around $93, it is a perfect space solution for traveling. For more information, visit

Comfort is critical

Long road trips can do a number on your back. Tempur-Pedic™ has the solution: the LumbarCushion–Travel. Designed specifically for those who intend to sit for a long period of time, the LumbarCushion’s ergonomic design helps support the back, making your trip more pleasurable. Expect to pay $59 for the LumbarCushion.

It can take 100 miles or more before you find a rest area, and many times it’s not a pleasant experience when you arrive, making that swath of trees 10 miles back a pretty good alternative after all. Charmin has a solution to this predicament: SitOrSquat. This brilliant app locates restrooms in the area and provides reviews about them from other users. In addition, SitOrSquat users can narrow their search to locate restrooms that are handicapped accessible or have a baby changing table. The free SitOrSquat app can be downloaded on Apple devices and Android.

After a long day on the road, there are few things that sound as divine as a good night’s sleep. The last thing you want is traffic noise or your partner’s snoring keeping you awake. That’s where SleepPhones® come in. Hidden within a SleepPhones headband are small, removable speakers that rest comfortably by your ears. The speakers don’t stick in your ears, so even side sleepers can indulge. Just plug your SleepPhones into your CD player, iPod, or MP3 player, slip on the soft headband, and turn on sounds that soothe you, such as ocean waves, meditation tracks, or white noise.

SleepPhones headbands are lightweight, washable, and come in three colors: black, lavender, and gray. Original SleepPhones cost $39.95; SleepPhones Wireless headphones cost $99.95.

Hit the road

How you prepare for your road trip can be the difference between smashing success or epic failure. This year, be the king — or queen — of your road trip. It’s impossible to predict the future, but there’s a lot of merchandise in the market that can assist you with possible pending predicaments.