April 16 2012 by Sam Lowe
With airlines getting pricier and TSA getting fussier, going small is becoming important(er). So here are a few lesser-sized travel gadgets that we seniors could find particularly useful when it comes to finding, packing and retrieving.
Worried about the possibility of being accosted or even assaulted while walking along the streets and byways in an unfamiliar town? Buy a tiny alarm unit. They now make them so small that they can be attached to a belt, but they emit a 100-decibel shriek once the user pulls the cord. That'll scare off any mugger.
Once on the road, there's always a need for tweezers, scissors, nail clips, and other items too cumbersome to carry along. But now there are tiny tools for all that. Some fit conveniently into a back pocket or purse, and they feature tiny flashlights, digital thermometers, magnifying glasses, mirrors, whistles and compasses. Others are even smaller, about the size of a credit card so they can fit easily into a wallet. Be careful, though. A few of them contain mini-knife blades.
Going by car? GPS units are becoming smaller and more accurate. Plug one into your cigarette lighter, give it a name, and off you go. Be sure, however, to make frequent updates. These things are smart, but they can't update themselves.
Footwear is important, especially for those of us AARP-eligibles. Insoles with those rubbery bubble-wrap bumps will reduce the stress of long hikes over cobblestone streets. Some companies offer slip-ons that weigh less than four ounces, ideal for going through security checks that require shoe removals. Nylon slippers, also extremely lightweight, are great for long plane rides.
Unfortunately, pollution is everywhere. Fortunately, there are gadgets that help make the air breathable. One is a mask outfitted with replaceable carbon filters. Just slip it on, inhale and feel better. And don't worry about looking dorky. Your health worth much more than being fashionable. Besides, they're becoming so popular that you won't be the only one so attired. Do not, however, wear one into a bank.
I like this one: A money belt that looks like a real belt. Hand-tooled leather with fancy designs, they feature inside zippers that make it impossible for pickpockets to maneuver, once they're snugly wrapped around the waist.
Talk about going small. Now on the market are battery-powered LED lightbulbs so small they fit into an area normally reserved for credit cards in your wallet. And flashlights that are flat and less than a half-inch thick so they don't roll under the front seat of your car.
You can find most of these and many more on the Internet. Just type in "travel gadgets" and go shopping.