The best stuff to stay safe while traveling | Tech US News


These affordable and highly portable products can help keep travelers safe on the road.

Portable carbon monoxide detector

Most people don’t think about carbon monoxide (CO) when they travel. In October, three Americans tragically died from CO poisoning at an Airbnb in Mexico City that apparently had a boiler with a gas leak.

CO is the leading cause of poisoning in the United States, killing more than 400 Americans each year. Burning fuel (such as wood, charcoal, propane, fuel oil, or gasoline) creates carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. It can build up to deadly levels when a house is poorly ventilated. Still, only 27% of US homes have CO alarms.

Accidental CO poisonings are totally unnecessary. A portable carbon monoxide alarm will detect a dangerous concentration of CO and warn you with a buzzer.

Kidde is a well known brand in both smoke detectors (I have them in my house) and CO detectors. Often recommended by gas furnace repair professionals, this CO detector has alert modes and flashing LED lights for power, CO detection, and low battery. It has an alert of 85 decibels and even works during a power outage, as it runs on 2-AA batteries, included in the package.

TravelFashionGirl calls this Kidde model their best portable mini carbon monoxide detector. Battery operated, although a bit heavy at 8 ounces, it could be a life-saving bargain for under $20 on Amazon. As one TravelFashionGirl reader noted, “I’m buying this for my next trip to Italy.”

Travel first aid kits

If you get hit by the proverbial bus while traveling, you will go to a hospital or urgent care. But if you have a small cut that doesn’t need stitches, scrapes, a headache or something similar, a first aid kit in your luggage can pay off.

Basic must-haves in most kits include items such as antiseptic bandages (such as bacitracin or Neosporin) in various sizes, gauze, Tylenol and/or aspirin, duct tape, and alcohol or other pads. Tools like tweezers, scissors and scissors can be useful, but be sure to pack them in your checked luggage.

If you’re backpacking or flying, a smaller kit won’t take up much space and will provide basic functionality. If you’re driving or RVing, a bigger kit makes sense.

For something truly portable, the Red Cross has a pocket or bag kit that’s only 4 inches tall. Comes with 13 adhesive bandages in various sizes, tissue bandages for fingertips and knuckles, two “no-sting” antiseptic cleansing wipes, and a triple pack of antibiotic ointments in a clear red vinyl pocket pack. It also includes a leaflet on treating minor cuts, scrapes and sores. Honestly, if it’s a bigger problem than that, it’s time to think about urgent care or the local hospital.

The 19-piece kit can also be used to store your house key, credit card, hotel key or ID while hiking, biking or running. The pack costs just $5.39 on the Red Cross website, but you have to buy four. So wrap them up and pass them on to your family and friends.

Johnson & Johnson offers the largest portable emergency first aid kit for travel. Comes with 80 wound care supplies for first aid on the go, including a cold pack, gauze, wipes, tape and first aid guide. It also includes what J&J calls “doctor-recommended brands like BAND-AID® Brand, NEOSPORIN® and TYLENOL®,” made by guess who? Offered in an easy-to-carry case, it might be a little big for a backpack, but it’s worth taking along for a longer trip and, of course, any kind of road expedition.

The First Aid Kit costs $9.82 and is available nationwide at Walmart (in store and online).

Pack a battery pack

A phone charger/backup battery pack as a safety device? Absolutely, if your phone is almost dead and there’s no power outlet in sight. That battery boost can be enough to get you to your hotel where you can charge overnight.

Hyper is one of the market innovators. One of its products is the HyperJuice Magnetic Wireless Battery Pack, a small battery that magnetically attaches to the Apple iPhone 12, 13 and 14 models.

Correct; no cables or wires needed to connect. It has a USB-C input for a cable to charge the device from a laptop or other power source. If connected to your phone, the cable would charge the phone and the spare battery at the same time.

A MacRumors reviewer found that without being plugged in, the little brick charged his (bigger) ‌iPhone 12 Pro Max‌ by 73%. The USB-C port on the battery can also be used to charge the ‌iPhone‌ battery and the pack itself at the same time when connected.

The HyperJuice Magnetic Wireless Battery Pack has a list price of $49.99, but is often discounted.

News Flash

A flashlight? Yes, you have your phone. But at the end of the day, when your phone is dead, exactly when you need to see where the keys to your Airbnb are hidden, that light will come in handy.

LL Bean offers a handful of flashlights for under $15. Available in black or blue, it delivers up to 80 lumens of light on high mode, with two hours of run time on high power. The range is over 150 feet. It takes one AAA battery, included, but you can always buy a few more.

This compact flashlight can be used as a torch, flashlight or security light. Best of all, it’s SMALL, 4.51″ high x 1.18″ weight, just 1.94 oz. $14.95 at LL Bean.

Hide your mass

Finally, we come to the old ways of hiding money, passports and credit cards on your person: money belts, fanny packs and neck wallets with clumsy names.

Things have changed a bit, but these products still have the same goal: to hide your money and valuables from pickpockets and other thieves. Most so-called money belts are essentially small, flat pouches or fanny packs with a belt to wear around the waist.

Common sense helps too. As the TravelFashionGirl writer says, “Whatever you do, DO NOT WEAR THE BELT OUTSIDE YOUR CLOTHES. I can’t believe how many travelers I see carrying it around, announcing to thieves exactly where to find their money. Please don’t make that mistake.”

The latest wrinkle in wallets and fanny packs is RFID blocking. Your convenient tap-and-go contactless payment card transmits a signal, which can be picked up by more savvy pickpockets with skimming equipment. An RFID-blocking wallet uses a layer of carbon fiber or aluminum to block the electromagnetic signal your card emits. It’s a real problem; European stores have limited the amount sold to customers with this type of card. Chinese student protesters used RFID blocking to prevent the prying eyes of the government from “seeing” their identity cards.

VENTURE 4TH Travel Money Belt

This slim passport holder has an RFID-blocking travel pouch to protect your cards, cash and travel documents. The pouch will also fit most smartphones. Available in ten different colors, it fits up to 56″ waists. Made of ripstop nylon, the manufacturer claims it will last a lifetime. $21.95 on Amazon.

Yoder Hidden Money Travel Leather Belt

The Hidden Money Pocket Leather Travel Belt from Yoder Leather Company is an old-school leather belt (no RFID blocking here). Available in black or brown for waist sizes 32 to 54, it’s made from US-tanned English leather, which helps explain its relatively high price tag ($65). Yoder says it holds up to 24 bills folded the narrow way, say if you’re carrying twenty €500 bills and a few photocopies of your passport. $64.99, at Amazon.

VENTURE 4TH Neck Wallet

Not everyone likes neck wallets as they involve hanging things around your neck all day. RFID blocking adds extra weight. Some women also feel that the neck pouches can be visible under the top.

That said, this travel wallet features three ‘smart’ storage compartments to easily organize your documents and valuables, including two zipped pockets, a Velcro closure patch and an ID window for boarding passes. And it blocks RFID signals for added protection.

VENTURE 4TH says its RFID passport holder is suitable for both men and women and is thin enough to be virtually invisible even under thin layers of clothing. $17.95, from Amazon.


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