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  • By Lisa Jevens

Summer Travel Gadgets

Travel is getting easier with so many gadgets to help you out both indoors and out. Technology is making it easier to do things never before possible, from monitoring your home from your phone to drinking from a truly spill-proof cup in your car. There is even a unique carrier for pooches to ride along piggyback on your next adventure.

Dog backpack Don’t want to leave your small dog behind on vacation? Take it along when hiking, biking or touring with the Dog Backpack by Ruffit Dog Carriers. It allows the dog to ride on your back, face forward and look over your shoulder while being held securely next to your body. Comes in five sizes with an option for slimmer legs. Check out for correct sizing of your dog before buying. $79-$129.

Home monitoring camera Home monitoring cameras can provide peace of mind when you are out of town. Vimtag’s camera line is ideal for basic home use. They are relatively inexpensive and can sit on a tabletop. They are made to be user-friendly and quick and easy to set up. They allow you to see what is happening inside your house from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Vimtag also offers a Cloud box that contains up to 60 days of video storage, with no monthly fees. Cameras start at $109 and the Cloud box starts at $149 at

Universal tablet stand/charger The Dock Minimal is a compact universal tablet charger/stand that claims to accommodate nearly every type of tablet out there, including Kindles. The Dock Minimal is adjustable to fit your tablet, and your charging cord, which locks into the back so it won’t get left behind. The Dock Minimal comes with a stylus and a “kickstand” that allows your tablet to be set at 20 different angles. There is a built-in spot for the stylus, too, so it won’t get lost on the trip. Comes in four colors. Sold for $29.95 at

Spill-proof cup The Magicup Barista is a truly spill-proof travel mug invented in the UK with a design that makes it different from other travel mugs. Instead of drinking through a slot, you can drink out of the Magicup Barista from any side of the rim. Yet when you tip it over, nothing comes out, due to the unique lid design. The dual-walled cup is thermally insulated to keep your beverage hot and your hand comfortable holding it. Holds 16 ounces, and comes in 20 colors. Available at for $34.44.

Pocket blanket Be ready to sit down and enjoy a grassy spot or the beach at a moment’s notice with the Matador Pocket Blanket. It’s an ultra-lightweight waterproof blanket big enough for two people, yet it folds up into a pocket-sized pouch. The Matador Pocket Blanket is made of puncture-resistant HyprLyte nylon fabric, it protects you from rocks, insects and moisture on the ground. Weighted corners keep it from blowing away. Measure 63-by-44-inches. Sold at Cabela’s for $24.99. There is also a miniature version measuring 44-by-28-inches for $15.99.

Originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section on May 13, 2016.

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