It’s that time of year when families pack up and hit the open road to create a few lasting memories. Unlike the good ol’ days of trying to find a license plate from each of the 50 states, or playing a (sometimes violent) round of Punch Buggy, today’s road trips tend to be a little more gadget-friendly.
While some parents may find themselves stressing the importance of tech-free time in the car, others are looking for ways to get to and from their destination as quickly and painlessly as possible. This is for those parents!
Preload Shows and Movies for Wifi-Free Streaming
A wifi connection can be just as unreliable as public transportation, and sometimes when you need it the most, it fails you. Kids aren’t the easiest to reason with when they’re painfully bored and strapped into their seat for hours on end.
That’s why it’s smart to think ahead and pre-load some favorite shows and movies onto tablets and laptops. Do this well before you travel, and upload as many shows as you have space for. Don’t forget; Netflix allows you to download shows and movies that can be viewed offline without an internet connection.
Invest in Kid-Friendly Headphones
A good quality pair of headphones for kids is a wise investment. Typical earbuds tangle easily (am I right?), break with little effort, and are not great for blocking out external sound. A good quality pair will have unmatched sound quality and will be durable and reliable for years to come. Not to mention, features like built-in noise reduction and hearing protection will mean your kids will be focused on their show, and not on the traffic.
There are some great options on the market designed specifically for smaller heads. They feature fun colors and sturdy frames. Puro Sound headphones for kids is a wonderful choice; the cord is tangle free, it has a great battery life and looks sleek and modern.
Stock Up On Apps
There are thousands of apps in your app store of choice. Keep kids entertained for hours (and distracted from any travel hiccups). Many apps are free or as little as $0.99, so parents can load up kids’ devices with as many as they can hold.
What’s even better, app stores can be sorted by age, genre, or even offline friendliness. Taking an hour to hit each device a few days before take-off can be everyone is entertained for hours on end.
Pack a Portable Charger
It’s imperative to keep devices running until the end of a trip. A dead battery could spell disaster. Chargers that plug into the wall are essential too, but they’re sometimes not the best choice in cars.
Chargers like the Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus Waterproof Power Bank are excellent when traveling with kids. Not only is it super durable, but it can also charge two devices at the same time, is high in power, and can be submerged underwater for 30 minutes. Plus, it’s compact and small, so it’s easy to travel with.
Think Ahead and Plan for Rest Stops
After all that digital entertainment, kids need a break to stretch their legs too! Planning ahead is a parent’s best bet. Use apps like Google Maps to plan out stops for food, the bathroom, or just for much needed fresh air.
Once the drive is over, feel free to put those devices away and enjoy the vacation locale to its fullest potential. Kids will have gotten their fill of tech and will have the trip home to look forward to it if they start feeling the itch to turn them back on. Just make sure there’s plenty of unscheduled exploration to keep their active minds and bodies moving.
Diana Aquino is a Marketing and Project Management professional with extensive experience in mobile, app analytics, and marketing strategy. She’s worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, helping apps reach top ranks. You can reach her on Twitter, or connect with her on Linkedin.