It’s true that a serene backseat can make all the difference between a happy holiday and a really rotten roadtrip, especially a summer vacation with a long car trip. So how do you keep the kids happy? Besides feeding them snacks, dolling out Dollar Store gifts, and playing that “don’t make me pull this car over” card, here are 5 of the best “must-have” family travel gadgets that will surely help everyone enjoy the ride a little more:
1. Portable DVD player– If your car doesn’t have a DVD player, they are a must-have for long car trips to keep everyone’s sanity, and not only does it keep them busy for hours, it may also induce naps. You can purchase a portable one for less than $100. Double-screen units work best for bigger families, and can be strapped to the seats. I’ve seen a double screen dvd player for only $79.99- Axion LMD-7970 7-Inch Dual Screen Portable DVD Player (as of 5/14/13). But Good Housekeeping rated the LG DP885 8.5-Inch Portable DVD Player the best one all around.
2. ShareBuds are the newest thing for sharing DVDs on the laptop or portable DVD player, or even listening to an iPod. These are headphones for two people listening to one device at the same time, and plugs into a single jack. ShareBuds are great, but if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, you can either get a multi-headphone splitter like the Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter which can connect up to 5 headphones, or a Y adapter that will let you use two sets of earbud headphones at the same time for very little. You can buy them at Radio Shack or just about anywhere else electronics are sold, here’s one from Amazon: Gold-Plated Y-Adapter, 1/8″ Stereo Jacks & 1/8″ Stereo Plug. The Y adapter works quite well with two sets of earphones, and will work with any device that has a 1/8″ stereo headphone jack, like an iPod. And Ultimate Ears Loud Enough Volume Limiting Earphones for Children are great for the youngsters.
3. A multi-use charger is a must for saving space and sanity, like the Brookstone 4-Way Power Charger for Portable Devices- It can charge from 4 different sources; wall plug, computer USB port, vehicle power socket or 9-volt battery. Can be used with iPod and iPhone, most cell phones and smartphones, including Blackberry.
4. iPad- Ok, maybe not affordable for everyone, but is awesome for family road trips with all the cool stuff it can do. It may be worth it, as it can replace both of gadgets above and also games systems, books, and music players. ColorStudio HD app for iPad is a great companion. It is a high-tech coloring book, where kids can use marker, crayon, pencil and paint brush to draw that also has animated characters, music, sound and visual effects that bring scenes to life. Or the Crayola DigiTools Deluxe Creativity Pack- Designed for use with your iPad, the Crayola DigiTools Deluxe Pack has tons of different tools that can create hundreds of colors and effects. The kit comes with a 3D Stylus with 3D Glasses to view eye-popping images, Digital Crayon, Digital Airbrush, and a Digital Stamper for animated images. And the Clip-On Carrying Case holds all of the tools in one place. Download all three apps, and your child will be able to draw from scratch or against background scenes and starter designs.This alone can while-away many hours.
5. Digital camera: These can really induce some creativity for all ages, and with a little imagination, those photos can be pieced together for an awesome family video to enjoy for years to come. An awesome digital camera voted best for the little kids is the Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera , or for the older kids the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC33 3.2MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (also great for adults), and don’t forget batteries with great charger like the eneloop NEW 2000mAh Typical, 1900mAh Minimum, 1500 cycle, 4 Pack AA, Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries with 4 Position Charger.
I’m hoping these tips will help your family roadtrip be a wonderful and memorable one. Enjoy the ride~
Notes & Extra Tips:
A free search for FREE E-books (for adults and kids if they have a Kindle or the like).
For Dad: Especially during the summer, waterproof wallets & cases are also a must for family vacations, especially if you’re going anywhere that has water. Also http://www.drycase.com/ has lots of cool dry cases and waterproof stuff for just about anything.
For Mom: Don’t forget a few sarongs or large scarves to use as multi-purpose accessories (and remember a sarong tie, which holds the sarong in place). They can also be used for multiple things like; a dress or wrap when dining out, as a beach cover-up, a beach/picnic blanket, as a baby/toddler carrier, or stroller shade (draping it over the stroller to encourage a public nap), stroller blanket (wrap up chilly legs), etc. It’s so versatile, lightweight, and dries quickly. A cool article; 25 uses for a sarong when travelling. And be sure to see these 5 Must-Have Travel Size Items when Traveling to Florida.
Family fun: just for giggles, you can make your own family t-shirts, with T-Shirt Graffiti Markers, you get a set of 8 permanent fabric markers. It works great with cotton shirts, caps, canvas shoes and more. It’s also helpful to find people in crowds.
Resources & More Reading:
-Good Housekeeping: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/electronics-computers/portable-dvd-player-reviews/portable-dvd-players#slide-1
-25 uses for a sarong while travelling: http://havanalion.com/backpack-essential-25-uses-for-a-sarong-when-youre-travelling/
-FREE E-books for adults and kids
-Travel Tech Gadgets: Kids Travel Gadgets http://traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/p/kids-travel-gadgets.html#ixzz2TNghQUSZ
-Best Travel Gadgets of 2012: http://www.fodors.com/news/best-travel-gadgets-of-2012-6288.html
-BestKidFriendly tips for packing light and carry-on packing list.
You might also be interested in:
5 Must-Have Travel Size Items when Traveling to Florida
The Best Top 5 Gifts for a Frequent Traveler
How to Make a Natural Travel Kit with Essential Oils – Aromatherapy for travelers includes notes & dilution uses, recipes for; sunburn relief spray, jet lag, migraines, stress headaches, nausea, travel sickness, queasiness, fear of flying, preventing deep vein thrombosis and more!
Awesome article: 10 things to do w/ grandchildren this summer
-Helpful links (from bestkidfriendlytravel):
Check the weather
Bring a jacket? Check the 10-day forecast for your destination to help you decide what to pack.
Hold the Mail
Put your mail on vacation hold for security at home. Have it all delivered the day after you return home.
Travel Advisory Warnings
What you need to know before you go.
Packing light tips from: www.onebag.com