Family vacations will provide everlasting memories for your kids and allow you to have crucial bonding time before they grow up. While the experiences can be fun and edifying, the airport experience typically is not. There’s airport security to get through, a million things to pack, and endless questions about whether you’re there yet. Fortunately, technology gives your kids the power to stay entertained (and hopefully quiet) through these stressful periods, before your family can unplug and relax on their adventures. Check out these five gadgets you need to pack next time you travel.
A Multi-Use Tablet
There are many good arguments for bringing laptops, tablets, and e-readers on your trip, as each provides its own unique use. An e-reader such as a Kindle has a large screen for getting sucked into a novel, while your kids can play games on a laptop. However, these devices can take up a lot of space if you pack all of them, so try to limit your carry-on to one or two devices.
Tablets tend to be the best option when traveling. You can prop them up and watch movies, play games on apps, and read books in low light. They’re also less bulky than your laptop but have a larger screen than your smartphone. Try to find a tablet that meets everyone’s needs when you travel.
Not all airports have caught up to the digital revolution, and you might find yourself in a sea of travelers fighting for only a handful of outlets near the gate. Even worse, you might have to leave your device against the wall several feet away, or send your kids to find an outlet a few gates down. None of these situations are optimal.
Make sure you charge your devices before you head off to the airport, and pack a wireless charger and a few backup batteries. This way, you can charge your devices when they’re low regardless of how many outlets are around.
No parent wants to be the one with kids who can’t keep calm on a flight. Invest in a pair of high-quality headphones tailored to kids, and your kids can quietly watch movies and play games during the flight. You’ll get quiet time to yourself, your kids will enjoy their screen time, and fellow passengers will comment about how impressed they are that the kids are such good travelers!
A Durable Smartphone
Your smartphone is going to be your additional travel companion on your family vacation. You will use it to snap priceless photos of your family, look up directions through Google Maps, and book tours or buy tickets for excursions. The last thing you want is to drop it in the pool or break it on the go.
Make sure you have a protective case on your smartphone that can limit damage or consider upgrading to a newer model that provides protection. The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is waterproof (even if you dunk it) and repels dust for fewer scratches. You can bring it on any adventure without worrying quite as much about it.
Kid’s Digital Camera
You’re probably snapping hundreds of photos of your family on this vacation, but wouldn’t it be cool to see the trip from their eyes? For as little as $30 to $50 you can find a digital camera for your kids so they can take their own photos of the vacation.
Once you get back, you can actually turn the photos into a fun activity. Upload them onto your computer or print them out and create scrapbooks to share everyone’s memories. You can even save ticket stubs or postcards from the trip to create a 3D memory experience.
There are countless digital options for your family to travel with, but you want to choose gadgets that your kids will actually use. It helps to test these items in the weeks before a trip to see if your kids will enjoy them. The items that pass the test will be valuable additions to your trip.