It’s the season of family vacations, whether you’re going to Nana’s house or flying a warmer destination. How can you not look forward to getting away for a week or two to just relax? Whatever your reason for getting away, there are several technical gadgets you’re not going to want to be without. These gadgets are useful whether you use for maps, simply to pass the time or entertain the kids. They’re going to be what keeps peace and quiet in the car or plane on your vacation. In other words, add these to your travel list. You won’t want to leave home without them!
1. Android Cell Phone (or iPhone)
These two particular styles of phones are useful on any vacation. First, they have applications you can download to help navigate you through maps and destinations. There are many applications for bus and subway transits in metropolitan areas. In addition, there are restaurant finders, hotel applications and much more. Both these phones have Google Latitude as well, which help track the location of your loved ones. Both these phones vary by their carriers in price. The iPhone, however, is only available through AT T; and Verizon.
2. Kindle (or Nook)
A plane ride can often be very dull, except when you may get a seatmate who tells you their life story. If the plane is quiet, or has muffled noise, pull out your e-reader and turn off the wifi. You’re now able to enjoy your books, movies, magazines or blogs. There are also free games on the Kindle such as Dots and Boxes, where each player makes a box and tries to win. There are several models of the Kindle and Nook. The Kindle, starting at $79 and going up to $199 for Kindle Fire, is available at Amazon. The Nook, available at Barnes and Noble, starts at $99 and goes up to $249 for the Nook tablet. Each are quality devices, but the Nook stands out more with more features.
3. Nintendo DS
“Are we there yet?” “I’m hungry!” “She’s touching me!” We’ve all heard these coming from the back seat at one time or another. The Nintendo DS is great for family vacations because it keeps the children entertained in the car. The game console starts at $99, which isn’t a bad price to pay for some deserved peace and quiet. In addition, parents can purchase a connector children can insert into their DS systems and play against each other. Some of the fantastic games children can get on Nintendo DS include Sonic Colors, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Dora’s Cooking Club and Tetris.
4. Digital Camera
Each vacation is memorable in its own unique way. You’re not going to want to leave your camera at home. If you happen to leave it behind, don’t fret or panic. Best Buy sells cameras at a decent price. I would recommend anything that is a Cannon or Nikon. These prove to produce the best image quality and have the most features on the camera. While the optical number on the camera display is important, the zoom number is more important. Go as high as you can on both and you’ll get great pictures. You’re not going want to miss your daughter’s face when she’s excited about Mickey Mouse.
The iPad 2 is a great device for travelers who are on on the go. This handheld device can be used to navigate someone down the road or keep the kids busy in the hotel room. There are free and paid applications for just about anything. For instance, there is an application called iBooks if someone is bored and wants to read while traveling. There is also a Kindle application on the iPad 2. There are also free games for the iPad such as Angry Birds. Who doesn’t enjoy shooting the birds across the screen using a slingshot? The iPad 2 starts at $499 in the Apple store.
I didn’t think this would make the list, but here it is. Personally, I don’t use the GPS if I know where I’m going. However, if you’re in a new location, the GPS might be more useful. There are many different settings on your GPS from voice pattern, route selection and the picture you want on your screen. Keep in mind if you choose the ‘less gas’ route, it may take you down many county roads. This is one reason I don’t like the GPS because I don’t like the sense of feeling lost. They vary by store and model, but most of them are over $100.
7. Radar detector
I had to put this on my list for a specific reason. This for all of you reading my article that tailgate, swerve around or don’t signal around me. In addition, this is for those drivers who think they can go 80 in a 65. I may stepping out of my comfort zone here, but slow the heck down! I don’t need one in my car because I obey the traffic laws; it’s you I worry about making it home in one piece. These also vary in price, but I have seen them at Best Buy for around $150 or more. They may be a great gift if you find the need for speed.
8. iPod or XM Radio
Whatever your pleasure for listening to music, both of these will offer commercial-free listening. There are differences, however. The iPod is only your music and some of your passengers may not agree with your style of music. In contrast, XM Radio has every genre of music with too many of stations to choose from. If you don’t like one station, there is always another waiting to be tried by the listeners. Both these options are going to make your road trip (or plane ride) much more enjoyable for the whole family.
A laptop is an easy way to pass the time during a long flight or a boring road trip. Some planes and cars have places where laptops can plug in their chargers so they don’t lose their energy. While you may not have the availability of a wifi connection, there is still other applications you can browse on your computer. For instance, you play games on your computer. Many people carry an external hard drive with them when they travel. If you’re one of these travelers, then you can keep working on projects while you’re traveling. In addition, you can watch movies on your computer.
10. Travel Mug
A travel mug is essential for business travellers. Getting the best coffee mugs to keep coffee hot will save you time in buying coffees from shops and instead lets you brew your own at home.