Spring Break is just around the corner and that means family vacations and road trips. Check out this guest post from Dale Cooper.
Family road trips are a great way to escape the daily grind. Taking your kids on a trip will provide them with an unforgettable experience, but a long drive can put a strain on the family. Saddled with short attention spans, children don’t always behave well in small spaces for long periods of time. Luckily, there are several devices that can distract your kids during the more restless legs of a family vacation. These road trip gadgets can occupy your child’s attention while you enjoy the landscape during a few hours of peace and quiet.
DVD player: Compact, inexpensive, battery-powered DVD players can offer distraction in convenient two-hour chunks of time. Just have the kids plug in headphones to quietly enjoy a movie in the backseat. DVD players are such popular road trip gadgets that some cars come equipped with these devices along with screens built into the back of car seats.
Handheld games: Portable games come in hundreds of varieties, from Nintendo video game consoles to old-school Yahtzee. Many of these devices, such as the Nintendo handhelds, require a higher upfront cost for the main unit but can play dozens of individual cartridge games that cost much less.
MP3 player: If your kids are old enough to enjoy listening to music for longer periods of time, an MP3 player is the perfect road trip gadget. And, if your car is able to interface with MP3 players via an auxiliary jack or FM transmitter, the whole family can enjoy the music through the car’s built-in speakers.
iPod touch/iPad: There are an increasing number of devices on the market that do everything mentioned above, and much more. The iPod touch, which can play games, movies and music, is one of the most popular road trip gadgets, but there are others. For a larger viewing experience, the iPad and other tablet computers perform all of the same functions on a much bigger screen.
Low-tech options: Travelers passed time on trips long before the aid of digital devices. Try a Google search for “classic road trip games” to get a few ideas for your next family vacation. You’d be surprised at how well Twenty Questions, I Spy and the various license plate games have held up as fun family options.
Remember that road trip gadgets can be distracting and should be used and controlled only by passengers, never the driver. If your teen will be driving for part of the trip, be sure to ask your insurance agent about car insurance for teenagers. Your agent will be able to help ensure your child is fully covered by car insurance before you leave on your family vacation.