Top Tech for Trips: keep the kids entertained en-route
Summer’s here, school’s out and that means one thing – it’s time for that family trip away. But before you can enjoy some quality time away, there’s a challenge to overcome. Yes, keeping your back-seat passengers happy.
NB: This is a sponsored article by Aviva
Before you opt to leave the children behind, or at a service station on the M25 (just kidding), find out which gadgets can help keep everyone entertained en-route.
DVD players and tablets
A movie is one of the easiest ways to keep the kids quiet on a long trip.
While some luxurious cars come with in-built backseat entertainment, a portable or headrest DVD player is your best bet if you’ve a more modest vehicle.
Another inexpensive way to watch films is to watch them on a tablet device like an Amazon Fire or iPad. Buy a headrest mount for your car for easier viewing.
Tablets are a great idea – almost everyone has one, you can read and play games on them and they are small enough to take on a flight too.
Make sure to download any films before you go and, if using a streaming service, check if there are any restrictions for what or how much you can watch in advance.
Don’t forget headphones
Most cars allow you to connect tablets and DVD players to the speakers, either through USB or Bluetooth. But, if listening to back-to-back children’s films doesn’t sound like fun, make sure you pack some headphones.
If you have more than one passenger watching or listening to the same thing, a headphone splitter is a good idea. Or consider splurging on a set of infrared wireless headphones.
Music and audiobooks
As an alternative to CDs and radio, you may be able to stream music or audiobooks directly from your smartphone to your car’s speakers. ApplePlay and Android Auto systems come in some vehicles and let you display your phone’s music and apps on your car’s dashboard or rear screens.
If your car isn’t compatible you might be able to connect your phone to the speakers via the USB port or with Bluetooth.
Playing music from your phone will drain the battery faster than it will take the kids to ask ‘are we nearly there yet?’, so don’t forget to take a charger!
If one charger just isn’t enough for your family’s gadgets and devices, invest in a multi-port USB charger. They are inexpensive (from £5-£15) and are well worth it to avoid the inevitable squabbles over whose turn it is to charge.
Connect your car to the internet
While some newer vehicles come with in-car WiFi, most family cars won’t be equipped.
A simple solution is to connect to the internet by using your smartphone as a Hotspot (you might have to pay extra to your network provider for this). If you don’t want to use your phone’s data, it might be worth investing in a mobile WiFi hotspot that plugs in to your car.
Many come with the first year’s data included in the price but others will be pay as you go – make sure you research data plans before you buy.
And remember, if the gadgets fail, there’s always I-spy. Happy holidays!
Aviva’s tips for a stress-free trip
- Gadgets appeal to thieves so hide them in the glove box or take them with you when leaving the car. You might want add expensive items to your home insurance as items covered outside of the home
- Avoid breakdowns by checking your tyres and doing some basic car maintenance
- Consider taking out breakdown cover. Aviva not only repairs your car at the side of the road, the onward transport option will get you and up to 7 passengers to your destination
- If you’re taking your car out of the UK, make sure your car is insured for foreign use