Amber Mac’s 5 Tech Essentials for Your Family Road Trip
Going on a family road trip this summer? Tech expert and television personality Amber Mac gives her top five must-have products to keep children entertained along the way.
1. A gaming console for hours of fun
“For most parents, it’s a matter of passing the time when you’re on a road trip,” says MacArthur. And why not pass the time with a device that’s built for gaming? The new Nintendo 3DS XL console gives players access to some of their favourite game characters – Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Pikachu – in 3D! The latest addition to the Nintendo DS family also allows players to take and record 3D photos and videos. Parental controls allow parents to manage what their kids can access on the system as well.
Nintendo 3DS XL, $240, Amazon.
2. Kid-friendly headphones for quiet rides
“With gaming and movies, it can get a little bit loud, and every parent wants some kind of silence in the car at some point,” says MacArthur. Designed for parents, LilGadgets offers high-quality headphones for children aged three to eight. They’re light, durable, comfortably padded and come in a variety of colours.
For parents worried that their children may be listening to music too loudly, LilGadgets headphones feature limited volume capability. “This is one of the few companies out there that actually makes headphones specifically for kids,” she says.
LilGadgets headphones, $31.95, Amazon.
3. An app that shows you where the best activities are
MacArthur recommends Trekaroo for road trips, a free iPhone app that helps on-the-go-families search for nearby kid-friendly activities, hotels and restaurants. “It’s Google Maps for parents,” she says. Trekaroo is fueled by user-generated reviews submitted by thousands of parents who share tips, recommendations and advice on the best (and worst) places to take children based on their own experiences.
You can download Trekaroo from the iTunes app store.
4. Family-friendly podcasts
“You think of podcasts as a kind of adult thing, but there are more and more podcasts out there that are just for kids,” says MacArthur. “(Podcasts) allow parents to switch gears and let their kids lay their heads down or rest their eyes until they fall asleep.”
One podcast she recommends is Brain On, a science-oriented show co-hosted each week by kid scientists. It offers unique insights on subjects like gravity, space and anatomy. Another podcast she recommends is Storynory, a British show that provides family-friendly audio stories every week, from classic fairy tales to myths,
5. Power up using your car’s cup holder
“With all these gadgets, it’s important to have as much power as possible,” she says. A space-saving cup holder power adapter with a 5-in-1 design, BESTEK’s 200W car cup power inverter features two AC outlets, two USB charging ports and a 12V cigarette lighter socket so you can charge up to five devices at the same time.
BESTEK Car Cup Power Inverter. $30, Amazon.