These days, tech is an essential staple for traveling long hours with kids.Whether my children are listening to music on their iPods or playing games on their tablets, these devices are essential for making sure the hours of traveling pass quickly, and my kids don’t get too bored or fussy on long plane or bus rides.Here are a few tips for leveraging tech to your advantage for those long hours Traveling With Kids!
With years of family travel under my belt, I have discovered a few ‘life hacks’, so to say, that make traveling with young ones a bit easier. A key ingredient? Technology.
1) Use the Airport-Toggle!
This first piece of advice is CRUCIAL… If you will be traveling, have a set rule that all mobile devices must be set to Airplane mode at all times. One time, my younger son took his phone off airplane mode while we were on a trip, and we were absolutely floored by our phone bill. It came up in the thousands! Have a talk with your children before you travel to make sure that they are clear on the fact that Airplane mode is on at all times, and this is a rule that is non-negotiable. You can turn the Wi-Fi setting on while the devices are in airplane, so if you are in a hotspot (eg. a hotel or airport) that has wifi access, you can still connect to the internet without racking up charges.
2)Distract and Engage with Games and Apps
Before you travel, do your research and download a few game apps on your children’s devices (which can be used without wifi connection while phones are in airplane mode!). My kids personally love the classics – Angry Birds, Crazy Hamster Ball, and Fruit Ninja – but I also encourage them to also play some more pro-social, or logical games. A good example of a fun pro-social game they love is Arthur’s Big App, and for a fun and distracting game that requires logic, check out MathLands, or even Minecraft.
3) Avoid Music Services
You’ll notice there is a bit of a theme coming in here, but once again, make sure that your kids have access to a stock of music in iTunes that they can enjoy without having to be connected to internet. The dreaded bill-rack-up situation can be attributed primarily to my son using music services, such as Pandora and Songza, while on the road… Having pre-downloaded music will eliminate these issues altogether!
4) Take Advantage of a Parental Control
One of the best things about traveling is being able to unplug guilt-free. If you are a parent, chances are you struggle with managing your children’s mobile device use on a daily basis, and hopefully traveling will provide the opportunity for your kids to break away from any habitual tendencies they may be developing with their mobile phones or tablets. That said- there will still be tons of ‘downtime’ while you travel, and it can be easy for the hours to be lost playing games, messaging friends back home, or sharing your experiences on social media.
Download the parental control OurPact, so that you can remotely manage when your kids can use the internet or applications on their devices. You can set pre-determined schedules that open access to games/wifi during certain hours of the day, or you can manually permit and block access at any time from your own phone or tablet. It’s free and easy to use, and will be a great tool to use once vacation is over as well!
What tips do you have for traveling with kids?