Technology to Take on Travel
When I travel with my kids it's always an adventure. I'm not just talking about the trip. I'm talking about my usual fear, "How on earth am I going to pack all this stuff into our measly suitcases?"
With today's families, it's not just the clothes anymore. You need to pack all the swim gear (sunscreens, goggles, beach toys, water guns, inflatable swim rings, inflatable floaties, water torpedoes, swimsuits, swim cover-ups, beach hats, etc.), multiple pairs of shoes for various outfits and adventures (a must for the girls in the family), books and games for the kids, favorite toys, blankies, or stuffed animals(please don't let us lose them!), reading material for the parents (assuming there's even a slight chance we get to read), travel guides, snacks (don't leave home without them!), and don't forget about the technology!
Technology alone can command it's own suitcase: DVD player, laptop, GPS, digital camera, camcorder, cell phones, kid's handheld games (PSP, Nintendo DS, Game Boy, LeapFrog, etc.), power strip so you can charge everything up at night, etc.
Phew! That's a lot to pack. How did our parents make do it when we were little? We still seemed to have a good time on vacation and didn't need to lug half of our household along to do it!
With the convergence of technology, there are some smarter ways to take technology on your trip without having to rent a U-Haul to carry it. OK, for those sharp cookies out there, you know what I'm going to say. Yes, taking advantage of the great capabilities of your smartphone, like the HTC Tilt 2, can really help you cut down the clutter.
The Tilt 2 has the capabilities to act as a:
Audio book player
Game console - for online or downloaded games
Document reviewer - with Microsoft Office applications built-in
Admitedly, although the Tilt 2 is not the ideal platform for all these things, it can still handle many of these tasks - better than you think. Let's look at a few of these capabilities more closely:
Cameras: Now, I'll be the first to admit that the resolution of any smartphone is not nearly as good as a stand alone camera or video camera. You'll still need to take those on your trip. But for small outings during your trip when you don't think you'll need a camera - you're still covered with your phone.
Games: I recently downloaded some games from the AT&T MEdia Mall and I am really impressed with the quantity and quality of games available. I downloaded some of my kids' favorite games - Scrabble, LIFE, and some card games. I even downloaded the Sims game. I have never played it before so I'm anxious to try it out. The Tilt2 also came with Soduku (my new fav game!), Pac-Man, Diner Dash 2, Teeter, even Guitar Hero! Some of these are trial games but I intend to try them out. Another fav game pack is the Board Games, which includes Backgammon, Chess, Checkers, and more. My daughter LOVES playing these games on my phone and there are many to choose from. These games will provide hours of fun for you or your kids -- as long as you can give up your phone for your game-crazed kid! But hey, if it provides you with some quiet, it's worth it!
Movies: With a data connection and Hulu.com, Disneygo.com, YouTube.com, and others, there is plenty of available free content to watch to keep the kids occupied. Granted, with a small screen, it's best suited for one person, but it works well for long car trips or airplane jaunts. Nonetheless, one of the Tilt2 accessories is a phone-to TV-cable which will allow the whole family to view an online movie on a TV in the hotel. Pretty snazzy, huh?
Smartphones are aptly named. On your next trip, see if you can compromise on a few items, and take advantage of the handy little device that can fit in your pocket - your smartphone! Happy Trails!
April 25, 3:30