The joy of a road trip has always been its simplicity. You pile everything that you need into the car and hit the open road. Making your own fun with games and songs, marveling at the sights and bonding with your travel companions. It’s a wonderful way to take a break from the real world and all of your daily stresses. But, that doesn’t mean that your fun can’t be enhanced with a little planning and some tech additions. Modern technology can make your trip safer, more fun and much more comfortable, without taking away from the simplicity of a car on the open road. Let’s face it, we all want to be safe. Especially if you are traveling with young children.
Let’s start with the most obvious. Many old school drivers hate sat nav. They prefer studying maps, reading signs and using their own instinct and sense of direction to get them somewhere. This can be much more fun. But, even then, is there anything wrong with adding an address to the maps app on your phone, just in case? You can still study and pack a map (and you should, even if you do plan to use a sat nav. Maps never use signal or battery power!) but having a backup is never a bad idea.
For some, sat nav is essential. Some of us have a terrible sense of direction, struggle to picture a route in our minds and get lost even on the simplest of journeys that we’ve made countless times. If you plan to use a satellite navigation system, or an app on your phone, make sure it’s updated and set up before you start your trip and remember that it’s no substitute for reading signs and taking care on the road.
Diagnostic and Repair Tools
Car’s aren’t infallible. Even if yours has been in for a full service and you’ve completed essential safety checks, things can go wrong along the way. Especially on a long trip. So be prepared. Make sure you’ve got your drivers manual, an engine diagnostic scanner and a brake bleeder tool, as well as a standard toolkit. Being able to do some minor maintenance yourself, or at least being able to diagnose a problem could get you on the road much faster and keep you safe in an emergency.
If you are planning on taking tech on your trip, you might need something more than a plug that goes into your cigarette lighter to charge them. A PowerStation or portable power bar could be very useful if you need to charge more than one device on the road.
Yes, when you are on a road trip, you want to talk to your companions and have fun. But, there are also times where you want to chill out and get some peace on your own. This is hard if you are in a confined space with other people, and if you are a passenger or taking it in turns to drive, you are subjecting yourself to the drivers taste in music for the whole trip. Invest in some wireless headphones so that you can listen to your own tunes without worrying about wires and leads. For the more communal bits of the trip, consider a wireless Bluetooth speaker for much better sound than your car’s radio.
You’ll want the best apps for the trip. This depends on what you need, but up to date maps, music, a hotel finder and Four Square or something similar to give you instant local knowledge and guides are a start.
The field trip app can also be good fun. It helps you plan your route, gives you local history along the way and can even interact with your social media feeds.
A torch was always a must pack on any long journey. Now, you’ve got more options. An LED torch gives you much more power, and you can even get emergency LED road flares in case of an incident during the night.
Tablets and Holders
If you are traveling with children, you’ll need something to quell the incessant “are we there yet?”. Invest in some cheaper tablets and download some of their favorite games and apps. If they get car sick, they might find playing difficult. So, download some content on Netflix and secure the tablet to the back of the front seats so that they can sit back and enjoy their favorite shows. You might want to get them some kids headphones too, so you don’t have to listen to Peppa Pig for hours.