With Labor Day Weekend upon us, it’s time to make sure you’ve made all the necessary plans for a fun and comfortable road trip. We don’t care how old you are – if you aren’t prepared, you’ll be asking yourself, “Are we there yet?” before you’re even out of the neighborhood. Smartphones aren’t going to buy snacks or chip in for gas, but they can definitely bring the fun to your car trip.
Who hasn’t started off a road trip Wayne’s World-ing to Bohemian Rhapsody? Pull up iTunes and drag and drop all your favorite sing-a-long songs into your BEST TRIP EVER playlist. If you’re short on time (or just music taste), download Pandora on your smartphone. In no time, you’ll be gettin’ jiggy wit’ every song that plays on Pandora’s 90’s Pop Music channel.
You can pack snacks and drinks- but if you have kids, bladders, or stomachs, you’ll need to stop eventually. The good news is you don’t have to wait to see if the town no-one-has-ever-heard-of has your favorite fast-food milkshake. Just pull up your AroundMe app to find quick directions to nearby restaurants, gas stations, banks and pretty much anything else you could ever need on a road trip.
One danger of travelling on Labor Day is that it is one of the heaviest traffic days of the year. If you use the INRIX app on your phone to bypass an upcoming fender-bender and save everyone 30 minutes of sitting in highway gridlock, you’ll most definitely be KING OF THE ROAD TRIP.
But avoiding accidents isn’t just about checking the traffic on Google maps or watching traffic cams. It’s also about not becoming the accident. (Shut-up, we do not sound like our moms.) Bluetooth technology really is a must for safe driving. Not only does it help you avoid texting while driving, but it might also help you avoid citations in states that require hands-free devices for even talking while driving.
Most importantly, don’t forget them unless you hired a babysitter. (Seriously, double-check.)
Once the kids are safely strapped into the car, the music and food and (knock on wood) lack of traffic will help make the road trip a blast. But there comes a point where “ARE WE THERE YET?” makes even the guru parents twitch. Check out these 9 awesome kids apps, and enjoy the golden silence that will follow:
- Night Sky
- Angry Birds
- Fruit Ninja
- Crash Kart
- PhotoFactory by PBS
- Word Wizard
- Coloring Pages
- Jedi Lightsaber
One more thing! Don’t forget to kid-proof your phone before passing it to the backseat. You don’t want Junior playing any awkward YouTube videos or racking up $100 worth of new apps (both true stories). Android has a free app to make your phone kid-friendly that even includes a timer so that the kids don’t overdo it and emerge form the car three states later with bloodshot eyes and an Angry Birds addiction. For iPhone users, here are some tips on how to set restrictions on your phone…although you’ll have to keep track of the clock yourself.
Sometimes 24/7 connection has its downsides. If you work at a computer most of your day, you may have to bring some work along with you on your road trip. (This seems a little wrong on Labor Day, but sometimes it’s hard to disconnect from the office). No worries- once the kids hand back your smartphone, you can turn it into a mobile hotspot and get some stuff done online while you’re on the road. That’s right — nTelos customers can subscribe for a service that uses the data network to create a WiFi network from your smartphone. So feel free to pop open your laptop (as long as you’re not the driver) and get some work done. You might actually get to relax by the time you arrive.
Have a fun and safe road trip this Labor Day Weekend. Party on!