Must-have tech for your next road trip

Be sure to pack these devices and accessories so you’re prepared for journeys far or near.

With most American families choosing to hit the road for vacation instead of flying, on-board entertainment has all new meaning. Tablets, smartphones, batteries and chargers are now on par with toothbrushes and toothpaste when it comes to things to pack. Here’s our favorite mobile tech for road trips, along with tips on how to get the most out of it.

Tablets for the whole family

Tablets are great for the kids to pass the time on long trips. The Sony Xperia® Z2 tablet, with its rich, colorful display and surround-sound speakers, is sure to provide them hours of road trip fun.

If the kids start bickering over whose turn it is to play Angry Birds Star Wars, you can use the tablet’s calendar and alarm features to set up a schedule that keeps game-play time fair. (Of course, there are additional advantages in having enough tablets for everyone in the backseat too.)

Entertain and educate your children with Ellipsis® Kids tablet

Designed with a protective kid-tough bumper, the Ellipsis Kids tablet has an 8-inch display, 5-megapixel camera and games approved by education pros. The tablet comes preinstalled with Zoodles® Kid Mode®, a massive digital playground featuring lots of age-appropriate games, books, videos and more, so kids can play and learn in a safe environment. You can also set time limits, block certain apps and monitor your child’s progress.

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Headphones to contain the noise

Keep things from getting too noisy by giving the kids their own pair of headphones. On a road trip, the Beats Solo™ 2 On-Ear headphones are a total win-win: They help entertain the kids and give you some peace and quiet. These sleek, lightweight headphones also come with naturally curved ear cups for a custom-fit feeling and an immersive sound experience.

Portable battery power for the long haul

In case an outlet isn’t nearby, it’s always a good idea to take along a portable power pack, such as a mophie® charger. The mophie powerstation® plus 3x comes in two versions: One for your Apple® device and another for your micro USB-enabled device. With a 5,000 mAh battery capacity, it packs plenty of power to keep all of your family’s devices going.

Wi-Fi that follows you

If any backseat passenger wants to fire up the laptop during your trip, connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot by bringing a Verizon Jetpack® 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot—AC791L for the ride. You might even challenge your kids to research interesting facts about the towns you pass along the way.

Apps that keep everyone engaged

Kids won’t even notice they’ve been in the car for 5 hours if they’re entertained along the way. A game like Jetpack Joyride can help pass long stretches of time. You can also lean on mobile versions of classic family board games, like Monopoly and Life.

For readers of any age, pack some books for the Kindle app.

Front seat co-pilots might find Yelp handy. Yelp can provide recommendations on what to do or where to eat when you get there—or anywhere along the way. Zomato, formerly Urbanspoon, can also help the entire family come to an agreement on where to eat. (Shake your device for a random selection based on your location, or the type of food you’re interested in.) You can even make reservations right from the app.

Apps and services that make your trip easier

Nothing dampens vacation fun like a flat tire or running out of gas. Add Verizon Roadside Assistance to your mobile plan, and these inconveniences will be just something to laugh about later. A call to the Verizon Roadside Assistance number (#ROAD from your mobile phone) gets you whatever you need to get back on the road, whether it’s boosting your battery, bringing you gas, changing a flat or pulling your car out of a muddy rut.

You can also turn your smartphone into a GPS with VZ Navigator from Verizon. The app provides spoken turn-by-turn directions in a more natural language that even alerts you to what lane you should be in to make a turn. You’ll also get real-time traffic alerts with the ability to select a detour if there’s trouble ahead, 3D city views, local weather, gas-price comparisons and more.

Durable cases that give you confidence

A few portable pieces of hardware will go a long way on a long trip. Keep your smartphone or tablet protected with a case from the Otterbox Defender Series Case or Lifeproof. These cases are designed to protect your device from all kinds of handling hazards (including drops).

A Bluetooth speaker for your destination

When you reach your destination, a wireless speaker such as the JBL Flip 3 can help even the littlest of travelers feel right at home. Just create a playlist on your smartphone that includes their favorite bedtime music. Then stream it softly at lights-out. It’s sweet dreams for them, and a peaceful night for you.

This content was created by an author contracted by Verizon Wireless to provide helpful information on mobile technology. The thoughts, opinions and suggestions of the author may not necessarily reflect those of Verizon Wireless.