Spring break wasn’t too long ago, but I’m already planning our next family trip. You know how it is, once you start the travel season, wanderlust sets in and the next thing you know you are ready to jet off on a moment’s notice. The girls are a little older, so travel has changed. It’s a lot less packing a bag full of coloring books and DVDs and a lot more packing high tech to keep the kids amused. It’s not like traveling by yourself. You want to be able to be spontaneous and in the moment and that means being prepared for almost anything.
Here are a few tech items that will improve the quality of your family vacation.
1. A reliable tablet case
If you plan on doing any light reading or still have to be available for work purposes, preferably one that is waterproof if you are going to be anywhere near water or moisture.
For an affordable option, I like the Satechi waterproof case for lounging by the pool. The floating and waterproof tablet cases for iPad Air, iPad Mini and Kindle Paperwhite are ideal for any outdoor or water adventure. (Satechi.net, $25)
For a bit more, the Lifeproof Nüüd Waterproof iPad Case is the top of the line. Not only is it the best waterproof case on the market, it works like a charm with the Naked Flex Mount. So, if you’re using your iPad for navigation or entertainment on a boat, this is for you. It’s waterproof, snow proof, dirt proof and shock proof. Suitable for iPad generations 2, 3 and 4. Now comes with a removable plastic stand that snaps onto the back. (Seasucker.com, $130)
2. GoPro accessories
Since getting my GoPro HERO4 Black, I don’t leave home, especially not on vacation, without it. On spring break we captured some hilarious moments on the water slides. Now folks, that’s the gift that keeps giving.
Here is one of my favorite U-Float floatable camera grips for catching all those amazing surf shots without the worry of losing your GoPro at the bottom of the ocean. (Xsories.com, $30)
For a slightly more affordable option, the Konsait Premium GoPro Bobber Selfie Self Portrait Handle Grip Diving Floaty Floating Monopod Pole is perfect. It’s ultra compact, lightweight and portable. (Amazon, $13)
3. Selfie stick
Yes, every family needs a selfie stick. It’s not about vanity so much as it is about mom and dad being in the photos instead of just behind the camera. I’m a big fan of XSORIES Me-Shot Standard Extension Pole (Black/Orange). It’s heavy duty and the Xsories Me Shot allows you to attach a camera or a smartphone to the end of the pole and extend it from 9.1 to 36.6 inches, letting your camera achieve high-angle shots above crowds or obstructions. It also has a Bluetooth remote. (BHPhotovideo, $40)
If you want to take a few selfies but do not want to invest the $40, no fear, there is a more affordable option: the Minisuit Selfie Stick Pro with Built-In Bluetooth Remote Shutter for Apple & Android. It will definitely do the job for simple selfies. (Wal-Mart, $18)
4. Personal entertainment
I am a big fan of music and I love to have a Bluetooth speaker on me at all times, especially when traveling. You never know when you might need to have a spontaneous dance party, especially when you have kids.
Transit XS Mountable Speaker is $130 at the Apple store. A portable, mountable Bluetooth speaker. What makes the Transit XS truly unique, aside from its crystal-clear sound, is that it is easily mountable to any 1/4- to 20-inch mounting bracket found on standard tripod or camera mounting hardware. The Transit XS’s mounting system easily secures to your bicycle with a Soen bike mount so you can get out, get active and hit the road. Soen also offers a belt clip so you can wear the speaker, attach it to your bag or belt and take a walk in the park. Instant dance party, any time, anywhere.
For something a little more affordable, the Riptide waterproof personal speaker is only $50 at Overstock.com, and did I mention it’s waterproof? This small and resilient Bluetooth speaker is designed for travel and can be clipped to a belt or backpack. The speaker is buoyant and will remain afloat if dropped in the water plus it’s 100 percent submersible up to 3 feet. It’s an awesome little speaker for the price.
Last but not least, every family needs a good DSLR when traveling to capture all of those amazing memories that you will be experiencing. Today you can find quality cameras at just about any price point.
The Nikon D3300 is a good midrange DSLR that takes quality photos and performs well at just around $500. It is also easy to use and even a novice can take great photos with this camera.
If you are willing to spend a little bit more, the Canon EOS Rebel T5i is the perfect camera for a beginner. My personal camera is a Canon, so maybe I’m a little biased. The EOS Rebel T5i will renew your artistic side with amazing imaging features and full-featured functionality. You’ll be impressed at how simple and intuitive it is to create breathtaking photos.
These are just a few of the tech pieces I think will take your family vacation from fun to unforgettable, but don’t forget the key to a great family vacation is family so make sure to put the tech away for a while and just enjoy the people.
What’s the one piece of tech that you’d never go on vacation without?