Hitting the road this holiday season? Whether you’re traveling by plane or road-tripping it, here are the top travel apps and gadgets that will not only take the stress out of your travel but also keep you and your family entertained while getting to your holiday destination.
Weather can make or break your holiday travel. To keep you up to date on the weather conditions around the nation, check out Apple’s Weatherbug for Apple iPhone or BlackBerry. Download the Weatherbug Elite and you’ll have ad-free weather updates.
Avoid (or at least prepare for) traffic jams and other road delays with Waze, a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the roads you need to travel. This handy travel app is 100 percent powered by users, so the more you drive, the better it gets. You’ll get constantly updated road maps, alerts on traffic and accidents, and data providing you with the fastest route to get to wherever your holiday travel plans are taking you.
This iPhone app can get you back on the road if you run into car troubles on your holiday trip. In addition to recommendations on the items to have in a roadside toolkit, this app gives you instructions on how to fix flat tires, jumpstart a battery, deal with fluid leaks and more. Want to know how to avoid roadside troubles? Don’t miss the pre-trip checklist to minimize breakdowns.
With your family’s cell phones, iPods and other electronic toys, having a constant (and affordable) power source to recharge your gadgets is a must-have when traveling. Compact, lightweight and only $30, the Freeloader PICO has a 75mA solar panel that can charge a gadget in just 30 minutes, providing enough power to keep a mobile phone running for 35 hours or an iPod for 14 hours.
Even if you do have Internet capabilities on your smartphone, having a full-size keyboard and laptop screen to surf the Web, play games, watch movies and listen to music is an affordable travel luxury. Sprint, Verizon and a host of providers carry wireless USB devices that allow you to access the Internet from anywhere. Check with your local cell phone provider for the most compatible devices for your laptop as well as the usage plan that best suits your needs for holiday travel and beyond.
To keep the teens from getting restless on those long holiday trips, the Zune 4 GB Digital Media Player delivers all the entertainment their stimulation-craving brains desire. This powerhouse gadget stores up to 1,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 12 hours of video, and even has a built-in FM tuner and the ability to wirelessly share full-length tracks, playlists, pictures and podcasts with other Zune-wielding friends.
This year’s must-have travel gadget for kids, the Fisher-Price iXL Learning System is a dynamic, 6-in-1 smart device for kids ages 3 to 7 that puts learning fun into a mini computer that your kids will not put down. It includes six great applications: Digital Reader, Game Player, Notepad, Art Studio, MP3 Player and Photo Viewer. You might even find yourself swiping the iXL when your kiddos doze off on the drive or flight.