Must-have gadgets for family vacations

May 1, 2012 at 4:17 a.m. ET

Keep the sibling warfare and “are-we-there-yets” to a minimum on your next getaway with these must-have gadgets for family vacations.

girl on roadtrip playing gameboy


Got a long day on the road ahead of you? Load up your tablets with music, movies, interactive books and entertaining apps for kids and you’ll keep your little ones happy for hours on end. For older kids (and adults!), the iPad is the ideal all-around multipurpose tablet. For tiny tykes, try the VTech Innotab or the LeapFrog LeapPad. They’re perfect for little hands with 5-inch screens, which display interactive e-books, learning games and a variety of other creative apps.

5 Tips for a fun family road trip >>

Portable gaming system

Counting cows is only fun for so long. When everyone needs a little break on a long road trip, bust out the Nintendo DS or PSP and get your game on. You can also watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, store your photos and more.

Kid camera

Sightseeing is even more fun when you’re not worrying about Junior dropping your $500 camera into the lake. Invest in a durable digital camera for kids with fun features like photo editing, camcorder, special effects and games. We love VTech’s KidiZoom Plus because it's simple to use and can even add voice narration to any photo.

Smartphone apps

Keep your little ones busy in a pinch when you load up your smartphone with fun and educational apps for kids like Math Bingo, ClickySticky, Pocket Zoo and BrainPOP Featured Movie.

Best apps for the iPhone: Educational apps for kids >>

MP3 player

Gone are the low-tech days of yore when your Walkman ran out of batteries in a single hour. Now you and your kids can pump up the jam with the best MP3 players around and listen to tunes all day long. Even toddlers can get in on the fun with the simple to use SweetPea3, which stores both audio books and music.

Quick tip

Don’t depend on old standbys. Take some time before your trip to fill up your iPad with new apps, family movies and kid-friendly music that will keep the kids from saying “I’m bored” before you leave the driveway.

Video camera

Don’t forget to document all your good times and make memories that will last forever. We love the Sony Handycam for capturing any special moment big or small. The perfect size for travel, it has stunning image quality and is a cinch to use, even for those of us who aren’t tech wizards. Can't wait until you get home to watch your movies? You don't have to. As an added bonus, the Handycam's built-in movie projector can project a 100-inch viewing screen on any flat surface.

Creative ways to share home videos with family and friends >>

Multiple gadget charging station

With all this technology at your fingertips, don’t forget to pack a multiple gadget charging station like the Converge from Quirky. Hotels don’t always have enough plugs to go around, but the Converge makes life easy so no one has to go unplugged. Juice up all your gadgets in one wham smacker while hiding that unsightly jumble of cords.

Secrets of stress-free family travel >>

Video: How to shoot awesome family vacation videos


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