Back in the old days, keeping long car trips interesting took some brain-wracking creativity and it wasn’t always pretty. After all, you can only sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” so many times. Luckily, we’re living in the wonderful Information Age when technology is mobile and versatile. If you’re planning a big road trip this summer, consider integrating these wonderful pieces of technology to make the vacation more enjoyable.
Playlists That Don’t Stop
Image via Flickr by marie 11
Gone are the days of the painstakingly organized mix cassette or CD collection. With the help of an MP3 player or even a smartphone, you can take your entire music collection with you on your summer road trip. Most digital music devices only need a simple peripheral to connect to car audio equipment, so for a pittance you can go through as many playlists as you can imagine. Better yet, ditch playlists altogether and fire up an Internet radio app to listen to an endless stream of music that’ll carry you through each and every mile, fitting your mood perfectly.
When you’re tired of gazing at clouds and the long patches of quiet fields out your car window, you can always turn to books to transport you to new worlds. Of course, paper books are bulky and take up valuable suitcase real estate. E-readers and mobile devices can access an entire library’s worth of books to be stored in one, slim tablet. If you’re in the driver’s seat and have to keep your eyes on the road, you can always download some audio books instead to keep your voracious appetite for words sated even when the road demands your attention.
GPS to the Rescue
Sure, you could take an old-fashioned road trip with big, confusing maps the size of a football field. If you’re more of a 21st century road-tripper, you have your choice of map and navigation apps for most mobile devices. Whether you’re trying to find the best route to the other side of the country or just where’s good to eat in a roadside stop off the highway, these apps have got you covered. They make traveling on the fly so easy, you don’t have to search for used cars with the best and latest built-in navigation systems.
With regular cameras, you have to wait until the trip is over to share your pictures. And those standard postcards? Nobody wants to send the same generic images of the Grand Canyon or the Hollywood Sign that show up on the racks of gas stations and gift shops. With digital cameras in your smartphone and some nifty photo editing apps, you can share photos seconds after you take them and you can make your own custom postcards to send to anyone on your contact list. There are also lots of great photo and video sharing apps to use, to keep all your friends back home up to date on what you are seeing along your journey.
The great thing about having mobile devices that are always connected to the Internet is the up-to-the-minute info you can access from anywhere. For instance, if you want to find a great deal on a hotel wherever you may stop along the road, you have the world’s biggest coupon book in your hand if you have a smartphone. Apps such as Groupon, Living Social, and Yelp make finding some great savings along the way as easy as a few swipes of your finger.
Technology can make this summer’s road trip more free, easy and fun. Pack light, have a sense of adventure and keep those batteries charged, road-trippers!