Technology is now part of most children’s lives, and technology and tablets can come in very handy when travelling with kids and on holiday. We aren’t suggesting you allow your kids to be staring at tablets and screens for their whole holiday, but we know that ‘tech’ can be a useful tool to pass the time on long plane journeys, whilst grabbing some down time out of the sun, or to allow parents to enjoy a more leisurely meal.
What’s different when you travel with your tech?
You may not get great wifi when you’re away, and probably not at all on the aircraft (although some airlines do now offer this, usually at a cost!), so having devices that don’t rely on the internet or good quality content downloaded before you travel can be helpful. Be aware that some subscription services you might use at home, like Netflix and Amazon Prime probably won’t work when you’re abroad, so download anything you need to your device before you travel.
An easy way to check what will work without wifi or a data connection is to turn on airplane mode on your device. This will simulate being without any connection and will allow you to check what will work on a plane or without wifi before you travel.
We’ve found two products particularly good for travelling with children – portable DVD players and the Amazon Fire for Kids.
Portable DVD Players
Portable DVD players are great on planes, as they fit nicely on the tray table and can grow with your child’s changing tastes and favourite programmes. You don’t need to worry about any kind of wifi signal and if you keep all of the DVDs in a simple wallet (check out your local pound shops for these), they won’t take up too much space. One of the reasons we think these work so well with kids is that they aren’t confused that the DVD player will work in some places and won’t in others, which we find with some wifi-dependant devices. Another top tip is to buy one with a rotating screen, so that younger children can’t be tempted to press the buttons whilst watching their favourite programmes. We’ve found this DB Power portable DVD player to have great battery life.
You can pick up great value second-hand kids DVDs at Music Magpie if you’re looking to start a cheap collection for travelling.
Amazon Fire Tablet for Kids
Amazon Fire for Kids is one of the best tablets for kids. With all the features you’d expect from a standard tablet, but with built in parental controls and a kid-safe browser. It also comes with a great child-proof surrounding case to protect it. On the Amazon Fire you can download apps, books, videos and games at the touch of a button and for the first year, the content is free (Fire for Kids Unlimited). The Amazon Fire for Kids also comes with a 2-year worry-free guarantee which even includes damage caused by your child.
At the Family Travel Pro, we’ve found loads of great educational content and have had hours of fun playing games from top characters such as the Gruffalo, Cbeebies and Peppa Pig. You can find all the info you need on these great tablets over on the Amazon website.
Practical advice – charging your tech and airport security
A couple of final thoughts – make sure someone is responsible for charging all your technology items the day before you travel to keep everyone happy. Also try to keep all your technology items in one bag when going through airport security – it makes getting everything out for the security scans that much easier! And finally, if all this talk of technology isn’t for you, why not check out some more traditional ways to entertain your children on a long trip!