Tech to Keep Kids Sane on a Plane

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Dreading that long flight or car trip with your kids?

All that crankiness from being cooped-up can drive even the most patient parent insane.

Sure, there are lots of great non-tech things you can use to keep your kids busy like books, card games, board games, and sticker scenes.

But seriously.

Who’s going to schlep all that stuff through the airport? Here are my tips for traveling with kids and tech:

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1. Have them bring their own backpack

Unless you’re a fan of lugging around multiple tablets, headphones, and cables, have your child bring their own backpack.

There’s a reason this is tip #1: It’ll make your trip SO much easier.

In addition to choosing one that’s designed to fit your child comfortably, look for one with travel-friendly features:

Amazon has a wide variety of great options available.

2. Invest in a battery charger pack

There’s nothing worse than hearing “my Kindle died” 2 hours into a 6-hour flight.

Make sure you have a good battery charger.

Anker’s high capacity portable chargers are great. They can charge most handheld devices many times over are super reasonably priced. Versions that can charge a handheld device 3-4 times will cost you between $30-40.

Anker portable charger

Remember to set a calendar reminder to charge your battery pack 48 hours before you leave!

3. Get a good pair of noise-canceling can headphones

Unless you’re prepared to listen through the latest Disney cartoon on repeat or your kid’s current favorite video game for the whole trip, you’ll want a good pair of kid-friendly headphones.

Lil’ Gadgets Noise Cancelling headphones and earbuds are custom-designed for kids.

The “Untangled Pro” can-style costs $49, which I prefer for travel because they limit exterior sound more effectively than earbuds. I love that they work both wirelessly over bluetooth AND with a standard AUX cable (for when those headphones run out of juice.

Lil’ Gadgets Noise Cancelling headphones

All versions offer great sound quality, but the best feature for little ones is that they ’re volume limiting. If your kids are anything like mine this is huge. My daughter seems dedicated to early-onset deafness everytime she cranks that iPad volume up to max.

They also come in cute colors like green, pink, blue and purple.

4. Download content ahead of time

You aren’t likely to have access to WiFi in the air or in the car. Even if you do, it’s gonna be limited or cost a pretty penny.

Prepare for the Internet wasteland by stocking up your device with games that don’t require an internet connection, movies and tv shows (you can download titles for offline use from Netflix), and audio or eBooks.

You can use Overdrive to borrow kids eBooks from your local public library.

Just filter by “Available Now.”

Let your little bookworm choose some books or audiobooks in advance and load them on to your device before you hit the road.

5. Look for local co-op games

Co-op games allow multiple players to work together as a team. They’re perfect to keep all your kids busy at the same time.

They’re plenty of kid-friendly co-op games to choose from, but many of them require an internet connection to link players to the same game.

Here are some of our favorite co-op games that don’t require active WiFi but still allow for simultaneous gameplay:

Heads Up Kids! is great for kids of nearly all ages and costs only $0.99.

The game shows visual cues on the screen and players have to get the person holding the phone to their forehead to guess the animal, person, place or thing without saying what it is.

My 6-year-old loves that there’s no reading required.

My older son is a big fan of Outwitters 2.0 which is completely FREE!

Outwitters mobile game poster

This turn-based strategy game offers a two-versus-two option.

Adorable, kid-friendly graphics are engaging while still requiring that players plan and scheme their way to a win.

6. Invest in a shared movie storage device

Lots of handheld devices have limited storage.

Carry around extra space with Seagate’s Wireless Plus external hard drive. Choose from either the 1TB or 2TB option.

Seagate Wireless Plus

Pricing starts at $130 for the 1TB version.

The external drive creates its own limited area WiFi network to which up to 8 devices can stream content – simultaneously.

Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful.

Going on a trip with your kids shouldn’t be cause for anxiety.

With a little help from modern-day gadgets and a little advanced planning, you can ensure that your journey is relaxed and full of good memories.

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