Five tech essentials for your summer road trip

July 5, 2016 — by KEN PERKINS


Open highway


Summer is road trip time. It’s a tradition, right? You pack up the family for a road trip vacation to visit relatives or just to see the sights. Maybe you call up your buddies to hit the road for some summertime adventure.

Whatever your motivation, some gear is standard equipment for any road trip. You need a cooler full of ice and everyone’s favorite soft drinks. Don’t forget your travel mug to securely accommodate your hot or cold beverage. And everyone knows you must have plenty of snacks.

NEVER forget this item
Of course never, ever forget to bring your phone charger. If you’re like me you’ve managed to do that.

I don’t have to tell you to bring your phone because most of us have to have it on our person 24/7, or very close by.

In addition to those required items, here are five tech essentials that will make any summer road trip easier, less stressful and more fun. Guaranteed!

1) GPS Navigation
A nav app (think Waze) or standalone device (Garmin Drive or equivalent) will make sure you get wherever you’re going by the optimum, not necessarily the fastest, route. It can plot your course when you’re driving in unfamiliar territory, provide directions to help you find a destination, alert you to local traffic conditions when appropriate, and show alternate routes that may prove more interesting than the main roads.

2) Wifi hotspot              
A hotspot will take a cell signal and make a data connection available to all Wifi enabled devices in the vehicle. This lets passengers use laptops and tablets while on the road, even if those devices are not cellular-enabled. And that can be an important factor when you consider our next digital road trip essential.


3) Tablet(s) for the kids
Parents already know this – on a family road trip one of the biggest challenges is keeping the kids entertained so you don’t hear “Are we there yet?’ approximately 84 times an hour. A tablet is the road tripping parent’s best friend. Kids with a tablet have lots of choices to entertain themselves. They can draw, play games, listen to audiobooks or watch videos, just to name a few.


4) Multiport USB charger
With multiple phones, tablets and other electronics in the car nothing is more useful than a multiport charger. These handy gadgets plug into a power outlet/cigarette lighter and provide all the USB ports you need to keep everyone’s device batteries charged up. Some can charge five or six devices at once and some accommodate two different sizes of USB plugs. Before you purchase, make sure a charger will accommodate your USB devices.



5) Cell phone signal booster
Your road trip may take you to places where you can’t get a reliable mobile signal. That’s where a cell signal booster can be a lifesaver. These devices can detect and capture cell signals much fainter than a smartphone can. A booster then amplifies the faint signal and distributes that amplified signal inside the vehicle so phones and other mobile devices can have a solid network connection. A booster also sends amplified signal from the phone back to the cell tower to complete the communications loop. For safety considerations and entertainment purposes, a cell phone booster ensures you have a strong reliable signal when you need it.


Happy summer road tripping!


Want to see the best cell signal booster options for staying connected on your road trip?

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