Key gadgets for hitting the road this summer

November 11, 2014 : TECHFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Key gadgets for hitting the road

With the schools out and the summer finally showing signs of being something other than a washout, it's time for many people to be planning their breaks and getting away from the day-to-day grind.

But this doesn't have to mean jetting off on a package break to the Med for a week. There's plenty of great stuff to see a bit closer to home and, if the weather continues to play ball, why wouldn't you head out to see what the UK has to offer?

And sure, we don't have the wide open roads of Route 66 in this country, but that doesn't mean a good road trip is out of the question. So whether it's packing the kids into the car for a day trip or getting together with a few mates for a few days, hitting the roads can be a great way to spend summer.

It's not all about the destination, either. But driving up and down a dull motorway is no-one's idea of a good time, so a bit of forward planning and, of course, a few gadgets, could help transform a boring journey into a really enjoyable adventure.

Keeping the kids occupied

If you're sick of the familiar cries of 'are we there yet?', keeping the little ones occupied will be a must. And while there's a wide range of creative car games to keep them busy, it's now easier than ever to temper boredom thanks to the latest tech.

Having a tablet is great for long journeys as it offers everything your kids could want. As well as a huge range of games available for download from the iOs or Android stores, why not load it up with a collection of their favourite movies before you leave the house? Of course, if the sounds of this are going to irritate you just as much as demands for an arrival time, don't forget to pack a set of headphones to keep things peaceful.

Know where you're going

Up in the front seats though, the usual squabbles about directions can also be solved with the help of your trusty smartphone. One of the side effects of these devices' booming popularity over the last few years is they're doing a very effective job of killing off the dedicated satnav, as you can now get all the help you need to reach your destination through your phone.

There are a range of paid-for navigation apps from the likes of TomTom and Garmin on offer for phones – but even some free options like Google Maps can be great for finding your way. This can offer you a choice of routes, highlight points of interest and even automatically reroute you before you hit the inevitable motorway traffic jam.

Of course, you can't be expected to drive the whole way with your phone held up to your face, so investing in a holder such as our GripStick dashboard mount is a must. This means you can dispense with the bulkiness and ugly rings on your windscreen of traditional cradles, as all you have to do is place it on your dashboard and the special material will hold your phone as tight as glue, even if it's in a case.

Music to hit the highway to

It's not a road trip without some great driving tunes on the stereo – and sometimes whatever Radio 1 is playing just isn't up to the task, so it's better to put on your own playlist. And gone are the days of having to burn your own mix CD to enjoy your journey in style.

A huge range of new cars now come with built-in Bluetooth capabilities that you can hook your phone up to in order to stream music directly to your speakers – and some models can even connect directly to services like Spotify. Even if this still isn't available for you yet, in-car stereos with wireless connectivity – or even a simple line-in socket – can be picked up relatively cheaply to help you use your phone to turn your car into a moving entertainment centre.

Keep everything powered

But if you're hitting the road with a cache of gadgets in tow, you'll need a couple of accessories to make sure you get the most out of them. In particular, if you're using your phone as a satnav and have high-definition movies running on a tablet, this is going to drain your battery pretty quick, so it'll pay dividends to have an emergency charger handy.

Our TurboCharger 7000 could be the perfect companion for any road trip that sees you away from a mains connection for long periods of time. This powerful device can keep almost any USB gadget topped up with power – from a smartphone to an iPad – and you can even charge up two gadgets simultaneously to prevent arguments about whose device should take priority.

This entry was posted in TECH and tagged on by sarahstooks
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