What the Tech? Take the Tech Your Family Needs on Road Trips
Holiday road trips can be a lot of fun but families know, if someone in the car isn’t happy, no one is happy.
The 4th of July holiday weekend will see a record number of travelers on the highways.
According to AAA, an estimated 42 million people will travel over 50 miles by automobile from their home between Thursday, July 1st, and Monday the 4th.
If you’re going to be on the highway traveling with others in the car, there are a few things you may want to do on all of your devices before you leave the house.
Rather than letting the kids’ doom scroll TikTok for hours, give them an old-fashioned way to entertain themselves. April Coloring is a great coloring book app for smartphones and tablets similar to old-fashioned paint-by-numbers books.
The app has dozens of images to color but unlike many coloring book apps that have you only touching the design to paint, April Coloring requires them to use their finger or a stylus to paint or color by number. It’s super relaxing and fun for kids and adults alike. It also requires no internet connection once the images have been downloaded or opened.
If you plan to let passengers watch shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, download those movies before you leave home. All of those streaming services make content available for download so it doesn’t require an internet connection.
Once they’ve watched the movie or show they can simply delete it from their phone in the app and download another one.
This is helpful if you’re traveling by plane so you won’t need to pay for in-flight internet. You can do the same thing with music on Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, and Apple Music.
If you’re on a long trip down the highway you will likely go through areas with spotty or no cell service at all. If that happens you can try this simple trick to get back online quickly: Turn on Airplane mode for a few seconds and turn it off again.
This forces the smartphone to search for the best cell tower signal. As you move down the highway the handoff from one cell tower to the next is not always fast enough. This will get your device back online quickly.
If you use Waze for directions you might want to add a little fun for young children in the backseat by changing the voice giving directions. Waze has many options that are far more entertaining than the standard voice similar to Siri or Alexa. Open “My Waze” and then settings and voice. You’ll see the options there which include the voices of a boy band, Boy George, a DJ, and a few cartoon characters.
Take note in the options as some voices do not include street names as they give directions. If you’re the type of driver who hates someone else giving directions you can also add your own voice to Waze by recording a series of phrases. You’ll see the option to “Add Voice”. Once you give Waze permission to use the microphone you’ll record basic phrases such as “turn left”,
“Stay right”, “in a half-mile”, and so on.
Once the recordings are complete and you choose this voice as the default, Waze strings together the phrases to give directions. This option also doesn’t include street names so if you want to hear the names of streets and highways you’ll need to use one of the voices Waze offers with street names.
You might also want to have the GasBuddy app as a device to find the lowest prices of stations along your route.