Summer is here and the time is right… to get the family out of Dodge and head out on that annual summer vacation. If you're anything like me, you spend multiple hours and many months planning your summer vacation. This is arguably the most important planning you will do all year; your family depends on it and if you mess this up, the kids will be utterly disappointed.
So, after all this planning, how do you make sure everything goes smoothly, and you optimize every minute of the precious family time? Your iPhone will not assure smooth sailing, but it sure can help. We know the iPhone can make you more productive at work, but there are many ways your iPhone can make your vacation more productive and more enjoyable as well. In this article, I'll be covering some of the less obvious products and accessories that will make your summer vacation more fun.
In Your Face viewbase
The In Your Face viewbase is a great solution for holding your iPhone in a perfect viewing position while the kids watch their favorite movies and television shows on the road. Originally designed to be clipped on the passenger sun visor for easy viewing, this little unit can be clipped on a minivan armrest, the tray table on an airplane, or pretty much anywhere. The kids will love it as it will help them watch their favorite movies and television shows on the road and they won't complain about their arms getting tired holding their iPhone. With the flexible gooseneck and ball and socket design, the kids will be sure to get their iPhone in optimal viewing position for hours on end.
Wireless and Wired Headphones For Kids
So you're on the road and the kids are watching movies, listening to music, and playing video games in the backseat. That may keep them occupied, but the noise keeps you on edge. The easy solution is to just throw a few pairs of ear buds to the kids in the backseat and be done with it. Unfortunately, most ear buds don't fit well (if at all) in my seven-year-old's ears. Fortunately, I found a great product at CES in Las Vegas this year that solves this problem.
Kidz Gear makes headphones specifically sized for kids in both wired and wireless models. These headphones use the same quality materials that are found in adult headphones but are sized to fit your child's head. The wired version has an inline volume control to make it much easier for smaller hands to adjust the volume, especially useful if the iPhone or iPod touch is not within reach. The wireless model is great for cars with built-in entertainment systems that use wireless infrared technology. They have an auto-off feature so when the kids inevitably forget to turn them off, you won't be left with dead batteries the next time they fire up a movie in the car. These wireless headphones are 100% guaranteed to work with all built-in car DVD or sound systems. They are durable and have great sound, but are inexpensive enough so that, if your kid does manage to damage them, replacing them won't break the bank.
Slingbox— watch your home TV on the go
After Mom and Dad lug the family to a vacation oasis, they'll need some time to sit back and relax. Summertime for me is synonymous with baseball, and I rarely miss the chance to watch my beloved Yankees. The app that keeps me up to date with every pitch is Slingbox Mobile Player, used in conjunction with a Slingbox connected to my cable at home. (I use a Slingbox Solo, but other models are available.)
The system is simple. Connect your Slingbox to your video source (a cable box, satellite receiver, or DVR) and then connect the Slingbox to your Internet router via an ethernet cord. After a few simple steps of configuration on your computer, you can stream your home television source to your laptop. In addition, iPhone users can install the SlingPlayer Mobile app from the iTunes App Store and watch home television, DVR, etc., over Wi-Fi and 3G. I either watch the program live on my iPhone or I play it back on my iPhone after it has been recorded to my DVR. With SlingBox, you're no longer limited to the eight lame channels provided by most hotels.
iTouch Gloves—motorcycle/driving gloves that work with the iPhone
Whether you're riding a custom Fat Boy Harley or riding in a hot rod convertible, every vacation driver needs a pair of gloves. The problem is that when you wear gloves, it's virtually impossible to operate your iPhone. Sure, you can take them off, but who wants to do that all the time?
I found this product at Macworld and I think it's a must for bikers, drivers, and anyone living in a cold climate. The technology used in iTouch Gloves mimics the human hand to work with capacitive touch screens. iTouch Gloves look and feel like normal everyday gloves, but because of the implemented technology, actually work with your iPhone. A variety of glove models are available, including casual, elegant, and driving gloves; motorcycle gloves should be available soon.
Enhance your vacation
Each summer, millions of families head out on summer vacations in the hopes of making memories that last for a lifetime. Although the iPhone accessories we have looked at won't guarantee that your summer vacation is a success, they can make it a bit more convenient and enjoyable for all family members. The iPhone can help you pass the time when you travel and relax after a hard day on the road. However, it's the people you meet and travel with that make a great vacation. Use your iPhone and other technology to enhance your vacation— not take it over.