Traveling with kids can be tricky. It’s easy for children to get restless during a long trip. After all, think back to when you were a kid. You might remember being stuck in the back seat for what felt like days, with only a book or an old handheld game system to pass the time. The fact is that trips feel just as boring for kids now as they did then. The good news, however, is that these days you can provide a lot more entertainment for your kids while they travel.
If you’re careful, you can even provide these entertainment options while avoiding many of the potential downsides of technology. For example, to safeguard your kids from certain content on the Internet, you can enable the parental controls on your account to disable data usage whenever you want to. The AT&T Secure Family App can:
- Place limits on cellular data or block it entirely during specified times.
- Block Wi-Fi on the device.
- Track the device’s location in real-time.
- Get arrival and departure alerts.
- View location history.
These parental controls can help you make the most of your trip. Your kids can enjoy a wide range of entertainment, while you can keep them safe and limit their screen time. It’s a win-win.
How to connect your kids to the internet on a road trip
If you’re going on a long road trip, you may want to look into in-car Wi-Fi.
With a device that can provide in-car Wi-Fi, you can easily set up roaming and data policies separate from those on your family’s phones. This means if your phones are connected to the Wi-Fi, you’ll only have to worry about the settings and data pool for one device.
An in-car Wi-Fi device can plug into your car’s OBD-II port (that’s the little circular outlet) for power. The device can be an LTE hotspot for your vehicle and provide up-to-date diagnostic information. It can even help you locate your car in a crowded parking lot.
Connecting to in-car Wi-Fi is just as easy as connecting to your router at home. There’s no special setup process to connect to each device.
How to prepare your internet-connected kids for a flight
Traveling by air can be a lot like a road trip, but there are a few special considerations:
Make sure your chargers can use local power.
If you’re traveling within your own country, you can rest assured that no matter where you go, you can use your current charger to juice up your phone. However, if you’re going overseas, that’s not always the case. The plug type most people are familiar with in the U.S. (the NEMA connector) is only used in North America, Central America, and part of South America. The rest of the world uses all sorts of plugs that have varying voltages and designs.
When you’re traveling abroad, it’s essential to make sure you have the right type of charger. Do some research in advance to find out which socket types you’ll encounter.
Make sure you have alternate power sources
It’s really easy to find yourself with a dead phone after a long flight. Most planes offer AC power now, but some don’t. If you plan on charging in an airport, you can never be sure there’ll be a plug available and free. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you have a backup method to charge your device.
Luckily, portable battery banks have become inexpensive, and many can hold multiple charges for your phone in a small package. You can plug your device into them just as you would a power adapter, and it’ll begin charging. These are handy, can fit in a pocket, purse, or small bag, and there’s no excuse not to have one if you’re going on a trip.
Make sure you have a solid internet connection
How often have you arrived at a hotel only to find the Wi-Fi is horrible? Luckily, you can anticipate and eliminate that problem with a hotspot.
Like with in-car Wi-Fi, you can get a small device that acts as a Wi-Fi router. Instead of using wired internet, it uses cellular data to connect multiple devices to the internet. Again, the benefit is a single pool of data. You can also configure the hotspot’s roaming policies to prevent overages on your phone lines.
These tips should help demonstrate why internet-connected kids are a good thing when you’re on a trip. Not only can Wi-Fi and cellular-powered devices keep your children satisfied on a stressful journey, but they can also help keep your kids safe.
This article was written by Jason Faulkner, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are his own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.