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3 Must-Have Apps for Road Trips with Kids

3 Must-Have Apps for Road Trips with Kids

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Both of my children are at the ages where they love their technology, particularly their cell phones. While we have definite “no phone” times on vacation (meals and journal times, in particular), they love the ability to play games, listen to music, or research a favorite topic while we wind our way through America’s back roads.

Packing up the family car and hitting the road with children can be a little (or a lot) daunting. Check out these must-have apps for road trips with kids. These little gems will give them some focus and draw them into the family trip instead of having them zone out on their own.

Waze

Waze is an app that I’ve come to enjoy. When it was first introduced, I didn’t care for the social networking idea of a road map. After using it for a couple of years, I appreciate its interactive features.

Simply, it is a map, directions and GPS application that allows passengers to update road conditions, construction, police locations, weather, and traffic conditions in real time. Users get points for noting road hazards or other conditions, giving the app have a competitive side. Your avatar can change and advance through stages depending on the number of points you earn.

The mapping feature provides audio directions for the driver, but other additions such as traffic, construction and speed traps can be entered. While these items are simple and quick to input, it does take the operator’s attention. Ergo, enter the children! My girls love to enter the conditions and submit for points. We have rules about how often to enter and taking turns so that we don’t glut the map with our presence!

Trip Advisor

When traveling, we typically have a good idea of things we will choose to do. When in doubt, we conduct research. While most of that is done beforehand, sometimes we find activities on the go. More often, we need to find a place to eat. When we need to find a good spot in an unfamiliar location, we turn to a trip planning site, usually Trip Advisor. By getting the girls involved, they see the choices and can make decisions based on others’ recommendations. We’ve rarely been disappointed by considering prior travelers’ experiences.

Hilton Honors

We never take a trip without carefully planning where we’ll stay. I can’t let loose of my controlling temperament to be that relaxed! For types like me, the Hilton Honors app allows you to quickly search hotels, make reservations, keep track of your Hilton Honors points, and see future reservations. Plus, a few days before you’re due to arrive, Hilton Honors members can check in through the app and choose your room from a floor plan. So you can be near the pool (or not) and far from the elevator, if desired.

For those of you who are much more spontaneous and plan your hotel stays as you go, there is a button to search “hotels near me” wherever you may be! No matter how you plan, you can track your Hilton Honors points or pay for your stay with points using the app. The app searches all Hilton brand hotels, which also include Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Curio, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Homewood, Home2 and Hilton Garden Inn.

While we love jet setting around the globe, I also adore traveling the back roads of America and seeing quaint towns, historical markers, and unique sights. Having a few apps to entertain and educate just helps make the trip a bit smoother. See you on the road!

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Heather and her family were born and raised in east Texas, where she is an assistant principal. Her husband teaches high school chemistry and her daughters are…

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