Before heading to Disney World, TypeA Conference, and KidCon in March, I scoped out our tech travel gear and grabbed a few new items that were particularly helpful for traveling with the boys to a tech conference.
This being a tech conference, I had been thinking about how to bring all the technology my kids and I would need. Their sessions included photography, video, and networking. So, I grabbed cameras, iPods, DS’s, Kindles, and one of their laptops, with the hope of downloading their videos and photos each night. Even with all of that, I was amazed at how lightly we packed. Tech is a whole lot less bulky than it used to be.
Of course, with that, we also need protective gear, chargers, and extra power outlets. The items below were supplied as samples.
While I would have loved to bring along the DSLR, reality struck. I didn’t want to carry it through the parks. Instead, we brought my Sony Cyber-shot Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Blue)–ideal for theme park adventures because it’s waterproof. To keep it safe, I brought along this Sony camera case.
Rayovac supplied us with their new Phone Boost 800 portable chargers for the trip, and we’ve put them through the test. We needed all three of the different chargers (iPhone5, iPhone/iPod/iPad, and the more universal charger which works on the Kindle and one of the kids’ DS’.) The new chargers, which are due out in May 2014, are perfect for traveling with kids–their thin design fits into a pocket or your purse, so you can just clip it on when you need a little more power. It’s also far less weight than chargers of the past. Both of these features makes for far less bulk to carry. And, we’re all learning that if you’re working on tech all day, you’ll need a charger fully charged, especially when you’re taking pictures or traveling. The Phone Boost 800 mobile charging device has an MSRP of $14.99 (micro USB), $16.99 (Apple 30-pin), and 24.99 (Apple Lightning).
I’m not a fan of Apple’s newest earbuds. Their cords twist too easily, and they don’t fit well into my ears–nor into most kids’ ears. We brought along two different types of earbuds for the plane. iLuv supplied Middle with their Neon Sound High-Performance Earphones and Big, and I eyed him up with a bit jealously–the flat cords are tangle resistant, making it easy for Middle (age 8) to independently pull out the buds and start using them without struggling to free the cord. He was bopping away on the plane a few minutes before Big because Big was stuck untangling his cord.
All three of us have adopted earbuds with silicone-soft, noise-isolating ear-tips. The hard-tips that come with Apple’s earbuds (and so many others) just don’t work in most ears. After all, not all ears are alike and become painful and, for me, headache-inducing. If your kids use earbuds often, I highly recommend switching to a pair with silicone tips–most come with three different sizes that adhere to your ear shape.
When I first saw this case, I thought, Wow! Bright colors! Cute. Then, I was inspired by what I might be able to do with the elastic strapping on the back. If it fits business cards and a room key card, it’d be perfect for conferences!
Well, almost. I was sent a sample from iLuv, and it fits narrow business cards, like the mini cards from Moo. The space between the strapping is a little too narrow for an average size business card and room key card.
However, the case is now serving a much more important service; it’s keeping my earbuds untangled and making it even easier for me to have them with me all the time. The elastic strapping on the back fits the earbuds easily, keeps them in place, and I never leave them in the car when I run to the gym. If you carry a stylus pen or other cables like charging cords, it’s ideal for those as well.
The iLuv Tangle for iPhone case is available in monochrome black, purple (with shades of purple strapping), and red (with multicolored straps, like mine.)
On the Go iPhone Charger
One of my new favorite tools, the Nomad charger, was incredibly helpful during the conference, and at many other times lately, including Starbucks, the library, the cafe at the gym… anytime I need to connect the iPhone to my laptop and I don’t want to carry a bulky, tangled cord.
The NOMAD lightly hooks onto your keyring and offers a complete lightning charge with a simple plug-in. As long as you have a USB port, you have a hook-up. Which means I was probably the only blogger not carrying her charging cord through the conference, running to the wall to plugin halfway through the day.
Prior to traveling, my biggest concern was transporting the boys’ bulky 17-inch laptops. It’s not that they’re heavy, but they’re big and awkward. And, of course, if dropped or stepped on, we’d be out a few hundred dollars. I’ve also been eyeing backpacks because some of our fifth-grade teachers allow the kids to bring laptops from home to do school work, so I’d like to use that opportunity in the future without fearing a break every time Big brings his computer to school.
We received an STM Impulse Backpack with Integrated Sleeve for iPad/Tablet/Laptop/15-Inch MacBook, and Middle quickly grabbed it and claimed it as his own. He loves the many compartments for every-techy-thing he has (and every-techy-thing he wishes he had). I love that it’s a backpack, so it’s supportive for his growing spine and that it’s thoroughly padded, keeping our many techy-investments safe. We’ll do a video review of the bag shortly and link it up here.
Because we only have one bag, I decided to only bring one Laptop and shared. We didn’t really need to bring the laptop at all. After all, what kid wants to play on his laptop when he could be fighting Darth Vader or racing on the Test Track at Disney World? Still, we have many travels and school days ahead, and, as tech fills our world, I want to be sure to have backpacks for the kids’ computers that keep the laptops secure and the kids’ backs safe and healthy.
Big, by the way, has asked nearly every day for his own STM backpack. We’re happy with the padding, organization, and sturdy build of this one, so he’ll likely get his own before school starts next year. (This would also make a great Father’s Day present.)