We can’t believe that it’s almost November and we haven’t even started Christmas shopping. It used to be easy when the kids were younger and a Barbie or book or board game would make them happy.
Today, with college visits, international school trips, community service commitments, travel sports tournaments, and the usual non-stop teen social calendar we find that electronics are topping our teens’ lists not only because these gadgets provide endless hours of portable entertainment on the road, but, thanks to near ubiquitous Wi-Fi and cell service, many handheld electronics also offer multiple ways to keep teens connected when they travel.
Our friends at Vonage recently shared their list of six favorite gadgets you might put under the tree to help keep your teens and tweens in touch. What’s your choice?
- iPhone : the smart mobile device that does it all from voice calling, to texting, checking email and using social media while on the go. Our iPhones have become travel necessities from using them to check-in at the airport and get a boarding pass QR code to finding driving directions and nearby places to eat during the trip. The built in camera comes in pretty handy for taking travel photos to bring home the memories.
- iPod Touch: provides access to music and games and Wi-Fi without worrying about incurring cell phone charges. Thousands of free and virtually free apps are available for the iPod Touch including apps that allow teens to make free international voice over internet (VOIP) calls.
- Nintendo 3DS : more of a gaming than communications platform, the classic Nintendo 3DS still engages teens and tweens, as well as many adults, with games downloaded from the Nintendo EShop.
- PS Vita : from Playstation, the PS Vita is part game platform and part communications console. The PS Vita comes loaded with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G and of course, access to a whole lot of apps. Teens can stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter as well as make VoIP calls to friends and family through Skype so you will know when they arrive at their destination without spending a fortune on roaming cell phone charges. VoIP providers (such as Skype or Vonage UK) allow you to make calls through any internet connected device. Whether you need to connect to friends in the US or make cheap calls to South Africa, your teens’ handheld device can make it happen.
- Macbook : yet another Wi-Fi connected gadget that supports anywhere access to friends and family via social media and VOIP. In airports, teens can keep track of flight status and book tickets for further travel in between emails and tweets to tell friends and family they are on the way. MacBooks are also very trendy on college campuses.
- E-Readers : such as Kindles and iPads let your teen bring all that required school reading with them on even the longest vacation. These kinds of devices are super handy and much easier to fit into carry-on luggage that hardcopy books.
With this many gadgets to choose from there is bound to be something that will keep your traveling teen entertained, educated and connected wherever her or she roams. Just make sure they don’t forget to pack their chargers on the way out the door.