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Five things you need for your first summer road trip

From headphones and games to Netflix Download and Go, be prepared to hit the road with these techy suggestions

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Heading out on a road trip this summer? Whether you’re visiting the cottage a few hours away, or driving for days, here are five things worth packing before you head out.

1. Headphones for the kids

Give the kids, and yourself, a break by letting them watch a movie, play video games or listen to tunes. Grab kid-friendly, volume-limiting headphones that don’t surpass 85 dB – the level recommended by the World Health Organization for safe listening. Puro Sound’s BT2200 Studio Grade children’s Bluetooth headphones (US$99) are lauded for quality, but there are plenty of other options from brands like Maxell, Onanoff and Kidz Gear. Don’t forget a splitter, so two kids can listen to the same source device.

2. Netflix’s Download and Go

Did you know you can use Netflix’s Download and Go feature to download movies and TV series through your home internet before you head out on your road trip? Load up the tablet first, so you don’t have to use up your wireless data. It’s perfect for travel, especially when you have little ones to keep entertained. For young kids, you can’t go wrong with episodes of PAW Patrol. Older kids might enjoy a series like Bill Nye Saves the World. What about Mom and Dad? Download hilarious series like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or Master of None faster with Rogers IgniteTM internet, which was ranked as the fastest provider in Ontario by Netflix*.

3. Nintendo Switch

What makes the Nintendo Switch ideal for road trips is that it can work in portable mode, so kids can continue playing a game they were in the middle of at home. Just pull it from the dock and go. Particularly long drives can be whiled away in the ethereal world of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or two can play head-to-head in Mario Kart Deluxe 8 with the Switch’s detachable Joy-Con controllers.

4. Car charger

With many gadgets in the car comes the possibility (gasp!) that they’ll eventually run out of juice. Sure, bringing along a portable power pack is a good idea, too, but your car is basically a moving power plant, so all you really need is a way to tap into it. The Anker PowerDrive+ 3 Car Charger ($57) allows you to do just that with fast-charging capabilities you plug right into your car’s lighter port. Capable of charging up to three iPads simultaneously, it also accepts smartphones, headphones, gaming systems and more. Anker has other versions that offer Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 capabilities for compatible devices.

5. Portable navigation system

You can navigate with a smartphone and a great app like Waze or Google Maps. But a portable navigation unit can free up your phone, and its battery, for other tasks (like Candy Crush or Scrabble or Hyperlapsing down a winding country road). TomTom’s GO 52 connects to your smartphone to receive SMS and iMessage notifications and summon Siri or Google Now via voice. Plus, it has built-in Wi-Fi for receiving updated maps – ideal if you’re travelling to a remote or unfamiliar destination.

* Based on the Netflix ISP Speed Index rankings July 2016 – January 2017 for Canadian providers within Rogers Internet service areas.

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