Now that the holiday season
has us in its clutches is well under way, it's the perfect time to bring my well-rested Dos & Don'ts column out of hibernation. And while I count myself among the lucky few who don't have to do much traveling to visit family, I know many of you have some lengthy treks ahead of you.
Whether the mode of transport is plane, train, or automobile, one of the best ways to counter the tedium and annoyances of travel is with some video entertainment. What follows are some tips on the best ways to enjoy video on the go.
Once again, I like to start with the obvious: DON'T watch video if you're driving. Most in-car systems have built-in checks against this, but I can think of several ways they might be bypassed--again, don't do this. There are other ways for the driver to (legally) entertain him- or herself. If using your vehicle's integrated DVD player, consider choosing a movie or show that you appreciate listening to as much as watching (the comedy genre comes to mind). Alternatively, just hook your backseat passengers up via headphones, so you can listen to your choice of music up front.
Speaking of headphones, DO ensure that each video-viewer has his or her own pair--and DON'T forget a splitter for those who are sharing a single device. As for product selection, there are plenty of good choices for kids (read: earphones with volume limiting built in). For more mature listeners, check out my roundup of headphones for air travel.
If you're flying to your destination, DO download some video content to your phone or other video-capable device before you go, since you won't be able to stream on most airplanes (with some notable exceptions). Those using iOS can get all manner of content from iTunes; Android users might be best served by DoubleTwist, especially with its new AirSync functionality. Many video players are compatible with Amazon Video On Demand as well. Also, be sure to check out Entertainment Magazine's free and legal movie downloads.
Finally, DON'T expect two people to share a screen measuring 4 inches or less for a considerable amount of time. It won't be comfortable for adults, and children are liable to get fussy. Something like an iPad or a Netbook with a splitter attached is a much better bet for sharing.
Have some on-the-go video tips of your own? Please share them in the comment section below.