Traveling is always hard, but traveling with a kid or two can be especially difficult.
By now we all know that by plugging kids into a tablet can buy you some time and some judgemental looks from strangers, but that tablet is no good if it's out of power and short on content.
I'm Donald Bell and here are some of my best tips from making the most out of a tablet while traveling with kids.
First buy your kid some headphones.
Trust me, you don't want to be listening to Thomas the Train for hours at a time with some iPad speakers and neither does anyone around you.
Small kids will find ear buds uncomfortable so pick up some affordable kid-sized headphones.
For a grade-school aged kid, a [UNKNOWN] pair of Panasonic RP HTX7's will keep sound from bleeding out, and are comfortable to wear for the long haul.
If two kids are listening to the same iPad, a $5 headphone splitter is pure gold.
If you're worried that your kid is listening at an unsafe volume, use the iPad's parental restrictions to lock the maximum volume to a level you're comfortable with.
Also realize that the tablet is only good if the battery isn't dead.
So bring your charger, bring an in-car charger, maybe even invest in a portable charging pack.
And understand how to conserve the power you have.
Put the tablet in airplane mode, keep the brightness down and know that games will typically drain battery power two or three times faster than listening to music or watching video.
So avoid games if you can, especially graphically intense games like driving games or first person shooters.
Instead of games, video is your best friend, but forget about Netflix or any streaming video if you're on the move.
It's too unreliable and you're just asking for a meltdown when the video doesn't load.
Instead, download videos ahead of time.
It can get expensive, but there are ways to save money.
For TV shows, buying an entire season will save you a few bucks over buying shows individually.
Even better, look for the option to download in SD.
The standard def version can be substantially cheaper and it's nearly nearly impossible to tell the difference on an iPad.
Also keep in mind that some kids' shows are short, so a whole $15 season can often take less time than one $5 movie.
So to stretch your dollar look for deals on kids movies.
You can download multiple rentals in advance that last up to 30 days on the iPad.
But once you start in on watching one you have only 24 hours to finish it.
In addition to rentals, it's worth paying full price for a few tried and true gems that can stand up to repeated viewings.
And finally, download some of this content to your phone as well.
It never hurts to have a backup plan.
So there you go, that's my best advice for when you're trying to prepare your tablet for a long trip with a kid or two.
For more tablet tips and tricks, visit cnet.com/how-to.
For CNet, I'm Donald Bell.
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