This post is also available in: Spanish
Shout-out to Ingrid and Daniel of The Backpack Traveller for giving me the opportunity to contribute to their great site! If you’re interested in more articles about traveling with kids, check out 6 Beach Tips With Kids and 11 Things To Do With Kids in Madrid.
Don’t leave for a family vacation—whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile—without downloading these helpful and entertaining apps.
When you’re traveling with kids, the key to staying sane is distracting them until you get to your destination. Netflix can provide hours and hours of kid-friendly entertainment that they can choose for themselves, thereby minimizing unpleasantness during airport layovers or those times when you just need a nap.
Unfortunately, Netflix can only be used with WiFi, unless you want to use up all your data.
If you’re connecting to unsecured public WiFi, you should always be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Unsecured WiFi (the kind that doesn’t require you to enter a password) allows hackers to eavesdrop on your information as easily as if they were sitting at the next table in a restaurant. Subscribing to a VPN will create a tunnel between your device and the websites you’re interacting with, allowing you to sign into online accounts or use online banking without worry.
A VPN will also give you the ability to watch American Netflix from anywhere!
Mom Maps will help you find fun places for kids wherever you are, including parks, playgrounds, family restaurants, age-appropriate museums and play areas. The search is robust and easy to use, and each result will include ratings and reviews.
Unfortunately, Mom Maps is only available for iOS, though the creators plan on making it available for Android very soon.
KIDzOUT is sort of like Mom Maps, but it deals with more urgent problems such as where to find a diaper deck for changing, medical centers for emergencies or simple scrapes, family restaurants and playgrounds to get out of the car and stretch your legs for a while. Entries in this app also include reviews by other users.
Packing can be the worst part of preparing for a trip, but this app will make it easier on you. Enter some basics, like your destination, the length of your stay and your hobbies, and PackPoint will take over from there. It will even check the weather forecast to make sure you have everything you need!
The premium version can be integrated with TripIt and Evernote, making it easy to access your packing lists from any device.
Waze is like a pumped-up version of Google Maps. It takes information from other users to give you the best route to your destination, with the least traffic. Waze users will also edit maps to be impeccably up-to-date and report gas prices in different locations.
Basically, if you want smooth sailing when you have kids in the back seat, Waze is the way to go.
This one is indispensable for anyone traveling by plane. You can receive information about your next departure, security wait times, flight delays, gate changes and layover time adjustments, among other things.
The airport information feature will give you data about amenities and their locations within the airport, maps, weather, tips and more. GateGuru will help you get your Starbucks fix or choose the best restaurant during your layover.
You can also impress your kids by telling them how many miles you’ve flown together!
It’s important to prepare for worst case scenarios. If your car breaks down on your trip, Honk is there to help you. Using their app, you can avoid membership fees from services like AAA and still get help when you need roadside assistance.
Roadtrip Bingo allows kids to check off things they spot out the window until they get five in a row, making it a higher-tech version of the age-old license plate spotting game. This app also includes options for airplane travel as well.
Family Matters is a cute iPhone app that will give families suggestions for things they can talk about and do in otherwise low-interest situations, such as on road trips, at the doctor’s office or waiting in a line. If you ever feel as though your family doesn’t communicate enough because everyone is always glued to separate screens, this is the app for you.
Geography Drive USA
This fun app is perfect for more inquisitive types. Kids can take a virtual road trip through different states and answer trivia questions for gas and supplies, while they also practice knowledge from their Social Studies classes.
CamFind is a visual search engine that you can use to search in the real world. When you’re on a trip, you can take a picture of a landmark or a restaurant and see what information you can find to read to curious kids!
Glympse is great for keeping tabs on separated family members or coordinating meeting times. The app allows you to select who can view your GPS-tracked location and for how long. This way, you never lose family at an amusement park, and your kids can always find out your ETA.
What are your indispensable travel apps? How do you use technology to make traveling with your kids easier? Tell us in the comments below!