Hitting the road with your family this summer? If you're goal is simply to survive the on-the-road part of your trip, well, you're not alone. We've all been there. Heck, I was there last weekend. This is when technology is your friend: Having the right gadgets on hand can make a road trip roll smoothly, while forgetting an essential item can make a drive to the beach feel like a trek across the Sahara. But we've found the gadgets you need to stay sane while you're on the go—and we've found them at the best prices around.
Having your family's mobile devices run out of power before you've reached your destination is a must to avoid—whether those devices are tablets that keep your kids occupied in the car or smartphones that tell you how to find your hotel. Groupon has some great deals on charging gear this week, including a refurbished Mophie's Powerstation Portable 4,000mAh Battery Pack for just $14.99. That's 81 percent off the list price of $79.95 for one these backup batteries (new and unrefurbished), which are widely regarded as high-quality portable power sources. Mophie's devices don't include charging cables, so remember to pack your own, or pick up an extra one (such as this 10-foot Apple-certified Braided Lightning Cable for $9.99 at Groupon—a savings of 80 percent).
Another excellent mobile charging tool is Scosche's top-notch USBC242M USB Car Charger. It offers dual 12-watt USB ports for rapid charging of two devices at once, a crucial capability when you're dealing with young passengers who let their iPod/iPhone/Samsung tablet run down to 0 percent battery life and don't understand why it can't be recharged, like, right now. Amazon is offering this $24.99 device for $13.16—almost half off—and Amazon Prime members get free shipping.
The Sound of Silence
Nothing ruins family harmony faster than competing sounds from multiple electronic devices clashing in the confines of your family vehicle: the beeps and buzzes of one child's game overlapping with the pounding music another child favors, overlaid with the complaints of each child that the other's device is too loud, all while you're trying to hear which exit to take from your map route app. The solution? Headphones for all!
If your younger passengers are anything like mine, they'll insist on brand-name headphones. Luckily, you can get a good deal on Beats by Dre, which perform well but typically cost a bundle. Jet.com is offering Beats by Dre Powerbeats In-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Sport Headphones for $139—a savings of $60.99 off the $199.99 list price—with free shipping thrown in. (This deal is for the black headphones only; the red pair will set you back the full $200.) Jet's price drops to $133.90 if you pay with a debit card and are willing to forgo the free return option, a good deal if you're sure you're making the right buy.
If you or your passenger prefers an over-the-ear or on-ear headphone, BestBuy has you covered. The electronics retailer is offering a great deal on two other Beats models: the Solo 2 On-Ear Headphones are available for $109.99, $90 off the list price; and the Beats Studio Over-the-Ear Headphones are available for $149.99, half off the $299.99 list price. Shipping is free. (Note that the deal on the over-the-ear headphones is for the glossy black model only; the other available colors cost between $194.99 and $224.99.)
We hope these deals help make your road trip more pleasant and peaceful for everyone concerned. Happy travels!