Let’s face it: Your smartphone is probably always on hand during your family’s travels. Whether you use it to keep track of tickets and itineraries, to take all your vacation photos, or to entertain the kids on long flights or car rides, a phone can definitely be a helpful tool when you’re on the go.
But what if your smartphone could be even smarter and work even harder for you when you’re on vacation? Here are some ways to make your smartphone (or tablet) do even more for your family when traveling.
1. Get the Entire Family in the Photo
If you never have any vacation photos of the entire family because mom or dad is always the one working the camera, bring the compact UBeesize Tripod S on your next trip. Bendable, foam-covered tripod legs can stand straight or wrap around poles or tree branches for taking any kind of shot desired. And a wireless remote control means the whole family can easily be in the picture.
2. Prop Your Phone Up for the Best Viewing
What’s that thud you just heard on your flight? Oh yeah, your kid dropping your phone on the airplane floor for the third time. Let them watch their favorite cartoons without having to actually hold the phone with the iFLEX Cell Phone Holder. You can use it to prop the phone on the tray table or even hang it from the back of the seat in front of you, putting the screen at eye level for older kids (or parents). And the lightweight, non-slip silicone holder can lay flat or fold up to fit wherever needed in your travel bag.
3. Take the Perfect Photo
Ever wonder how your favorite family travel blogger gets all those amazing shots on their Instagram feed? They might use something like the Xenvo Pro Lens Kit to take their phone’s camera to the next level. Compatible with a variety of phone models, the kit includes a wide-angle lens for better selfies and landscape photos, a macro lens for closeup shots, and an adjustable LED light that’s a better alternative to your phone’s flash, which can all be clipped right onto your smartphone. Everything is housed in a handy travel case that’s easy to throw in a backpack or tote bag.
4. Keep Your Phone Dry
Worried that you won’t be able to document your kayaking tour or whale-watching excursion? The JOTO Universal Waterproof Pouch Phone Dry Bag protects your phone whether you’re at the beach, on the ski slope, or floating down the river. It’s waterproof up to 100 feet and features a dual-sided transparent window for touchscreen functionality. With snap-and-lock access plus a neck strap, you can feel safe videoing your child’s first trip down a waterslide or taking photos during a once-in-a-lifetime rafting trip.
5. Hide Cards and Cash
The Spigen Slim Armor CS case not only protects your pricey iPhone from accidental drops, but it also features a concealed compartment that can hold two credit cards plus cash. So if your phone’s already in your hand and some kind of mobile payment isn’t an option where you are, you won’t have to fumble for your wallet to pay for a cup of coffee or parking spot. It comes in several color options (including oh-so-trendy rose gold) and different sizes for various iPhone models.
6. Grip Your Phone with Ease
Turns out your teen may be on to something. A PopSockets phone grip doesn’t just make taking selfies easier. It also helps you get a better hold of your phone to prevent drops and can be used as a stand for watching video content. Plus, the kids shouldn’t be the only ones who get to bring a little personal style to their phones; mom can choose from mandalas, mermaid tails, and other fun designs. Add a Vent Mount to help with navigating your way around an unfamiliar destination in a rental car.
7. Stay Charged
A smartphone with a dead battery is of no use to anyone. MyCharge’s HubPlus Universal 6700 offers hassle-free on-the-go charging thanks to its built in iPhone lightning and USB type C cables, which work for most devices. Charge it up at any outlet with its built-in, foldable wall prongs, then take the compact unit that’s about the size of a deck of cards with you wherever you go. It charges phones quickly and is designed to protect from overheating.
8. Amplify Your Favorite Tunes
Bring your favorite tunes with you to the beach resort, lake house, or anywhere else you’re headed on vacation with the Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth speaker. At just over six inches long, the totally packable speaker is waterproof and features a 66-foot range. Its rechargeable lithium ion battery provides up to 24 hours of continuous use, so you can play DJ from your phone throughout the entire day to create your ultimate vacation soundtrack.
Beth Luberecki is a Florida-based freelance writer who writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications and websites. She enjoys exploring destinations close to home and farther afield with her husband and tween-age daughter. Visit her website at bethluberecki.com or find her on Instagram at @bethluberecki.