Keeping your kids occupied on a family vacation is a job in itself. They want to watch something, play games, or even read. And when they all want to do something different, sharing an iPad or watching a DVD on the in-car player isn’t an option. This is where having an Amazon Kindle or two can come in very handy for a family vacation.
For one thing, the Amazon Kindle can cost anywhere from $40 – $100, depending on the size you get, as well as whether it’s ad-supported. (A 7″ Kindle Fire currently costs $39.95 from Amazon.) Compare that to a new iPad, which can run $1,000 and does the same exact thing. So you can buy a few Kindle Fires for the family and keep everyone happy. Even a 10″ Kindle Fire HD costs $200, which is still a lot less than an iPad.
A Kindle is more than just a reader these days. The Fire is essentially a Google tablet, which means it has some of the same functionality as any other Google or Apple tablet. So here are a few Amazon Kindle tips to try on your next family vacation.
- Enroll in Kindle Unlimited. Think of this as “Netflix for books.” You pay $10 per month and you can choose from thousands of different books to read in a variety of genres. You get unlimited reading and new selections are being added every day. Of course, it won’t be all the big beach reads and New York Times bestsellers, but if you want a deep dive on a particular genre, or you just want to plow through a lot of small books, this is a good option.
- Borrow ebooks from your local library. If you don’t want to buy books, you can always borrow ebooks from your library. There are two apps, Hoopla and Overdrive, that have relationships with a lot of public libraries around the United States. If your local library is on the list, you can check out ebook versions of paper books you’d like to read. Of course, not every paper book is also available as an ebook, and not all ebooks are available in paper. These apps are useful if you’re looking for something to read, but you’re already on the road. You can also check out videos and music albums for a couple weeks.
- Save articles to read later. With an app like Instapaper, Flipboard, or even Pocket, you can save articles you find on your laptop or phone, and then open them later on your newsreader app. You can also use Evernote’s web clipper feature and save interesting articles to read later.
- Download shows on your favorite streaming service. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all have offline viewing modes, where you can download episodes or movies to watch later. This is especially useful when you’re in a car or on a plane and don’t have wifi. Download a few movies or TV shows your kids like while you’re still at home, and then let them watch when they want. Be sure to pack earbuds for everyone so you’re not subjected to a barrage of shows competing to be the loudest.
- Play music on your Kindle. You can save music to your Kindle as well as stream it when you’re connected to wifi. If your kids love music, download a few hours of songs to each device and let them listen to “Baby Shark” over and over and over without subjecting you to it. Create a playlist with their favorite songs or just set the same song on repeat.
- Download games. If your kids like educational games, there are plenty that work on the Kindle Fire. Remember, this is a tablet, so if there’s a game that works on the Samsung Galaxy, it will work on the Kindle Fire.
- Your Kindle is Your Alexa. If you have an Alexa smart home speaker at home, you have access to a lot of the same features on your device. Of course, basic functions like your thermostat and smart lights won’t work when you’re on the road because you need to be on the same wifi network, but if your devices allow for truly-remote control, you can check your thermostat from 1,000 miles away. Plus there are thousands of Alexa skills that you can load to keep your kids entertained. Have Alexa tell jokes, tell stories, or play games like The Magic Door (a choose-your-own-adventure) or Song Quiz (a “Name That Tune” game).
- Download audiobooks and radio plays. Not only can you get an Audible subscription for your Kindle, but you can even download free radio plays from different audio drama creators, as well as old-time radio theater websites. Introduce your kids to the Green Hornet, Superman, Batman, or other old-time shows.
- Use your mobile phone as a mobile hotspot. If you’re in the car, and you want to download a few more episodes of your kids’ shows, or you want to stream something for yourself, connect your phone as a mobile hotspot and add anything to your Kindle.
- Go dark. Kindle also has an inverted mode, similar to the iPhone Dark mode, which will help you reduce eyestrain. There’s also the nighttime mode, which removes a lot of the blue light so you can read while you’re in bed, but the blue light spectrum won’t keep you awake. Or use it when you’re a passenger and someone else is handling the driving.
Do you use a Kindle tablet or other tablet on vacation? How do you use it? What are some of your go-to apps and entertainment options? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: tablethelpline (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)