There's no doubt the smartphone is the parent's little helper of the new millennium. Sitting in the doctor's office, pulling up YouTube videos of your tot's favorite TV show beats a diaper bag full of toys hanging off your shoulder any day. But these little gadgets really pay off when it's time for the family vacation.
Not convinced? Take a look at the evidence:
1. The Games. Cutting down on all "Mommy are you there yet" whining is a whole lot easier when you have a smartphone loaded down with games to pass to the back of the car when they tire of all the goodies you brought along for the ride. The same goes for any spot on the vacation really: waiting on an extra long line for amusement park rides, waiting for the TSA to check you out before you board the plane ...
2. The Boarding Pass. One less pile of papers you need to keep track of, most airlines will now allow you to send your boarding pass to your phone -- so you don't have to worry about the kids losing theirs!
3. Emergency Entertainment. Figured out that the sights you thought would take all day with the kids really underwhelmed them, and you were out in two hours? Don't bother taking time to go back to the hotel; just hit the web on your phone to find a playground to hang out on or something even cooler around the corner.
4. Email. Cutting short your day at the beach or on the rides to go find an Internet cafe or, worse, head all the way back to the hotel to load up your laptop can put a major damper on the fun. When you can check your email anywhere, you can keep up with work responsibilities, stay in contact with family members, or get updates on the plans for the next leg of your trip without losing valuable vacation time.
5. Potty Breaks. Want to know what the restrooms are like at the upcoming rest stop? Hop online via your phone to check the ratings. Not having to decontaminate your kids after a trip into a stinky potty is worth the price of the whole data package alone.
6. Food to Go. After a looooong day out and about, when the family is just too tired to wait on a restaurant line, apps that let you pre-order your food right from your phone are a mom's best friend.
7. Maps. So you're lost in an unfamiliar (and potentially dangerous) neighborhood, you're frazzled, and your kids are whining that they reaaaally want to get back to the hotel for a nap? Map it on your phone, and you'll be out of there tout de suite.
8. Save the Shoulder. You used to have to tote tourist guides, your itinerary, the whole nine. Now you can make yourself a few notes right on the phone, ready to be pulled up at any moment ... or emailed to the fam to let them know what you're up to.
9. Flight Check. Not sure if your family's flight is on time? Skip out on having to run pell-mell through an airport with a bunch of kids; just hit the website in the palm of your hand.
10. Camera/Video. You could tote around a weighty camera and a video camera to capture all those vacation memories, but why bother? It's all inside your phone, saving you from feeling like a pack mule when you're just trying to be a good mom.
What have you found your phone has done to help you out while you're on vacation?
Image via Frerieke/Flickr