When I was a kid (one of three) we took LOTS of family road trips. We even took two months to drive across the country one summer in a Volkswagon camper van (suffice it to say it was not a luxurious journey). When on these trips we kids were typically bored out of our minds. Both of my parents smoked (ugh). Reading in the car caused motion sickness (double-ugh). So we played games or sang songs, and did a lot of asking “are we there yet?” – yeah, it was pretty awful.
[Ours was like this, but white instead of green. And there was a tent that attached to the side when we parked each night.]
Taking a family road trip today with the Voyager Air is a whole different story. Yes, there are some very cool in-dash systems available (Mike Clements has blogged about them here and here). But for a basic, low-cost road trip, I’ve found that the combination of a Voyager Air and a handful of mobile devices works quite well, giving everyone in the car access on-demand to video and music.
Here is our typical setup:
1. Voyager Air: plugged into the 12V power outlet, usually resting on the passenger side floor.
[It's not elegant, but it works.]
2. Driver (me): iPhone mounted on the driver’s side, connected via Bluetooth to the car audio, letting me (the driver) listen to “my” music.
3. Front passenger (my wife): An iPad connected to the Voyager Air and with earbuds. She will either watch “her” TV episodes (she is currently working her way through the 15 seasons of “ER”) or listen to “her” music.
4. Rear Passenger: I have a Kindle Fire 7 HD tablet mounted to the passenger headrest using a $29 bracket I ordered from Amazon, with headphones. This lets my son watch “his” TV shows (he’s watching episodes of the old “Digimon” series downloaded from Netflix) or listen to “his” music. He takes the tablet out of the mount if he wants to play games instead.
When we get to our destination, the Voyager Air becomes a media hub, letting us share all the latest family photos with the friends/relatives we are visiting, and letting us watch an on-demand movie in the evening (I like to travel with a WDTV box with HDMI out for connecting to an HDTV) while my son watches a Pokemon movie instead on the tablet.
If we’re on vacation and I’m taking lots of photos/videos using my cell phone camera, I upload them to a folder on the Voyager Air so that (1) we can look at them on the big screen that night and (2) they are backed up.
The Voyager Air works great for family travel – like a custom DVD video player installed in the car, but with far more flexibility (multi-user and on-demand). I’d love to hear more about how those of you who own Voyager Air have used it on a road trip/vacation.