What Technology to Bring on a Family Road Trip


This weekend we are heading out on a three week adventure. The Chapman Road Trip will find us in an RV, going from Boston to Arizona.

Along the way we are keeping a very open schedule with our only major stop being to see an exhibit of Laura’s Great Grandfather’s paintings in Memphis.

Above is a photo of our current packing list, but with two teenagers along for the ride and me being a gadget lover, I thought it might be fun to share the technology that we’ll be bringing along to keep us sane, happy and on track.

Links are affiliate links in most cases. I’ve got to pay for those teenager’s college somehow don’t I? 🙂

Apple iPad

I never travel without this because I pay for data access so that I always have a steady connection to the Internet. Ever since I changed phones this has become even more important since it allows me to still use all the iOS apps that I love.

This trip I’ve been using Roadtrippers to plan out our route and possible stops. The site and app have been extremely helpful. We also plan to use Roadside America, iExit and Camp & RV to help us find places to stay and things to do along the way.

Logitech iPad Keyboard

This is the only portable keyboard that I’ve ever been able to use a valid laptop replacement. It holds a charge for a long time and it allows even my big fingers to fly across it when I want to get typing.

I’m not sure how much writing I’ll be doing on it, but I like having a back up if my laptop battery runs out and I need to post something quickly.

Macbook Air

I thought about leaving the laptop at home, but I know I’ll be using it at a minimum to edit my photos in Lightroom. Plus, if the urge to work on the new book hits, I’ll fire up Scrivener and get to work.

Jawbone Mini Jambox Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

When I was given two of these as part of the #VZWBuzz program I’m a member of I knew they’d be coming with us. I thought they sent one for each of my kids, but the reason they sent two is that with the latest firmware you can pair them together for great stereo sound.

The kids have been using them for weeks and the sound quality is quite impressive. Plus, we all get a giggle whenever we turn them on since I’ve programmed the voices to be different on each of them. They are small enough to throw in any bag and hold a charge for a number of hours. Can’t travel without music can we?

Samsung NX30

Anyone who knows me knows I never leave the house without a camera and as a Samsung Imagelogger this is my current favorite. I’ll most likely throw the NX Mini in my bag as well, but I need the ability to switch lenses to provide me the most flexibility.

Plus, this camera allows me to wirelessly transfer photos directly to my phone if I want to share one immediately.

Those are the major pieces of technology we’ll be bringing and using.

Sure, my GR1 will be full of chargers, cables and other attachments, but because we will be flying home we can’t go too insane on what we bring. Plus, whenever possible we are trying to use one thing for multiple purposes.

What gear am I forgetting?

  • Take a look at the Logitech K760 keyboard. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard that has 3 slots and is solar-powered – no batteries to lug. I use it for my Mac on slot 1, tap a button for slot 2 and I can type on the iPad, tap a button for slot 3 and I can type on my phone. Invaluable! Link here (also affiliate): http://amzn.to/1tvxUx1

    • I looked at that a while back. I have its big brother as my desktop keyboard and love it.

      The reason I didn’t get it though was because I didn’t know how it would stand up to being thrown in my backpack and traveling around. Also, I missed having a way to have my iPad stand up and be used as a screen while I type with it.

      Both reasons I opted for the other one which is rock solid and clips right onto the iPad to serve as a “case” when traveling. Would love if it was solar. Having the solar keyboard on my desk is great since I never have to worry about changing batteries.

  • lucrecer

    External chargers (I call them Juice) are a staple when I travel. How are you liking the S5? Safe travels to you and the family. I am sure this is going to be an amazing trip.

    • Me too, but since we are going to be in the RV so much, I’m not as worried about having as much juice as I usually do 🙂

      The S5 is ok. It seems to have some little quirks where it locks up, keeps shutting off the screen when I’m logging in and things like that. Overall I’m very happy with it.

  • Eileen Rochford

    C.C. – leave all of this stuff at home (other than that sweet camera!) and revel in the beauty of all you will see out on the open road. Take this opportunity to be in the moment fully. Enjoy this rare chance to be with the people you love the most in the world and take in every second of pleasure. You won’t have many chances for this to happen in your life – seize it without distraction! Disconnecting will help you recharge and renew to a level that isn’t possible with the distractions that technology brings to our lives. You’ll come back a new man ready to conquer your next project with gusto!

    • You obviously don’t know me very well. Unplugging is my favorite thing in the world to do.

      I’ll be doing PLENTY of that. Using the technology to capture the experience rather than distract from it.

      • Eileen Rochford

        Perhaps we interpret “unplugging” differently? Our recent 3,00 mile, 21-day trek out west involved no internet or devices. My Canon EOS 70D 20.2 SLR camera captured it all brilliantly!

      • 🙂 Completely off the grid is something I enjoy doing, but not on this trip.

  • Roadtrippers site is awesome. Using it now.

    Finger Lakes and Rochester NY | My new trip on Roadtrippers.com! https://roadtrippers.com/trips/finger-lakes-and-rochester-ny/53da62ed6fbbbf1b550013a8

    • I forget where I first found it, but I LOVE it.

      The fact that it can sync to the app so you have it with you makes it super useful.

  • You need to sign up for Ingress and play for the Enlightened.