family with a dog in the car

At age 16, driving is a privilege, an honor that kids wait years to have bestowed upon them. A road trip means escape, privacy and freedom. Years later, when adults are trying to plan a long distance trip with their family, driving seems like more of a jail sentence, a chore they dread. A road trip means no privacy, being stuck within the confines of a vehicle with the same people for hours, with no hope of escape. But driving long distance with a motley posse doesn’t have to feel like serving time. If every passenger brings along some entertaining tech, they can keep everyone on board amused and out of each others’ hair. Here are recommendations of the best tech for each member of the squad to have on a long road trip.

The Driver

The driver of any vehicle automatically gets to control the stereo. Since the driver is limited in entertainment options due to the fact that his or her focus is required on the road, the rest of the car has to listen to whatever the driver wants to listen to, no matter what. If the driver wants eight hours of “You Might Be a Redneck” jokes, then that’s what the driver gets.

To make sure the driver’s focus remains on the road, the stereo system in the vehicle should be Bluetooth and hands free. The Pioneer MVH-X370BT is a prime candidate. The Bluetooth setup is simple and can be done in under a minute. It comes with a CD player and USB connections, and it allows for the use of two phones at the same time. The song playback info feature via wireless transmission makes it versatile and simple to use.

The Front-Seat Passenger

Also known as the navigator or wing man, the person lucky enough to call the shotgun seat accepts this honor with one small, fine print clause: the front-seat passenger also bears the responsibility of being liaison between the driver (king of the car) and the backseat passengers (car peasants). This means the front-seat passenger must diplomatically deny all requests from backseaters regarding changes in the interior’s temperature and must also calm and soothe the driver each time he or she shouts “I’ll turn this car around right now!”

The liaison also needs some form of entertainment, but nothing so engrossing that they become unavailable to help the driver with directions or are rendered unable to pass the beef jerky. In this case, an e-reader is the perfect tech solution. In between settling disputes, the front-seat passenger can pick up the e-reader and resume reading without losing his or her page.

The Backseat Passenger (adult)

To the unfortunate adult that was too slow on the shotgun call goes the LG V10 for entertainment. This piece of tech makes any road trip bearable. Heralded as “the storyteller’s phone,” the LG V10 has incredible video filming features, such as steady record and quick video editor. This means the grown-up in the backseat can amuse him or herself by creating a road trip documentary. And with other features like the 5.7-inch Quad HD display, a second screen that is always active to show features and notifications and its ability to stream music with high-quality sound, it is the perfect tool for watching videos, browsing the web and watching T-Mobile TV. Basically, he or she can tune out anything else going on in the car if need be.

The Backseat Passenger (child)

If there are children in the backseat, doubling up on backseat car tech options is a good idea so the rest of the passengers don’t have to work twice as hard to keep them entertained. An overhead DVD player plus a tablet as backup is a winning combination for a long car ride. They should have all of their favorite movies and a tablet stocked with games, so when they tire of watching “Frozen” yet again, they can switch to playing “Minecraft.” If a 4G connection is available, adult passengers may want to integrate an interactive map on the tablet to entertain the kids. This way they can follow the route from start to finish and can look up landmarks and geographic formations along the way.