If you, like me, are one of the crazy people hitting the road the day before Thanksgiving, and at least have the good fortune of not having to be behind the wheel—let’s hear it for bus travel!—there are a few ways my good friend ‘technology’ can help you pass the time while you’re (inevitably) sitting in traffic, without completely losing your mind.
First of all, make this trip the least burdensome on yourself as you can, and lighten your load. In other words: leave the books at home. This will also make sure you aren’t that jerk with the super bulky carry-on bag that you keep rifling through while looking for your next read. So bring your preferred e-reader, and then, to save a little coin, rent a book. Yes, that’s right, libraries have gone digital. (Speed readers rejoice!) With eBookFling (Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook), rather than buying electronic book files wholesale, you can borrow them for 14 days…for just $2.99 per title!
This might seem obvious, but seriously, if you haven’t installed the Netflix app on your tablet, there is no better time than now (provided you’re able to connect to the Web). The app is free, and a streaming membership is just $7.99 per month. (And hey, if you just need something to get you through the holiday season, just register and take advantage of the free 30-day trial. I won’t tell…)
Let’s not overlook the benefit of games. Loaded onto my iPhone are a few staple time-killers: Angry Birds; Fruit Ninja; Fling; Sudoku; and even a game called Paper Toss where, yes, the object is to toss crumpled up balls of paper into a wastebasket. They’re free (or super cheap), and they do the trick. But my main staple is Scrabble; there’s a free version, but take advantage of the $.99 Thanksgiving sale and buy the paid version; this way you can play against the computer, instead of relying on some random person you’re paired up with. (And yes, you can get all of these on your Android device as well.)
And finally, let's be real: sometimes you just gotta take your work on the road. It happens. But better to crank out those, ahem, article edits while en route, rather than once you’ve arrived, no? If you’re a last-minute packer, like myself, and forget to throw that must-have doc on your jump drive, there’s still hope: TeamViewer Host (free) for Mac lets you remotely access your Apple computer and edit files from anywhere…as long as you have an Internet connection.
I hope your Thanksgiving (and subsequent holiday) travels go as smooth as possible! And be sure to fully charge your devices before you take off!
Joshua Pramis is an associate digital editor and super appreciative of the warm brace of technology during long road trips. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis