Mandatory Mobile Electronics to Survive Your Road Trip

17 November 2011

Before there were cars, before there were highways, before there were Hojos, Americans fell in love with road trips. They don’t mention this in high school history classes, but the real reason why people moved out west to California in the 1800s wasn’t for the gold. It was for the travel. Road trips have been woven into our national fabric from the very beginning — those Plymouth Rock pilgrims were the original road trippers, and while their buckled hats have gone the way of the dodo, their migratory spirit remains strong.

Though we’re drawn to the open road, there’s no denying that hours stuck cooped up in a car can get mighty boring mighty quick. As a passenger, you can only sing through “99 Bottles of Beer” a few times before you’re ready to open the door and spill out onto the street just to avoid the monotony. As the driver, you have to stay focused on where you’re headed and keep an eye out for ticket-writing cops, so there’s no opportunity to zone out.

Luckily, technology has come a long way since the days of the covered wagon. There are lots of high-tech ways to stay entertained, on course and off the fuzz’s radar. Here are the top four upgrades to make before you hit highway:

1) iPod Integration Kit
If you think you can find a good music station in the middle of nowhere, then I have a bridge to sell you. Instead of relying on the radio, you can be your own DJ with an iPod integration kit. Unlike FM transmitters, real integration kits are custom designed to hardwire your iPod directly into your stereo. This gives you the highest possible fidelity and charges your iPod at the same time, so you won’t run out of juice even if you’re listening to a Haruki Murakami book on tape.

2) Radar Detector
How do you think that the highway patrol can afford to fill their fleets with HEMI-powered Dodge Chargers? By writing out costly tickets to the unwitting motorists who fall into their speed traps, that’s how. While you can avoid getting pinched by driving the speed limit, no one ever does. A radar detector stands guard, sniffing out the signals sent out by their speed guns and warning you to easy off the throttle before it’s too late.

TomTom Go 500

TomTom Go 500

3) GPS
Getting there is half fun, but only if you’re actually getting to where you want to go. One wrong turn at Albuquerque, and you could end up 100 miles off course before you even realize it. With a GPS navigation system riding along, you get turn-by-turn directions to anywhere. Plus, it can point you in the direction of the best BBQ joint in any strange town you’re passing through.

4) Headrest Monitors
Sick and tired of answering that same obnoxious question every five minutes: “Are we there yet?” They’re only asking because they’re bored stiff, but you can keep them entertained (and pacified) by installing headrest monitors. These in-car televisions connect to DVD players, game systems and other digital devices, so your passengers can veg out with movies or snipe enemy fighters in Call of Duty. Vizualogic products even have built-in DVD players and work with wireless headphones.

About the author

When he’s not planning his next big road trip, Jordan works as a writer for, where you can find Vizualogic products, iPod integration kits and other cutting-edge mobile electronics.

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