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The third in our series looks at family-friendly travel apps. While many of the apps we've featured previously are applicable for any kind of trip, this post is all about the kids. Below are five inexpensive and easy-to-use essentials for occupying and entertaining children and reducing parental stress. Download these and hopefully you won't be hearing "are we there yet?" anymore...
There are thousands of kids' game apps out there, but very few that are travel specific, i.e. ones that allow children to interact with their surroundings. Bright Bunny's Roadtrip Bingo is the perfect antidote, bringing a shiny paper-free take on a classic car journey game that will actually keep children involved in their holiday. With 40 items - signs, vehicles, animals etc. - to find, it will keep them entertained (and you sane) for hours on any family road trip, or even on long train journeys.
£0.59 for iPhone and iPad
Engagement and communication is the aim of Family Matters, which can be especially useful when travelling. Instead of thinking up distractions for the kids, get conversation going with this app's wide range of fun questions and activities related to whatever you're doing. Challenge them to talk about and connect with their environment or what they're eating. There are six handy travel-friendly categories, including Airport, Road Trip, and Restaurant, though many of the features can be used interchangeably.
£1.19 for iPhone and iPad
My Little Suitcase
We talked about planning and packing apps before and now you can let the little ones in on the pre-holiday fun (fun for them anyway). My Little Suitcase is a simple but entertaining app for small children, who can get involved by choosing what they need for different kinds of destinations. Once they're set, it's game time and they can play with balls on the beach or even make the snow fall for a skiing trip.
£0.59 for iPhone
Sit Or Squat
Mainly advertised as an invaluable tool for people who require easy access to the nearest public loo, Sit Or Squat should also be recommended to anyone with children. Yes, toilet-finding apps might sound a bit funny, but we all know there's no fun in trailing round a foreign city with kids who can only focus on getting to the nearest bathroom. At present, this app is most useful in major American cities, but all info is user-added and growing all the time. So get involved with rating and reviewing and help others gain parental peace of mind.
Free for iPhone and Blackberry
As you can guess by the name, Mom Maps is another American app, but is available for free in the UK and is well worth a download if you're heading to the States with family in tow. Dreamed up by a mother (naturally), this is a hassle-free, wonderfully useable app that will help you find and review kid-friendly restaurants, museums, indoor and outdoor play areas on the go in any of our US destinations. Another score for simplicity.
Free for iPhone and iPad
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About the author: andrewAndrew Bowman
Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.