Gone are the days when a trip left you isolated from the world, counting white highway lines in the car or surfing basic cable in your hotel room. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s easier than ever to stay connected and entertained while on the road. Here are a number of ways to take your travel entertainment to the next level.
1. Beat Static
Nothing kills a great road trip vibe like disappearing stations and radio static. Before taking off, download a podcast app (like Pocket Casts or Beyond Pod) to your mobile phone or tablet so you can take your entertainment with you—even as you travel through dead spots. Many podcast apps allow you to download and store the episode on your device, so you don’t have to worry about wavering connections on the road.
2. Pump Up the Volume
Enhance your remote music-listening experience (be it in the car, the air, or your hotel room) by investing in a great pair of headphones or mobile speaker system. The technology is smaller—and more affordable—than ever, meaning you don’t need to lug around an amp to create your own personal concert.
3. Never Run Out of Juice
Is there anything more devastating than running out of battery power on your mobile device when away from home? Seeing your battery status turn red and knowing you’ve got three hours left in your flight induces zombie apocalypse levels of panic. Invest in a charging case or wireless phone charger for long trips. And—fun fact!—put your phone on airplane mode when not using the Internet to preserve battery life (and switch to airplane mode while charging to reduce the time until you’re back in action).
4. Create a Mobile Movie Theater
Much like your music, you can take all the movies and TV shows you could ever want with you on your trip, thanks to video streaming services. In addition to your tablet or laptop, bring a portable speaker with you so you can create a movie theater environment right in your hotel room. You can also use a small device such as Chromecast to transfer the picture from your phone to your hotel TV. Or better yet, connect your mobile phone or tablet to a mini projector to even more closely mimic the movie-theater experience (just don’t take the popcorn from the mini-bar—you’ll pay for that later).
5. Sync With Friends
Turn any viewing or listening session into a party by inviting your friends to join via video chat or a screen-sharing program (once you’ve reached your destination—not while driving, of course). Lonely business trips are officially a thing of the past.
6. Find Live Entertainment on the Road
Track your favorite artists and sign up for concert alerts with the help of services such as Songkick, Ticketmaster, and Eventful. Can’t make it to one of their shows in your hometown? Catch them on the road! For big city dwellers, finding bands in smaller out-of-town venues can mean lower ticket prices and less competition for seats. And for those who live in more rural settings, a trip to the city can put you in touch with up-and-coming bands. Airbnb—the go-to source for “unique accommodations” for travelers—is also rolling out a feature called Local Companion, which puts you directly in touch with people in the area who can give you entertainment recommendations. Live like a local—even if you’re only in town a short while.
7. Create Your Own Personal Bookmobile
For your next trip, go digital with your reading materials. E-readers are near ubiquitous at this point, but ways to enhance your reading experience are never-ending. Borrow e-books from your local library—they’re delivered to your device instantly and (this is the best part) are completely free—and upgrade your older-model e-reader by adding a case with a built-in reading light . Or, subscribe to Audible for instant access to over 150,000 audio books.