BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Jun 11, 2014) - As the school year winds down, families are once again gearing up for vacation season. They are also gearing up for the tricky balance between keeping kids engaged and entertained on the road without losing them completely into the vortex of videos and video games. To help head off the vacant stare that comes from too much screen time, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com have compiled the list Put down the iPhone: Top 10 travel toys that don't need a charger. Summer vacations are memories in the making, so it's an ideal time for kids (and parents) to unplug a bit.
To get you started, here are five suggestions from our list of toys, accessories and games that will get the kids involved in their travel adventures and keep the focus on fun for everyone:
- Best for automobile-crazy kids -- PlayTape -- This is the tape that turns every surface into a road, runway or flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Picture the scene: You're in an airport with hours to kill, but your son or daughter can pull out their toy cars and turn a dull airport lounge into Le Mans or Indianapolis. PlayTape sticks to every flat surface and is reposition-able, toxin-free, disposable and recyclable. There are no batteries involved and no screens, just dreams. It's suitable for children 3 years old and up. (PlayTape sells for $7.99.)
- Best for children old enough to pack their own bags -- Trunki -- It's a milestone (an oh-so-welcome milestone) when children are big enough to take care of their own luggage. The ride-on Trunki is a great piece of a travel kit. It's bash-able (by which we mean it's durable) and there are lots of cute character suitcases to choose from -- Moshi Monsters, Gruffalo, Hello Kitty -- as well as cows, bumble bees, tigers, ladybirds alongside the original pink and blue (Trixie and Terrance). It's carry-on approved in the U.S. in most cases (check with your airline). Trunki is 18.2 inches long, 8.5 inches wide and 12.8 inches high, and holds up to 75 pounds. Once packed, children can ride on it, using the "horns" to steer or be towed along by the strap. It's not the most comfortable thing to sling over your shoulder, but parents can carry Trunki when little legs get tired. (Trunki sells for $40.)
- Best for crafty kids -- Melissa and Doug sticker books -- Melissa and Doug create sturdy, beautiful, educational toys. Big, fun coloring books, sturdy crayons and some beautiful sticker pads for girls and boys of all ages. Options include fairy and princess books, animal habitat sticker books, create-a-meal sticker pads, make-a-face, dress-up, dinosaurs and beach scenes. They're suitable for kids 3 years old and up. The jewelry-and-nails sticker pad will engage pre-teens and, perhaps, when they think no one is looking, young teenagers too. Melissa and Doug also have a range of "puffy" stickers and "velvet" stickers with velvet-flocked borders that are fun to touch, color and create artwork with. (Sticker books start at about $5.)
- Best for readers -- Kindle Paperwhite -- One of the most cumbersome aspects of traveling with children is accommodating all their chargers and accessories and then making sure they're recharged at night. So an e-reader with a battery that lasts eight weeks, the Kindle Paperwhite, sounds like a genius thing. There's no screen glare in bright sunlight and, crucially for read-under-the-covers kids, there's a built-in light. A single charge can last for up to eight weeks -- almost an entire summer vacation! That measurement is based on reading for 30 minutes a day with wireless off and the light setting at 10. If a family vacation has to include a little light studying, the dictionary, vocabulary builder and instant translator will come in handy. There's a nifty little feature that'll let you see how long it will take to finish a chapter or book. And, to ensure that kids don't fall behind during the long summer vacation, FreeTime allows parents to create personalized profiles and give kids access from your collection. There are achievement badges that keep track of accomplishments. It can all be monitored: Parents will be updated on the amount of time spent reading, the number of words looked up and the books read. ($119 in the U.S.)
- Best for kids who love magnets -- travel games -- Snakes and ladders, hangman, connect the dots -- all long-time favorites. When they're in magnetic, travel form, they're not just time-killing games, but opportunities to learn. Is the plane seat magnetic? What about the windows? Shutters? Tray tables? Cutlery? Peppa Pig is a near-global favorite and this two-in-one travel game features ludo and snakes and ladders. The double-sided boards fold into a compact, easy-to-carry travel game. Magnetic pieces and a tumbling dice in a plastic capsule should mean that none of the pieces gets lost. And there are slide-out drawers that can be a game, too. ($18 in the U.S.)
The unplugged travel toys that round out our list are: Best for the one who has to tune out -- Linx Fusion; Best for budding chalk artists -- a Roll-Up Chalk and Travel Draw Mat; Best for movie-fanatics -- Look and Find books; Best for sleepy heads -- Zip & Flip Penguin; Best for builders -- Lego suitcases; and Best for storytellers -- Rory's Story Cubes. To read the fun details on these and Cheapflights.com's complete Put down the iPhone: top 10 travel toys that don't need a charger, visit www.cheapflights.com/news/put-down-the-iphone-top-10-travel-toys-that-dont-need-a-charger.
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Momondo Group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 17.5 million visitors a month -- plus 7 million travel newsletter subscribers -- via its Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) and momondo (www.momondo.com) brands.
Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006.
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