Aah , weekend comes and an entire sunday lies waiting for the plucking. Carpe Diem ! I shout as the half cooked idea for a day to the sea side pops up in my brain. I awaken my significant other and convince her to join me in an exiting day full of sea, sand and relaxation. Some 18 hours later we come back home.. The brisk sea-breeze still in our hair, the views and the food not completely digested, but with an aching back and but after spending almost 6 hours in the car traveling a pathetic distance of some 400 kilometers.So lend me your translucent screen as I give you some tips and pointers how to tune technology into your life to avoid (and if push comes to shove , survive) “Coast Traumatic Stress Syndrome.”
Tip nr One : Get your gear.
– Before you head out : Get your geeky gear together. There is nothing more annoying than having the family geek turn around the family car to pick up some more geek stuff. My advice is , better to take more then to take less. The times i’ve been caught with my digital pants down have been too many to count. You forget your camera : Something cool to film will appear. You forget your MP3 recorder : you can bet you’ll run into some marching band worth while to record. Forget your Ipod : You can bet you will run into a situation you would have wished you brought all those nice episodes of “sponge-bob square-pants” to watch. When my wife started saying : You should have brought “ Insert Geek tool here ” I thought … what the heck . So on excursions take your digital survival kit !
Tip nr Two : Entertainment.
– Listening to your Ipod with headphones on is not very social. But using speakers in the car beats listening to the radio. It brings atmosphere, lets you set the mood and turn a long drive into a romantic / fun / trancy / adventurous experience. NEVER trust mainstream radio to bring quality content : Always carry your own.
– The long drive back is the hardest part : Avoid falling asleep by talking to eachother and if you are alone or your passenger has blissfully dozed off into lala-land : Listen to some podcasts. Hearing people talk and paying attention to what they are saying keeps you awake more easily (although there are some podcasts out there that might put you straight into a coma)
– If you have kids in the car or your passenger is bored : Bring your laptop. Its great to keep people entertained : Play games in the car (not the driver off course) or watch a DVD. Beware that as a driver you don’t peek over the passengers screen while you are driving. Better to let them wear headphones.
– Have a car charger for your laptop / ipod. Never trust entirely on their batteries. Avoid Battery deprivation syndrome to ruin your digital day.
Tip Three – Know your GPS.
The most important part is using your GPS when you have one. You should think of it as an aircraft. The navigator doesn’t suddenly say : “Where are we going to to today “ after the plane has been airborne for an hour. Most people use their gps to give them directions when they are lost. I use it to PLAN my trip. Using technology while driving can be dangerous. So be sure you know your GPS and have tuned it right. Pull over when having to adjust settings / routes etc. I’ve seen people do the most crazy things with their gps and veer off towards the left line on a collision course with a dairy truck . “ Destination : Afterworld … BOOM .. you have arrived’ .. thank you GPS. – BEFORE you leave do a pre-flight check of the GPS : Is it on , is it working, does it have power etc. THEN (if your gps has this) check the TRAFFIC INFORMATION SYSTEM. This will give you an overview of where all the traffic jams are. I have one that not only shows them on the map , but also lists them down so I can see WHERE the jams are and plan my route accordingly.- Simulate your route. Let your GPS “demo” the route your are going to take. Nothing more annoying then suddenly having the thing say “ GO LEFT” as it makes you drive onto the causeway of your worst nightmares. Be sure you know where it is going to take you.-Beware of auto-calculated alternative routes your gps might propose. Other people with the same brand of device or program then yours might also be on it. All GPS’es from the same brand think alike. Make your own alternative route by zooming out and planning your own beeline manually. I cannot stress this point enough : Don’t be afraid to deviate and use your own wit to navigate. You can always use your GPS to get back on track.So with that in mind you will be able to survive any trip to the coast or another place without going mad in that four hour drive.