Useful Gadgets for Family Activity Holidays at Home and Abroad

 Parents giving children piggyback rides

Parents giving children piggyback rides

Activity holidays for families come in many forms, including cycling, sailing, skiing and walking holidays. Whatever your choice, however, there are numerous useful devices that can make your holiday more enjoyable, more relaxing and safer for you and your family.

Hiking and Walking

Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices come in various shapes and sizes, but all of them receive signals from a network, or “constellation”, of satellites in orbit around the Earth. By receiving signals from at least three satellites, the GPS device calculates its own three-dimensional position on, or above, the surface of the earth. A handheld GPS device doesn’t completely replace a compass and map, but it can help you to plan your hiking trip by storing a series of waypoints within the device and prevent you from getting lost when you’re under way.

Another gadget you might wish to consider is a solar-powered mobile phone charger. In addition to a 5-volt, 5 milliamp USB connector for your mobile phone, some models also include a digital altimeter, barometer and compass.

Skiing

To keep your hands warm in winter, you might want to think about a portable sodium acetate, or “hot ice”, hand warmer. Pressing a metal disk on the hand warmer starts a chemical reaction, crystallizing the liquid inside and generating temperatures of up to 54 degrees Celsius for two hours or more. The crystals can be melted back into their original liquid state by placing the hand warmer in boiling water for between 10 and 15 minutes, so it can be used over and over again.

To help you carry your skis and yourself around your chosen ski resort, think about investing in a specially designed ski carrier – a sturdy strap that holds your skis firmly together – and some clip-on grips for your ski boots. If you want to relive the excitement of your skiing holiday over and over again, several manufacturers now offer high-definition helmet and goggle video cameras, which allow you to record the action from a first-person point of view.

Sailing

If you love waterborne activities you’ll find no shortage of devices to help you enjoy your holiday. To locate your position quickly and easily, a portable or fixed marine GPS navigation device is what you need. Marine GPS units typically comes with built-in base maps, solar and lunar information, tide tables, etc.

If you’re a diver or a fisherman, you might like to consider a handheld digital depth sounder, complete with fish finder and temperature gauge, while a handheld digital wind-speed indicator can be very useful for all forms of boating, sailing and yachting.

For music on, or in, the water, a shockproof, waterproof MP3 player, which floats if you drop it into the water, can be a godsend. Similarly, if you want to record your sailing experiences, you might want to think about investing in a rugged, splash-proof or waterproof digital camera or digital camcorder.

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