And by iPad I mean iPhones and portable game consoles too.
This I am going to leave up to you. Personally, I don’t iPad. And these are my reasons:
1) I figure, we used to manage without them. And by we, I mean my generation. I used to go on epic car trips and plane flights and we used to just make up games, do drawings, listen to music, talk to each other etc. I am a bit old school and I think that doing these things are more valuable than playing iPads. It’s good for kids to make up games, look out the window and go talk to other children.
2) Kids have too much screen time. We know that. We are told to limit their screen time. And you can’t take away a behaviour without replacing it with something else. While you are travelling there are so many other things they could be doing, rather than playing/watching an iPad. The simplest of entertainment that my daughter likes, is “Look around you, what’s different to where we live at home and what’s the same?” This open-ended question can generate hours of discussion and is interesting for adults and children. If you can’t leave the iPad on holiday then maybe you aren’t going to the right place. We have a holiday house and we never had a TV there. My parents would say “If you want to watch TV, then you stay at home”. Nobody ever volunteered to stay at home. I still have a total (including adults) electronic ban there and no one complains. It’s just the way it is.
3) There is enough entertainment. You want the iPad for the plane. There is already a TV screen with more movies, TV and games than a kid could ever watch. And food in special trays, and a drink cart and a window. You get it. They also make awesome travel diaries for kids, special sticker and activity books about travelling and even books for specific destinations. Have a look on Fishpond and those sort of websites.
4) iPads make my kids nag. If they know we have an iPad they will nag and nag to play it. If they know we left it at home they won’t. Simple.
5) My kids are pretty good anyway. They find the plane, hotels, day trips etc such a novelty that I think they can manage without it. All kids get tired and annoying from about 3pm onwards and that’s probably the time it would come in quite handy. Most places you will stay will have a TV so although I try to avoid TV on holiday, I have been known to put on the kid’s channel to get some peace for an hour. I’ve never given them an iPad on holiday and we are all still alive and sane.
6) Practically, you have to carry them (they are heavy) and it’s another thing to worry about getting broken/stolen and having to charge.
Some people like to take the iPad for destination guides they have downloaded, wifi access to email, trip planning etc, to use as a Kindle. If this is you, I would say use it for that, don’t tell your kids that you have it and don’t give it to them unless you are absolutely stark-raving desperate.
If you have the sort of children that cannot manage a car trip with making you want to scratch out your own eyes then by all means, do it. I won’t judge you.