I’ve been surfing a lot of family travel blogs the past couple of weeks and the portable DVD debate has piqued my interest.
A year ago, I would have told you that I was completely against having a DVD player in the car, that travelling is family time, not movie time. I probably would have been quite haughty.
But last summer, we drove across the country with our newest family member and Kendra, at 16, had never been on so long a trip. She’s not a reader and she was a ball of nerves over the drive, so we made the executive decision to buy a two-screen player and bring along about 50 movies.
And you know, one of my favourite memories from our 11,000-kilometre journey is of driving along an empty road, the music on low because the kids were watching Short Circuit with headphones on and – they were giggling. It was just this pure, sweet laughter. They were bonding back there, in front of a TV screen, and their delight was contagious.
We were also taken aback by how little they used it: not every day, and generally no more than one movie in a day.
We didn’t feel compromised in the least. They also talked to each other and to us, took pictures and made up funny stories. We got closer to them in that three weeks than we might have in the same amount of time at home – where we have a DVD player.
We’re lucky that we have the kids we do. It’s probably not this easy for everyone. But it is possible to have a great family vacation and sneak in a movie or two.