To DVD or not to DVD

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.

Kendra and Trevor at the House on the Rock, their brains intact despite movie-viewing in the back seat.
Kendra and Trevor at the House on the Rock, their brains intact despite movie-viewing in the back seat.

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.



  1. We had the flip-down dvd player when we had the mini-van, but since we downgraded to small sedans, we found the dvd player to bee too cumbersome. Perhaps it’s because we didn’t have dual-screen.. perhaps it’s because the screen we did have was turning white from the heat in the van. Perhaps it was because our kids have very different tastes (although they both LOVE Fraggle Rock. .yay!). so we got them their own individual mp4 players. It takes some more work, converting dvd’s into mp4 files, but for us it was the best solution. That, and I can take one when I go away on business 😉


  2. They had screens that attached to the back of the front seats. And we also had trouble in the heat. The screens could take it (but were hard to see in sunlight, of course), but sometimes the player itself would just get heat stroke and stop working.


Talk to me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.