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Christmas holidays invariably mean travelling around the country, or even the world, to see close friends and relatives. Lots of waiting in cars, trains and planes with tired children and the faint idea that there is something you’ve forgotten to do back home.

So, over the next week or two I’m going to be giving you my Christmas survival guide – tech that you need to survive the coming month. These items will CHANGE the way you experience those awfully long drives or flights, especially if you have kids…

The thing is, as technology evolves and becomes smaller, faster, better, the easier you can make your life.

Take the netbook.

If you are thinking of writing your Great British Novel, or catching up on some last-minute work, while you’re travelling, then this is the item for you.

Depending on your personal preferences, you can either go for an open source or Microsoft-run version. Both offer excellent software and word processing options. You can even save space by keeping all of your processing in the cloud.

A good netbook can be anything from £200 upwards and can even let you play games while you amble about. They are definitely a good way of keeping the kids busy, that’s for sure. You can even play movies on them – brilliant for long journeys.

We have two netbooks in our house, the ASUS Eee PC 1005PE and the very first baby, the 701. We load up the car with movies, hook up a portable DVD player, and our child watches movies all the way from one side of England to the other.

With our various in-laws living at complete opposite sides of the country, we tend to have three to four eight hour journeys to look forward to. It’s a nightmare. I can’t even sit in the passenger seat without feeling sick so there has to be some kind of entertainment for everybody else.

While the kids are staring at the 701 with glee, my husband is smashing away at the 1005 and catching up on work.  Thanks to 3G dongles, he always has an internet connection and he gets to happily sort out his email on the way. Actually, I’m not entirely sure how this family would survive without tech of some kind.

The thing is, the reason why netbooks are so fantastic for this very purpose (other than the fact that they are amazingly small and light, obviously) is their battery life. The 1005PE has a whopping seven hours on it if you don’t push it to extremes and it recently won the What Laptop 2010 Award for best netbook. Obviously I have excellent taste…

If you haven’t invested in one of these and you’re facing a rough ride, then, seriously, put this on your Christmas list and look beseechingly at your partner. After just one journey you’ll see it as money well spent. Even if you have to watch Toy Story three billion times.

 

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