How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

How to Survive Your First Road Trip With Baby : Taking a baby on its first road trip can be stressful. The great news is that it doesn’t have to be. With some careful planning, bringing your baby with you for your next great road adventure can actually be a lot of fun.

For a few tips and tricks on how to survive your first road trip with a new baby in tow, read on.

Travel in an RV rather than a car.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your travels with a new baby go smoothly is to travel in an RV since you’ll have more space than a car. Whether you already own a recreational vehicle and have RV warranty insurance, make sure that you understand what to do in the event of a breakdown and know where to park for the night.

If you’re new to recreational vehicles, consider this type of travel experience for bringing all of the comforts of home to the road. Many people don’t realize that they can rent an RV for a long road trip. You don’t need to invest in an RV or carry RV insurance to rent out a 5th wheel to make a one-time trip.

At the same time, if traveling with your growing family is something you’ll want to make a habit, there’s no better time to visit an RV dealer. More popular than ever, the RV lifestyle is becoming a great way for people to travel and live on the road. With this rise in popularity has come excellent service from companies like America’s RV Warranty, who work to protect owners of these luxury vehicles when repairs come up or things go wrong. To travel with peace of mind and to improve your overall quality of life, considering an RV purchase for your trip could be a great way to go.

Pack well in advance.

No matter how you plan to travel, even the best trips can go wrong when you don’t pack well. Especially if you’ll be traveling with your first baby in a smaller vehicle, it’s important that you take some time with packing. Before pulling the suitcases out, consider where you’ll be staying. There’s a big difference between packing for a campground versus an expensive hotel.

The best way to pack is to start with a list of items that you use in your daily life and to cross those items off as you go. Breastfeeding mothers will want to take the additional step of figuring out how they’ll feed their baby on the road. Packing your Haakaa Pump, nipple pads, suction base, and a portable freezer could be important.

If you won’t be traveling in an RV or other large vehicle, consider looking into a portable freezer that you can plug into your car for breastmilk storage on the road. In fact, there are a number of products including portable generators and fans that might make your trip a little easier.

Take breaks along the way.

After an unconventional year in a global pandemic, many families are traveling across the United States to see each other for the first time in more than a year. While the anticipation and excitement are high to reunite with relatives, it’s a good idea to plan extra time in your schedule for breaks.

A baby won’t care what day you promised to arrive, and your trip will be better overall if you take things slow and stay calm. Your child will naturally pick up on their parents’ stress. For the ultimate peace of mind, build in that time for unexpected stops and quiet time with your child. The road can wait when your baby’s fussy or the day feels too long.

By the time you reach your final destination, if you’ve taken the time to pack well, travel in style, and built-in time for those breaks, you’ll be sure to feel more relaxed when traveling with an infant. More importantly, your baby will have had a stress-free introduction to the freedom of the open road. Happy travels to you, and don’t forget to bring your camera. The road is meant for memories that you and your child can look back on forever.

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CompTIA’s annual Tech Town Index is out and the results do not disappoint. For the second year in a row, Austin was named the top tech town in the U.S.

The report is based on tech-sector job posting data over the last year in 20 metropolitan areas with populations over 250,000, then ranked based on cost of living, number of postings for open IT positions and projected job growth over the next year, as well as the next five years.

Texas is giving the rest of the U.S. a run for its money, claiming the top two spots: Austin at number one followed by Dallas in number two.

On top of Austin’s stellar leap into becoming a tech leader, the city also ranked number one for one-year and five-year percent job growth.

What moved Austin to the top?

A stellar past few years.

Austin is quickly becoming a preferable alternative to the Bay Area and New York City due to a culture that allows businesses of all sizes to grow.

According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, 58 tech companies relocated to Austin in 2019, which created almost 5,000 jobs, a step up from the 46 companies that moved to the city in 2018.

Now, the Austin-Round Rock area is home to around 5,500 startups and tech companies that raised $1.84 billion in venture funding in 2019, giving it the nickname from outsiders, “Little Silicon” and “Silicon Hills.” Big companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Atlassian have offices in Austin.

When the pressures of modern, urban living mount, I fancy old-fashioned Japanese-style service — the kind that really pampers you. Recently, I persuaded my husband to forgo a fishing trip and join me for a brief respite at Sekirei So, a tranquil traditional inn.

This ryokan is on the outskirts of Shuzenji, set into the hills surrounding Shuzenji Temple on the Izu peninsula, less than two hours by train south of Tokyo. We were greeted by kimono-clad staff at the entry foyer and ushered directly to our suite of rooms on the top floor of the main building.

The names of the various suites and baths at Sekirei So allude to poems from a famous eighth-century anthology, ''The Manyoshu.'' My husband and I were ensconced in the Mikatsuki no Ma (Young Moon) suite. While we sipped hot green tea and nibbled on sweet steamed buns, the staff person assigned specifically to our needs then reviewed emergency safety measures, made suggestions about local shopping and sightseeing and officially checked us in.

The suite's decor was minimalist — an expanse of straw-colored tatami mats, several pale blond wood cupboards, translucent shoji screens and cream-colored fusuma sliding doors separating the main room from the foyer, bath and toilet area. In the main room, an otherwise monochrome scheme contrasted with a low-lying lacquered table with plump cushions and back rests surrounding it, a Japanese-style vanity table draped in red silk, and an alcove set with flowers and an ink-brushed scroll.

The traditional amenities were enhanced by modern conveniences like an electric thermos for tea, hair dryers and an extraordinarily elaborate Western-style bidet-and-toilet unit that calls for experimentation even if you can read the Japanese control panel. The bath was a deep granite tub with a hand-held shower; rolling up the shade a bit, affords a a view of the garden.

We had wanted to stay in one of the two special suites in the Hana Tei annex, a rustic thatched-roof building with a charcoal-burning hearth in the center of each suite's main room and private access to the garden, but it was booked. The garden is far less than an acre, but landscaped to highlight the seasons– fiery maples and golden ginkos in the fall, camellia and plum blossoms framed against pines in winter, cherry trees and wisteria in spring and early summer. Though we were in one of 15 suites in the four-storied main building, we felt utterly private in ours.

Visitors to a Japanese hot springs resort, or onsen, enjoy a leisurely soak in the main bath, just off the lobby — the only public rooms at Sekiriei So — upon arrival and another dip before breakfast. That's what we did, wearing the hotel's yukata robes and haori jackets to and from.

Onsen etiquette requires a brief scrub at one of the shower faucets along the polished granite wall, before taking a short dip in the hot, neck-deep, indoor pool. This prepares you for an extended soak outdoors in the rotenburo, a landscaped hot spring.

At Sekirei So, as at most onsen hotels, men and women have separate entrances to the baths from areas for disrobing, furnished with cosmetics and hair dryers (men enter through the blue curtains, women the red). But everyday at midnight, access is switched so that all guests can experience both, even during a short stay. On the two occasions I used the Kinoene no Yu baths, I had the women's side entirely to myself.

Lavish cuisine, served in the privacy of one's suite, is a luxurious feature of a ryokan. The Shuzenji area is known for its shiitake and other wild mushrooms; farther south on the Izu peninsula, mikan (tangerine) groves and terraced wasabi (horseradish) farms dot the landscape; coastal islets teem with a wide variety of fish. These, and other local delicacies, are prominently featured in Sekirei So's 15-course dinner banquet, and 12-course breakfast feast.

Recently, local farmers have been growing an ancient strain of jet black rice, called kuro-gome, from heirloom seeds. This grain inspired Master Norio Yoshida, the head chef, to create anago kuro-gome sushi, a marvelous combination of soy-simmered, freshwater eel set over a nugget of nutty flavored, ebony rice.

His extraordinary knife skills were especially evident in the sashimi presentation. Our Bounty of Izu course was composed of translucent slices of locally caught grouper and meltingly tender cuttlefish, the platter of shaved ice set on a tray softly illuminated by a lantern fashioned from transparently thin sliced icicle radish.

After dinner was cleared away, fluffy futon bedding was laid out for us. Other than limited television service, there is no evening entertainment either in the hotel, or nearby. One needs a good book, and a good companion. Fortunately, I had both.

Sekirei So, 3372-1 Shuzenji, Shuzenji-cho, Tagata-gun, Shizuoka-ken, Japan 410-24; phone (81-5) 5872-2031, Tokyo office (81-3) 3567-1595. Various package plans are available and higher prices are in effect on weekends and holidays; all require a minimum of double occupancy. Rates, from $204 to $452 a person, include breakfast and dinner without beverages. A total of 8 percent in taxes and a hot spring charge of $1.25 are additional.

The dollars and cents that go into moving vary greatly depending on a number of factors.

Zillow Tools

It’s the ultimate in doomsday prepping: a fully contained society with trained guards, self-generating power and all the comforts of home.

The first rule of the survival condo project: Do not talk about where the survival condo project is located.

If you’re lucky enough to be let in on the secret, you drive two hours from the nearest commercial airport, across the rolling plains of Kansas. The closest small town is about half an hour away, with a population of roughly 5,000 people. There are just over a dozen restaurants; about half of them are fast-food chains.

At some point, you turn off the highway and drive down a dirt road. Up a secret driveway, you stumble upon a barbed wire fence and a staff of armed guards. Security cameras keep a watchful eye over a subtle, grassy mound. A nearby wind turbine hints at what lies beneath — 15 stories of luxury condos and communal living.

Larry Hall, the developer and owner, came up with the idea after 9/11. He first sought a place to securely protect a data center but later thought it might be better to build luxury bunkers instead. The place was so popular, it sold out before construction finished.

So what’s life like inside a missile silo? Take a look inside.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Workers built the original facility in the 1960s to store and launch Cold War-era weapons. Most missile silos in the United States have been abandoned, Hall said. He bought this one in 2008 for $300,000 and spent six years developing it.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Hall envisioned converting the silo into a vertical living space: There are 15 floors divided into 12 single-family homes.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

The condos start at 920 square feet. Owners unlock their homes using a biometric key system. Each kitchen offers a variety of customizable stainless steel appliances, all from the same brand. That makes it easier to stock replacement parts, Hall added.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

The “windows” are LED screens displaying a real-time feed of what’s going on aboveground or a scene of your choosing. Options include beach sunsets and city life.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Condo owners include a doctor, a firefighter and an engineer. When there’s a lockdown, everybody is expected to work, Hall said. “It’s not like you’re on a ship or on vacation being catered to,” he added.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Each home starts at $1.5 million and can sleep between 3 and 10 people. Internet access is included.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

The price also includes mandatory training and a five-year food supply for each person.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

The bunker also has a fish farm, space to grow vegetables and plants, and a reverse-osmosis water filtration system, which can produce 10,000 gallons of water per day.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Workers built a resort-style pool, along with a gym and spa. Four-legged friends have their own dog park.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Other areas include a library, a bar, a movie theater and a rock climbing wall.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

A gourmet market offers everything from freshly baked bread to cookbooks.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Some owners treat the place like a second home, while others plan to retire here, Hall said. He even hired a psychologist to ensure that there’s enough space and light for residents to survive for long periods of time.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

In case of emergency, a SWAT-style team can pick up homeowners within 400 miles of the silo and bring them to the shelter.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Hall is currently building survival condos in two more missile silos to meet the demand.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

“Everything here is very high-tech and highly reliable. It’s very resilient,” Hall said. “You could stay off the grid indefinitely.”

The rapid global spread of COVID-19 has quickly eclipsed other recent epidemics in both size and scope. In addition to the deadly human toll and the disruption to millions of people’s lives, the economic damage is already significant and far-reaching.

In the face of certain challenges and a still-uncertain set of risks, business leaders are rightly concerned about how their companies will be affected and what they have to do next. In the heat of the moment, there are a number of lessons from history that can be applied now. We have pooled the insights of Deloitte leaders in affected areas around the world to provide practical insights for chief executives and their leadership teams in taking appropriate action.

We recognize that companies are in different phases of dealing with the outbreak, and therefore the impacts vary by geography and sector. But regardless of the extent of the virus’s impact on an organization, we believe there are five fundamental qualities of resilient leadership that distinguish successful CEOs as they guide their enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Design from the heart … and the head. In crisis, the hardest things can be the softest things. Resilient leaders are genuinely, sincerely empathetic, walking compassionately in the shoes of employees, customers, and their broader ecosystems. Yet resilient leaders must simultaneously take a hard, rational line to protect financial performance from the invariable softness that accompanies such disruptions.
  2. Put the mission first. Resilient leaders are skilled at triage, able to stabilize their organizations to meet the crisis at hand while finding opportunities amid difficult constraints.
  3. Aim for speed over elegance. Resilient leaders take decisive action—with courage—based on imperfect information, knowing that expediency is essential.
  4. Own the narrative. Resilient leaders seize the narrative at the outset, being transparent about current realities—including what they don’t know—while also painting a compelling picture of the future that inspires others to persevere.
  5. Embrace the long view. Resilient leaders stay focused on the horizon, anticipating the new business models that are likely to emerge and sparking the innovations that will define tomorrow.

We believe that a typical crisis plays out over three timeframes: respond, in which a company deals with the present situation and manages continuity; recover, during which a company learns and emerges stronger; and thrive, where the company prepares for and shapes the “next normal.” CEOs have the substantial and added responsibility to nimbly consider all three timeframes concurrently and allocate resources accordingly.

Within the framework of these broad imperatives, resilient leaders can take specific tactical steps to elevate these qualities during the current crisis, blunting its impact and helping their organizations emerge stronger. With the right approach, this crisis can become an opportunity to move forward and create even more value and positive societal impact, rather than just bounce back to the status quo.

To delve more into these fundamental qualities of resilient leadership, please click here.

Deloitte Global CEO

Punit is in his 33rd year with Deloitte and became CEO of Deloitte Global in June 2015. Deloitte operates in more than 150 countries, with

Deloitte Global CEO

Punit is in his 33rd year with Deloitte and became CEO of Deloitte Global in June 2015. Deloitte operates in more than 150 countries, with approximately 300,000 professionals. Punit is also a member of the Deloitte Global Board of Directors.

As Deloitte Global CEO, Punit set in motion a global strategy to achieve undisputed leadership in professional services. In his first term, he led efforts that resulted in double-digit aggregate revenue growth globally, with Deloitte becoming the largest of the professional services organizations. Currently Deloitte is recognized as the strongest and most valuable commercial services brand. Also, during his tenure, Deloitte advanced audit quality through significant investments and focus.

As a tangible expression of Deloitte’s commitment to its purpose of making an impact that matters, Punit launched Deloitte’s signature corporate responsibility program, WorldClass, to empower 100 million people to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. Punit is also committed to advancing diversity and inclusion at Deloitte, including through measurable actions toward gender balance across Deloitte and within its leadership ranks.

In June 2019, he started serving his second elected term.

Punit has held several leadership roles within Deloitte, including serving as the chairman of Deloitte LLP (US) from 2011-2015 and before that, as CEO of Deloitte Consulting LLP (US). During his tenure as CEO of Deloitte Consulting, the practice experienced tremendous growth despite an ongoing recession, helping it become one of the largest consulting organizations according to leading analysts’ rankings.

Outside of Deloitte, Punit is a member of The Business Roundtable, The International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, and serves as the member of several not for profit boards including at the United Way Worldwide (chairman) and the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (vice chairman). He was named an honoree to the 2012, 2013 and 2014 National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) “Directorship 100.”

Punit was born and raised in India. He moved to the United States after receiving a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to Willamette University. He has served on the board of trustees of Willamette University and was named among the 100 most influential business leaders who have graduated from schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. In the spring of 2019, Willamette University conferred upon Punit an honorary doctorate. He is married and has a son.

Even as vaccines make it safer to travel, planning a trip is becoming increasingly complicated.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

With coronavirus vaccines now readily available, you might have ambitions to venture far from home. Government officials, after all, say traveling is a low-risk activity for the inoculated.

But the sheer amount of preparation needed to travel during the pandemic might persuade you to stay put. Airlines, hotels and cruise lines are considering the use of so-called vaccine passports, which are essentially digital bar codes proving that you have been vaccinated against Covid-19, before allowing you to patronize their businesses. The onus is on you to check their requirements.

Then, in addition to the usual rigmarole — putting together an itinerary, ordering a foreign SIM card and downloading maps — you’ll have to do even more research on your destination, like looking up potential quarantine restrictions and reading about infection rates. And if you book a trip far in advance, be prepared to do all that research again right before you depart, because the situation is prone to change.

“One thing you’ll have to navigate will be a fluctuating environment in terms of tests or vaccination requirements, even borders that may open and then shut again very quickly,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel analysis firm in San Francisco. “We’re going to have to be prepared for a very dynamic, very fluid international travel environment for the remainder of this year.”

Yet some of us will travel this year, whether it’s for work or for emergency reasons. So here’s a special pandemic edition of how to use tech to prepare for your trip.

Do your online research

Before you book a plane ticket and hotel, research the requirements of your destination. The most reliable places to find that information are the travel and tourism websites for your destination.

Here are some examples that illustrate how difficult this will be to navigate.

Traveling domestically, for the most part, doesn’t require tests or proof of vaccines, but Hawaii is an exception. The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s website states that a 10-day quarantine is in place, even for vaccinated travelers. But you can bypass the quarantine if you test negative for Covid-19 before departure; the test result has to come from one of Hawaii’s trusted test providers, which can be found on a list published online.

Broadly speaking, Americans aren’t welcome in many countries yet, and vice versa. And in the rare event that you can fly to another country, the logistics will be more complicated.

If you’re traveling from the United States to Turkey, a negative Covid-19 test is required for entry, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey. And to return to the United States, all travelers, including U.S. citizens and those who are vaccinated, will have to again test negative within three days before departure.

Once you’ve figured out the logistics to get in and get out, you will have more homework to do. Don’t expect your favorite airport restaurants or lounges to be operating normally. Before leaving home, check your airport website to see what’s open near your terminal; if your options are lacking, pack a meal. Likewise, when you arrive at your destination, make sure to check the websites for the restaurants and tourist sites that you hope to visit for their hours. The travel industry is far from returning to normal.

Keep up on vaccine passports

To make traveling smoother, airlines may require travelers to present a vaccine passport, digital documentation proving that they have been vaccinated. Airlines have been testing mobile health apps including CommonPass, ICC AOKpass, VeriFLY and the International Air Transport Association’s travel pass app to ensure travelers can present their health data in a secure, verifiable way.

Most of the apps will, in theory, work like this: If you get vaccinated at a medical facility, the app connects with the database of that facility to retrieve your information. The app then loads a QR code, which is a digital bar code, verifying that the vaccine was administered. You could then show that bar code at the airport check-in counter, the boarding gate or immigration control.

Too much is still up in the air with vaccine passports for widespread use, Mr. Harteveldt said. Airlines, government agencies and cruise lines are still testing the apps to determine which products are the most reliable and easy to use. Things could get chaotic if different parties require people to download different passport apps, and many experiments may fail. Vaccine passports have also set off a fierce political debate over the legality of requiring digital credentials for a vaccine that is ostensibly voluntary. (The Biden administration has said it would not push for mandatory vaccination credentials or a federal vaccine database.)

So the best we can do with vaccine passports right now is nothing. Don’t upload your data to any of the apps just yet — but when it comes time to travel, do check your airline’s website for updates on vaccine passports and follow the instructions.

Prepare your phone

The rest of your travel tech prep will largely be the same as it was in pre-Covid times. Pack a spare battery pack, charging cables and a safety pin to eject your SIM card. Then do the following:

Unlock your phone. Your phone must be unlocked to work with foreign SIM cards. Many newer smartphones come unlocked by default, but you should call your carrier to confirm that your device will work with other wireless carriers.

Buy a foreign SIM card. If you’re traveling abroad, you can avoid paying expensive international roaming fees to your carrier by temporarily using a foreign phone plan. When you arrive at your destination, you can usually buy a SIM card at the airport or a cellphone store and insert that into your phone; you can also order a SIM card online and have it delivered to your home before you travel. (Some newer smartphones work with eSIMs, which are essentially a digital SIM card to add a separate phone plan. I’ve had mixed experiences, including eSIMs that failed to activate when I reached my destination, so I prefer physical SIMs.)

Download maps ahead of time. You never know whether cell service will be reliable at your destination, so it’s best to download offline maps before you visit an unfamiliar place.

With offline maps, you store the data about an area on your device. This way, if you are wandering around somewhere with poor cell reception, your maps app will still be able show you directions to your destination. This may come in handy if you wander into an area with spotty reception.

Here’s an example for downloading offline maps for Maui. Open Google Maps on your iPhone or Android phone. Search for a place, like Haleakala National Park. At the bottom, tap Haleakala National Park. Then tap the More button (the icon with three dots) and select Download offline map. Zoom in or out to select the map area that you want to save, and tap Download.

There’s also a simpler path to skip most of the above. While you wait for the world to reopen traveling, go on a road trip. Just don’t forget to pack a mask.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

The effects of technology and digital media on children is well-documented, and parents are keenly aware of how too much tech use can lead to developmental problems, physical inactivity (potentially leading to obesity), sleep issues… and the list goes on.

Many parents jump for joy at the mention of a tech-free vacation for their kids. Their kids, however, are often less enthusiastic about replacing their iPads and handheld game systems for an outdoors-based RV vacation.

How can parents entice their kids to give up the tech and actually get excited for a national parks vacation? We have a few ideas below to make sure your kids don’t feel like unplugging is a punishment!

Ease into it

Both adolescents and adults can become addicted to technology. Rather than making your kids go cold-turkey when taking away their tech habits, ease them into it. Feel free to bring along the iPad on your RV vacation…just disable cellular and WiFi access and delete apps like SnapChat, TikTok, and Candy Crush (these can be re-installed after the vacation). Download family-friendly movies that everyone will enjoy. That way, during a long drive to the next national park or after dinner on a rainy evening, everyone can enjoy some (rationed) digital media!

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of homeGet back to basics with games

Has your family lost interest in old-fashioned games over the years? An electronics-free RV trip is the perfect time to reignite the enthusiasm! A few outdoor games that require some space:

1. Cornhole
2. Ladder golf
3. Bocce ball
4. Frisbee
5. Geocaching
6. Spike ball
7. Giant Jenga

And some tried-and-true “picnic table” games that you can play anywhere:

1. Card games
2. Yahtzee
3. Apples to Apples
4. Scrabble
5. Pictionary
6. Heads Up

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of homeGet your kids more excited about mealtimes

Does your family struggle to put phones away and enjoy dinner together without distractions? A huge bonus to a national parks trip is that many areas don’t have cell phone service—making constant social media notifications nonexistent for a night.

This is a fantastic time to get your kids and teens involved in the planning, making, and cleaning up of meals—and it doesn’t have to feel like a chore:

1. Bring a couple cookbooks on your trip, and browse through recipes with your kids, allowing them to dog-ear their favorites. Or have them browse recipes on line.
2. When shopping at the grocery store, let them pick out a few new items of their choice—the more ownership they have, the more they’ll care about the outcome! It’s fun to ask them to pick out exotic fruits or veggies they’ve never tried before. Who can resist a mystery food?
3. Do the culinary experts in your family like using fresh ingredients? Small potted herbs like basil or mint can brighten up both the RV and a meal, and kids can be in charge of caring for them.

One of the best parts of an RV trip is getting to cook over a camp grill or fire. It’s fun and easy to get daring with meals, especially because you can get a little messier than you would inside. Normally kid-friendly meals are made even more enjoyable by the addition of some flames. Try skillet nachos, for example: Have your kids pile black beans, shredded cheese, cooked ground meat, and diced veggies on top of tortilla chips in a cast-iron skillet. Stick that over the fire, heat things up, and let your kids pile on the toppings. These non-traditional meals allow kids to express their originality and creativity, and they’ll be so busy that they won’t even miss Minecraft.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of homePush back bedtime

Most families know that an actual “bedtime” gets thrown out the window on vacations. On an RV trip, take advantage of your kids staying up late and have some nighttime fun outside. The only tech you’ll need is a flashlight (not the ones on your phones!) or a lantern. Below are some of Tracks & Trails’ families favorite evening activities while at an RV campground.

1. Take a night hike. National parks mark their trails well, and many are conducive to a nighttime stroll. (Just bring a map to avoid getting lost.)
2. Teach your kids how to build and light a fire (safely) and make s’mores.
3. Play nighttime hide and seek or sardines around the campground (just be conscious of your neighbors…).

Spend some time stargazing

As many of us live in cities where light pollution drowns out the night sky, stargazing in national parks is a huge treat. Grab a star chart, telescope, flashlight (red lights won’t impact your night vision as much), and comfy blanket for the recommended areas below!

1. Yellowstone: Hike along the bike path from the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center to Upper Geyser Basin.
2. Arches: Attend a ranger program (typically beginning in mid-July) at Panorama Point (a high point with unobstructed views).
3. Canyonlands: Drive to Island in the Sky mesa; if you get there before the sun goes down, hike to Mesa Arch!
4. Rocky Mountain: Take the easy hiking trail to Bear Lake; the lake’s reflection of the stars adds to the wow factor.
5. Devils Tower: Walk to the Circle of Sacred Smoke Sculpture and Picnic Area, with few trees around to block the view.
6. Banff and Lake Louise: Drive up the Icefields Parkway and stop at Bow Lake, where a short hike awaits you.
7. Grand Teton: Every July or August, Colter Bay Visitor Center hosts an Astronomy Day. If you’re visiting another time, the light pollution in GTNP is so low that you can stargaze pretty much anywhere!
8. Zion: Kolob Canyon is a lesser-visited region of the park, and many pull-offs along the main road offer uninhibited night-sky views.

Committing to a tech-free vacation will lead to deeper, more meaningful conversations between your family members and allow both parents and kids to form memories that last a lifetime. Want a few more ideas to get your kids excited about the outdoors? Check out the link below!

The Walking Dead season 11 introduces a new, terrifying enemy — feral human cannibals, the most far-gone people ever featured on the show.

Warning! SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 11, episode 6 ahead.

A terrifying enemy is introduced in The Walking Dead season 11: feral human cannibals. Currently in its final season, The Walking Dead is juggling several storylines between Maggie and Negan’s tense truce, Daryl’s time with the Reapers, and the slow introduction of the Commonwealth. In episode 6, The Walking Dead checks in with Connie and Virgil, a pair who were last seen only just meeting.

After escaping the Whisperers’ horde by hiding within it, Connie is separated from Magna, and her whereabouts are unknown for much of season 10. In season 10’s original finale, episode 16 “A Certain Doom,” Connie reappears and is seen making her way back home, only to collapses from exhaustion on the road there. She’s luckily discovered by Virgil, who is seeking out Michonne’s people in the hope he can move on with his life after having reconciled with his grief and resulting madness. Now, Connie and Virgil are both trying to reach Alexandria, but the journey there has been anything but easy.

The Walking Dead season 11, episode 6 “On the Inside,” finds Connie and Virgil on the run and seeking shelter in a seemingly abandoned house. While at first, it appears they’ve found a refuge, it’s quickly revealed to be a trap. The house is inhabited by a group of humans who’ve turned feral and hunt other humans for food. These feral people, it’s revealed, are who were chasing them, not just walkers, and it’s a tactic likely used before to lure unsuspecting passersby to the house. Taking advantage of the house’s size and its many hallways — not to mention moving within the walls themselves — the feral people are able to overwhelm anyone who enters and kill them. They nearly manage to do just that with Connie and Virgil, but thanks to some quick-thinking from Connie to unleash walkers into the house while disguising Virgil and herself with walker guts, they both survive while the feral people are killed.

Exactly how these people turned into feral cannibals is never fully explained, and seeing how they all appear to be killed by the episode’s end, this is likely the last viewers have seen of them. Still, there’s quite a bit that can be inferred from even this short appearance, and it may explain why the show hasn’t attempted such a terrifying threat before. The Walking Dead has certainly explored cannibalism in prior seasons, be it Terminus or the children groomed by Michonne’s friend, Jocelyn — but the feral nature of this group is unique. Even the Whisperers, who abandoned nearly all the trappings of civilized society, still interacted and spoke with each other like people.

These feral people, though, are by far the most animalistic people featured on The Walking Dead, with their hunched postures and near-complete lack of language (only one ever says anything, yelling “Hungry!” while attacking Virgil). This could mean they were very young children when the outbreak began, abandoned early on and never taught normal human behavior. The house’s windows are boarded up and that suggests it was fortified against zombies by someone, meaning that perhaps these children’s guardians left them at home while leaving to search for help or supplies. If the adults never returned, the children would be left to learn how to survive on their own, and with little guidance, would likely revert to their most basic instincts. It’s been 12 years in The Walk Dead timeline since the world fell apart — plenty of time for desperate kids to turn wild.

The way the feral people use the house’s secrets (namely, the hidden servant hallways) against their victims also suggests it’s the only home they’ve ever known. The scratched-out eyes in the many portraits hanging up imply a fear of being watched, as if they’re afraid of being punished, not unlike children who lash out. Altogether, the lifestyle of the feral people indicates they’ve had very little contact with civilization and have been left with only the drive to survive by any means necessary. This clearly led them to feast on any “food” that stumbled upon their house in search of a respite. And though season 11’s feral cannibals are the most far gone humans The Walking Dead has ever featured, given how long it’s been since the outbreak began, there’s a good chance they aren’t the only feral people out there.

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

You don’t have to believe that the end of the Mayan calendar signifies the beginning of the end, you just have to go to your local theater and see how many apocalyptic movies are out. It’s like we want it to happen. Whatever the case, make sure your bug out bag is ready, have ample supplies available and prepare to go off the grid. But just as important, if not more so, is your transportation. No average wagon is going to save your bacon when the cataclysm makes it rain (fire) up in this club we call Earth. Window shop our five apocalypse-ready vehicles to your heart’s content, and start dreaming about what it feels like to turn a zombie into a speed bump. And don’t forget to bring those sharpened garden tools. You just might need ’em.

Patria XA-360 AMV

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

The Finnish “Armored Mobile Vehicle” makes Humvees look like wheeled toaster ovens. The 8×8 XA-360 isn’t just road candy — it can take hits like Balboa in the 15th round. We’re talking armored blast protection of up to 22 lbs of TNT. It can also fend off 30mm armor-piercing rounds, so you’re prepared for when the jealous (well-armed) masses lust after your ride. But it’s not all duck and pray. The XA-360 can be configured with heavy weaponry such as a 120mm mortar turret or a Mobile Gun System, and its eight massive wheels adjust independently via hydraulic suspension, so if you need to traverse a pile of burning cars to refuel at the last Costco in the area, you’ll be ready. Just hope you don’t have to inflate your tires with a hand pump.

Mercedes-Benz Zetros 6×6 Custom

If ever you needed to take a sizable portion of your possessions with you and not look back, the Mercedes-Benz Zetros 6×6 Custom should be your oversized apocalyptic transport of choice. Originally militarily purposed, the Zetros is as tough as they come. The 7.2-liter turbo diesel engine provides 326 horsepower; six-wheel drive and three locking differentials mean you can get out of some thick and sticky trouble fast. Most importantly, if communications are still up, you’ll be able to charge serious coin for access to the grid, since the Zetros has a satellite dish and a flatscreen. Plus, with creature comforts like a full bed, dining room for 8 and a bathroom with a heated floor, you won’t be lacking for the finer pleasures while cities burn.

Panhard CRAB

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Looking sincerely G.I. Joe-inspired, the Panhard CRAB (Combat Reconnaissance Armoured Buggy) is part mini-tank, part dune buggy and all awesome. French company Panhard plans to build the CRAB as a next-generation armored recon vehicle that can withstand ballistics and has a top speed of 70 mph. The CRAB can also be equipped with a 30mm gun turret, missiles and some sweet laser-guided rockets. Kinda makes you wanna buy one just for the drive to the office.

Conquest Vehicles Knight XV

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

Even though the Conquest Vehicles Evade is more than capable, we’d opt for its fully armored big brother, the Knight XV, when things really go downhill. The Knight possesses both luxury digs and half-track-like DNA due to its use of ballistic aluminum and glass, high strength steel, composites, aramid and ceramic that provide serious protection. Even the door hinges are reinforced and designed to not compromise armor strength. When the gas stations run dry, its huge 6.8-liter V10, bio-fuel guzzling engine will keep you from being left in the lurch. You might, however, opt to ditch the chrome wheels before you head out into the unknown. They make you look rich.

Organic Transit Elf

How to survive on the road with all the tech comforts of home

When all else fails, but you still have some sun and a reserve of leg power, the Organic Transit Elf may be your only way to get from Point Alpha to Point Zulu. Designed for the busy urban commuter who wants to save money and perhaps drop a few pounds, the Elf might just be the perfect rudimentary ride when cars go the way of the dodo. Charge the 480Wh lithium battery pack in the sun or plug it into an available power outlet, and you’ll get 30 miles without pedaling. Just pack (and eat) light: it only holds around 350 pounds. Oh, and look for routes that are mostly downhill so your hamstrings don’t explode.