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I need to keep three small children entertained on a long plane flight. I'd like to find some way to let them watch movies, but I'm not sure my laptop's battery will be up to it. Should I buy an iPad? Portable DVD players? Also, how do I split the audio between them? I don't want to bother other passengers.
—Keeping My Sanity at 30,000 Feet
Dear 30,000 Feet,
Forget the iPad. It's too expensive for your needs, and it doesn't have a DVD player, which leaves you at the mercy of iTunes for movies. I'd go with portable DVD players. You can pick them up for as little as $60—buy three and you won't have any fights. I'd also recommend purchasing noise-canceling headphones. Standard headphones would need to be turned up too loud to overcome the noise of the plane, and that's not good for young ears. With noise-canceling headphones, kids can keep the DVD volume much lower. Also, of course, be sure to take along lots of DVDs. If you subscribe to Netflix's three-at-a-time plan, you can let each of the kids choose a movie beforehand. Good luck!