Holiday travel can really wear a geek out. Not only are there long hours in the car, but then you have to spend days with your family who rarely understand your connection to your computer, or why it’s so important that you check your World of Warcraft auctions in the middle of a holiday dinner. Here are a few ways to keep your geek sanity and enjoy holiday travel.

  • Long car rides are a perfect opportunity to introduce the kids to your favorite movie sagas. Star Wars is perfect for this, as there are enough hours of Star Wars movies to fill the long hours of just about any car trip. I also recommend The Lord of the Rings and the entire Planet of the Apes series.
  • A Rubik’s Cube will keep most people busy for at least an hour at a time.
  • For iPhone and iPod Touch users, there is a free World of Warcraft app that keeps you connected to your Guild, even on the road.
  • I think the FreeLoader Portable Solar Charger looks like a travel Godsend, though I haven’t actually tried it. If it works as it should, you ought to be able to put this baby on the car’s dashboard and charge all your electronics.
  • Of course, keeping the kids happy and quiet is the biggest challenge to holiday travel, so I usually stock up on things like Genius Flashcards and Mars Mud.
  • You’ll want to outfit your crew in these geekworthy t-shirts.
  • Binoculars are great for looking at the passing scenery or other travelers. Also, a Flip camcorder would be handy to have to capture the journey and the holiday.
  • Dissolving Travel Toiletries may not be very geeky, but on a recent trip, I noticed a lot of rest areas and gas stations were out of soap. On the up hand, America seems to be washing its hands more; on the down side, you never want to be stuck without soap. So I’m liking these pocket-friendly travel toiletries.
  • Always carry your own pillow. Trust me, you’ll sleep better and thank me for the advice. Also, if you’ll be staying in hotels, you might want to carry your own blanket.

These are just some of my tricks to keeping my geek sanity in check during holiday travel. I also recommend checking out Shawn Morton’s 2007 holiday travel survival guide for some gadget ideas to keep the crew happy.

What items help keep you sane when you travel during the holidays? List your don’t-leave-home-without-them geek items.