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aug 12 2009

Should rental cars have video screens for the kids?

Inside Avis's new rental cars (Allyson Keenan)

Earlier this year we reported that Avis and Budget adding satellite TV to rental cars. The new in-car live TV Cruisecast service, has 22 channels of satellite TV and 20 satellite radio channels. The cost is $9 a day.

We received the following letter from a reader:

I was disheartened to read of your "kudos" to this company for promoting the idea of sticking kids in front of video screens on car trips (March, p. 33). As a magazine that celebrates the wonders of travel, I find it troubling that this is being lauded. Don't kids spend enough time in front of screens in their everyday life? Do they really need to miss out on the great sights that a road trip has to offer because they're watching "Hannah Montana" instead?

I realize that watching videos on long trips is something that is now a reality for parents, but should Budget Travel be promoting this crutch, instead of encouraging us to allow our children to look out the window, observing the real world in real time? Yes, they may occasionally become bored, but here's where the imagination comes into play—an archaic notion, I confess.

Your readers deserve to be reminded of this sentiment much more than Avis Budget Group needs the plug…

Thanks for listening,

Maureen Block

We think that Maureen is probably right and that, in hindsight, perhaps we shouldn't have praised the idea of putting TV screens in rental cars. What do you think?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


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