Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi covers the video game industry for WRAL Local Tech Wire and writes the Gaming Guru blog for WRAL.com

RALEIGH, N.C – According to a new national summer travel survey by videogame retailer Game Crazy and Weekly Reader, 96 percent of kids are bringing their handheld game player or console along for summer vacation trips. The survey also reveals that eight in 10 children need at least one video game with them on vacation. Parents who don’t already have game players for their kids, likely a minority percentage, will be well-served to invest in one. A lot of minivans and SUVs come with screens built-in today so even console gaming is easy. And it’s better than hearing "Are we there yet?"

More than three-quarters surveyed say the main reason to bring video games on vacation is to provide a break from other siblings, make the trip easier and serve as an escape from parents.

As for parents, 82 percent indicate that video games help make family trips easier and more enjoyable.

While video games serve as great individual activity on summer vacation, they also provide a solid bonding activity to bring the family together. Parents want in on the interactive fun, with one-third of parents more likely than usual to play video games with their kids while on vacation. But they better prepare for the ride – 41 percent of parents surveyed said having the batteries die would be the worst thing that could happen to their child’s video game, while more than a third of parents are worried kids will get bored if they don’t bring enough game options.

Almost all kids are willing to play video games anywhere on summer vacation, whether they are traveling by car, plane, bus or train, or at the final destination – even in the bathroom! Video games have become so important to summer travel that kids would rather lose their cell phone (52 percent) or MP3 player (57 percent) than a video game.

About one-third of children don’t currently own the one game they most want to take on vacation with them, a perfect reason to take advantage of Game Crazy’s trade-in program. In fact, a whopping seventy-four percent of kids surveyed said they are willing to trade in one of their old games for a new one. The top summer games for kids are "Mario Kart Wii," "Guitar Hero On Tour" and "Mario Party Wii." Breaking it down to boys and girls, the boys love "Guitar Hero On Tour," "Pokemon," and "Madden;" while the girls love "Hanna Montana," "High School Musical," and the "Petz" games.

Regarding this data, the 2008 Game Crazy Summer Travel Survey was conducted online May 20-25, 2008 by Weekly Reader Research. Sampling procedures were employed to ensure the respondents accurately reflect the nation’s 42.7 million 8-16 years old in terms of age, race/ethnicity, gender and census region.