Travel juice… a must have!


The more I travel, whether for a day or for days, the more I realize that a portable battery charger is as indispensable as my toothbrush. 

I recently* spent 4 days in Sonora, California. Lovely area, but horrible cell phone service. My battery drained 5% within minutes of unplugging my phone. No joke, but when using Google Maps for navigation, with my phone plugged in and charging to the car’s USB, my battery still lost power – it couldn’t even maintain juice!

If you haven’t already bought one, invest $10-30 in a portable charger pack that you can carry in your purse or bag and stay juiced up.

How do you choose? Price and mAh. What’s mAh? The amount of power stored in the pack. Look at the battery in your cell phone or tablet (or Google your phone’s mAh) to find out how much power (in mAh) you typically have. If your phone takes 2000 mAh to charge, for example, a 3000 mAh portable pack will charge your phone, in theory, 1.5 times. 

If you travel with several gadgets, add up the mAh of all of your devices and find a battery pack capable of charging them all. Most newer packs can charge 2 devices at once. One port is usually 1amp, the other 2.1 amp (for newer devices).

Wirecutter compared several external battery packs a few months ago (November 2014) and shared their picks.

Anker

Anker’s 3350 mAh, 3rd gen. lipstick-sized portable charger, $10.99 Amazon.com

Personally, I own several battery packs. Over the years, I have upgraded frequently. I currently carry the Lumsing 10400 mAh pack in my work backpack and a Jackery 3200mAh in my purse. I also own several battery packs by New Trent, though none of the ones I own are available at Amazon anymore.

Anker’s 3200 mAh lipstick charger was my go-to Christmas gift this past year. I’ve heard no complaints. (Since this post was drafted, Anker’s new 3350mAh 3rd generation charger is available at Amazon.)

Bottom line: read the customer reviews, be sure you get more juice than you think you will need, and most importantly – remember to take it with you!

*Recently being last spring when I first drafted this post. Not actually the recently when I found I had never published it.
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