Many of us for better or worse, live or die by our skill level to effectively operate the features of our smartphones. Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s when the concept of something like a smartphone was truly science fiction, I still marvel at the things that can be done with the small handheld device we all utilize. As the saying goes if you’re in a jam call a lawyer and he/she shows up with a flip phone pray for a file in a cake.

The one issue with smartphones is maintaining the charge, if we’re running a lot of apps and are consistently utilizing it the power level can quickly go down. We’ve all seen that desperate person wandering around at the airport with their phone, cable, and plug looking for an outlet. It always makes me think at that at this point in the cell phone age how is someone who relies heavily on their phone does not have an alternate power source. 

The first alternate power source I had utilized a small charger that utilized 4 AA batteries. You could get about 2 full charges out of it. Nowadays alternate chargers are available all over the place now from small ones that take 1 AA battery that are sold by the register in dollar stores to chargers that can jump your car. The key part of the charger is it having a USB port as long as it has the USB port it becomes a matter of size, weight, and cost. 

The largest charger that I’ll carry is my Powerall charger. You can charge just about any handheld device or tablet multiple times with the Powerall plus in a pinch you can jump-start your car (I’ve personally used it for this several times, successfully) it also has a built-in flashlight. The Powerall (shown above) is available in several different sizes and is available on Amazon (the source of all monetary loss thanks to Joe LaSorsa). 

Another personal favorite of mine is from Anker. Again size and charge capacity vary and are available to meet your needs. I like the smaller ones for keeping in my pocket when I’m on the move and want to keep the weight and size profile down.

Staying Charged on the Road

The other option that I used last year while in Puerto Rico when working there after Hurricane Maria is a solar powered charger. Because of the limited availability of the power grids there, the ability to put this charger on the dashboard of a vehicle in the sun and charge it up was a huge benefit to be able to keep my phone charged while there.

Staying Charged on the Road

Other items needed for keeping for phones and devices charged are cables and car/wall chargers. For traveling, I prefer combination car and wall chargers. By using one of these it reduces the number of items needed to carry. Another tool is a phone mount that clips to the vent in a vehicle allowing you to view the screen when using GPS apps. Earbuds are another nice item to have when traveling whether for taking calls hands-free, listening to music or podcasts, or tuning out that crying kid on an airplane. 

Staying Charged on the Road

Lastly cables unless I’m really looking to travel minimalist you’ll usually find me having three different sizes with me. A small 6” cable to use the charger to power up the phone while keeping them close together in a pocket, a 3’ Universal cable that can be used for Apple devices and has a second tip for other phones and devices (I like this for in the car) is very useful for clients who may have other than Apple devices, and a 6’ cable for when I’m at home or in a hotel and using my phone while charging it. Just a note do not plug directly into the USB ports of rental cars and public places as they may compromise your devices and information. 

Staying Charged on the Road

All of these items are available from the individual manufacturers or on Amazon my go-to for most things. In an age where things are consistently moving and changing where timely communications are essential don’t be the person wandering around trying to find a public power source as your phone is dying and you’re trying to close a deal or stay in touch with a client. 

Originally published on and written by Art Dorst