For today’s Travel Tip, I’m sharing with you as usual my tips from the viewpoint of both a flight attendant and a mom. My goal in this blog is to help parents enjoy flying with their kids, as they feel confident and empowered when they are fully prepared. This tip about battery backup is for EVERYONE who flies, not just parents. It’s simple, but you never want to leave home without this:
Most major airlines’ planes now have power ports (outlets) in many or most seats. Of course it is smart to look up the type of aircraft you are flying to see if there will be access to power on your flight. You’ll also want to check out what type of plug you will need in order to use these outlets (DC, AC, or USB). HOWEVER, I have both worked on and flown as a passenger on many flights where the power, for one reason or another, was not working. You may think, “Oh well, the flight is only two hours long, I won’t need to charge my phone/the kid’s iPad/the DVD player, etc.” Well, let me remind you that there can be all kinds of reasons why you might need battery backup. Mechanical and weather delays, diversions…you really never know for sure how long your travel day will be. I like to be prepared “just in case”.
So what battery backup is best? I’ve bought at least 8 different ones, and these two brands have been the best I’ve used, both for their price and their ability to charge:
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Duracell Instant USB Charger
This small charger is great for items like the iPod touch and can bring it back up to about 60% battery from 5% or keep it going for an extra hour to two hours if my kids are watching videos on the iPod touch. It will keep my iPhone 5s going for another hour to three hours, even while I’m using it. It’s not enough power to charge a tablet, but it can extend it’s running time. It’s really small (5.1 x 1.5 x 5.9 inches and lightweight (4 ounces)—about the size of a pack of gum. Also right now you can get it on Amazon for only $6.00 (originally $30)! *Amazon prices may change at any time, check the price at checkout to verify.* I actually have 4 of these in the house, always carrying at least one of them in my travel bag.
Jackery Giant+ Dual USB Portable Battery Charger
I bought this for my husband a couple of years ago so he could have a back-up charger for his Kindle. It wasn’t long before I started using it myself when flying and I soon claimed it as my own. Although this battery back up is large (4.3 inches x 3.1 inches x 0.8 inches) and heavy (1 pound), it really is great for times when you can’t get power otherwise. I was able to fully recharge 6 iphones, while in use, on this battery and still had more than 25% battery power left. It has dual USB ports, so you can charge two devices at the same time, and also has a flashlight. I love this for it’s value in case of emergencies. If there is some reason you are in a hotel or even at home and without power for an extended time, this charger would be great to have. The price right now is just $23.99 (retail $129.95).
Jackery Bar External Battery Charger
Since I loved the Jackery Giant Battery Charger so much, I decided to purchase their smaller version for something more lightweight. This charger is perfect for tossing in your purse or backpack to have when you’re walking around town and just want to be sure you’ll have battery backup in case you need it. It will charge my iPhone 5s two to three times from 5% to 100%. It is about half the size of the Jackery Giant, at 0.9 inches x 3.8 inches x 1.8 inches and weighing 0.71 pounds. At this time it’s on sale for only $14.99 (retail $89.95).
There are lots of options for battery backup out there, and I’m sure most do the job. When choosing a battery charger, I would be sure to look for something that claims it can charge a tablet. Ideally you want a charger that can recharge your smart phone a few times, not just keep it going for an extra hour.
Do you usually travel with extra battery power? Do you carry the charger with you on the plane, or just depend on the power outlets? Do you think about having a charger with you in case of power outages in hotels, etc.? If you have a favorite, we’d love to hear about it. Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages.