Charging devices during travel

On my trip to Manila earlier this summer I had some power problems. First, I forgot the plug for my phone and had to charge it through my laptop USB the whole trip. Then I had a hard time finding a plug at the office for my computer, which died during a presentation (SO embarrassing). Finally, I forgot to charge my phone before my flight from Tokyo to Dallas, so it died, and the customs line was so long that I wasn’t able to charge it before my flight home.

Plenty of planes have power outlets of some sort, which is great. But what about times when you’re standing in line in customs or security for two hours? Or if you’re on a plane that has DC but not AC plugs? Battery packs are the perfect solution for these exact problems. After my recent power issues, I am definitely going to invest in one, and here are the three I’m considering.Jackery Mini

Jackery Mini. The tiny Jackery Mini is the size of a lipstick, which will free up room for other important items (like, say, lipstick). It will power a variety of devices, including most iPhones and Samsung Galaxies, as well as the iPad. At $25, it’s extremely affordable. While it will add a full charge to my phone, it will only add a partial charge to my iPad and won’t charge my laptop at all.Anker Astro

Anker Astro 3E. A size up from the Jackery Mini, the Anker Astro 3E will fully charge a smartphone 3-4 times and an iPad once. It’s still well priced ($40), and the Amazon reviews are very favorable (rated 4.7 out of 5). It’s slightly bigger than an iPhone, but definitely heavier. Again, it won’t charge my laptop, but for longer trips this would be incredibly helpful.

Energizer XP18000. The Energizer Xp18000 will charge just about anything, including phones, tablets, and Energizer XP18000laptops. It is also big, heavy, and expensive ($140). However, if you are taking your computer to places with no outlets, this would give you the power you need.

I’m leaning toward the Astro, but I love the size of the Jackery Mini. While it would be awesome to be able to charge my laptop, I’m not willing to spend as much or carry something as large as the Energizer.

Readers, do you have a battery pack that you like? Do you have any experience with these three?

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  1. I have the Astro and really like it. It’s about as heavy as I am willing to accept in my laptop bag or carry on (depending on the trip length)
    Just don’t overestimate the capacity if those devices. When it comes to rechargeable batteries the amount of energy stored per volume and per weight is limited. Even though battery technology made progress in the past years, I wouldn’t trust a lipstick sized item too much

  2. I have come to the conclusion that there is no one, perfect charger for all situations. So I have several and swap them out according to need. One I have found very useful is the Tek Charge MP1550 by Tekkeon. It is small and will of course not power larger items. But it uses replaceable AA batteries which I find is frequently great because I can just pop in extra batteries for more recharges. Very versatile. Here’s a link to a related article and review I did:

  3. WTF! Buy three of each and a carry on for the extra junk. Or… consider leaving ALL of the power toys at home. the IFE won’t work any way and If you want good entertainment, try a book. you know, that funny kind, made of real paper, printed with ink. They don’t need any power.

  4. I don’t care to keep track of even more stuff. If you use an AAdmirals club or the like, you have a lot easier time finding a place to plug in than in the general waiting area. I agree with Cook on having a paper book, but lots of folks swear by their iPads & Kindles. I do keep a set of chargers & cords in my carry on bag and try not to “borrow” them for home use.

  5. @VG and @Cook I totally agree–it would be so great if I could leave all of my devices at home. However, since the vast majority of my travel is for work, I don’t have a choice. For personal trips, though, I leave everything behind that I can!

  6. We are a group of business students working on a solution for this problem:

    With cell phones being the most convenient way to stay connected while traveling, we have noticed travelling business professionals are extremely dependant on mobile devices. We want to reduce the risk of losing important information while traveling, and also reduce the additional stress this situation cause. We are aware of existing solutions, and want to develop a more accessible and convenient offer.

    If you have been in this situation and are interested in giving us feedback for a better solution to this problem, please comment below.

    Thank you.

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