Q. Help! I’m headed out on vacation with my family and I’m worried about keeping all of our devices charged. We have all kinds of phones, iPads and some Kindles and they’ll all be dead weight if they don’t have power. What do you recommend for charging these on the go?
A. You may have the best mobile device in the world, but it’s nothing more than a paperweight if it runs out of power. Keeping your gadgets juiced when you’re on the go is important but challenging. You want to be sure that you have power when you need it so you’re not stranded or unpleasantly surprised when your device runs out of battery.
These tech accessories will help you stay charged when you’re on the go and help make sure that you’re never out of power when you need it the most. They’ll also help you avoid fights over which person in the family gets to charge their device first.
Travel Surge Protector
Hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, airport terminals and other travel spots rarely have sufficient outlets for your power needs. Make the most of your outlet options with a mini surge protector that doubles as a power strip.
No need to fight over who gets to power up their device first, up to five devices can be charged at once with the Satechi Slim Surge Protector. This travel surge protector has three outlets for power plugs and two USB ports to keep you charged.
The Satechi Slim Surge Protector is available from Amazon for $18.99.
Keep a cord handy at all times with the ChargeCard. This credit-card-sized accessory is a power cord with a USB plug on one side and a plug for your mobile device on the other. Pop this in your wallet to keep it handy for charging wherever you go.
This card not only functions as a power cord, you can also use it to sync and transfer data.
The ChargeCard is a former Kickstarter project that is now available for the iPhone 4 and 4S as well as for Android devices. (Note that the Android ChargeCard will work with other devices that use a mini USB connector.) The ChargeCard for the iPhone 5 is available for pre-order to ship on June 25 (tomorrow).
You can get your ChargeCard from the ChargeCard website for $25 with free worldwide shipping.
Spare Battery Packs
No matter how much you load up your device with apps, movies, music and videos, you won’t be able to use it for much if your battery dies. Keep a spare battery handy for those times when you’re away from an outlet, or you use more juice than you had planned.
My favorite spare battery packs:
- indicate how much charge is left in the pack
- let you use your own charge cords so you can connect any device
Make sure you take the right cords so you don’t have to worry about buying one on the go. Devices generally use one of three types of connectors:
- Mini USB — Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Kindle
- 30 Pin — iPhone 4S, iPad 3, iPod Touch 4 and earlier iDevices
- Lightning — iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Mini and iPod Touch 5
The iPad 3 and 4, with their Retina display screens and powerful batteries, are not easily charged by a spare battery pack. Try to start out with a fully charged iPad so you’re not left stranded.
Rose Stone Extended Battery
The Rose Stone Extended Battery allows you to charge two devices at once and use your own cords, making this battery pack a versatile choice. This battery has indicator lights showing you how much charge is available.
The battery weighs 5.1 ounces which, while light for the power it provides, makes it a bit heavy to carry around daily in your pocket or purse. The pack comes with a carrying bag and is available in multiple colors.
The Rose Stone is available for $69.00 from Amazon.
WakaWaka Solar Powered Charger
Harness solar power to juice up your device. Let this battery pack soak up the sun and convert those rays into extending the charge on your phone. The WakaWaka Power is a combination solar charger and lamp. After 8 hours in the sun, the WakaWaka can power your phone in about 2 hours and still have enough charge to shine its lamp all night.
WakaWaka is a former Kickstarter project and the company donates free solar chargers to those living in areas where electricity is not available.
This video shows how WakaWaka works:
Keep the WakaWaka on a windowsill or on your dashboard to keep it charged for when you need it.
Emergency Hand Crank Charger
If you get stuck without any power source nearby, you may need to create your own charge. The Eton Red Cross Clipray emergency hand crank charger may be able to bail you out of a tight spot by using your own muscles. Even if you’re a bodybuilder, don’t count on this to take you from a dead device to a fully charged one, but it may give you enough juice for what you need.
This charger also has a flashlight making it very useful when you run out of power unexpectedly.
The Eton Red Cross Clipray is available from Amazon for $14.98.
Have you ever run out of power when you’re on the go? What do you use to keep your devices charged? Let us know in the Comments section below!
** Power line image by Peter Kaminski