How do I charge my devices while traveling?

Charging your phone, tablet, laptop or anything else doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Let’s look at how to get it done.

If there has been one thing that has changed the travel game over the last decade, it has been the smart phone. With the world now at your fingertips you can book flights, book lodging, do research, contact people, and a whole lot more. I’d recommend anyone traveling to bring their phone along. Even if you don’t have cell service, the benefits can still be used while on wi-fi. But bringing a phone also adds a bit of complexity of keeping it charged up. The same can be said for other peripherals such as headphones, tablets, and laptops. Fortunately, if you come prepared, it isn’t much of an issue.

Charging your phone

Practically all phones come with a charging brick. This the thing that you plug into the wall, and then connect to your phone. The cable is normally some form of USB (for more info on cables check out this article). If you’re leaving your region, then you will most likely not be able to use your charger brick. This is because different parts of the world use different electrical outlets. Fear not. There are travel adapters which allow you to use your power brick anywhere in the world. If you’re simply bringing your phone and nothing else, you could get by with a direct adapter such as these. Though, make sure to buy the correct one for the region you are going to. Here is a guide on choosing a travel adapter. Those direct adapters are small and lightweight which is a plus. With these, you will need to bring your phone charging brick. Simply plug the charge brick into the adapter and then into the outlet, and you are good to go. If you’ll be traveling to different regions and don’t want to bring many different small adapters, you can bring a full feature adapter such as the Glamfields All-in-One.

Battery Chargers

I would highly recommend that anyone traveling bring a portable battery charger with them as well. Sometimes outlets are hard to find and the last thing you want to happen have your phone die on you when you really need it. Bringing along a battery pack not only gives you peace of mind, but it adds flexibility being able to charge anywhere. They are really great on planes, trains, and buses. Instead of watching the battery like a hawk, you can watch your content. Here’s an article to help you decide on one, but in general you’ll want one that can at least provide one full charge to your phone. Of course, this battery pack also needs to be recharged. In the past this would have meant bringing another charger brick with you, but no more. New adapters offer universal inputs and outputs along with having multiple USB ports. With an adapter like the Glamfields All-in-One, you can leave your charging bricks at home. Just bring the right charging cables for your phone and battery pack and you’re covered.

Charging your laptop

Charging your laptop is a little more complicated than your phone and other devices. This is because laptops require much more power in order to charge at their intended rate. For example, the MacBook Pro 13in ideally uses a 60w charger and the 15in uses an 89w. The Dell XPS has a whopping 130w. I say ideally because laptops can charge on less wattage, but they’ll do so slower and with possible performance impacts. The maximum output of most adapters from their USB C ports is 30w or less. This won’t cut it. If your laptop cannot charge with USB C, you have no choice but to bring the laptop’s charger. If your laptop can charge via USB C, you have two choices: bring the laptop’s included charger, or bring a different one. With either choice you will also need to bring an adapter with you as well.

Bringing a different charger such as the Satechi 108w one has some advantages. In addition to being able to charge most laptops at full speed, it has additional USB ports to charge other devices at their maximum rates as well. This is the main advantage of bringing a dedicated charger like this. You may be wondering if you still need an adapter then, especially one that has its own USB ports. The answer is, it depends. Since the Satechi has USB ports on it, you could bring a much smaller adapter compared to the Glamfields one, and use the USB ports on the Satechi to charge your phone, battery pack, etc. The downside to this is that you’ll most likely lose the ‘all-in-one’ benefits in the adapter. If you do combine the Glamfields with the Satechi charger, you’ll have more USB ports than you’ll ever need. The most cost effective solution is of course to just bring your laptop’s charger and an all-in-one adapter.

How do I charge my devices while traveling? 1
An example of what using an USB C charger looks like. The power cable exiting from the top left would still need to go through an adapter if outside the Americas.

Charging other devices

Fortunately other peripherals such as headphones, watches, tablets, eReaders, game systems and anything else of that nature have very low power requirements. Instead of bringing the individual bricks, you can simply charge directly off an all-in-one adapter like the Glamfields one mentioned above. As long as they charge via USB all you would need to bring is right cable. The lone standouts are going to be camera batteries and possibly drone batteries. These usually come with their own charging enclosures which plug into the wall. Unless you can find a way to charge them via USB, you’ll need to bring their chargers.

As you can see, the days of bringing tons of power bricks is a thing of the past. Now with a single adapter, you can charge all your devices at the same time. In the case that your device can’t charge via USB, there is still an universal outlet you can use on the adapter.

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