How being with no battery could ruin a vacation
Whenever my husband and I travel, we make sure that we pack our phones and chargers before we pack our clothes. Having to wear the same pair of pants daily is ok; being in a new city without our phones may lead to disaster. We not only use them to take pictures and video; we use them to store our reservations (both airline and hotels), tickets to events and list of places to visit, to guide us when we’re moving around the city, to translate if we’re in a foreign country and of course, to call each other in case we get separated for any reason.
Seeing the battery below 50% in the middle of day, with places to go and things to do, is cause of a nervous breakdown. Last year, we were halfway through the 3.3 miles of the Dallas Art Walk, when we realized that my husband’s phone was low on juice. We wanted to finish the walk and do other activities, and it was only noon. Nowhere in those activities was stopping by the hotel just to charge the phone.
He had brought with him a cheap portable phone charger that would give him probably another hour or two of battery. He plugged it into his phone and we continued walking, only to find out in horror that the stupid thing had drained his phone to 2% in a matter of minutes. My phone was already in the dreaded 48% mark, so we walked the rest of the Art Walk with our phones set to max power saving, guiding ourselves with a physical map (the humanity!) until we could plug them both at the restaurant where we had lunch.
In situations like this is when a solar battery charger comes in handy. These cute contraptions use sun light as their energy source, feeding your phone at the same time. They come in different capacities, the higher the mAH number, the more hours of power you get. They’re small and lightweight; you hang one of these babies on your back pack, plug it into your phone and avoid a panic attack.
Get your solar charger before your next vacation (keep reading below)
If being low on cell phone battery might sound inconsequential to you, wait until your well-being is on the line. Sometime before the Art Walk incident, we went hiking in Bryce Canyon during a trip to Utah. It was January and part of the park was closed due to a snow storm the day before. Still, they had cleaned up some of the trails so tourist like us could walk around.
The hike down one of the canyons took us over an hour, with a few paths so narrow that we needed to walk sideways with our backs to the canyon walls. When it was time to go back up, we decided to take another trail to avoid those thin pathways that would be much more difficult on the way up. This new trail was shorter, but desolated; we were the only ones on it. More than half way up we found out why: it had been cleaned up to a point. Right in front of us, hiding the path, was a wall of snow as tall as our chests. To our left we had the canyon wall, to the right, the precipice.
We could have turned around, walk all the way down and up again through the other trail, but we were short on time since the park would close in an hour. Besides, we were already exhausted, thirsty and cold. From where we were, we could see our destination and we were so close! If we called the park rangers, someone would surely come for us. My husband pulled the phone from his pocket, shaking his head at the realization that it was off, completely uncharged. So was mine. We had been using it all day, without paying attention to the battery until we needed it for something important.
We had to push through. My husband placed his hand on the canyon wall and took a step forward. His foot slid down into the snow, passing the ground, making him stumble towards the precipice. I instinctively grabbed him from his jacket, taking a step back with him. When he gained his footing and I stopped shaking, he tried again, this time walking sideways, as we did on our way down.
It took us four or five wide steps to cross the wall of snow, finding a clear path forward after it. As quickly as we could, we walked up the trail, finding a thinner snow wall not 10 yards from the top. Again, we walked sideways through it, almost running to safety once we were clear. I hugged my husband as if we hadn’t seen each other in ages and I would’ve kissed the ground had it not been full of squirrel droppings. We now laugh at the experience, but I would be telling a different story if my husband hadn’t regained his balance.
Nowadays, we own a solar battery charger (guess where we bought it? Hint hint!). It’s the second thing we pack after our phones. It’s easily the best investment we’ve done and our favorite phone accessory so far. Our phones are always charged, regardless of how many hours our strolls last. No more hunting for outlets, interrupting our walks, or falling off cliffs. Now, let’s hope it doesn’t rain.