We all know the feeling of running out of battery on our phones. Most of the time, it’s an insignificant inconvenience. But a drained smartphone is a bigger deal if we need it for something important. This is an especially prevalent issue when traveling.

Imagine being lost in a foreign country, and not having any way to reliably find your way around or communicate with locals—not a fun time. Even in less extreme circumstances, you can be really out of luck if your phone runs out of battery when you’re away from home.

Here are seven effective ways you can keep your phone battery charged up when traveling.

Lower Screen Brightness

It shouldn’t surprise you that the brightness of your phone’s screen will affect its battery life. And if this is a surprise to you—well, surprise. Having the screen light cranked up might be nice for watching YouTube videos—especially when there’s a lot of ambient glare, but it’s far from necessary for most smartphone activities. Make it a habit to keep your brightness down if you want to save that battery life.

In fact, someone at Wired did a little experiment to see how much battery they could save by turning down the brightness on their phone. They found that with airplane mode turned on, they got about 6.5 hours of charge with the brightness all the way down, and 3.5 hours with it all the way up. Granted, this was for an iPhone 4, so your actual results will be different than this. But the point still stands: Turn down your brightness to save battery.

Middle-aged man with glasses sitting down in yellow pants using smartphone.

Turn On Airplane Mode

The study mentioned in the previous section also looked at the variance in the battery life of your phone when you have airplane mode on versus off. The results pretty clearly showed that your phone uses less power when you enable airplane mode. When you turn on airplane mode, it disables the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and data on your smartphone. This significantly reduces the amount of battery your phone has to use searching for a signal.

Disable or Delete Apps

You might think that closing out of apps is the best way to save battery on your phone. In reality, this doesn’t save power. If anything, rebooting the apps can actually waste more of your battery. On the other hand, certain apps do drain your battery by running things like GPS and app refreshes in the background. The Facebook app is one of the most notorious for draining your phone battery. Some people even suggest deleting the Facebook app and using the mobile web browser instead. Regardless, you should disable notifications and non-essential functions on apps before you travel.  

Get an External Battery Pack

External smartphone battery backs hit the scene hard with the prevalence of games like Pokémon Go, where players were experiencing severe battery drain. Even though that trend has mostly faded, external power banks still have a lot of real-world application for travelers or anyone on the go.

If you’re exploring a city, you don’t know when you’ll be able to plug in your phone for a charge. This can be especially true if you’re traveling internationally or are in a place without ready access to power—like a campsite. These external packs are small, and can be a lifesaver if you need them in a pinch. These are some of the best-selling external battery packs for smartphones right now.

Share the Power in Groups

If you’re on vacation, you should be making an effort to take in the experience as much as possible—not spending time on your phone. Try turning off your device for a few hours to fully immerse yourself. When traveling with other people, you can have one person leave their phone on for photo ops, or get GPS directions when you need them. Rotating who has their phone on will save everyone’s phone battery charged while traveling, and also provide a more intimate feel to your travels.

Charge Your Phone Whenever You Get a Chance

Don’t miss an opportunity to charge your phone when you get it. When you get back to your hotel, immediately plug in your phone. You can never be sure when you’ll get another chance to charge up when you’re traveling. And being away from home makes it even more imperative that you have juice in your phone in case something unexpected happens along the way.

Turn Off Voice-Activated AI Assistants

A lot of people enjoy the convenience of being able to say “Hey, Siri” or “OK, Google” to their smartphone, and getting an immediate response. But this feature can be a drain on your battery. Your phone needs to be listening to you at all times to provide you with an automatic AI assistant. This means that it’s constantly using battery life. Turn this off when you’re traveling to get the most out of each charge.

You don’t need to employ all of these ideas to save battery on your phone. But even practicing one or two of these things can make a significant difference in your phone’s charge, and the challenges you encounter while out and about.

Image Credits:

Featured Image: “Dead Battery” by rawpixel via Unsplash

“Man on phone in yellow pants” by Bryan Pulgar via Unsplash

“External Battery Bank” by Steve Johnson via Unsplash

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Andy Holsteen

Andy Holsteen writes all sorts of things—both for work and pleasure. He loves traveling to new places, and hopes to see Berlin and Santiago in the not-so-distant future.