Powering your gadgets on the move

By | May 22, 2023

I’m off on holiday next week (having got my flights sorted – hurrah!), so I’m going through my last-minute packing list.

And one of the things I can’t do without these days is power – for my phone, the boys’ iPads and the Nintendo Switch (which I probably play on as much as they do!). When we’re at home, that’s fine, but I need to think about it a bit more when we’re travelling.

If you’re charging from the mains, check the voltage

When you get your device, it’ll come with a cable and a special plug for charging it from a normal plug socket.  When you’re travelling, you can use that same cable and plug if the mains electricity is at the same voltage you get here.

I’ve checked, and the voltage in Spain is just slightly lower than the UK (by about 10V) – so charging might be slightly slower but won’t fry my gadgets. Yay!

That means all I need to take is some European adapter plugs and I’m good to go.

There are some other options though – if you’ve been reading my emails for a while, you’ll have heard of them before – but this felt like a good time for a reminder…

Portable battery packs

These are great if you’re going to be away from home and don’t have access to the mains for a while.  Maybe if you’re going away camping, on a very long journey, or somewhere where the mains voltage isn’t suitable for your devices (although, you can get a voltage converter then, if you prefer). 

What you do is charge up the power pack from the mains before you go.  Then you can pack it up and take it with you, and plug your phone (or whatever) into the power pack whenever you need a boost!  You can pick them up from phone shops or places like PC World, or order them online from shops like Amazon.  A decent one will cost you about £30.

Solar-powered chargers

These are a lot like the portable battery packs I was just telling you about, but instead of plugging them into the mains, you can charge them up using a solar cell. That makes them great for longer trips, because you can you keep charging them up while you’re away.

You can usually plug them in to charge as well, so you can make sure they’re full to the brim before you set off on your holiday, but they’re perfect for when you’re camping. (Assuming it’s not pouring with rain, that is!)

Phone-to-Phone charging

With a lot of modern phones, you don’t actually have to plug them in to charge them – you can use “wireless charging”. It mostly feels a bit pointless to me, but one thing that is quite cool about wireless charging, is that you can share the charge in your battery with another phone.  So if you’re out and about and your phone has run out of battery charge, but your friend’s is full, you can hold the two phones back to back and charge your phone up from theirs.

It’s not a long-term travelling solution, but it can be handy on a day out.

Anyway – that’s it from me for this week. I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine.

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