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I have the best job in the world. It takes me around the world, into the kitchens of the world’s top chefs, traversing across incredible mountain vistas, wandering down neon-lit laneways, and navigating big cities. I’m, of course, talking about being a travel writer.
I’ve been in the industry for seven years now, and in that time, I have roamed the world, pursuing stories from drinking my way through the best rum shacks in Barbados to scouring the cobblestone streets of Madrid for the best food markets.
It didn’t take me long to realise travel doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned. I’ve had my fair share of lost baggage, taxi scams, and almost anything that can go awry with travel. Although during my globetrotting years, one item in my bag has saved me time and time again. It also happens to be the cheapest thing in my bag.
I’m sure we’ve all boarded an older plane only to realise one, there is no screen, and two, there are no power outlets. Or experienced the heart palpitations that start when a 20% battery warning pops up on your screen just as you’re about to take a snap of the Eiffel Tower? We’ve all been there. It’s easy to find yourself in a situation where there’s no access to power, which is why I always carry a power bank.
I can’t count the number of times my power bank saved me. The first time I was introduced to them was on an assignment with NetJets. Mind you; I was an intern at this point. I took a private plane (see, I told you I had the best job) to The Hamptons, and in the goodie bag on my seat was a water bottle, a beautiful leather weekend bag, a hat, and a power bank.
I didn’t think much of it at first, but then I ran out of juice halfway through the day after taking more than enough photos and videos of me sipping champagne on my own private jet. I grabbed the bank, plugged it in, and the rest, as they say, was history. That portable charger has since been lost in a Tuk Tuk in Thailand somewhere, but I picked up another one for $30 at the airport.
I swear by them, and to date, I currently have three, as each power bank has different capacities. I have one for my phone, which came included in my July carry-on luggage. I love that the luggage has its own little compartment for the power bank. My other power bank is bigger, as it charges my laptop and, when needed, my camera. My third power bank acts as a backup for my phone and lives in my handbag, so I know it’s always with me. Most of my job is creating content, so as you can imagine, ensuring all my devices are charged is a priority.
Which Power Bank Is Right For Me?
Finding the right power bank comes down to what you need it for. Is it for your phone or a laptop? Do you want it to charge fast (the answer is yes)? Do you want it to be wireless? What kind of power output do you need? To help you answer these questions, I’ve rounded up a few of the best power banks you can buy to keep your devices in the green.
The nifty July Power Bank is my favourite for charging my phone. I love that it fits under the telescopic handle of my July Carry on, but even if you don’t have a July luggage, it’s sleek and thin, similar to an iPhone, so it won’t take up much space in your bag. It also complies with all regulations from individual airlines and every government acronym concerned with aviation safety, including TSA, CASA, IATA, and DOI. My favourite feature is the four dots at the bottom, which tell you the amount of charge the power bank has left. Trust me; it’s good to have. The power bank also comes with a QuickCharge cable that works lightning fast.
Just as you drop your phone, chances are if you drop a power bank, you’re going to knock some things loose. So if you’re prone to dropping things, invest in the Anker Portable charger. Its superior durability has been tested with a one-metre drop, and spoiler alert, it survived. The power bank itself is a little pocket rocket with fast charging and a trickle-charging mode for low-power devices. Push the LED power indicator button to see how much power you have left. It’s also airline friendly, so that’s one less thing to worry about. The only downside is that the USB-C port is input only and cannot charge other devices, and it doesn’t come with a lightning or USB-C cable. It does, however, have a lifetime warranty.
When it comes to power, the Anker 737 delivers on all fronts. Think of it as the Ferrari of Power Banks. It dishes out 140W from a single port, which is enough to power a 16-inch Macbook Pro to 50%. It has two USB-C ports and one USB-A port so that you can charge three devices simultaneously. The smart display shows the output and input power and even tells you the estimated time to reach full charge on your device. Unlike a Ferrari, it’s not sleek or pretty, but it will get the job done: three-fold. Also, like a Ferrari, it’s one of the more expensive models on the market.
The OISLE is definitely the cutest and most colourful power bank out there. It’s half the size of a phone, doesn’t have any wires sticking out of it, and will keep your phone juiced in emergencies. Because of this low output, it does have a slow charge, but even if your phone reaches 20%, it will keep it sustained until you can get to a power point. The logo lights up in three colours that indicate how much juice is left in the bank, and did I mention it comes in five colours? Overall, I wouldn’t rely solely on it, but it’s good to have it as a backup or in the car.
Have you ever stood atop Mount Everest, phone in hand, ready to take a picture, only to find your battery is dead? No, me neither, but if you are outdoorsy, this solar power bank is for you. The semi-small power bank packs a massive 20,000 mAh punch, enough to fully charge your phone five times. It runs on solar power, so if you’re hiking the Andes for a week without access to power, the Chargeup Outback will have you covered. Three USB charging ports allow you to charge multiple devices at once. The bank itself is durable, with an IP54 dust and waterproof rating, which just means it’s really solid. There’s even a built-in flashlight and emergency SOS light. What more could you want from a power bank?