Last week I was on a very quick trip to Washington D.C. that ended up being a jam packed 24 hours of traveling through the city by metro, car, bus, and on foot. Honestly, I had so many place to go and people to see in such a short time that I felt like I was in an episode of The Amazing Race! And I was constantly on my phone!
It used to be that when in a city that we aren’t all that familiar, we would rely on maps (remember those), guide books and get this, other people! Now, much to the delight of introverts everywhere, all of this and more is rolled into a phone. We put enough stress on our phones during everyday use, but that demand doubles, or even triples on a trip when we are using it to organize meetings, for GPS guidance, looking up new restaurants, or in my case, looking up my stop on the Washington D.C. metro.
All of that came to a grinding halt for me when the dreaded black screen of death hit my phone.
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Right in the middle of a using the GPS to walk from the metro to my friend’s house in Georgetown. Thats ok, I’ll just go to the address. Crap. Didn’t write it down. I’ll just call him. Can’t. Phone’s dead. I’ll call him on someone else’s phone. Can’t. Don’t know his number. That’s in the phone too. I’ll just go to a starbucks and plug in. But I’m on a greenway in the middle of a huge park and I have no idea what direction or how close the nearest Starbucks is. Hmmm, I was supposed to get a call from my brother to tell him where to meet us in a half hour. Thats not happening either.
In an instant, I had gone from being completely connected to the outside world to being completely shut out. How could I have been so stupid as to not charge up my phone? Thinking back on my day, my phone was fully charged at the beginning of the day but a busy schedule combined with an old battery drained it rather quickly.
Luckily, I knew the general direction of my friend’s place, got to the main road and found the Starbucks I was looking for to charge up the phone, thanks to a nice guy who let me share his table near the plug. I waited, and waited staring at the red battery icon on the phone until finally it charged enough to start up. I wrote down the address, and the directions and was on my way after a quick text to all parties involved.
I was thankful to be in Washington D.C. and not in someplace like Tokyo or Europe where my traditional plug would have required a wall adapter to work and other things like a language barrier could be in play.
Made it to my friend’s house almost a half hour late and finally plugged in for a few minutes before heading back out to catch the Nats game.
And there it was.
On his counter, the device I had needed. A portable phone charger with enough juice to charge my phone at least 10 times before needing a re-charge itself. I had seen these before but never needed one as bad as I did that day. I also started thinking about where else this could be useful. How about that long haul flight where you have no access to a charger and just want to listen to music or watch a show but can’t spare the battery. Oh and that international adapter. Don’t need that either (until you need to charge the portable phone charger – then I would recommend this one!).
Another pro tip: Write down pertinent info about your trip before you go, such as addresses and numbers. Just in case. After all, you could just drop your phone and break it at any time and then its game over. Until then, spend the $30 and get a portable phone charger.