Traveling is a way to get away from it all and unplug for awhile. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to plug in when you need to. Letting your phone's battery die on a trip is sure to put a damper on your ability to get in touch, and if you're relying on it for GPS or making car rentals, it can keep you from getting around. That's why it's a good idea to invest in a backup battery before you leave home. Instead of scrambling to find somewhere to charge your phone, you can let this travel gadget do the work.
There are plenty of batteries available. So many, in fact, that it may be hard to pick out which one is right for you. The main things to consider are portability and capacity, but if you shop around you can find some with helpful - or just fun - perks.
The winner of a Lifehacker reader poll, the Anker Astro series of batteries has a lot to recommend it. There are a few batteries in the series, of varying sizes, prices and capacities, but Lifehacker's readers found them to be the best all around. These batteries tend to have higher capacities than their competitors for the price point, and they are also highly portable. Some charge by USB but others require a separate charging cable. The Anker Astro battery is best for someone who wants a no-frills charger that's easy to carry around. It's also a good choice for those who want to charge devices that require a lot of power, or plan on charging multiple times.
The Gadgeteer recently spotlighted the Pebble Aria. While this battery doesn't have as much capacity as the Anker Astro, it does have an advantage: It also functions as a portable speaker. The Pebble Aria can charge your phone once or twice, according to the Gadgeteer, or power the speaker for 70 hours. It's also surprisingly portable for a multi-functioning device. This may be the best choice for travelers who don't need to do that much charging at once but want some entertainment on the go.
If you're as interested in the design of your device as its function, the Mr. Pow backup battery may be for you. It was recently highlighted by Gizmodo for its unique looks. The Mr. Pow charger has an LED face on the front. When the battery is full, the device smiles happily, but it begins to frown the more its charge is used up. Its shape may make it slightly less portable than other options, but that's a small sacrifice for style.