Your phone is already the hub of every trip you take: the carrier of boarding passes and hotel reservations; the holder of books and movies to help pass the time; the conduit through which travel photos are shared on social media.
All by itself, it makes travel easier. But with a few key cell phone accessories, you can travel more easily with your phone. Let’s take a look at the items worth adding to your carry-on bag.
A mobile charger with wall prongs
Some mobile chargers, like this one from MyCharge, have built-in wall prongs and cables.
Photo by Rick Broida/CNET
Here’s a no-brainer: You need a mobile power bank to keep your phone running. These come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority require you to BYO wall plug so you can recharge the charger. That’s a hassle: one more thing to remember, one more thing cluttering up your bag.
That’s why I always choose a phone charger that can plug right into the wall unlike a dummy phone that no need to charge. For example, the Romoss UP10 (currently $30 on Amazon) features a 10,000mAh battery, dual USB ports (a 1-amp and a 2.1-amp) and folding wall prongs. And it can charge your phone while it’s plugged in and recharging itself.
More convenient still, the MyCharge HubPlus series provides power, wall prongs and built-in charge cables: Apple Lightning and Micro-USB, for example, or Micro-USB and USB-C. Of course, there’s also a standard USB port for connecting your own cable if need be. These are pricey, usually between $60 and $100, but also compact and super-convenient.
A 2-in-1 sync/charge cable
The Zeus Dual Charger magically fuses a Lightning and Micro-USB connector onto the same plug.
One cable to rule them all. That’s the idea behind the Zeus Dual Charger, a fairly standard-looking USB cord — except that it has a Micro-USB and Lightning connector integrated onto a single plug!
I’ve never seen this before; most 2-in-1 cables just have two separate tips (usually with one nested into the other or the two side-by-side). Here you’ve got a single braided 6-foot cable that can plug into an Apple device or just about anything else. The Zeus sells for $20.
Is that any better than, say, a dual-plug cable like this one from Nkomax? Actually, the latter lets you charge two devices simultaneously, so it’s probably the more logical choice. Whatever you decide: one cable is better than two!
A good gripper
The Ungrip is the kind of product that helps prevent accidental phone drops.
Photo by Rick Broida/CNET
Travel means a lot of phone handling. It’s in and out of your pocket or purse all day; it’s clutched for dear life while you dash to catch your flight. All that hustle and bustle greatly increases the risk of dropping your phone — and that could sour your trip right quick.
Solution: Get a better grip on your phone. There are a variety of products — most priced under $20, many under $10 — that stick to the back of your phone or case and give you a much more secure grip. I’m partial to the Ninja Loop (about $5) and Ungrip (about $10), which are notable for their versatility and comfort, respectively.
A good pen
This pen is mightier than, well, other pens.
Wait, a pen? Yeah, you know: that thing you write with sometimes. How can a pen make travel easier? When it’s also a stylus. And a kickstand.
Like this one: the Ace Teah 3-in-1. A longtime favorite of mine, this thick-barreled pen is not only comfy to write with, but also nice to, er, stylus with. (Flip it over and you can use the capacitive tip to scribble on your screen.) Better still, it has a built-in phone stand that can even accommodate a phone in a case. Now you’ve got a way to prop up the screen when you want to watch a movie or read a book. A mere six bucks buys you a pack of six pens in assorted happy colors.
A car mount
Traveling by car? For long trips in particular, when you’re likely to be relying on navigation apps, listening to podcasts and so on, it’s critical to keep your phone out of your lap or center console and up near eye level. That’s not only for easier screen access, but also for safety.
I’m partial to magnetic mounts, but there are a lots of different options. Check out this roundup of three ways to dashboard-mount your phone.
What phone-related travel accessories do you consider essential? Share your picks in the comments!