Being Short on Time Doesn't Mean You Have to Be Short on Battery

If keeping your smartphone charged is a challenge in everyday life, it's even worse when you're traveling. Long days in transit or out exploring a new city will make that battery icon start flashing before you know it, especially when you're relying on your phone for navigation, entertainment and more.

Even worse, you've often only got limited time to get some juice in it – a short layover, coffee break in a café or quick return to the hotel room to freshen up – before you're out of reach of a charging cable for another few hours.

Here are five hacks for getting more charge in your phone when you're short on time.

Charge From a Wall Socket

Always charge from a wall socket rather than a laptop when you're in a hurry. All else being equal, it takes longer – in some cases, an extra hour or more – to charge a smartphone over USB than from the wall. If your charger didn't come with an adapter to plug it into the wall, they're small and cost as little as $10 for a good one.

Use a High-Power USB Adapter

Speaking of good wall to USB adapters, be sure to use one that can put out as much power as your smartphone can handle. For example, the iPhone 6 ships with a 1 amp power adapter – but it can actually handle the 2.1amp charger from an iPad just fine, and will charge much faster if you use one. By contrast, if you use an old 0.5 amp USB adapter you've got lying around, your phone might not even charge at all.

You can't damage your phone by doing this – the number on the adapter is a maximum rating, but it will only send as much power as your device actually requests.

Check the specifications of the adapter you're planning to use, and get a better one if you need to. The small extra cost is well worth the substantial time saving.

Charge Your Battery Pack Instead

Certain portable battery packs can charge much faster than the smartphone or tablet you'll be connecting them to. The Pronto battery, for instance, boasts of being able to fully recharge an iPhone 5 after being plugged into the wall for just 5-15 minutes depending on the model. If you leave it connected for an hour, it'll have enough juice to charge that same iPhone between three and nine times!

Just plug the battery into the wall while you're waiting to board or taking a shower, then slip it into your pocket and charge your phone up once you're on the move again.

Put Your Phone in Flight Mode

All of those useful features on your smartphone chew up battery life, but the wi-fi and (especially) cellular radios are one of the biggest power hogs of all. To make sure you get as much juice as possible into your phone in a hurry, put it in flight mode while you're charging. If you're waiting for a call or text, at least turn off mobile data and wi-fi to save a little battery.

Stop Checking the Charge Level

The only thing that kills your battery faster than cell data is that big, bright screen – so stop looking at it while you're charging the phone! Every little bit helps, and continually turning on the display to check the battery percentage is only going to make matters worse.

Adapted from an article by David Dean for