This TravelCard Charger is simply the most convenient and easy-to-carry portable battery pack I’ve used.
My old phone’s battery recently degraded to the point that it would flatline without warning when I would use the camera or open a power-hungry app. I’m a cheapass, so despite being faced with the inconvenience of a randomly dead phone, I found myself checking retail sites, stalking RSS feeds, and spamming F5 on Kinja Deals in an attempt to find a discounted phone before my current one simply wouldn’t boot anymore.
I’m regularly away from a charger for more than a couple hours, yet regularly have need for a functioning phone, so my best option was a power pack and cable. I’ve got several USB power bricks in varied sizes and capacities, but not one of them is comfortable in my pocket. Keeping power in my backpack means that my phone also has to be in my bag, unless I want to run an awkward tether from my pack to my pocket.
After a few days carrying around my phone like a wretched gas-station bathroom key, I was ready to give up and order a new phone at full price.
But somehow, the universe took pity on me, and I was given a TravelCard to try out. Available with built-in USB-C, Lightning, or microUSB interfaces, plus a skinny USB-A plug for recharging, it’s only 5mm thick, and has a nicely rounded aluminum body that’s only slightly larger than a credit card.
Disappointingly, it didn’t fit in the tight card slots of my Big Skinny wallet, but it did slide into the cash slot on a friend’s larger wallet. They also sell a wallet designed specifically to hold the TravelCard, if you want to be safe. But even if it doesn’t quite play nice with your wallet , the TravelCard Charger is completely comfortable to carry in your pocket, and the $29 price tag is comfortable on your wallet.
The battery’s 1500mAh capacity should be enough for a bit under half a charge for most phones, and the (admittedly terrible) TravelCard website claims up to five extra hours of talk time. I tended to get about 1-4 hours, but that was while doing a lot of things other than just talking on the phone.
Used daily for just over two weeks, the TravelCard did exactly what I needed, until I finally snagged an acceptable deal on a new phone. For now, it’ll stay small and forgotten in the bottom of my backpack, where I’m confident it will be ready for my next mobile power emergency. And in the meantime, I honestly think I’ll be buying and giving a few away as gifts this year.