How to Conserve Phone Battery on the Road

National Geographic Traveler editor at large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips.

Here’s his latest advice:

Reader question: My smartphone won’t last the day when traveling. What to do?

My answer: First of all, turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and “push” notifications. Dial down your screen brightness, which is another known cause of battery drain, says Shane Broesky, co-founder of the mobile accessories developer Färbe Technik.

Limit use of battery-hogging apps that work with GPS (in settings, review which apps use your location). Turn off any extra apps running in the background; go to Android settings or, on an iPhone, tap the “home” button twice and swipe up on unused apps.

Better yet, set your phone to “airplane” mode to disable the constant search for a cell signal. This step could also save you from a pricey phone bill.

Still running out of juice just as you’re ready to post that perfect Instagram shot? Pack a portable charger or a battery case that protects your phone while it charges.

Christopher Elliott is the author of How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (National Geographic Books). Follow him on Twitter @elliottdotorg.


  1. Bruno B @ Geeky Explorer
    Barcelona, Spain
    June 22, 2015, 10:41 am

    When I’m on the go I mostly have my phone on airplane mode. Only problem is that usually doesn’t allow for my photos to be tagged with location, which I usually use to organize my photo albums!

    Phone manufacturers REALLY should focus on improving battery life. For now I guess I need to buy one of those cases with an extra battery included.

  2. Ameya
    June 22, 2015, 6:27 am

    Really?? this is your “Special” advice?? duh…

  3. Maria
    June 21, 2015, 6:41 am

    Very helpful advice! One of the problems I have whenever I travel is running out of battery. Your articles and are included on my bookmark as I really find both very helpful and informative.

  4. Marilia:
    June 18, 2015, 7:07 am

    Thank you for this great advice- I always have my phone on airplane mode with the screen brightness turned low when travelling, but it’s difficult to take pictures when you can’t really see what’ s on the screen!
    I probably need to invest in a portable charger