One thing is for sure, in today’s world most people cannot live without their electronic devices, be they smartphones, tablets, laptops, iPods etc. So if you are traveling you will need a way of keeping them charged, in the air and at your destination. But can you take phone chargers in hand luggage?
There are two types of phone chargers to consider – the type you plug in to a mains electricity supply to charge a phone (or other type of device) and the type that contains a battery (a power pack or power bank) that charges the device directly. In general both types can be carried in carry on bags but power banks cannot go in checked bags.
Make sure you take a USB charging lead with you that fits your devices as many aircraft now have USB sockets so you can charge devices in the air. If you are on an aircraft without then you will need a power bank if your device dies mid-flight. See the advice on portable chargers and power bank chargers below.
Portable chargers/Power bank chargers
Any device containing a battery, particularly a lithium battery, comes under scrutiny at airport security these days. I believe all portable chargers and power bank chargers currently available contain lithium ion batteries.
With a few exceptions, you can take these in your carry on bag. The exception being any power banks larger than 100 watt hours. You can take two of these devices per passenger though. Some airlines will allow up to 160 watt hours so check with your airline if yours are over 100 watt hours but under 160 watt hours.
It is very important to remember that you cannot put power banks in your checked luggage! You cannot put any spare lithium batteries in checked bags and these count as spare batteries under these regulations. If you do your checked bags are likely to be opened by airport security officers (breaking in if necessary) and the battery pack confiscated.
The TSA have this useful article on taking chargers on a plane – Staying Charged on the Go
I have been using an Anker PowerCore 20100 for a while now which works with most devices, can charge an iPhone over 5 times, and is allowed in your carry on bag.
NOTE: You may be asked by security officials to switch your power bank on to show that it is actually a functioning power bank so make sure that it has some charge in it so you can do this. It you can’t then it may be confiscated.
For full details of the regulations on what batteries you can and cannot take in checked and carry on luggage read my post – Can you take lithium batteries on a plane?
You can always use the TSA’s AskTSA service on Twitter if you are unsure as this passenger did below:
Plug in chargers
You can take plug in phone chargers in hand luggage (or your checked bags) since they do not contain any form of battery.
Normally you will not be able to use them onboard as most aircraft do not have mains power sockets.
You will probably need them at your destination though.
Mains travel adapters
If you are traveling abroad then make sure you take a travel adapter with you. Mains sockets are different around the world so without one you may be stuck with a device you cannot use.
I never travel without my Ceptics World Travel Adapter since I bought it two years ago. It covers all possibilities and works with cell phones, iPhones, tablets, iPads, laptops & other devices anywhere in the world. As it has multiple USB ports I can charge more than one device at a time.
You should be aware that most travel adapter are not voltage converters. In the US the voltage is 110v but in many other parts of the world it is 220-240v. You should check that the device you wish to plug in is capable of handling dual voltage (110-240v). Most new devices work with both. The exceptions are often hair dryers, curling irons and straighteners.