SUVs bursting at the seams with camping gear, roadways bumper to bumper with daredevil drivers and cramped airplanes filled with bodies and baggage—all aimed in the direction of their idyllic summer getaways.

For some, it’s a tranquil beach house with crashing waves just moments away, for others it’s a mountainside cabin with the scent of pines wafting through the clean, crisp air and still for others it’s the noisy city, with skyscrapers jutting into the sky, neon lights dancing down the streets and a world of frenetic excitement begging for exploration. We all have our energizing destination.

Just one hitch. Well, one technology hitch that is. I’ll leave you to yourself to figure out how to navigate the deodorant-aversive seatmate in aisle 3, the finger-wagging maniac on I-35 and the “little” brown bear who decided that your leftover fried chicken was a Rocky Mountain delicacy just too good to pass up.

Just one technology hitch: batteries. More specifically, drained batteries. Arrgh! I have a story.

A few years ago my son and I were at a Rangers game for Father’s Day. The temps were brutal. It was a sweaty, delightful, lava flow of an evening. The plan was for us to ride the free trolley back to our hotel. As the game neared the final out, I freely allowed myself to imagine the blissful air-conditioned joy ride back to the hotel. The island oasis was clearly a mirage.

Before I go on, you need to know that I’m a raging introvert with a huge need for personal space. Let’s continue.

Melting away in line, I saw the trolley filling, filling, filling. Pretty soon it was evident that I couldn’t possibly have my personal space cake and eat it, too. I reached for my cell phone to make the rescue call. Surely my wife would be willing to come and save me from the utter inhumanity.

I was horrified to find that, like the crown of my sun-soaked head, the battery icon had turned eerily red. I dialed. It connected…and promptly died.

I did what any sane introvert with personal space issues would do. I abandoned the trolley line with my son in tow and headed for the hotel on foot. A few miles of hiking seemed like a better option than sharing a 20-passenger bus with 1,000 other people. (Maybe the sweat in my eyes blurred the numbers a little, but you see my logic, right?)

After being baptized by sputtering sprinkler systems, trekking through jungles of toe-slicing weeds and engaging in felony level amounts of jay walking, we found ourselves in familiar territory, directly under the clickety-clack of the Judge Roy Scream. We promptly drowned out the nearby Six Flags shouts with our own shrieks of joy when, out of nowhere, my wife’s rescue taxi rounded the corner.

She mercifully refused to condemn our wayward solution to a crowded bus. The blisters on my feet, the shame on my face and the relieved smile on my lips likely said all she needed to hear about our late-night stroll. And all that, because a battery died on me…well, that and because I didn’t want to be tummy-to-tummy with anyone else as sweaty and malodorous as myself.

Okay, where were we? Oh, yes. Batteries.

Before you hit the road this summer, these tips will be important for you to enjoy your journey…or have the juice in your device to call for someone to help you escape it.

Tune your device to sip, not slurp. Many devices may be using up needless battery supplies. Turn off power hungry apps and settings. Bluetooth and GPS settings, for instance, might be devouring your battery. Do a Google search for your particular device and battery saving tips.

Invest in a good on-the-go battery supply. Increasingly, there’s a huge array of portable battery charging options: cell phone cases with built-in batteries, small battery backups that fit in your pocket or purse and larger backup batteries that could provide hours more battery life. Look for portable batteries with the highest capacity milliampere-hour (mAh).

Finally, don’t forget to charge the most important battery of all…your own! Summer, for all its fun, can be very draining. Take time to truly recharge. Slow down. Breathe. Eat well. Sleep well. Be well.


Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.

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