Surviving a Power Outage at Your Hotel

While wandering around my room at the Grand Hyatt Tampa this weekend, I was really pleased to see this in the closet:



I’ve experienced not one—but two massive weather related power outages while at hotels.  (And both at Hilton Garden Inns!)

While power outages are a huge cost and inconvenience while at home, they can be dangerous and worrisome when you are in a hotel—especially when your “room with a view†is now a “room with a twenty floor walk up.â€

Here are some things that have helped me and my family when stuck at a hotel during a power outage.

1. Get a Flashlight App

I have a Flashlight app on my cell phone on the main screen.  It’s been great even when the power goes out for a short period really suddenly.  If I’m in a staircase that goes dark, I can pull out my cell phone and activate it quickly.

2013-09-29 09.58.44

I use the Brightest Flashlight Free App and I find it really useful.  It lights up on both sides, so you can aim it ahead, but also see right in front of you.

The Free Version comes with ads, but I’m not really looking at the screen anyway when I’m trying to navigate the stairs.


2. Utilize Things With Long Battery Lives—including the original kindle

Believe it or not, my original non-tablet style kindle was a life saver for me during power outages. The version of the kindle that looks like paper has a really long battery life, and you can access things like twitter through it.

It’s under “Experimental†in the menu and I found it as I was scrambling for ways to contact people during one of the power outages—which happened during my brother’s wedding in Upstate New York.

I was able to pass on information and get help just by sending tweets out and waiting for people to respond.

Here’s a list of instructions for how to access that on the paper-style Kindle.

And here’s how to get this feature on the newer Kindles (it isn’t as obvious):

Now I also carry a tablet with me, which also has a large battery life and a 3G connection.  I can alternate what tool I use to communicate out, saving precious cell phone battery.

3. Carry Cash

dreamstime_xs_14073689I’m bad at this.  But once the power goes out for days at a time, your credit card means nothing.  I’ve had people take pity on me and write down my credit card number, trusting it wouldn’t be declined, but my husband has been a life saver since he carries cash.

Some restaurants still opened during the power outages, but on a cash only basis.  Grills and brick based pizza ovens only need fire to operate.

Yes, you won’t get miles from your purchase, but you will get food.

4. Go West

Or North. Or East. Or South.  Even though the hotels within a reasonable vicinity of us were sold out, during the great DC Derecho, my parents, Keri, my husband, and I drove out to where there was power for the day.  As the temperature went up, we were able to experience A/C during the day even though we had to drive back to our darkened hotels at night.

So instead of trying to show my parents around a darkened DC on a 90 degree day, we were enjoying this:



5. Carry a Battery-Based Phone Charger

This is a really light accessory to add to your bag and has worked great for me.  It is also great in case you accidentally leave your phone on in flight and land with a dead battery.  AA batteries are generally easy to get, and you can throw your phone in your bag and leave it charging.  You won’t have to be tied to a wall in the airport, waiting for your phone to get just enough of a charge.

Phone Charger


I keep two extra AA batteries in a baggy in my purse.  I also have a drawer at home that has this charger along with a  pack of AA batteries (along with some flashlights, etc.) in case of power outage at home.

This will keep your cell phone, iPad, Wireless Hot Spot, Kindle, etc., etc., charged. I also own a Micro USB to iPad converter tip to charge my Apple Devices (your iPad will look like it isn’t charging but it is).

Micro USB to Apple


I’m now carrying one extra light device, one more Droid App, and slightly more cash, and I was much more prepared the second time I found myself in this situation.

What do you use to prepare for emergencies like these when traveling?

Disclaimer:  If you purchase items using my Amazon links, I get a small amount of affiliate credit and appreciate your support.  If you prefer not to use my links, no worries!  I use all these products myself, and own way too many of them stowed in different places. 

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Great post… I noticed the flashlight in my closet at the Hyatt this morning 🙂

  2. Flashlights apps are notorious spyware programs and in the one you mentioned specifically had problems with the FTC.

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