How to Deal with Power Outages While Travelling

When you are travelling the world, you’ll find that some countries don’t always have electricity that is consistently reliable. For example, we are in Myanmar and we have found that surviving power outages in Myanmar can occur frequently. In some more remote parts of the country, such as Pyin Oo Lwin, they would occur at least once per day and sometimes last for several hours. We also experienced this in other parts of Southeast Asia such as Cambodia and Laos and it will be true for many parts of the world.

So, how do you deal with this issue and not let it ruin your travels? Power outages are a pain at home even when you are fully prepared, but what if they happen while you are on the road? Here are some tips on surviving power outages to keep in mind if you are travelling in a country that has frequent outages.


Surviving Power Outages while Travelling

  • If you have some advance warning, for example if you know that a storm is coming and that usually shuts the power down, try to power up all of your electronics such as your laptop and phone before the storm hits.
  • Bring a small flashlight or headlamp with you so that you can see your way around during a power outage. Without any streetlamps the night can be very dark.
Surviving Power Outages: Flashlight, Torch, Let your light shine
Let your light shine: Photo on Flickr by Dirk Dallas / CC BY-NC 2.0
  • If you don’t have your flashlight with you, remember that in a pinch your smartphone can be used as a light. Download a flashlight app for an even brighter light.
  • Try to make sure you are carrying cash on you at all times. When the power is out in the entire town, the ATMs will not be working. Some restaurants might still be open but they will only be accepting cash.
Pay Cash
Pay Cash: Photo on Flickr by Thomas Hawk / CC BY-NC 2.0
  • Many hotels and resorts will have backup generators that they can use during times of no power. Read the reviews online to find out if the hotel you want to book is one of those.
  • Invest in a portable phone charger. We have one that can hold about three or four full charges. You can charge it from the electricity when the power is on, then when the power goes out you can use it to keep your phone topped up.
Surviving Power Outages: Portable Phone Charger
Portable Phone Charger: Photo on Flickr by Raul Gonzalo / CC BY 2.0
  • Look for activities that you can do which do not require electricity. During the day you could go for a walk, explore ancient ruins, go swimming, etc. In the evening you could chat with friends at the hostel by candlelight, read a book or play a board game.
  • If you have food in a hotel room fridge during a power outage, try to keep the door closed as much as possible so that you can keep the cold in and preserve your food. Eat up anything that as perishable as soon as you can.
Hotel Mini Fridge
Hotel Mini Fridge: Photo on Flickr by *bri* / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A power outage while you are travelling can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to ruin your entire trip. Keep these surviving power outages tips in mind to deal with it and still have fun!

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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