Best way to travel with Apple Watch

Between commuting to Montréal, European roller derby adventures, and Apple events, I've seen a fair amount of travel this year. I've spoken before about how I travel with my electronics and what I pack, but I want to talk specifically about traveling with an Apple Watch.

Why travel with an Apple Watch?

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Friends, the better question is why not travel with an Apple Watch? It's one of the easiest ways to send texts or keep up on flight alerts as you traverse terminals with heavy bags. It'll track all those steps you spend dragging said suitcases from airports to hotels and back again.

And if you're in an area that supports tap-to-pay — which is, at this point, pretty much every country outside of the U.S. — paying with your watch is about a million times simpler and more secure than using a credit card. (Especially because if you're traveling with a U.S. card, you'll often have to sign for purchases; that requirement is lifted when you're using Apple Pay.)

Heck, even some gas stations in the United States have started supporting tap-to-pay: When I drove back from Montréal this week, I was able to pay for my gas on I-89 solely by waving my Apple Watch. Magic.

The best apps to set up before you travel

Maybe it's because I've been traveling to places lately without reliable internet access, but I've become more conscious about configuring my Apple Watch before I go on trips. I usually set up Solar, Astronomy (with the face set to the Moon), and Modular faces, with the Modular as my primary.

I set up the Modular face with information that will remain current even if I lose internet access (i.e. sunrise and sunset, activity, projected weather conditions). If I'm traveling via plane, I may also set up a secondary Modular face with information on flights.

Also: Load the apps you plan on using before you take off or lose internet access! I almost always load up Authy and Just Press Record.

The best band to bring while traveling

While you can absolutely travel with multiple Apple Watch bands, I tend to favor bringing one all-purpose option, especially if the trip is short — it saves on packing room, and avoids the stress of worrying about expensive, easy-to-lose items.

My favorite bands for traveling are from Apple's Woven Nylon collection. Depending on what I plan to do while I'm abroad, I'll either pack the Midnight Blue (opens in new tab), Pearl (opens in new tab), or Black (opens in new tab). They're all simple enough to look good with multiple outfits — even dressier occasions — and the woven nylon material holds up through anything you might want to do. l love my Hermès Double Tour, but it's not practical to travel with if I plan to do any skating or hiking.

Also, let's be honest: Do you really want to risk losing a $500 band while you're on the road? At $49, the Woven Nylon bands are some of Apple's cheapest; if, god forbid, you lose one, replacing one won't destroy your budget.

If you want to bring multiple bands, I suggest picking up something like Twelve South's TimePorter: It's an all-in-one travel case that holds spare bands and provides a nice tabletop charging solution for you while you're on the road. (You will need to supply your own Apple Watch charging cable, however.)

The best way to charge your Apple Watch while traveling

It's pretty easy to score a spare iPhone cable from friends while traveling, but the Apple Watch's magnetic charger makes it a bit trickier to charge while you're wandering about airports.

I mentioned Twelve South's TimePorter above; if you know you'll be able to charge overnight near an outlet, it's an excellent choice. But what if you're going camping, or plan to be in transit for more than 24 hours? With external batteries, there's no need to watch your Apple Watch slowly die as you change timezones.

ElevationLab BatteryPro

ElevationLab BatteryPro (Image credit: iMore)

When I went to England, I saved my Apple Watch from battery death multiple times thanks to ElevationLab's BatteryPro. It's an 8000mAh portable battery with a built in Apple Watch charging solution — including a strap to hold it in place while you're running around.

8000mAh is a bit too small to charge both my iPhone and Apple Watch on the road, so I dedicated the BatteryPro to only charging the Apple Watch while I was traveling; for my iPad Pro and iPhone 7 Plus, I brought my Tylt Energi Pro's 20,100mAh battery.

Could I have just brought my Energi Pro along with an Apple Watch cable? Probably. But charging three devices simultaneously each night is a lot to ask of a single battery — even if it does sport a 20,100mAh pack. By bringing two separate batteries, I knew I'd always have a charged Apple Watch and phone in the morning — even if power plugs were in short supply.

I also can't say enough good things about the BatteryPro's Apple Watch strap: As someone who gets stuck with a low-battery Apple Watch in airports pretty frequently thanks to cross-country (or intercontinental) flights, I can remove my watch and strap it to the charger — all while continuing to walk to my flight's gate. With a traditional cord, I often had to stop, degear, find a "perfect" pocket to stick my Apple Watch in with its charger, and pray it wouldn't get dislodged if I continued trekking.

The best way to clean your Apple Watch while traveling

I'm with fellow iMore editor Mikah Sargent here: I really love Whoosh's Screen Shine Wipes (opens in new tab) when traveling. They're useful for wiping dirt and grime off your phone and your watch, but moreover, I've found them useful for cleaning sweat and dirt off my Apple Watch band, too.

Your best Apple Watch travel tips?

How do you travel with your Apple Watch, readers? Any extra tips I'm missing out on? Let me know in the comments.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

1 Comment
  • That ElevationLab battery looks awesome. Thanks for that tip, Serenity!