Whether you're going on a road trip, driving to a new home or exploring off-road areas, getting stranded without communications is still a danger in the modern world. The advent of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have made traveling a bit safer, but battery power and the few existing communications dead zones can still leave you stranded with no way to contact the civilized world. Before heading out on that trip, make sure to prepare yourself with a few communications and navigation backup tips.

Manage Backup Batteries

Mobile devices can put you in contact with anyone using a phone and more. With access to the Internet, you can research local towing services, email someone if they're not picking up the phone and figure out where you are to get out of danger. Unfortunately, many of these tasks consume battery power fairly quickly.

The modern "phone" isn't really a phone at all. The phone part--a cellular radio communicator--is a small component on a bigger computer. Talking on the phone, browsing the web or texting can consume different levels of power depending on your phone, and can leave you stranded without communications if you're not careful.

Unfortunately, the minimum amount of mobile device usage may still drain the battery fairly quickly. One workaround is to keep multiple batteries, but even this seemingly simply technique requires some preparation. Battery power can deplete when not in use, so even if you stock up on smartphone batteries, you'll need to confirm the charge of each battery before your trip.

Leaving the battery on the charger can kill your battery's useful life as well, so it's not wise to leave the batteries on a charging dock until you need them. Instead, charge the batteries to full and check them monthly to ensure proper operation. Don't go overboard with buying batteries; two or three extra batteries may give you enough hours to contact emergency services while keeping yourself entertained.

Mapping and Communications for Dead Zone Areas

Even in the United States, there are areas with no cellular reception. There are still satellite communications offered by various services, but you need specific devices to connect to those services such as a dedicated Global Positioning System unit or an Iridium satellite communicator.

Your mobile phone likely has a GPS feature, but you need to know what kind of application (app) you're using for navigation. Some apps use mobile data (the same data used to browse the web or send pictures, music and videos) to communicate with an online map and avoid using the GPS system alone. If your data runs out during the trip or if you didn't have data in the first place, these apps are useless.

Instead, download an offline map that can be used on your phone and read the description for offline data use. Test it out yourself by driving around with data turned off and checking the position.

You should also develop a map of dead zones that are along your planned trip. While it's nearly impossible to know if you'll break down at a dead zone, you'll at least know where you are in relation to cell phone coverage if you do become stuck in a dead zone. A coverage map can help you plan around these dead zones.

For every leg of your journey, make sure that you're able to get towed after a breakdown. Contact a towing service like Jenwar Towing & Recovery to add towing areas and contact information for every part of your trip, and add them to your emergency contacts to make all of this advice come together.