I learned long ago that there are certain items that are essential when travelling, especially backup chargers, cords, and converters. The last thing you need on a trip is to not have power for your phones, laptops, cameras, and ipads.
In today’s electronic world, there are multiple types of connectors – USB, C, D, flash and that’s the ones I know of – there are probably more! My camera and Bose headphones both use the D charger, while my new ipad uses C, and my iphone still uses flash. It can get cumbersome trying to make sure I have all of the cords, plus backup cords, plus other do-dads such as SD card readers to upload pictures from my camera to my phone and ipad. Then of course there are the camera batter chargers that have their own charger (and cords), and whatever international converter is required for the countries we are travelling to. Converters used to be confined to being able to use standard plugs, but gratefully, companies started making converters that you could plug your USB or C directly into, which I love.
One of my favorite converters has 4 USB slots which allows me to plug in chargers for my phone, camera, and ipad and still have one blank slot. But I still need to be able to plug in my curling iron and sometimes a 10 volt plug to charge my ipad faster, so I usually carry at least two different converters. Often I have three, probably out of fear of leaving a converter behind accidentally or a converter that stops working. I’d rather not spend my time shopping for converters on my trip, so I like to make sure I cover all my bases.
For backup batteries, I’ve tried multiple different ones over the years. Often the batteries don’t hold charge very long. In fact the Anker magnetic wireless portable charger that I bought for my cellphone looked great. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well since the power quickly drained, even when it wasn’t in use. I recently bought one that was touted to fit in my purse, which it most certainly did – but as far as performance, it was a waste of space! I’d rather have a slightly heavier battery that functions at optimal levels. My favorite one is the black and purple Shinng shown in the picture. It has a flashlight on it, easily shows the charge level, but most importantly it holds the charge for months on end and it can fully charge my phone up to two times. The one on the right is the Anker battery that clicks magnetically to my iphone. It doesn’t have much of a charge and it decharges in my desk drawer when not in use, so I’m not a fan.
For plugs, all things are not as they seem. I don’t have a lot of understanding of power/volts and I always thought a charging plug was all the same. Then I’d tried to charge my ipad pro and nothing happened. Or I’d plug in my phone and it seemed to take forever to charge. Or worse, it didn’t show any charge at all! Sometimes it seemed to be the cord while other times it seemed to be the plug and often, I had no clue as to why things weren’t charging or were charging at a snail’s pace. So I had to dig into some basics and boy was I surprised! Not all plugs have enough voltage. For my ipad pro I ended up buying additional USC C Apple fast charging cords. I once bought several combined USB and C plugs and nothing worked, it was so aggravating. I also discovered that not all cords work and now I don’t buy generic cords even if they do say they are ‘guaranteed’ to work on my particular iphone.
When packing, I usually pack three separate light cloth bags for cords/plugs/chargers. In each bag I include a short 7” cord, a long 6’ cord, one converter, one or two 110v blocks, and a backup battery. I keep one bag handy for the flight in my backpack/tote, one goes in my carryon bag that includes change of clothes and other items for delayed check in luggage, and one goes in my check in luggage. I also include the camera battery charger and an extra cord for it, as well as the SD card readers, one flash and one a C. That way I can easily transfer pictures from my camera quickly to both my ipad and iphone even when airdrop isn’t available or too slow.
I suggest checking all of your cords and charging blocks before you leave on your trip to make sure everything is working. On one of my trips to Iceland, I discovered that one of the disk readers actually didn’t work and having packed a backup saved me.
Cathy and I often look at our individual bags of cords, converters and backup batteries and laugh that we might have more than we actually need, but then again if you don’t have it and need it, you waste precious travel time figuring it out.