03 Mar How to Pack Cables, Cords, and Chargers
No matter how lightly I pack, there doesn’t seem to be any way of minimizing the cables, cords, and chargers that I need everywhere I go. Phones, cameras, tablets, e-readers, back-up batteries, laptops… they all need power. In general, I have three rules when traveling with tech: 1) charge everything fully before departing, 2) store devices and charging hardware separately, and 3) never put any of it in my checked baggage.
That’s just the beginning, though. Here are four more things I do to keep myself charged and tangle-free while traveling.
Use a transparent bag
The market is saturated with specialized cable packing bags, complete with Velcro, elastic bands, pouches, and dividers. I think that’s overkill. For me, nothing works better than a clear plastic zipper pouch, since it makes it so much easier to find what I’m looking for. I like the sturdy Packies Zip Top Packing Cubes, but any drugstore cosmetic bag or even a Ziploc bag will work fine in a pinch.
Use gear ties
Oh, how I love these reusable rubber twist ties! For an inexpensive item, they really get the job done. Wrap and bundle every cord neatly, and you’ll never again pull out a tangled mess when you reach in your carryon for your ear buds. They only work if you use them, though. Or so I am fond of telling my not-so-organized husband.
Get a good power strip
There are two reasons to bring a power strip on all your trips. First, it will enable you to share a single outlet three ways at the airport. Second, you will be able to charge all your devices at once in your hotel room at night without using obscure corner outlets (which increases the risk of accidentally leaving something behind).
The Outlets to Go Powerstrip with USB by Monster is a popular choice. While it’s not a converter, most electronic devices these days are dual voltage, and can be charged with 110 or 220 volts. It has three AC plugs and one USB port.
Research international voltage and plugs
When traveling overseas, many people become confused about the difference between adapters and converters (adapters change the plug shape, converters change the voltage). Then they Google, “what plugs does Vietnam use?” Then they throw their hands in the air, buy a kit that includes way more than they need, and throw it in their suitcase. That’s overpacking.
Instead, go to VoltageValet.com and click on the Electricity Guide. From here, you can choose a country, and actually see what the grounded and ungrounded plugs you’ll need look like. That way, you can buy and pack only what you need.