Sunday, October 14, 2012

Preparing to travel – Electronics

As I am mentally getting ready for another trip, I have started to think about the various electricity using items I will be bringing and how to work them out.
Now I don’t know what you carry on your travels but I find that there are a lot of items that need electricity.
  • Laptop and/or tablet
  • Cellphone (sometimes 2 different models/brands)
  • Camera with rechargeable batteries
  • Electric razor
Each of these has a power cord, and thus needs to be plugged in to charge if not to be used. 

Now a little background, I live in a county where the voltage is 220v and this trip is to the USA, where the voltage is 110v. There are many different outlet styles too. So this means adapters or converters if the devices are not able to support both voltages. (Check what each country you will visit uses in terms of voltage and plug here.)
Given that list, I should need 3 – 4 adapters (the camera uses a US plug so I use an adapter at home). So, I cheat. Rather than take enough adapters for every device or power pack, I take a 4 or 5 outlet power strip and 1 adapter for all the devices I use in my hotel room (phone charger, shaver, etc.). 
I also carry a computer electronics kit with:
  • Retractable Ethernet cable
  • USB hub
  • Travel mouse
  • Computer lock
Now you may ask why in this day and age of Wi-Fi I need an Ethernet cable. To be honest I almost never need it, but I have gone to a few hotels (mostly in USA or Japan) where there is no free Wi-Fi in the rooms but they do have free Ethernet. Not sure why, but it is easy enough to carry the retractable cable just in case.

Other things to consider, some devices use batteries. Do you need special ones (like my camera) or can you just buy a standard pack of AA or AAA for your mouse or camera when they die? Some people use rechargeable AA or AAA batteries, and I strongly approve. But I have had some problems when changing voltage with the standard recharger. So either bring enough for your trip or be prepared to buy a set of replacements.
Additional items that some people carry that you may want to consider:
  • Video adapter – usually needed to connect tablet or Mac laptop to projector
  • Wi-Fi / MiFi hub to share connection between devices
  • Laser Pointer for presentations (I carry an old fashion retractable one just in case)
Regardless of what you bring, keep security in mind. There have been recent reports of theft of items from checked luggage. So I try to keep anything valuable, or that I cannot work without, in my carry-on bag. Thus power strip gets checked but chargers get carried.