What’s The Best Travel Tech Gear?

This is a guest post by one of my readers, Paul.  He’s a road warrior, marketing guy and dad.  I’m always interested in what people carry around for technology, curious whether I have the best gear.  I plan to break down my backpack in a future post.  But, for now, here’s what Paul recommends as his go-to tech:

I was a road warrior for so many years that some personnel at United,  Southwest and a few convention hotels in Vegas knew me by name (not good).  And, now with a family, I travel frequently for business and pleasure.  I’m curious though, what electronics do people take with them on the road?  Here’s what I always carry in my electronics “go” kit.  Note, this list does not include my iPhone X which is with me everywhere except the pool. The contents adjust depending upon where and what.  But this is the always “ready to go” minimum.

iPad

I’m wed to the Apple system as my wife, mother, son, babysitters and I have (too) many phones, iPads… alas, between us I’m the de facto IT guy.  I love the 9.7″ iPad paired with a Logitech keyboard case for checking email and writing comfortably on the road, watching movies, scanning travel blogs and reading books via the amazing Kindle app.  (When both are on WIFI, I can stop reading on my iPad and start reading from the same spot on my iPhone — love that!)  I don’t have the most recent iPad. Honestly, I buy refurbished units and they have served me well, updating them whenever it is time for our son to get a new (to him) iPad.

Apple AirPods and Sony WH-H900N h.ear on 2  

I love the AirPods for walking around, conversing and wearing unobtrusively at airports while observing the swirl of people (side note: not everyone loves AirPods).  Great sound, sufficient battery life for me and comfortable enough for a side sleeper to wear when napping on a plane.  I tried the Bose QC series and did not like the fit.  After too much research, I selected the Sony h.ear on 2 headphones and LOVE them.  In fact, I often take work calls on them.  Best of all, I bought them on eBay as an “open box” item and they were delivered sealed in the original box.  My Sony headphones came with an adapter to plug into antiquated multi prongs on planes.

Anker PowerCore Battery

Anker makes a number of different battery sizes, but the 20100 mAh will charge a ton of devices (you can see Ed’s breakdown of the charging capacity of various Anker batteries).  How many of you travel with spouses and kids who “forgot” to charge their devices before leaving home?  I’m the power source for our household.   Cannot imagine leaving home without at least one.  Anker products occasionally go on sale on Amazon, so wait for a low price if you can.

Anker Lightning Cables

I’ve bought and thrown out so many cheap, broken cables, it’s nearly a tragedy.  But, I discovered the Anker brand of Lightning cables and like them for their long life and variety of sizes and colors.  You’ll find them in our cars and in my “go” bag.  We put them into use when on planes, trains and in automobiles.  Having forgotten that they were charging in the USB port on planes, I’ve gotten up quickly and had them pop out of the USB connector with no ill effect.  YMMV.  These go on sale occasionally on Amazon as well, so watch Pizza in Motion for sale updates!
Anker

Anker Braided Cable

iPhone Charging Case

I’ve tried a number of iPhone X charger/carrying cases, but have not found one yet that works really well.  One brand lasted six months, another just one month.  Maybe my rotten luck. This Smiphee unit has served decently, but sometimes needs to have the phone inserted multiple times to get charging properly.  Do you have one that you like a lot?

Travel Surge Protector

Nothing ticks me off more than hotel rooms with too few or poorly placed electrical plugs.  When flying domestically for trips of 2 days or more, I always take Belkin’s magical SurgePlus USB Swivel Surge Protector and Charger that has three plugs, two USB ports and can swivel like a Cirque dancer.  (BTW, if you forget a wall plug for your USB powered device, most hotel flat screen TVs have USB ports on the back — assuming you brought a cable, voila, you can charge your phone).  I have given these Belkins units away as holiday gifts — at first the recipients have scoffed, (yes, boring gift), but within months, most have thanked me for giving them such a versatile travel tool.  Make sure to purchase the 2.1 Amp version for tablet/multiple device charging.

International Travel Adapter

Over the past three years, I have tested multiple travel adapters and have found THE winner.  POWERADD has a smashing device that has worked exceptionally well so far in the UK, Japan, Croatia, Hungary, France….  Two USB ports, outlets for two plugs and a microUSB dongle (for which you can buy an inexpensive USB to Lightning adaptor for the iAddicts amongst us).  Comes with multiple wall connectors which easily slip on/off.   And it’s surprisingly affordable at roughly $25.  Paired with the Belkin SurgePlus, we are almost always charged up and ready to go overseas.

The Rest

Two more things are always in my electronics “go” bag, but low tech.  The first is a pen wrapped with 1 foot of gaffer tape.  The pen part I hope is obvious. Gaffer tape can temporarily fix just about anything and is easier to get on/off than duct tape IMHO.  And the second is, earplugs.  Sometimes, even when I have my Sony headset on turned to volume 10, I can still hear the wailing little kid two rows behind me. (Poor kid).  Earplugs under a noise cancelling headset = guaranteed quiet for Paul.
What do you carry?  What are your travel electronic essentials?

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6 Comments

  1. My list of items is similar. I carry a large battery and a smaller one; the larger battery has a USB C and a USB A connection that will charge my laptop, Ipad or phone. When I am on a plane that the power in the seat won’t work, this battery comes in handy. I can not see the model number I have but found an article listing other models. https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/1/18410552/laptop-portable-batteries-high-wattage-usb-c-charger.

    I also carry a smaller battery for when I need to walk around and need a quick charge although I have the extended battery pack on my phone which last all day even in areas where the battery drains quickly.

    For power I carry a simple adapter with this devicehttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072JZMTXN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 what I like about it is, the outlets will cover most countries. If I am in a hotel with limited, and several of the smaller European hotels fit this description. I can unplug the lamp plug it back into this device and still plug in my laptop or while traveling with people from other countries I can share an outlet. This device is light and small enough to fit in my briefcase when going to the office.

    Headphones I have both the Sony, Bose, Airpods along with the beats pro model that just was released. The sony has a better fit, better sound and does not have feedback when cupping your hand over it like the Bose does while trying to sleep on a plane. The Bose is lighter; the software is better and connects to multiple devices simultaneously. On my last trip, I decided to take the Bose QC35 with me and was not disappointed, the Sony for its slightly better sound was not worth the frustration as I switched from using my iPad to my computer or iPhone and yes on a long flight I have done that. For day to day use, I prefer the airpods, I have the new beats, and although the comfort and sound quality is good, I found them annoying to take off and put on. You can not have a conversation with them in your ears like you can the airpods.

    Taking it a step further, I carry all of my cables in a clear thinktank bag. Makes it easier to pull from my carry on or briefcase when going through security. I use this one https://www.amazon.com/Think-Tank-Photo-Management-Camera/dp/B009YYFX5A/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=thinktank&qid=1560945188&s=electronics&sr=1-7 and this one https://www.amazon.com/Think-Tank-Photo-Management-Camera/dp/B009YYFY4K/ref=pd_bxgy_img_3/139-7276265-3871816?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B009YYFY4K&pd_rd_r=d4145372-9288-11e9-90a4-bfdd2be50711&pd_rd_w=tItE0&pd_rd_wg=KCJ6l&pf_rd_p=a2006322-0bc0-4db9-a08e-d168c18ce6f0&pf_rd_r=2FBXYADT73SCC72DHWBJ&psc=1&refRID=2FBXYADT73SCC72DHWBJ

    I also use Anker cables, my opinion they are the best made third-party cables and adapters. I also use this charge for my iPad. Small lightweight and has an extra adapter.

    1. Leonard, thanks for sharing. I’m going to be breaking down my backpack soon. I’ve moved to the point where I like the Bose noise-canceling earbuds for most everything, with the AirPods as my reluctant backup for the gym, etc. I find it easy to sleep with the Bose buds on planes.

  2. My new favorite is the BESTEK International Power Adapter. It’s the best blend of an extension cord (not all hotels or conference rooms place their outlets conveniently), adapter, and USB charger with global adapters. I’ve done 147k BIS miles this year so far and it has always flown with me.

    My other favorite is the Gospace Qi Wireless Charger Power Bank, 3-in-1 Wireless Charger. It’s a bit larger than most power bricks but incorporates wireless (Qi), USB, and USB-C charging with a LED that shows the % of charge left, plus comes with interchangeable adapters that have served me all over the world.

  3. Since moving to a laptop that uses USB-C for power, I carry the “Nekteck 72W USB Wall Charger with 4 USB Ports”. It combines a USB-C port delivering 60W for the laptop with three USB-A ports, in a package that is only slightly larger than the laptop’s OEM charger. If not powering a laptop, the USB-C port can also be used for fast charging a phone or tablet with the appropriate USB-C adapter cable.

    For an international travel adapter, the “EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter One Worldwide International Wall Charger AC Plug Adaptor with 5.6A Smart Power and and 3.0A USB Type-C” is another solid option. It looks to be smaller than the one mentioned above (very important to me), and though it only has one electrical outlet it includes four USB-A ports and one USB-C port.

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