Updated: December 2017
Top 3 Electronic Travel Gadgets You NeedBetween laptops, tablets, smart phones, cameras, and more, let's face it - we all end up bringing a lot of electronics and associated cords and chargers whenever we travel anywhere. How can we live without this stuff, right? The problem is keeping all those gadgets and batteries charged. Let's start at the airport - how often do you find yourself staring at that one single outlet behind the ticket counter or over by the wall, wishing that person typing on their laptop would move it and take their charger cord with them and let you have access to that outlet? Carry item #1 with you (see photo below), a little extension cord, instantly turning one outlet into 3 (2 on the front, and there is another outlet on the back), plus a USB charger outlet. We've been using the Monster Outlets To Go for a few years now. For less that $12, this thing is a real life saver, and you will make instant friends wherever you travel! The cord wraps around it when not in use, so it's about the size of a TV remote when packed away. The cord itself is about 14" long.
Best Travel Power AdaptersApart from that extension code, another option is the Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Charger (see photo to left). At 5" tall and 2" deep, this mini charger is a powerhouse when on the road. If you've ever had multiple family members in a hotel room all trying to find a power outlet to charge phones or whatever, you know it can be a challenge. With this Belkin, just plug it in on the nightstand or wall, and let 3 power cords or 2 USB cables begin charging all at the same time. Problem solved.
Either of these portable travel chargers will do the job when you are somewhere with a power outlet. But electronic devices also have a tendency to lose power when you are out and about - sometimes an instant charge is what you need. So #2 must-have gadget is an external power bank. External power banks are small, portable battery chargers, about the size of your smart phone (though heavier since they are ALL battery!), that carry enough power to charge your smart phone several times over, depending on the size you get. You simply charge them up in advance, and then carry them with you with the appropriate USB cable that you need to recharge your device on the go (iPhone, iPad, etc.).
We like the Anker models, like the Anker Astro 10000mAh Portable Charger. For less than $25, you get one of the top-rated chargers, with enough backup power to charge an iPhone 3-4 times. That should get just about anybody through a long day of travel. Another winner is the RAVPower 15000mAh Deluxe Portable Charger - same story, top-rated, a little more expensive at about $40, but this one has 50% more capacity, you can charge 2 phones or tablets at once. Again, the only trick is to remember to keep these extra battery packs charged in advance - then you have plenty of portable power to carry with you and recharge your devices as needed.
See best-selling external power banks here.
International Power Adapters/Outlet ConvertersSo now you've got multiple outlets for charging multiple devices at the same time, whether at airport, hotel, or anywhere else there is a power outlet. And you've got portable power in your pocket via a power bank to keep you charged when on the go. The last must-have travel gadget is the portable outlet converter for international travel (also called international power adapters). Yes, when you leave the US, other countries do NOT have the same three prong outlets we are used to seeing on the wall. Different countries have different numbers and sizes of prongs, and you need an outlet converter (different from an actual power converter - do NOT plug things like hair dryers and flat-irons into these - the electronics will fry) if you want to plug in your phone, tablet, laptop, or camera battery chargers. The picture at the right shows what a typical outlet converter looks like. Often, your hotel will have one to loan you, but not always.. It pays to bring your own just to make sure - and they are so inexpensive. Basically, you fold out the international prongs you need on one side (Europe, England, etc.) and then plug that into the wall outlet, and then plug your regular US-style 3 prong into the back of the converter. I've been using a travel wall charger like this for years - it cost less than $10 and has worked without a hitch.
You can browse Amazon's best-selling travel power adapters here. You should not have to spend more than $10-$15 for one of these - they all work pretty much the same.
With these must-have electronic travel gadgets in your bag, you and your electronics will be ready for just about anything!