Become your own cable guy

For even the most mild-mannered gadget freak, keeping track of cables has become an unwanted challenge when travelling. David Braue offers a few tips for making the trip easier.

For even the most mild-mannered gadget freak, keeping track of cables has become an unwanted challenge when travelling. David Braue offers a few tips for making the trip easier.

So you're heading on the road for a week, month or a year?

Packing for travel - especially when there's work to be done - is no longer as simple as throwing appropriate clothes, ample clean undergarments and a lint remover into your suitcase. The explosion in mobile technology has given the world all kinds of devices to make our lives easier, but taking those devices on the road can be downright nerve-wracking.

Each device requires its own charger, spare batteries and cable for connecting to your computer. There are different voltages to deal with, different power-point sockets, and the practical issues of dealing with a maddening spaghetti of cables. Furthermore, the longer you go away, the harder it can be because you have to organise even more devices - and a way to keep them running for the long haul.

This writer found out just how challenging packing can be when getting ready for a six-month working holiday in Singapore, where I had to establish a long-term field office with all the accoutrements of the home office in Melbourne.

This required accommodating a range of gear including: an iPod, two notebook PCs (the second one an old model for the kids' exclusive use), snapshot and SLR digital cameras, mobile phone, phone-to-voice over IP conversion box, video camera, and the MiniDisc recorder used to record interviews. Once in Singapore, we also added a conventional phone (for the VoIP service), multifunction printer, and wireless LAN router, each of which added its own power and connectivity requirements to the mix.

Has the phrase 'travelling light' simply become an oxymoron?

In the end, the result was a huge spaghetti of cabling under the desk, keeping all the devices powered and linked up. The bad news: it was no small effort to get all this stuff organised, packed and untangled upon arrival. The good news: there are better ways to keep your gadget stuff in order while you're travelling. Here, we present some handy hints to help you pack your mobile life for a sustained time on the road.

 

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