Top gadget travel accessories

Traveling with a bagful of gadgets? Here are some useful accessories and tips that will keep them topped off, juiced up, and ready to run.

John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
John Falcone
3 min read
USB travel chargers
Sarah Tew/CNET

The requisite "what's in my gadget bag" feature is a mainstay of consumer electronics coverage these days--we now know what David Pogue (The New York Times), Joshua Topolsky (Engadget editor-in-chief), and Dave Zatz (tech blogger extraordinaire) tote around with them on a daily basis. But I wanted to get a bit more granular. If you want to know which laptop, camera, media player, or phone to buy, there's an app a site for that.

But what about the accessories you need to keep all of those gadgets juiced up and ready for action? Or ways to avoid traveling with three or four proprietary AC chargers stuffed into your bag? That's what I'd like to focus on: some tips that should help anyone who's traveling with multiple portable gadgets, whatever they may be.

First, a few ground rules: I'm going to assume that your minimum travel kit includes a laptop or a Netbook, a cell phone, and a pair of headphones. That may or may not be filled out with a media player, gaming handheld, e-book reader, and/or wireless headset.

"But wait," many of you will say, waving your do-it-all Apple handheld. "My iPhone handles all my communications, media, gaming, and reading needs--I don't need to stuff my carry-on with all those superfluous (and inferior!) devices." Fair enough. But there are plenty of others who won't or can't opt for the iPhone for a variety of reasons--say, lackluster 3GS battery life, AT&T's notoriously dodgy service, or just to protest Apple's control-freak App Store approval process. And plenty of others need to tote an employer-issued BlackBerry or just can't bear a coast-to-coast flight without their DS, PSP, or Kindle. So we're envisioning two travel gadgets as the minimum.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that you necessarily need to get all of these accessories. Some of them are redundant, others are location-specific--obviously, you shouldn't get airline adapters if you never fly. On the other hand, you may find some of these items and tips useful at home, even if you're not a frequent traveler.

We've put the travel accessories and tips into a slideshow format (click on any photo). The last slide leads you back here, where we've collected all the accessories and links mentioned in one handy place.

Gadget travel tips--photos

See all photos

Products featured in this roundup:

Multiport AC USB adapters
Belkin Dual Rotating Charger
Griffin PowerBlock Dual Universal
Kensington 4-Port USB Charger
Lenmar ACUSB4 AC Travel Adapter

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Multiport automobile USB adapters
Belkin Dual Auto Charger
Griffin PowerJolt Dual Universal USB Car Charger
Scosche USB12V2

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Portable power strips
Belkin Mini Surge Protector
Kensington Portable Power Outlet
Monster Power To Go models
Monster OTG300 (includes built-in USB power jack)
Scosche USB12V2
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Portable/rechargeable USB power packs
Duracell USB chargers
Energizer Energi to Go Xpal XP2000
Kensington Portable Power Pack for Mobile Devices

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Other items of note
Lacie IamaKey USB drive
"Power Strip Liberators"
Kensington USB Power Tips

Useful links
Seatguru.com (find power ports for major airlines/planes)
MacBook power cord mod
Steve Kropla's World Electric Guide

Got a travel/power accessory worth recommending? Disagree with any of my picks? Have a tip you want to share? Add your comment below.