Travel gadgets #1 – chargers and adapters
tldr; get a 4x USB travel adapter with folding US-plug and adapters for UK and europe-plugs. If you bring cameras with more than 1 battery, get a usb-charging-bay. If you bring a laptop, get an SKROSS universal adapter (for world trips) or buy an individual UK/US/EU-adapter if you only travel in 1 area.
When travelling, some gadgets might come in extremely handy.
Luckily we live in a world where most devices charge via USB and most cameras can be made to charge via USB with adapters. So here’s a short overview / suggestion, what to bring on your holiday.
Unfortunately, there is not 1 standard power-socket but ~4 sockets with different implementations, mostly used around the world. Some countries (especially in southeast-asian hostels) opt for power outlets that are already compatible with multiple plugs but being a european, the plugs with a safety-ground-connection (3 Pins / “Schuko”) might be a problem, although their number is decreasing in laptop chargers and mainly hairdryers and irons are the last remaining portable electronics requiring these huge plugs.
Warning: Using a 2 to 3 pin adapter could be extremely dangerous and (at least in germany), those are prohibited from being sold. Please refrain from using any cable-powered device without connecting the protection pin and use a proper adapter for these purposes!.
When buying one of these, make sure they have a replaceable fuse and bring a spare (the fuses will most likely blow if you use a hairdryer or an iron – trust me, this happened 😀 !). As you can see, they are quite bulky so if you’re only in 1 country or area, getting a simple adapter for this country might be cheaper and easier.
Devices in need of power
|Smartphone & Tablet||USB (micro / C / lightning)|
|Laptop||power-socket or USB-C PD (if new)||socket adapter needed!|
|Actioncamera||USB (micro / C )||optional multi battery-charger|
|Old camera||battery charger||USB-battery charger!|
|New camera (e.g. Sony Alpha 6000)||USB (micro / C )||optional multi-battery USB-charger|
|Noise cancelling or bluetooth headphones||USB (micro)|
|Flashlight||single-use batteries / lithium battery||USB Adapter usually included|
So most newer devices can already be charged via USB and for most cameras, there are small USB-battery-charging bays availible as shown below. To account for the unexpected awesome adventures, I’d always prioritise a charger over a 3rd or 4th battery for my camera.
Besides the charger that came with your phone, there are also many capable multi-USB-chargers with different features – here’s what you should look for:
- 2.1A or more per port; total power should be “number of ports you need*2.1A” – on remote islands, there might only be power for ~2 hours per day and you want to refill your powerbank, camera and phone fast!
- if your phone has QuickCharge (2,3) from Qualcomm, check for QC2 or 3 qualified chargers
- if your phone/GoPro has USB-C (usually paired with quickcharge) get a charger with USB-C according to your phones’ quick charge capability:
- QC2 / 3 Phones –> Qualcomm Quick charge capability
- Huawei (e.g. P10 / Mate 10) –> check the comments and questions on amazon to see if Huawei quick charge is implemented. Some USB-PD certified chargers might work
- OnePlus – sorry, I don’t think there are multi-usb-chargers with this capability
- USB-PD (also for some macbooks) get a powerful (18W or more) USB-PD charger
- small size and low weight with enough power
- rounded edges, preferably plastic case
- preferably a folding US-plug with clip-on adapters for other countries
- check user recommendations for ‘whining’ or ‘beeping’ or ‘humming’ or ‘noise’ in general. some chargers create an annoying noise, especially when plugged in without charging or when batteries are full.
- user recommendations with 1 star on amazon are always worth a read and might warn you of bad quality 😉
Here’s what I’m currently bringing on most trips: