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Travel Tip #31

Bring Your Gadgets’ Accessories

Remember your first Discman? It took 24 AA batteries and would skip if you tilted it to see which track you were on. You were only able to listen to the one album, but hey, you could listen to the same song over and over with just the press of a button (so this is why it is better than a Walkman!). Sure, you still had to lug around all of your music and the player was as temperamental as an aged Nintendo cartridge, but you had portable digital sound. And who cares if it ate batteries like cookie monster eats cookies? Well, you do when those batteries run out hours later.

Remember your first camera? It was a plastic 35mm camera that cost as much as 3 rolls of film. Wonder how that shot turned out? Check back in a few weeks when you have finished the roll, taken it to the photo shop (note the lower case “p”) waited a few days, went back to the photo shop and picked up your (always double for some reason) prints. Your camera probably did not have a battery and was a completely mechanical device.

Today, we have iPods and iPhones and digital cameras. All of this stuff is so much smaller and lighter than its predecessors that it is no wonder travelers had steamer trunks and checked luggage. Now, we have checked baggage fees and carry on limits, so even SLR cameras devotees will opt for a slim, lightweight digital camera that can upload pictures instantaneously to a computer or the cloud.

With all of this fancy technology comes responsibility. Your iPhone and digital camera are worthless without the charging accessories. There is no need for film, but there are no batteries to buy at souvenir stand, either. The charge may last a long time, but not long enough if you are gone for more than a few days. If you are in a foreign country, your chargers are probably worthless without an electric plug adapter and converter. The shape and voltage varies from country to country, but the manual that comes with the adapter and converter should tell you which ones you will need. An adapter changes the plug shape to fit into the outlet, while the converter changes the voltage to the US standard of 120V. In urban areas, these items can be purchased relatively easily, but since you already own them, why not bring them? If you are going off the beaten path, but don’t want to be off the grid, consider a solar-powered charger, but they are a bit pricey. (Unless you are my dad, who found an unopened one at a garage sale for $2. He would love to tell you all about it.)

Know Before You Go

Adapter and convert kits can be found all over the place and do not cost that much. All you have to do is remember them along with your plugs and chargers.

Bottom Line

Your gadgets need power to operate, and that power usually comes from plugs. US plugs don’t fit everywhere and the voltage isn’t always the same, so bring the necessary adapter and converter. 

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