Why you should always pack a power strip with your notebook/tablet

There are many accessories that are useful for traveling with your notebook or tablet. Here’s a must have: a power strip.

Here’s some reasons why:

1.) Sharing versus hogging

With more and more people carrying notebooks, tablets, and other device, power outlets at airport gate waiting areas, and other places like meeting rooms, are increasingly already “full up” from people already camped out using or recharging.

Yes, many airport gates now offer “charging areas” with AC outlets and USB charging ports — but these, too, may be in use.

Having a power strip means you can ask someone if you can share the outlet — and even offer to let somebody else also plug in.

And if you have managed to get the last free outlet, this lets you share with newcomers, rather than have to determine whether you’ve got enough juice to let somebody else have a turn.

2.) Multiplying/centralizing available outlet(s)

Hotel rooms often don’t have enough outlets for your notebook plus your phone charger and maybe one or two additional devices. Or not enough by the desk area where you want to work. Having a power strip avoids scattering your recharging devices around the room, including risking them being in the bathroom (near water, never a good idea).

3.) Going the distance

Notebook AC cables may be five to ten feet long — but sometimes the outlet you want is just a little too far away. Even a short cable on a power strip can make the difference.

4.) Accessing hard-to-get-to outlets

In hotel rooms — but also some offices, libraries and other spaces — the only available outlet is often in a hard-to-reach place. Some are positioned in a way that’s difficult to plug chargers where the AC prongs are right on the power brick. Or the other things already plugged in may not leave the right shape of room for your device’s power adapter. The power strip’s cord, even if short, should make it easier to plug things in.

5.) Charging USB devices

Not all power strips include USB charging ports, but some do. This can often be helpful. If they do, it will be a standard-power one — 5 watts, enough for a smartphone, Bluetooth headset, etc — but won’t be enough for an iPad (which needs 10 watts) or presumably most other larger tablets.

Recommended Power Strips

If you’re seriously strapped for space, you can just get a three-in-one outlet adapter, but I recommend a power strip instead.

My favorite power strips are from Monster’s Outlets To Go line – they’re compact, with the power cord wrapping around the strip and plugging into one of the outlets.

If you want a USB port, check out the Outlets to Go 3 USB , which has three outlets plus a 5-watt USB charging port.

Otherwise, consider the four-outlet Outlets to Go , or the more compact three-outlet one.

The cord length on the 4-outlet Outlets to Go is eleven inches.

Important note, Monster’s Outlets to Go are just power strips. They don’t include any surge protection. If that’s a concern, look for something else, of course.