Macworld's Summer Travel Guide

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Stay in power

Gadgets need power—and lots of it. Deprive them for too long, and you may find that your latest tech wonders are about as useful as a five-pound brick. Here are six ways to keep your gear ready to run when you’re on-the-go.

Pricing guide

Free
$ - Bargain ($1–$30)
$$ - Inexpensive ($31–$60)
$$$ - Moderate ($61–$150)
$$$$ - Pricey ($151–$350)
$$$$$ - Splurge (more than $350)

Portability guide (from low to high)

Weightless
Extremely Portable
Comfortable
Cumbersome
Burdensome

Multiply your outlets (A)

Price: $
Portability: Comfortable

If you’re a seasoned traveler, the mattress probably isn’t the first thing you check when you walk into a hotel room—the room’s power outlets are. You can avoid the nasty shock of finding just one free outlet by carrying an Outlets To Go Power Strip by Monster Cable. Available with four or six outlets, these lightweight power strips are small enough to slip into a shoulder bag. Monster Cable paid attention to details, too: the outlets are widely spaced, the flat cord wraps around the unit and plugs into one of the outlets to prevent tangles, and the plug glows blue when the juice is flowing (4 Outlet, $20; 6 Outlet, $30; Monster Cable ).— Dan Moren

Get charged (B)

Price: $
Portability: Extremely Portable

There’s no need to carry a bulky charger around for Moixa Energy’s USBCell rechargeable AA batteries; just flip their tops off and plug them directly into your laptop’s USB ports. A built-in LED will let you know when they’re done charging. Pack a couple as backups for your digital camera or your GPS unit; as long as you’ve got a USB port, you’ve got power ($20 for two; Moixa Energy ).— Dan Moren

iPod power (C)

Price: $$$
Portability: Extremely Portable

Although the 30GB iPod can hold 40 hours of video, its battery will last for only a fraction of that time. Sonnet Technologies’ Volta battery pack extends the watching time to 16 hours (or 80 hours of listening to music). It fits the 30GB and 80GB video iPods, and it comes with a belt-clip holster (which secures both the battery pack and your iPod) and a USB iPod dock-connector cable for charging ($70; Sonnet Technologies ).— Dan Moren

Quick power (D)

Price: $
Portability: Extremely Portable

If you just want to give your iPod a quick boost, Turbo Charge’s iTurbo is a smaller and lighter option. The iTurbo is about the size of a piece of jumbo chalk. Unscrew the bottom and pop in a AA battery, and then attach the adapter to your iPod’s dock-connector port. When you twist the bottom of the iTurbo, the top lights up to let you know that your iPod is charging. Turbo Charge also sells adapters that let you use the iTurbo with your cell phone ($25; Turbo Charge ).— Dan Moren

Parlez-vous français? (E)

Price: $
Portability: Comfortable

In the past, globetrotters had to carry a gaggle of adapters for every power outlet they might meet. Kensington has simplified things by combining the most common plugs into one compact device, the Travel Plug Adapter with USB Charger. Better yet, the charger also includes a USB-port adapter that lets you charge your iPod, PDA, phone, or any other USB-powered gadget (including the aforementioned USBCell batteries). Note that the Travel Plug Adapter converts voltage only for the USB port; while that’s not a problem for most notebook computers, other devices may have issues ($30; Kensington ).— Dan Moren

Into the woods (F)

Price: $$$
Portability: Comfortable

Because outlets are hard to come by when you’re out in the wilderness, the Solio Universal Hybrid Charger lets you plug into nature’s power supply—the sun. This compact device can charge from a wall outlet or your car, or it can flip open to charge from three solar panels. Interchangeable tips let you connect your iPod, digital camera, GPS unit, or cell phone (the kit comes with several common tips, and you can order others online). The Solio also includes international adapters and a suction cup for attaching the unit to your windshield ($100; Solio ).— Kelly Turner

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