Someone last week asked me about my top most often used adapters, tech, and dongles I use on the road and at conferences. In any case anyone wants to know:
Link. Always a good idea to bring extra storage. I still use the USB-A variety although I carry a MacBook Pro with USB-C. Most people especially on PCs use USB-A and adaptors for USB-A and USB-C exist.
Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
Link. If you have an iPhone 8 or above, this is important. Although I don’t use this to listen to music – I switched to bluetooth headphones long ago (although an analog backup doesn’t hurt). I use this for the rare times I plug in external microphones. And for those NOT having iPhones, don’t laugh too hard. Latest Samsungs and other Android phones have mostly dropped headphone jacks.
Good quality wireless Bluetooth audio is priceless. Noise cancelling headphones are a must – they are great on flights as they remove majority of the background noise. AirPods are perfect for walking in public places (new AirPods Pro have noise canceling but I prefer the older because I still have the ability to hear things with low enough volume).
You encounter lots of USB devices and use them at the conference venue or in your hotel and often something isn’t quite long enough. A simple USB extender does the trick. I’ll be picking up a USB C one soon but USB A still comes in handy. Link.
USB C Power Brick
Always have an extra but it doesn’t have to be Apple’s. Plenty of third party USB C ones that are smaller and have a few perks. But be careful – i have bought one or two that my MacBook Pro didn’t recognize. If you don’t mind the cost and the bigger size, stick with Apple. Link.
Mini DisplayPort Thunderbolt to HDMI DVI VGA Adapter
This 3-way display adapter is a life saver and a space saver. I have two main ones – both have a VGA, HDMI, and DIVI connector. The second one has a XXXX connector. One single cable for any of these is better usually than three or four cables of a single type. Easier to find, lend, and use. I have multiple versions of these (of course) – mainly for a MacBook USB C and MacBook Thunderbolt port. Link. Link.
USB C Charger Brick
I usually travel with half a dozen of these or less. You can power anything USB although the bigger the electronics the slower it will charge. Usually though i’m charging just gadgets or it’s something I can charge overnight. Lightning USB and micro USB work with these just fine. The ones that Apple used to come out with still work great. Link.
Micro USB Cables
For anything not lightning, it’s usually micro USB. Especially external batteries (although USB C charging is starting to appear on the scene finally). Bottom line, I keep plenty of these scattered around my luggage. Link. Link.
USB C Cable
USB C cables mainly for powering my MacBook Pro but also my USB C external battery. These aren’t as common as the USB or micro USB variety so I find these are more important to keep close and track of. Link.
Apple Multiport Adaptor
These are handy USB C variations of VGA and HDMI adapters. These come from Apple and I only recommend Apple ones. Every non-Apple one has failed within six months that I’ve tried. Notice with these that there’s a USB C and USB A port on them so you can plugin in an external monitor plus another device (say a USB keyboard, mouse, or charge a device). It’s dongle town of course but at least it’s only using ONE port on your MacBook Pro. Apple’s again are the best. Link. Link.
Any Runner Ups?
I could do a post on external batteries – I have quite a few… I keep AA and AAA batteries handy. I have two external power bricks (the most powerful I can get that I’m allowed to board an airplane with). One you can plug USB and even corded devices into – the other is a smaller USB C (with a few USB A ports) that can recharge my MacBook Pro almost two times if I needed it.