Conference Packing Tip: Bring a surge protector!

a close-up of a power stripEarlier this year, in a three month time span I went to three conferences. All had at least 500 attendees, most of who were on their computers or smartphones, and all had way too few plugs available. Inevitably, after a morning of feverishly typing notes or checking email, the prime real estate near any available outlet was full of people waiting to charge their various devices. For anyone trying to connect to the internet or interact with their office, it was an exercise in frustration.

I have certainly been to conferences before, but at the pace of one per year or so. This was the first time to attend so many in such a short period of time, so I would never have considered myself a “conference expert.” After all of this time spent in various conference halls, I noticed one thing the conference experts had in common: they all had surge protectors. Small ones, easily packed, but still turning two outlets into six or seven outlets. These people were of course some of the most popular at the conventions! And they were also able to talk their way to the front of the charging line, since it meant more people could charge at once. Brilliant!

So next time I go to a conference, I will definitely take a surge protector. They are available almost anywhere, including electronic stores, online, and stores like Target and Walmart. The one I like the best is this one from Belkin—it’s small, but has three plugs, and two USB outlets. That’s a total of five devices that can be charged at once! With this clever device, I will be the most popular person there.

Readers, what do you consider the most important item to take to a conference?

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  1. Yes! I have this exact one, which I bought for my daughter for college and then stole from her. I bring it with me on each and every trip. Last trip I didn’t have room in my carryon for it and then really neeed it at the airport when I got stuck. It’s always going in carryone from now on.

  2. I always have one in my laptop bag when I travel. I also use mine (which is the conventional strip style, with a 12 or 18 inch cord) in hotel rooms when there is not always a plug on or near the bedside table for my cell phone to charge overnight.

    Many hotels are doing better at this, but not all.

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