How a $12 Compact Power Strip Can Make Travel Easier

When readers shared their own travel tips and several really stood out as worth highlighting.

Menashe said,

Take a portable powerstrip with you. Monster Outlets-to-Go includes a USB outlet.

Aside from the obvious benefit of having extra outlets, you also only need one adapter when in a foreign country, to plug in the adapter itself.

“This room has just way too many power outlets” – said no hotel guest, ever.

For past four years I’ve traveled with a power strip in my laptop bag.

The one I use is compact, has three plugs well-spaced apart, and also has a USB charging port as well.

And it’s just $12 at Amazon and eligible for Amazon Prime shipping.

It’s the first thing I take out of my bag whenever I get into a hotel room, since almost no hotel room has enough outlets. And it’s also useful in crowded club lounges and by gates where I need to share outlet space with other travelers or need to plug in more than one device (especially before boarding a flight that won’t have seat power, and after draining devices on a previous flight without power).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In for one as well.

    And the Amazon comments confirm that it works in 220/240 volt countries as well–I managed to blow the fuses on a couple of UK adapters last month when I tried this with a different power strip that was clearly designed for only 120v.

    On the flip side, this did give me a chance to get out of the hotel and see the local town a bit as I went on an adventure to find a replacement…

  2. I’ve had this for a couple of years, and it really works well. There is one slight drawback, the very bright blue LED power indicator light, but that was a simple job for that old reliable, duct tape.

    It’s also very useful when you’re stuck in a main airport terminal rather than a lounge. I’ve never had a problem asking someone already using the only available outlet if I can share. You can meet some interesting people that way!

  3. Definitely useful to have more outlets.

    But I’ve never understood why you carry the weight and bulk of a plug strip when you can get 3-way plug splitter that is a fraction of the size and 1/3 the cost.

  4. @Gary. Looks like a great unit! What universal adapter do you use?! I’m traveling to S. Korea, Denmark, Norway and Austria soon!

  5. @hobo13: Good point. I just ordered this, but then after reading your comment, I realized I do have (buried deep down in my backpack) an old-fashioned three-way splitter. It doesn’t work so well with power bricks, but it lets me plug in two laptops (work and personal) and a dual 3A USB charger (for phone and Mifi).

    Maybe I should cancel, but $10ai for something that travels well and fits power bricks is still tempting.

    Also, in Thailand, I picked up a 4-outlet power strip where the plug is a US-style plug (so it works at home) and each outlet is a universal port (accepts pretty much any type of plug), so I can travel internationally with it and, when I’m in a room with one outlet, instead of having to choose between charging my laptop and having the lamp, I can just plug the lamp (or other device with a local plug) into my power strip and I’m good to go.

  6. I have the up rated Belkin Power Block. I like the fact that it has a 2.1 amp output, vice the 500 mA output of the Monster strip – makes charging things like iPads, with their higher power reqs, easier.

  7. I have a travel strip I use as well. It is great in those hotels with no outlets or on cruise ships where you get one outlet.

  8. Yeah, go to Home Depot or ACE and pick up something like this:

    It’s $5, and because of the cube design, it probably will accommodate wall wart power bricks easily. The lateral 3-way plugs make fitting several plugs harder (but doable).

    So Gary, why do you recommend a power strip? Certainly your affiliate link to Amazon could just as easily point to something that weighs less and costs less, right?

  9. I always travel with a power strip, and especially on cruises. There are usually only 2 American outlets in a cabin – one in the bathroom and one at the dressing table.

  10. @Scott

    Belkin’s product is only rated for 110V, unless something changed recently. That makes it a non-starter for international travel.

  11. I purchased one 3 years ago at Wallgreens in Hawaii as we were staying in a studio with no plug ins I think I paid about 6.00 and it has 5 outlets. We have taken it to Europe as well as UK You only need one adapter for the plug . Most if not all phones, computers tablets shavers etc have dual voltage sensing adaptors so that they can be plugged into 120 volt or 220 volt. This is a far less expensive way to go than to try and buy a travel kit.

  12. I also carry a Belkin strip everywhere I go. I’ve had no issues using it with an international adapter in Europe, the UK, China, and Korea.

  13. @Lee – You can easily fix the bright blue light with a Sharpie marker. Just draw on it with the black marker and you’re good to go. you can still tell that it’s on but you can’t see it from across the room.

  14. @hobo13 – This is what I use, I find the power strip is more protective which is great especially for overseas travel. I’ve been in older hotels in Europe with shorts that could have blown my electronics.

  15. After checking out power strips I’ve opted for a 3′ grounded extension cord with 3 outlets. When the flat cord is wrapped around the outlets, its more compact and I find I need the reach as often as the extra outlets.

  16. @flyingbear. I too have used the Belkin around the world with no problems 110/220. Carry a universal grounded for Europe or the UK or Asia and it never fails to work.

  17. @Scott

    Just wondering, what does the back of your Belkin device say for Electrical rating (and model number). Thanks!

  18. I always travel with two simple US extension cords – one 6 foot and one 3 foot. That gives me 5 un-grounded outlets. I also travel with TWO adapters – one ungrounded and one grounded. I only use the grounded one for my laptop, so no extra outlets needed for that.

  19. I’m using one as I type this. I’m in a hotel room in the UK with the laptop in one plug, the phone in another and the Nexus in the third.

    One benefit you didn’t mention is that you only have to carry one plug converter.

  20. A bit late to the party, but I recommend skipping the model with the USB port. It’s limited to 0.5A, so it’s a long slow charge for most modern USB-powered devices. It won’t charge an iPad, either.

  21. I got the belkin power strip w/2.1A and 1A USB ports since i actually need more USB power than regular power now-adays. Looking at a dedicated USB port hub also

  22. Funny this comment thread got bumped just now–I need to see if the strip can handle 220V. I have three devices I need to plug in (all of which can handle 220V) but only one Euro-plug adapter. Can I pass 220V through the strip without blowing it up (or melting it)? The inclusion of the USB port concerns me more than the physical wiring in the power strip itself–the 110VAC-to-5VDC converter may not handle dual voltage.

  23. Bumping up an old thread here. I notice that this comes with a 3-pin plug. Isn’t that a problem when the wall outlet is ungrounded. Do you come across such situations often, and if so, do you need to travel with two strips?

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