Because Jess and I carry a mix of Apple and non-Apple products, we've had to work to figure out how to avoid carrying duplicates of everything. The other challenge in this area is the variety of places we need to plug in. Over the course of our travels we've encountered basically every voltage and plug the world's electric grid has to offer.
Macbook Pro Charger
Jess had the idea that we stop carrying two Apple chargers. The prospect made me nervous but we did a two week test run keeping one charger in storage. With only a minor amount of planning and foresight we found one laptop charger to be plenty. I’m concerned what will happen if we lose or suddenly destroy the remaining charger, but its worth it for the drop in weight.
I’ve used my current travel battery consistently for a few years. It still maintains enough strength to fully charge both our phones twice before dying. This was essential during off grid experiences like our Inca Trail trek. If you don’t have an international data plan and rely exclusively on wifi, you’ll be surprised how long your battery lasts, but in a pinch this is an amazing thing to pull out of your bag. It holds a charge without use for a few weeks so you can set it and forget it until you need it. One of those items you don’t often need, but when you do need it you really need it (and will be glad you have it).
This was from a job I did for a client a few years back. The US standard 3 prong rear plug folds into the surge protector so it packs flat. The two USB charging ports have been sufficicent to keep our phones and all the other peripherals charged reliably. I originally planned for cables and chargers to be able to charge everything at once (5 or 6 items at once), but you never actually need to do that. I really like the fact that the three prong outlets are on three different sides of the device so that you can plug in bulky chargers or connectors. This is the only charger/outlet we use day to day.
However! Be forewarned that this is a surge protector and NOT a voltage converter or a plug adaptor. This is not a problem if you are plugging in items with their own voltage adaptors like cell phone chargers or computer power bricks, but IS a problem if you plug something in directly (like a lamp) or into the built in USB. I burned out the battery on my Nexus 5X by plugging it directly into the USB on the outlet in a country with 220V electricity. If you don't know the voltage where you are traveling (or where you are from for that matter) don't use the USB ports. Check out the world standards page to figure out the difference between what your cord/charger is built for and where you currently are. You will also need plug adaptors if the plug is different where you are.
I have not had a good track record with those boxy all-in-one adaptors. The primary problem is not that they don’t work (though I do think they are fragile) its that putting that thing under a travel surge protector and then plugging in two charging cables and a laptop adaptor is usually enough weight to pull the whole thing out of the wall. You end up piling books or some clothes under it just to get it to stay connected to the socket. With these simple durable sets, you avoid that problem. Bring just the one you need or bring em all and toss em as you leave the place where they work.
Micro USB/Lightening Charger Cable
These multi-prong charger cables accompany the portable power brick so that we can charge either Jess or my phone without digging out more cables. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a split cable with lightening and USB-C so I need an adaptor to make this work with my Nexus 5X.
This is a cheap and hugely useful addition to any couple’s travel bag. It makes long bus rides or loud bedrooms in dorms much more enjoyable. One note: my Brainwavz headphones have a phone mic and volume controls thing on them. I find that I get really poor audio quality through those headphones unless I wrap something around the answer call/pause track button and force it to be held down while connected to the splitter. I would assume that the control produces some interruption to the current to the speakers or something. Jess has had no such problem with her Bose headphones which feature the exact same type of control buttons. Basically, test your headphones with your splitter before you leave.
These cables come wrapped in synthetic thread making them more like sneaker laces than charger cables. I used this one in travel for work for a few years before the trip so I can testify to their long term durability. I like having a longer cable particularly for our micro-USB since this is what we use to keep our Bluetooth speaker running overnight when we use it for white noise in loud sleeping situations. We can plug in the power adaptor anywhere and still have the speaker next to the bed.
The fact that the Nexus 5X doesn’t come with a USB-A to USB-C cable is ridiculous. Is USB-C the future? Probably. Is it the present? No. The 6P comes with it, indicating that Google is fully aware that this is a thing people need. I ditched the included charger a few months into our trip and switched for a generic charger with this cable. I did not find that USB-C adaptors worked reliably for charging or even for connecting to my mac. If you buy the 5X (which you should) just order one of these at the same time. At home, I would keep the fast charger and included cable by my bed. On the road, its not worth it to carry a separate dedicated USB-C charger.