Are you bringing a laptop on your next trip? If so, we know you will need at least one cord to provide power. Some travelers only connect to the internet via a wired connection. Not all computers have SD card slots. So if you are going to get pictures from your camera into your laptop, that is yet another cable. Adding a microphone for podcasting or video blogging gets us up to four cables before even getting to the smartphone.
But not everyone travels with a laptop. These days, young professionals and casual travelers are getting real work done on tablets and smartphones. So if we start with the smartphone as our hub rather than the laptop, let’s see how many cables we need, and how many we can do without:
There are new ways to think about powering devices. There was a time when the only options for powering something like a mobile phone was to connect a large power brick via a cable. Modern smartphones drain batteries very quickly resulting in many having to be charged multiple times a day for power users.
While we still need a cord to serve this purpose, there is much we can do to mitigate the challenges. There are many myths about your smartphone battery. You absolutely can use an iPad charger on your iPhone. You will get a faster, more efficient charge. If you have to top off multiple times during the day, use an iPad charger.
One thing that is not a myth is that a dead battery makes your iPhone useless. Your iPhone 6 battery capacity is not infinite. With your charger in your hotel room, you need a way to top off during your adventures, especially if you are taking a lot of photos.
So while it is not exactly a cord, you could use some sort of battery case to provide more power when you are running low. Even that case will need to be charged. So for powering your phone, think two cords instead of one.
Getting sound out of smartphones has become more complicated than ever. There was a time when it was as simple as an auxiliary cable. Plug it into the headphone jack, then into the aux jack of the device that would carry the sound.
It was never as simple as that. There are different types of aux jacks. Not all are the same size. The original iPhone, like most from that time, had a smaller headphone jack. Some have one ring on the tip instead of two. There was a time when you had to distinguish between stereo and mono. And not all jacks were compatible with microphones.
Some of the latest smartphones have replaced the headphone jack with USB-C. In most cases, that will have to be adapted back to a headphone jack for connection with audio equipment, most of which has no Bluetooth connection.
So if you are using your phone to feed audio to another source such as you might in a presentation, you will need another cord for that. If you are going to listen privately, that still means headphones, also a cord in most cases. While Bluetooth can eliminate the headphone cord, it can’t eliminate the need to pack the headphones. Let’s call it two more cables for sound.
The best way to stop headphone tangles
Travel tech is advancing everyday to make our lives easier and better. But at the end of the day, it has not eliminated cables from our travel bag. It may have added a few. It just eliminates cables while using the devices.
We can use an external speaker for taking calls and having a better speakerphone experience. But that device still has to be plugged in or charged. Getting wireless headphones means that we have to bring a charger for those headphones. If we take pictures with a DSLR, getting them onto the phone is another cable.
So though we may need four cables in our bag for a typical smartphone-powered vacation, those cables are making our lives better. Between battery packs, bluetooth, and USB-C, there is almost no task we can’t accomplish traveling with a smartphone as our only computer.