Travel Charger Guide
I often get questions about the various chargers and cables that I use. I put a lot of thought into what I use, which extends to my family. We have so many devices that need charging these days, and so this is always an evolving approach. Especially as the landscape of cables and connectors changes.
My goal in all cases is to have the most compact, powerful, and flexible system. It needs to charge all the devices I might bring with me and ideally do them as fast as the device allows. iPhones can charge up to 25W, iPads 45W, and Laptops anywhere from 30W - 100W.
The basic architecture for my setup is the following:
At Home - I have a bedside setup that is permanent and can charge my iPhone, Watch, and AirPods.
Everyday Carry - A charging kit for everyday use - in my daily carry
Overnight Travel - A charging kit for my bedside when I travel to charge my iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch
Everything Else - For all the other devices I bring, a charge and cables.
When traveling, it’s important to have international adapters. I chose charges that allow for you to swap the US plug with an international plug. This is much better and usually stronger / more secure vs. some of those setups where the tiny or huge adapter doesn’t work because your plug falls out of the wall or it’s too large to work. I cover some of these details below.
I really like the Belkin 3-1 charger. It takes care of my iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch. The magnetic charging for the phone and the way it holds both the watch and phone are wonderful as I can grab my phone if needed and then re-attach easily in the dark. Each person in our house has one of these.
Every Day Carry
For my daily carry, I have settled on a very simple setup. A 45W USB-C charger and a dual USB-C / Lightning cable. I have tried a variety of charges, and depending on your preference, the Spigen 45W, Anker Nano II 45W or the Anker 45W Ultra-Slim are the right balance of weight and speed for charging high-powered devices. Enough to charge an iPhone 13 Pro at full speed and a MacBook or iPad at a reasonable speed. My goal here was to find the smallest and lightest 45W charger to balance charging needs on the go - that can charge both a MacBook at a reasonable clip and full speed for an iPad or iPhone.
I have discovered this excellent cable that pairs very well. It’s a Universal 2-in-1 that you plug into the USB-C charger and on the other end is a Lightning connector and USB-C connector. I’ve tested this in a number of setups and it delivers. As soon as Apple moves from Lightning to USB-C, though, I plan to ditch this setup. I will caution you that this cable is not something I use to charge two devices at once and I would not recommend doing that since it goes outside the spec for how one should make cables. No way Apple would certify this. I have not had any issues when paired with a 45W charger AND when charging a single device. You have been warned :-).
The only downside to my EDC setup is a lack of an integrated international adapter or plug. For now, this is a small compromise since this is a daily setup, and for international use, I just adapt.
Finally, I have a great little battery that can charge my Apple Watch and iPhone rather quickly. For long-haul flights, I’m usually in need of an Apple Watch charger on the go, and this battery is super. It’s also a USB-PD battery and can both charge using PD and charge devices using PD (also can charge while it’s being charged).
All of this goes into my Civic Access Pouch along with other critical items to keep on me at all times (Advil, lip balm, Afrin, albuterol, flashlight, AirTag, charger, cables, battery)
I have a small kit that is always packed and ready to go that can charge all my bedside items (iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods, Oura ring). I also keep a flashlight and Apple Polishing Cloth in this setup. I also repeat the setup here for family members.
I use this case from Belroy. It's a tight fit with all my stuff but also perfect. It’s nice and flat and packs well in a carry-on or suitcase.
I use the Apple MagSafe Duo to charge my iPhone and AirPods / Watch. For an upgrade pick you can check out the Mophie 3-1 travel charger.
I have two USB-C cables that are braided, one for the Apple MagSafe Duo and the other for the Oura ring.
For charging, I have recently moved to the new Apple 35W Dual port charger because it supports Apple’s excellent International Charging Kit, but the HyperJuice 66W charger is arguably better, and the same size and also comes with the international adapters. That's my pick.
Finally, I include a flashlight which comes in very handy and polishing cloth to keep things tidy. I also use a USB-C AAA rechargeable battery in the flashlight and keep an Apple Polishing Cloth handy.
Now that you understand the primary at home and EDC chargers there is “everything else”. I have lots of needs depending on the kind of trip, from cameras, camera batteries, gopros, and so on All USB-C. For this I travel with the Peak Design Tech Pouch and Satechi 66W OR Satechi 108W 3-port USB-C chargers (they are physically similar just one is larger than the other). I purchased the 108W with the EU plug so that I could have an international option for both the 66W and 108W chargers that nicely integrated. The EU charger is only available direct from their website. I also keep this emergency cable in there. You never know when all you will have us a USB-A port to use. It’s happened.
I cover this above, but these are the cables I use:
Anker Powerline Micro-USB, USB-C, Lightning - good emergency cable.
This is an evolving world, with cable standards, speed, weight and many factors that we are dealing with. I expect what I use will change in the future!