Compact Power Strip: Something I Can’t Do Without

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

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

You can get one for under $10 with Amazon Prime shipping too.

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 ยป

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  1. I just used mine at one of the airport power trees this past weekend. They are gold on the road. I have an older model with no USB port, but I haven’t really missed it yet. I bought one on the advice from this blog, and agree that it is invaluable on the road.

  2. Gary, do you ever find that the available outlet is only two prongs, and you can’t use your power strip because it requires a grounded outlet?

  3. I have something similar. There are units with 3 plugs on each side as well. I have even helped others at the airport around a full outlet etc. These hotels are a complete joke where they place the outlets and how many they have. Certainly on the desk top there should be plugs easy to access for power and a general usb/iphone/mini usb setup is nice as well. Is this such a luxury? If the outlets are not designed properly in a hotel they can certainly have the desk/tables with these plugs.

  4. When I wrote the post it was available at under $10, surprised to see availability disappear, but there are lots of similar ones which is the point not this one in particular!

  5. I have used the “Belkin Mini Travel Swivel Charger” with dual USB outlets and 3 AC plugs. You can leave your wall chargers at home. Just bring your cords. While using this gizmo, you can also plug 3 other things into it. It is $19.99 on Amazon with Prime/free shipping.

  6. I can’t do without a battery pack to recharge phone/kindle. Extra sockets are not a big issue.

  7. Not true! I stayed at the W City Center in Chicago last year and it had more than enough outlets in all the right places! You could have knocked me over with a feather …

  8. I have virtually the same one. The biggest issue is the directionality of the plug that goes into the wall. Sometimes it ends up being hard to get it into the available plug because of the angle it comes off. Of course doing this allows the whole thing to be smaller since it plugs into itself flat rather than at an angle. Everything is trade-offs. As others have said, you can fix it with a triple tap.

  9. Gary, honestly, I think you are straight-up guy. But I frankly do not get what you pimp these power strips. The simple 3-way splitters are a fraction of the size and do the same thing. Why would you recommend carrying something so much bigger than necessary? And cost 2-3x as much.

    I honestly want to understand WHY. Because the only reason I can ever come up with is that these cost more and thus get a bigger referral credit. I don’t WANT to think that of you, so please explain to me why these are so much better than the simple 3-way splitter for $2 at your local Lowes? (Tip: It’s Lowest quarter on Freedom… you could easily work that into a post!)

  10. So I can’t suggest that people search for item # 666711 at Office Depot? A triple tap for $2.99?

    Was that comment really worth moderating?

  11. Corrected: I see the comment is awaiting moderation, probably because of the link. Sorry for accusing you of deleting it!

    Anyway. There you have it. Far better, IMO, to carry a triple tap for $3 then a bulky power strip for $10. Unless you really value the cord….

  12. @hobo13 per your suggestion if i was ‘pimping’ something wouldn’t i be taking the opportunity to talk about 5x earning with a credit card link here, and anything you can get on amazon earns referral credit? Why not just suggest you like a different solution better and we can talk pluses/minuses instead of assuming bad faith? ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Because I seem to ask it evertime and never get an answer. I guess you like the cord. And maybe the extra space to fit in more wall warts? Maybe a switch?

    Sorry really just want to understand! Crazy as it may be, this is probably the one thing I consistently disagree with you about, LOL. I guess that’s saying something…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You should also advise people to carry a 3 pin to 2 (no ground) adapter. It’s 50 cents and will save you some headache when you can only find a 2 prong outlet.

  14. @Hobo13 While not a ton of protection i would rather fry my $10 power strip than my electronics and I like the extra reach.

  15. @Hobo13: Depending on the layout, the outlets may not be suitable for a three-way splitter vs. a simple cord. I’ve encountered a few situations where even my Targus universal laptop charger won’t fit (it has a compact power brick integrated with the plug, rather than in the middle of the cable), and it’s smaller than a three-way splitter.

    Desk-mounted outlets that are semi-concealable are usually the most common culprits. In that case, the more compact plug of a power strip is more useful. Occasionally the added reach is helpful as well. You’d be surprised how often just an extra foot makes all the difference. No prongs sticking out either, since you can loop the cord around the strip.

  16. Will this power strip work in Europe? I am planning travel with wife next month and want to be able to charge all of our electronic devices when we are at hotel or aiports

  17. I have one of these and it’s great. I’ve actually bought two. Two you ask, why would you need two. Well because I left one and an iPhone charger at the Radisson Blu Rome last year. So I bought another one, although I’ve noticed many hotels getting better lately.

  18. I bought one at Walmart that is smaller (1.5 by 1″) for $1.75. 99 cents store are selling similar ones for 99 cents.

    The one you suggested is too big. I don’t need a cord.

  19. OK, so surge protection is the #1 reason to carry a power strip over a triple-tap, Gary? Then I simply do not see why you wouldn’t get one of these….

    To clarify my point — I think that a multiple outlet splitting device (of any flavor!) is possibly the single biggest bang for the buck that a traveler can carry. I’ve been carrying one since I was a rookie, and am shocked at how many people in airports go ‘wow, that is a really good idea’. I’ve considered buying some triple-taps in bulk and giving them to guys I see searching for free outlets…..

    But it just seems like if you (and other experts) would promote a cheap, light-weight option, more people would adopt, and the world (or at least the gate area!) would be a better place. It just seems to me that the ONLY objection anybody would have to this advice is the BULK of the power strip. And thus they don’t get one. And I think that both of us would agree that not carrying some sort of splitting device is worse than carrying the ‘wrong’ one, haha.

    How about this challenge — next time you run this post advising to carry a power strip, throw a little blurb at the bottom mentioning the simple, lightweight triple-tap for those who just can’t possibly fit a power strip into their bag. You can call it the poor boy alternative and hat tip hobo13. It’ll make me smile.

  20. @hobo13, i get what you are saying, but something with a built in extension is much better in most situations.

    a triple tap is fine for some, glad it works for you. but i don’t think it requires this many posts to state your reasoning.

    i myself have batteries i carry that take USB and a similar power strip. whatever works for you.

    and many hotels have caught on about power needs and are changing during retrofits and new builds. but plenty of hotels are older and have ‘hidden’ outlets behind chairs, beds, etc. something like this is nice to have.

  21. Eh, everybody’s allowed a soapbox. This is mine.

    And if there’s one place where verbosity should be accepted and encouraged, it’s on Gary’s blog…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I frankly don’t think many people take Gary’s (or apparently your) advice and carry a plug strip. In all my years of travel, I have NEVER seen somebody pull a plug strip out at the gate area. Never. Not once. (Maybe they have them but only use them in the hotel?) I’ve seen a few triple taps at gate areas before, though admittedly, not enough. So whatever you and Gary are saying, it doesn’t seem to work.

    Therefore, it just seems rather silly to recommend carrying the optimal gadget when nobody listens. Why not recommend something that will fit in your pocket and accomplish 95% of the same thing?

    Small is beautiful.

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