My friend Patty recently spent a couple of weeks crossing the ocean on a freighter. That’s her suitcase, in the photo above. She didn’t pack the way I would have packed, but she took everything she thought she would need, as I also try to do when I travel. And the crew of her ship did the same—for example, by packing a squadron of fake armed guards, for scaring away pirates:
One of my own biggest travel issues, as I’ve mentioned before, is finding enough places to plug in all the stuff I need to plug in. Most hotel rooms have way too few electrical outlets, and often the only unused ones are hidden behind huge pieces of hard-to-move furniture, such as beds. Not long ago, I stayed in a hotel in Baltimore that was better equipped than most. For example, it had one of these:
Still, one of the sockets was already being used by the hotel itself (for a lamp), and the spacing was was so tight that if I’d needed to plug in a “wall wart” power adapter I would have rendered the adjacent socket unusable, as had already happened on the three-socket wall receptacle in the photo below. (That space-hogging adapter isn’t mine. I don’t remember what it was powering—maybe the phone next to the bed.)
I was OK with it, although (since it had to be plugged in somewhere else) it increased the number of available AC outlets by just one. The labels on the USB ports seem unnecessarily inscrutable. (“Standard” actually means “1 amp”; “Tablet” means “2.1 amps.”) Plus, the thing sells for sixty bucks!
The next night, I stayed at a Marriott in Massachusetts. My room there had just one accessible socket within a cable’s length of anywhere I was willing to sit. Luckily, I had recently bought a Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports—and, furthermore, I had remembered to pack it:
I didn’t go as far as my friend Rex, who travels with a full-size power strip. He also packs a 150-watt incandescent light bulb (for reading) and an old-fashioned full-flow shower head. And, because you can’t replace a hotel shower head with just your hand, he also travels with a wrench and a roll of Teflon plumber’s tape.