Become your own cable guy

Travel checklist for the digital age

What to bring What it's used for What to remember
Basic equipment
USB cable (Type A to Type Mini-B) Connecting and charging many different devices to a notebook or desktop PC. Most mobile devices use the smaller Type Mini-B plug, as opposed to the large USB Type B plug used by desktop equipment.
Firewire cable (4-pin to 4-pin) Connecting video cameras and some external hard drives to a notebook PC. Many Firewire devices also support USB; you may be able to leave this cable home.
USB hub Linking more devices to a notebook PC than is possible using its limited number of ports. Also, makes it easier to attach and detach your devices as you go out and come back in. Many USB devices require power - particularly those that charge themselves via USB. Add too many of these and your bus won't be able to provide enough power, causing slow charges and possible device malfunction.
Proprietary cables Connecting devices like iPods and Microsoft Zunes. These devices weren't designed to play nice, so there's little you can do but bring the cables with you.
Australian power strip Plugging in your devices without having to buy a plug adapter for each one. Don't forget to get one physical plug converter per power strip - and, if you're in the US, make sure your devices are happy with 110V power.
Twist ties or plant ties Bundling cables together so they don't get tangled. Colour-coded ties can ease quick identification.
Surge protector Ensures you a clean supply of electricity no matter where you go. Attach Australian models to a plug converter for overseas use. Available as small standalone units or built into power strips.
Plug converter Critical for plugging in gadgets anywhere outside Australia or New Zealand. Look for universal converters (kits include numerous plug layouts) if you're going to more than one country.
Useful extras
Label maker Indispensable for telling cables apart. Type the name of the device, then leave a big margin so you can spool out enough tape to stick the label around the cable and onto itself.
'USB host' mode MP3 player or device Downloading pictures from your digital camera -- usually includes many GB of space so you don't have to juggle spare memory cards. Look for this feature if you're buying an MP3 player or external hard drive. Feature can be added to iPods with add-ons such the Belkin iPod Media Reader.
Voice over IP phone adapter Take your Australian local number with you wherever you go. Standalone box will work with most hotel phone handsets you'll find - or buy an inexpensive mini phone to bring with you.

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