Going Wireless?

Here is a list of things I end up taking on a family trip just to make sure that all of the various gadgets work:

  • A plug for my MacBook
  • USB cable for my the kids’ iPad
  • USB cable for Kelly’s iPad
  • USB cable for my iPhone
  • USB cable for Kelly’s iPhone
  • A cable for my Kindle
  • A cable for the digital camera
  • Pocket charger for the iPhone
  • A small USB cable for the pocket charger
  • Earbuds for my iPhone
  • Backup earbuds for my iPhone
  • The charging dongle for my FitBit Flex
  • A wall adapter for USB charging
  • A 6-place power strip.

It often seem that most of the space in my backpack is taken up by cables that support the various devices. No matter how hard I try to keep the cables neat and tidy, they always end up in a knotted mess. I have a Grid-It that I use, but the Grid-It will not support more than a handful of cables. I’d need two or three of them for all of the cables I take.


We could share cables, but it never works out. The devices are not all compatible. The kids use an iPad 2, and Kelly’s iPad is a much newer model, which uses a much newer type of cable. We always seem to need to charge our iPhones at the same time, so having two cables saves charging time.

The pocket charger may seem excessive—except that every single time I go on vacation, it seems my phone is drained before noon. The pocket charger helps to prevent this. My FitBit charge lasts five days at most. But it seems to last longer the less active I am, and I am often more active while on vacation.

A 6-place power strip might also seem excessive, until you’ve hunted around the hotel room for five minutes trying to find an empty socket. Business hotels are getting better at this, but when we take family trips, we are often staying in less expensive hotels—the kind you can stay in for the night while driving from Virginia to Florida.

I could probably charge my Kindle before leaving for a trip and not worry about needing to charge it again—but I do worry, and so I toss the cable in with the rest on the off-chance I my Kindle runs out of power while I am sitting by the pool.

If there is a right way to wrap a cable, I don’t know what it is. I twist them this way and that. I wrap them around themselves. They still look as intimidating as the Gordian knot. But they keep the devices working.

Of course, one must ask whether it is worth bringing the gadgets on vacation in the first place. Vacation is a time to disconnect, and relax. This sounds wonderful, kind of like a sleigh ride over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house—and just as likely as such as sleigh ride. Like it or not, these devices have become part of our life, and while I can put them away for a day or two, I wouldn’t be able to do it for a few weeks while on vacation, not very easily anyway.

I hope that when my kids are my age, they’ll look back at our road trips and laugh: “Remember when we needed all of those cables, Dad?” The case of their iPhone 19 will serve as a solar panel and charge from the ambient light even as they use it to teleport from Maui to Lihu’e.


  1. Storing wires in little zip-loc bags can help solve some of the problem. The bags are light weight and help minimize tangling.


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