Gentleman's travel kit — going to travel

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kot, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. kot macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    For the first time in my life in half a year I will be traveling half across the globe by plane visiting the UK, HK and AU.

    I want to take my MBP Yearly 2011 with me and so I need to stay powered on and online during my travels.

    So I need a complete set of accessories: power plugs, plane charger etc..
    I was considering getting Apple's official travel kit, and airline adapter but a few commenters on Amazon pointed out that the airline adapter is designed for some exotic slot format which very few planes have and Apple's travel kit is not designed to be used with the extension cord.

    Could you please offer me advice on which plug sets and plane chargers you personally use (manufacturer/model) and which are good and offer enough value for your money?

    Maybe some other things I am not aware of..

  2. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    You need to know what type of plane you will be flying on if you plan to buy only the charger that specific plane offers, otherwise you need multiple plugs... I don't know of any universal kit, and many planes do not offer charging ports even on trans ocean flights.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Buy a set of plug adapters for $10 at RadioShack. Don't bother with the airline charger as you're likely not going to have receptacles available unless you are in first class.
  4. ununo macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2012
    Solar powered

    One option to consider: there are now solar cases that you could consider. I hate finding plugs in airports......some have them and some don't
  5. rcappo macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2010
    I would forget about trying to charge on the plane, I have only seen one or two plugs and it wasn't in coach. Either sleep or use your battery. Read a magazine or listen to some music. Also, travel light. Most modern planes have movie players in the seats.

    Have a good time, but don't get too wrapped up in technology.
  6. jw12345678 macrumors member


    Jan 28, 2009
    Apart from the Apple European two pin, a UK three pin and US plug adaptors which are always kept in my laptop bag, I also carry a Kensington Ultra Portable Power inverter which not only powers the mac from a car cigarette socket, but also plugs into old fashioned airline power sockets. Most airlines now have two pin (European and US) plug sockets to allow you to plug your laptop charger in directly though. Some more modern planes also have 5v usb charge sockets too. (Emirates, for example). One of the earlier posters is right though, these sockets are usually only found in Business Class and First, in my experience.
    The beauty of the Apple chargers (for laptops and the older iPad charger) is that they all run on 110v, 220v and 240v, so the only bit that needs to change is the plug, and of course this can be swapped for any hi-fi style power cable available pretty much everywhere if needed.
  7. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
  8. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    Not necessarily true. Most international long haul aircraft have power ports in Y, J, and F (i.e. economy, business, and first class). A lot of aircraft are going away from the old Empower seat power sockets to the standard US two/three pronged plugs.

    OP, your best bet is to figure out what airline and aircraft type you are flying on. This should be readily visible on your itinerary. Then go to and figure out which seats have power sockets available.

    As one who travels more than 136,000 miles each year, I have yet to encounter an issue with the Apple airline charger. It has an adapter to work with the two most common types of in-seat power options - the Empower adapter and then a cigarette-lighter type adapter. The one issue with the Apple airline charger is that it doesn't charge your battery (especially for the 15/17" MBP models)
  9. PinkyMacGodess, Jan 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012

    PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    I was concerned about travel a few years ago and found out that most places in England have standard US style receptacles. Like hotels and office buildings. Where you get into trouble is not the plug configuration but the voltage. You may run into 220 voltage and their cycles are smaller, 50 hertz than our standard 60 hertz. The voltage, and the cycles can cause huge problems in things like shavers and curlers, etc.

    On the second point: Many transcon foreign airlines provide outlets to their passengers even in couch. As a matter of fact, if you really want to see how shabby the US airline industry is, fly a 'name brand' UK or middle eastern carrier's coach class. Many provide power outlets, most provide very good food and personal video centers with real headphones, and many give slippers and have free beer/wine too. Here, in 'steerage' with a US carrier, you are lucky to get a smile from a flight attendant.

    I did purchase the Apple Travel Kit, and did not find a use for it but I did find the Apple air travel cord useful. I couldn't use my MBP and charge it at the same time but it did a mercy charge when it was low and the battery didn't exhaust quite as quickly.

    To find out what the amenities of the plane you are going to be on I'd recommend the site Seat Guru. Find out the type of plane that the airline claims it will use and hit seat guru and see what the plane is capable of, right down to the seat you are supposed to be sitting in. There are even links there to the airline sites to check things like movies and food choices (if any). I say 'claims it will use' because I have had incidents where the airline will change planes at the last minute and I have been confirmed in a seat that the plane that was eventually used is too small to actually have. That's a fun way to start a trip.


    I've found out that it usually will charge at a low level but if you have the system turned on, it won't both charge and power at the same time. They only provide a limited amount of current for obvious reasons.

    Oh, and in defense of the Apple Travel kit of plugs, they are very well constructed and plug solidly into the MBP, and iPad power bricks. I have never regretted buying that kit, and did take a cruise and wished I had the kit with me as we ran out of standard wall plugs with all of our technology. Some of those cheap travel plug kits from other sources are too cheesy and look to be an electrocution hazard IMO... Foreign power can be a lot more robust at 220 volts so respect it or you will have fried devices at the least...
  10. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    I do a lot of nature photography and camping with my MBP - sometimes I as long as two weeks. Aside from stopping in the occasional McDonalds to eat and plug in my Mac for internet and charging, I take a Power Inverter with me, about $50. This handy device lets me charge my MBP, cell phone, camera batteries, flashlight batteries... using the cigarette lighter in my car. I have been doing this for about 2 years and couldn't travel/camp for extended periods without it.
  11. jj48 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2011

    Check out some of the stuff here. The website looks like it has some tips as well as their products. I used one of their solar charging + adaptor kits on my travels in the Himalayas for my iPod and phone. Doesn't look like they have similar for MacBooks, but worth a look for their adaptors, tips and mobile accessory chargers.
  12. rcappo macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2010
    If you are renting a car and going away from hotels/hostels, then this is a must have item. They are much smaller now than they used to be.
  13. keifer64 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2008
    must have...

    When I travel, I just have country specific plug adapters, they pretty much live in my backpack so I always have what I need. Hotels will have adapters too, so you can borrow one at the front desk just in case you end up someplace you didn't expect.

    Only one time in 20 plus years have I had a seat with the funky airline power adapter, the rest were USB ports or two prong plugs. But reality for me is, my MBP is just to big to try and use while on a plane.

    My advice would be to get some noise cancelling headphones. I won't board a plane without my Bose QC2 headphones. A friend loaned me his and I had to have my own pair. I'm sure people can recommend others that are cheaper but I didn't want to mess around, I'd tried those and was satisfied beyond belief and didn't want to get anything less. It's unbelievable the amount of fatigue you get from all the noise on the plane. That's where I'd put my money.

    Safe travels
  14. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If sticking a power brick directly into a wall receptacle is your thing, waste your money on the Apple International Travel Kit. If you just want to plug the cord into a receptacle, buy a country-specific plug adapter for $3.
  15. kot thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    Thank you all for the valuable info! I read every post above with attention.

    I think I will buy a set of country-specific plug adapters for cheap and probably apple's airline charger. When I find out what my specific flight will be, I'll be sure to check for a good seat using Seat Guru. Although I don't know if they let you choose seats at the airport.
  16. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    Depending on the airline and your frequent flyer status you can usually choose your seat at the time of booking or at check in. If you can check in online 24 hrs before departure to ensure a good seat choice.
  17. georgee2face macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2010

    Here's my question: Is there any compact case to haul the iPad, iPhone, ear buds in multiple instances? I am tired of rubber bands and hate the snarls
  18. hayduke macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2005
    is a state of mind.
    I travel quite a bit and I bought one of these for my MBA. It has a USB port on it too so I can juice up my phone as needed. I think these are the best way to go. The airline adapter is pretty uncommon. I've had one for ~4 years and never had an opportunity to use it. Sometime you have a standard US plug under your seat in which case you just use your normal power adapter.


    There is this:

    But the price is crazy IMHO.

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