Plug ‘N Planes

Nowadays, one of the best friends of any traveller is electricity. We travel with a lot of gadgets, smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, laptops, e-book readers and even DVD players (yes, there’s still a lot of those around), and we need to keep them charged and ready to use at all times. Travel hasn’t been the same since portable electronic entertainment was invented.

However, if there’s something you won’t find aboard a plane is a way to charge your stuff (except in the toilettes or if you travel business or first class at selected flights), so you better get ready for it and make sure all your portable devices are charged before leaving home, or at least before you board your plane.

When I travel, I like to take advantage of the idle time (which is a lot because I travel a lot) so I work when I am at the airport, with my laptop or smartphone or both, and that means the battery of those devices might run out quite fast if I am between connections or arrived to the airport quite early. Many times I needed to start wandering around the terminals to find a power outlet where to charge my laptop so I can continue using it during the flight.

After several of those occasions, I realized how important it is to keep your devices charged (long trips will be boring otherwise) and to develop the sixth sense you need to find those power outlets in time. I cannot say I have mastered this yet but I wanted to share some tips to help you next time your battery is low:

  • If you are traveling to other countries, you must carry an international plug adapter with you. U.S. has one type of plug, Europe another one, U.K. a very specific one, and so on.

    The World of Plugs is a mess

    The World of Plugs is a mess

  • Look for Samsung or Oracle logos around you. Those companies – and others – are offering free “charging stations” in many major airports around the world.
  • Some of the common places where you can find power outlets are: walls near vending machines, pillars and behind or below chairs.
  • Give a look to the major coffee shops in the airport; many of them have some power outlets near the walls.
  • Consider checking the AirPower Wiki before traveling. It keeps good and updated information on where to find electricity plugs in many airports.
  • Consider asking to the people at the Information Desk of the airport. That’s one of the reasons they are there: to answer your questions, including how to charge your devices in their airport 🙂

Of course, if you have a good category in an international frequent flyer program or you are traveling business or first class, you usually have access to the airline lounges where you can find power outlets (NOTE: if they don’t have them in the lounge of your airline, consider switching to another one; i have seen several lounges without them!), but most of the travelers these days are still flying economy class and more of them are using low-cost airlines. You need to be creative in those cases.

If you have any other tip for keeping your devices charged while you travel, let me know in the comments. Me and the occasional reader of this blog will definitely thank you next time the battery of our tablet runs out when we are watching the final episode of Breaking Bad.


About ignaciosb

An expat who lives in airports and works in many things at an information security company
This entry was posted in Living in Airports and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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