MacMost Now 894: Apple Device Travel Tips

When you travel with Apple devices there are some small accessories that you can bring along to help you connect and use your devices. See which simple and cheap accessories I bring along when traveling.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 894: Apple Device Travel Tips.

This is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at some Apple travel tips.

Today I'm in beautiful Barcelona. When I travel to places like this there is usually some equipment that I always bring along.

Now I like to stay in rented apartments but you may like to stay in hotels. Either way there are some useful Apple gadgets that you can bring along.

For instance, my main gadget and the most expensive one that I bring in addition to all my iPhones, iPad and MacBook, is an Airport Express base station.

Now an Airport Express base station is about $100 and is pretty compact and the new ones are even smaller. But I am using previous generation ones. I can plug that in and then use that as my wifi base station. The great thing is that when I stay in a place like this apartment or sometimes when I stay in hotels I can plug that directly into the ethernet that they have and create my own wifi network. Even if a wifi network is already provided I can take a small ethernet cable and plug my base station into the one that they have there. Instead of using their wifi I can use my wifi.

Now there are two main advantages to this. One is security. For instance I don't know who has the password to the base station in this apartment. Or maybe sometimes they are not even protected with a password so it is just public. That is not very secure. If I plug my own base station in I'm using my own wifi network which I have secured.

The second advantage is I don't have to enter in that password. You see a lot of time you stay in places and there is this really long password that you have to enter in. Well I've got my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. That is three devices right there. Add in all the devices from my family and I usually have seven or eight devices. So I have to enter in the password for each one of those.

Well, I don't have to do that if I am using my own base station. All these devices are already familiar with the base station. So I plug it in. I plug it into the existing network and all my devices are instantly online. So it is very convenient as well as more secure.

Another gadget I like to bring along is a simple little connector. It is the HGMI connector. You can get the old one for the thirty pin dot connector for the iPad and iPhone. Or you can get the new lightning version of that. Now what this does is it allows you to hook your iPad or iPhone into a TV. Most TVs for the last several years have HGMI connections. So you also want to bring a small HGMI cable. I usually bring a one meter or three foot cable even something smaller. I've actually got one that is only about six inches long. This allows me to plug in my iPad to a TV.

So if I've got some movies on it or I want to watch some video or rent some videos on iTunes it is very convenient and I can actually watch them on the television which is great to do when you are relaxing in the evening with your family rather than everybody gathering around an iPad or iPhone.

Another thing I bring along is just a small cable to connect my iPhone or iPad to just about any audio device. Just a regular mini jack cable. This allows me to plug in my iPhone into just about any kind of stereo system that I find in the hotel room or place I rent. It also allows me to plug an iPhone into a rented car. So it is very easy to bring this along and it comes in handy all the time.

Lastly the thing I like to bring along is a small extension cord. Just a regular extension cord because sometimes the power outlets in hotel rooms or apartments are not really where you want them to be. Bringing along an extension cord allows you to basically move your devices about a little easier. It also helps, of course, if the extension cord has three connections on the one end so you can actually plug in three devices for that one outlet. Very handy for hotel rooms.

If you are staying in a country that doesn't use the same type of power connector, say here in Barcelona the Spanish power connector is very different than the American one, then I have one simple little power adapter converter that costs a couple of dollars, I plug in my extension cord, and now I can plug in an iPhone, iPad and my MacBook all into one plug using one of the adapters rather than having to carry three of them with me.

So there is a look at some of the basic gadgets I bring along with me when I travel. I would love to here from you comments to this post at to see which little gadgets you find useful while traveling.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 25 Responses to “MacMost Now 894: Apple Device Travel Tips”

    Joel Anderson
    6 years ago

    Appreciated the sights of Barcelona interspersed throughout (with silence, even), but what are you trying to do, make us jealous?

    6 years ago

    Thanks for great tips!

    6 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips. Just hope you can add a little voice over (or sub-titles) on the photos describing where they were taken and if possible to show the show the whole image first before the ken burn effect. I like to travel too.

    6 years ago

    Hey Gary,
    So great to see you’re in Barcelona! I’ve been living here for many years. I own a little chain of bars and restaurants in the city.
    I’m a big technology fan and I’ve been following your blog/channel for years, drop me a line if you feel like experiencing some of the coolest places in the city.
    Take care,

      6 years ago

      Unfortunately, I filmed that a few weeks ago and only got the chance to edit and post it when I returned home. I LOVED Barcelona. Had a wonderful time there — great food, streets, beaches, people.

    6 years ago

    Useful info, though I’d add a qualification to the power strip tip:

    Check the rating of any strip you bring along – a large part of the world (including Spain where you were) runs on 220-240V. If your strip is UL-rated for only 110V, it might not melt under 240V, but I wouldn’t risk it.

    Doubly so if the strip has any indicator lights on it – think “boom” and perhaps a fire.

    Triply so if the strip has a surge protector – think “boom” and no power.

    6 years ago

    Great episode! I always bring all the things you mentioned except I had never thought of bringing my AirPort base station with me. I will from now on! Thanks!

    6 years ago

    I only take my iPad on trips. I shoot a lot of photos and so I take the SD Lighting adaptor along to download the photos each day. I don’t mess with camera cables.

      Mac Carter
      6 years ago

      David, how much memory do you have on your iPad? What resolution size photos are you storing?

    6 years ago

    Like you I carry all of those things plus an ethernet cable, one other advantage of taking alone the Airport Express is that you can boost the wifi in a given location.
    I always stay with family on my long trips to europe and the first thing I do is plug in the the AE in the bedroom and hey presto a full fan and great wifi.
    This means when we wake early because of the jet lag we do not disturb anyone walking round the house for the best reception, we already have it!
    Keep it up Gary nice job.

    George Bell
    6 years ago

    Great idea about the WiFi base station. One thing I always carry is a small (ish) portable Bluetooth speaker e.g., Monster Clarity HD (I wish Apple would make something) in case there aren’t any audio devices to plug into. One that has a conference call facility can also save a bit of money on those calls home when everyone wants to talk to everyone else as it saves everyone asking each other the same stuff.

    6 years ago

    Your posts are very informative and helpful Gary, thank you.

    I also take a SIM cutter (to convert local SIM if iPhone sizes not avail.) and a wireless 3G router.

    6 years ago

    I take the iPad camera connector kit so I can add the photos from my camera to my iPad, the better to share with friends and family. I wish I’d seen this 2 months ago, before my overseas trip in June! This is a pre=summer video!

    6 years ago

    Good travel accessory ideas. I travel with a PlugBug, great for charging my
    MacAir & iPad.

    6 years ago

    If you take an HDMI adaptor, you also need the cable. One can also bring an Apple TV instead, but then one needs to plug it in.

    I also recommend paying for a VPN service as many American webpages and services are blocked outside the U.S.

    Mac Carter
    6 years ago

    Gary, thanks from me too on the travel gear tips. One question… how do you deal with security for all the gear when you are out sightseeing? Do you just leave your MacBook, for instance, in the rented apartment? What about if you stay at a hotel?

      6 years ago

      I used passwords on all devices, and FileVault on my MacBook. So if someone gets them, all they get is the hardware. They can’t get to my stuff.
      As for “my stuff” I use almost all cloud services — iCloud, Gmail, DropBox, etc. So if any of my devices were stolen, I’d be able to get up and running on a new device without losing much.

    Mac Carter
    6 years ago

    Two more questions… 1) you’re carrying quite a pile of gear. How do you actually carry it? Separate carry bag with you at all times?

    2) If you weren’t producing MacMost videos while traveling, could you get along with just an iPad? If so, how would you store your great photos? On extra SD cards? (I know I asked you about this recently, but I’m wondering if you have a fresh idea.)

      6 years ago

      Its really not that much. Nothing is big. My MacBook Air, iPhone, iPad mini and all the devices I show in the video probably weigh less than the much larger laptops everyone would carry 10 years ago. Most goes in my carry-on so I can access on the plane to waste time. But some of the cables and the Airport Extreme go in my suitcase.
      I could probably get along with just my iPhone if I had to. That’s what I used to film the videos — I edit when the vacation is over. But it is a bit hard to maintain my web servers without a MacBook. Also hard to answer questions people ask me about Macs since I can’t “try it” to solve a problem.

    6 years ago

    One gadget I take along is a Wi-Drive ( This small device allows streaming to up to 3 devices independently. Each child in the back of the car or on the train can enjoy his favourite movie/TV show/music. One just has to load the files on this device before leaving home. Battery live is not great but quit ok for 3 – 4 hours.

    6 years ago

    What inexpensive travel converter will do in Spain to charge iPhone. Apple has one for $30 but you mention taking your inexpensive converter with you in Barcelona.

      6 years ago

      U.S. Apple iPhone chargers will work with voltages from all over the world. All you need is a cheap ($2) plug converter since the physical plug is a different size. You can get them at Walmart, Amazon, or airports.

    D Campbell
    6 years ago

    Thanks for another great podcast; enjoyed your photos too. I don’t travel with nearly as much as you, just iPhone 5, iPad mini & my husband’s older iPhone. I agree w/ other poster about taking a small speaker The other handy item that I use both at home & traveling is a charger base w/ 2 USB slots that works in the car AND wall outlets. We each bring our Apple cords to plug into it. $13 @ walmart.

    6 years ago


    Will the Airport Express Base Station work in a cruise ship state room?



      6 years ago

      Unlikely. You need an ethernet connection to connect any base station. I doubt a cruise ship would provide an ethernet connection to each stateroom. Usually, they just have Wi-Fi throughout.

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