"All my bags are packed I'm ready to go," as the words to the song begin. I've got my clothes laid out on one side of the bed. The other side belongs to my phone and its accessories. Guess who's better dressed? That's right. My phone now has more accessories than my Barbie doll could have ever hoped for.
Here's what's on my list for the trip out to CES in Las Vegas this year.
I'm taking two phones and two cases with me.
My workaholic, get things done phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5. The case I use was made using Shutterfly and has a picture of me and one of my good friends on the back. Given to me as a birthday gift, having a case with my photo on it has come in really handy. I've left my phone behind twice (so far), and twice, a Good Samaritan has recognized me from the photo on the phone case, and has found me and returned it.
The other case for my less used but more delicate iPhone 6 is the Odyssey from innerexile. It's a single piece of anodized aluminum that's as sexy as the phone itself. The company says the case has a polycarbonate cover making it super strong against my normal nicks and scratches. The fit is one of the best cases I've seen and the silver I chose looks great with my evening wear.
In a Desert of Electricity
For the long days on the show floor, I'm carrying three spare chargers. Two of them are solar powered since I'm really tired of scouring rooms for empty outlets at CES. The problem with these is that you really can't depend on the sun to charge them --- it would take days. But once they're charged they're pretty self-sufficient.
WakaWaka is my feel good charger. It's a solar powered (or wall powered) charger/battery pack that can recharge my mobile phone and also serves as one heck of a flashlight that has three different beam strengths. Created to help power the third world where electricity is scarce, when you buy a Wakawaka they'll give another WakaWaka to someone who really will depend on it for light and power. It's lightweight, about the size of an iPhone, but packs a good wallop of free goodness.
My workhorse solar-powered (or wall powered) charger/battery pack is from a company called Tough Tested. It's a little heavy and clunky but you can take this thing into the desert or snowstorm and it'll charge your devices quickly and efficiently. With a lot of patience, you can recharge the unit via solar, and it's powerful enough to charge two mobile devices simultaneously. It'll keep me charged all day.
But I'm not a total nature freak, I've got an additional inexpensive charger that I carry. The cylindrical power pack from Random Order is much neater. It fits easily inside my bag, it's got a built-in flashlight, and appears to be good for about 2-3 hours of extra charge time.
Man Does Not Live By Phone Alone
At night it's time for all things to recharge (me included) -- tablets, earbuds, flashlights, remote controls, Bluetooth speakers, portable chargers and more. That's where products like the DIGIPOWER 10 USB port charger work well. It seems to be one of the fastest chargers I can find, and you're not likely to run out of USB charge outlets.
And for those who like their cables in more of an octopus/calamari design, you can bring the Power Squid. I love ours because it provides both USB and electrical outlets and you can wrestle it into various accommodating positions.
Vegas hotels are notorious for bad music and TV selection. Jawbone's MINI JAMBOX is a pretty good Bluetooth portable speaker as is UE MINI BOOM. Both pack a walloping sound that I use to soothe myself at days end and tune into the news in the AM.
That Sense of Self
Of course no self-respecting selfie lover would leave town without their selfie stick. Mine is the Looq. Giving one to my nephew gave me favored aunt status at the holidays -- plus I love mine too. It's the first time I don't look in some way deformed in every selfie shot. According to the manufacturer, the Looq is the only selfie stick with no battery, no Wi-Fi and no Bluetooth to save phone battery power. It weighs less than 4 ounces and extends to 24 inches. Plus, you can buy an add-on camera kit which lets you use olloclip-type devices to take macro or wide angle selfies.
Car Charging Kits
If you're renting a car, most of them come with Bluetooth adapters now, but it doesn't hurt to bring along something that can accommodate a few devices for charging at once. I find that the Scosche does the trick but for even more charge ports check out the Aukey.
Another great addition to the car is SplitSecnd. It's a simple device that plugs into your cigarette lighter and immediately starts monitoring your car's movement. It's small enough to move from car to car and it works instantly, once powered. Its key feature is that it will notify emergency services if you have an accidents, and give them your location. Or you can call for help manually by pressing a single button, and it also tracks your route. But the big reason I like my SplitSecnd is that it can also show me where I parked my car on a map on my smartphone.
For mounting the phone in the car, it's good to bring something like the Spiderpodium along. For serious photography, use olloclips; Add a Bluetooth headset (I'm not a beats person) such as my current pick these comfortable earbuds from Velodyne; A little cleanser for your screen, some texting gloves if you're heading to colder climates.... I could go on forever but it's time for me to pack my own socks and underwear and get to the airport.