Why is it that power outlets in airports are about as abundant as parking spots at the mall on Black Friday? And that if you do by some miracle happen upon an outlet, it’s already being juiced by some other gadget-toting traveler while other desperate passengers lurk about ready to pounce on the lone, precious outlet the moment it frees up?

As more and more of us travel with laptops, phones, ipads, mp3 players and any number of other tech products, the gadget-to-airport-power-outlet ratio just seems to get worse and worse. So what’s a traveler to do?

First, things first: wise up about where you might find an outlet. The Airport Power Locater is one website dedicated to telling you where you can find power outlets in numerous airports around the world, as is the AirPower Wiki.

If that fails, search. In my experience, power outlets tend to be tucked behind a pillar, near the gate or by a bathroom (and if you’re really lucky, under seats – but whoever designs airports rarely puts outlets in such a convenient and obvious place).

Once you find an outlet, chances are it’ll be occupied, but that’s where this next tip comes in: bring along a power splitter. Power splitters or power strips let you plug multiple devices into the same outlet, so simply present your splitter to the person who’s using the outlet and offer to share.

Oh, and a final word of advice? Choose a power splitter with a surge protector. Some of the outlets I’ve seen at airports look as though they’ve been around since the advent of electricity and you’ll be using them at your own peril. The last thing you want is to fry your laptop or phone right before your trip – a surge protector will ensure that doesn’t happen.

What do you think? What has your experience been when it comes to finding power outlets at airports? Do you have any tricks or resources to share?