My laptop has 3 ports. One for wireless mouse and the other one for laptop's fine. The other port is usually free, unless I'm using modem or plugging in an USB or my phone or tablet to deal with some data.
Sadly my 5 years old Acer Aspire Vista OS Laptop only has 2 USB Ports.
I have to switch in order to plug in this and that.
Though for my External HDD it has it's own permanent place so the one left is suffering from the switch/plug.
I had used extra port kind of USB but it doesn't provide full power as it divides and became slower.
It's good for extra keyboard and mouse but I still need to switch in between to plug my phone, cam, printer etc.