It was hard enough to travel when we just had to bring ourselves and our clothes, perhaps even our families. It is important to understand the rules when it comes to carrying certain items while traveling. If we don’t, we might just lose them during a security check.
Nowadays we have some added precious cargo in our electronics. These come with separate rules and understanding those is most paramount in keeping everything safe and snug while we travel. These rules seem to be changing almost daily and it is wise to keep up with the latest procedures, but there are always the basics you need to apply no matter what the laws say.
But not to worry, after a couple of times these procedures will come to you naturally.
Here are our best tips and tricks for traveling with electronics!
Packing Electronics for Air Travel
We have stressed this point before: always travel as light as possible. It may be tempting to bring all of your favorite gadgets but focus on the mere essentials only. You will thank yourself later when you avoid a lot of hassle with a huge amount of cables and devices.
If you don’t trust your impulses, use a smaller bag for travel and so automatically limit the number of items you can bring. For your own comfort, make use of compartmented bags with extra padding. If you don’t have such a bag yet, there are some great choices on the market. For example, have a closer look at the Osprey 55 Travel Backpack. This medium-sized gem can be used in many different ways: a backpack, a duffel bag, and it even provides a removable daypack.
As for the safety of your electronics, use highly durable and specialized travel gear in order to store them effectively. A good backpack is a great choice but if you would rather keep your devices separate from the rest of your luggage, then there are several products on the market that allow you to store various items in the same place.
If you need some inspiration, have a look at this Universal Travel Case for Small Electronics and Accessories. It allows you to store your phone and all separate items belonging to it safely. If your preference goes to this one, you can choose a separate protective case for your laptop in order to reduce shock damage.
If you want to travel with your laptop separately, have a look at the more complex laptop bags with a strap for extra comfort while traveling. If you are using a backpack, however, and would prefer to keep it stored in there, a simple sleeve is perfectly sufficient for that little bit of extra protection.
If you are looking for a way to efficiently keep all of your essentials together, read more about the Airpocket Carry-On. This simple carry-on is designed to hold all of your essentials and still meet the guidelines imposed by airlines. This handy little pocket can fit snugly under the seat in front of you and allows you to avoid the war over a spot in the overhead compartment with your bulky bag. This makes the Airpocket a good option for safely storing your electronic devices as well as travel documents or even a book – whatever you need for your comfort on board!
Going Through Airport Security with Electronics
If you are still concerned about the electronics ban, don’t be. In 2017 the US had enacted a ban on electronics in your carry-on larger than a cellphone. This ban caused such controversy, however, that it was lifted in the same year and you are once again allowed to travel with your laptop within the United States.
That being said since 9/11 airport security has still somewhat tightened, especially in the US of course but this has taken effect in other countries as well. It has now become custom to not bring water bottles unless purchased after the security check and near your gate. Electronics have a separate set of rules as well and are required to be screened separately from the rest of your carry-ons. Prepare for this in order to travel more efficiently and separate your electronics before arriving at security, placing your electronics in a separate plastic bin provided at the checkpoint.
For those of you traveling with US airlines, the Transportation Security Administration lists all items you can bring in your carry-on luggage, checked-in luggage, both, or sometimes neither. Make sure to check where your items can be stored legally so you don’t risk losing them to security. I bet some of these might surprise even the most seasoned travelers!
Using Electronics on an Airplane
Once you get everything through security and on the plane, the onboard team will inform you of the procedures they expect you to follow regarding the use of your electronics.
Most of the time this will involve putting them in airplane mode (or turning them off) and storing them away safely during take-off and landing. Once in the air, you can use your electronics but only with airplane mode enabled until they give you the green light after landing. Of course, you will have no Wi-Fi service so make sure you prepare or download everything you need upfront. Movies, TV-shows, EBooks… You won’t be bored!
At Your Destination
As always, take care not to leave any devices unattended. Make use of hotel safes or hostel lockers if they are provided. When deciding on your travel cases or bags, consider simple models that perhaps don’t clearly show the content and use bags you can keep upon your person easily rather than having to carry it by hand. This is often the case with certain laptop bags that offer a handle rather than a strap. Make sure to avoid these; they are easily snatched away.
The above-mentioned travel backpack, laptop bag, and Airpocket are all travel bags that can be held close and safely at all times. If your preference goes out to other products, make sure they possess these qualities as well.
In case one or more of your devices get stolen anyway, you can make use of tracking software in order to locate them. These can be used for laptops and tablets as well as smartphones. Many such programs would be required to be installed upfront, so make sure you prepare for this possibility.
Charging Your Electronics
In addition to checking if you have the necessary plugs you can use in your country of destination, also check if you need a voltage converter. It might not always cause problems but it did, for example, last time I traveled to Mexico. Belgium being my home country I mainly have chargers and appliances I purchased there. Belgium has 220-volt electricity where Mexico has 127. You can imagine many more problems when people from Mexico travel to Belgium, no doubt!
Consider making a portable power bank a permanent part of your travels. A lot of airports, hotels, and restaurants provide relatively easy service for your charging needs but you can always run into a situation where you really need to charge but can’t. For those situations, finding a socket to charge your power bank is harder. If there is a blackout or if you happen to be in an area where they simply don’t have electricity, consider purchasing a model with a solar panel attached.
If you have no idea where to start looking for one, check out the Cobra Electronics Dual Panel Charger, and others like it. This foldable little power bank with its 6,000mAh Lithium Polymer Battery Pack has no issue charging several devices at once and comes with two USB ports and one micro USB connector. These solar panel chargers can be charged on the wall as well as with solar power so they aren’t bound to the use of panels alone.
Security procedures and traveling with items in need of extra checks can be a real pain, but once you fully familiarize yourself with these routines and keep updated about any possible changes, there is no reason why traveling with your electronic devices should be complicated. The key is always to keep informed and everything else will just become a habit as you go along.
Make sure to check the above-mentioned products if you are still looking to shop for certain luggage or perhaps even if you want to travel more efficiently. If you prefer to look for other products, research those with similar qualities as these are the ones that will make your travels a whole lot easier. Always keep in mind that you have the right amount of compartments, sustainable material, decent padding and at least a strap to keep your bag close to you.
If you ticked all these boxes, you are now ready to travel safely and headache-free with your favorite devices. Good luck!