Welcome to Day 21 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag.
Travelers are bringing more and more electronics on their trips, from iPhones to laptops to e-readers and everything in between to capture every moment and keep themselves entertained. This adds to your packing list because not only do you need to keep electronics protected from the bumps and turbulence that come with travel, but also from from theft.
Take Only the Electronics You Need
Electronics can easily weigh you down, and it means you are responsible for a lot more “money” being toted around in your luggage. Not only that, but having too much expensive gear on your travels can help to make you a target in certain situations. So, with that in mind, you need to consider what will be absolutely necessary on your travels.
Some benefits of packing different devices:
- Laptops or Netbooks: Good for blogging, keeping in touch with friends and family back home, personal entertainment, scheduling and organizing your travels, and never having to wait for shared hostel devices. Great for when you’re working on the road.
- Phones: Also good for keeping in touch with friends and family around the world, updating social networks (if you have data on the phone) and possibly for taking photos and videos. Check out these iPhone add-ons and see if they might be a good addition to your packing list. A good travel app (or 20) on your phone can also benefit your travels.
- E-Reader: A Kindle or other reading device allow you to save space in your luggage when it comes to the number of books, if any, you carry.
- iPad or Tablet: These make for more compact ways to access certain apps, access the internet and keep in touch with friends. These will not be as robust for editing and backing up photos as a laptop.
- Cameras: Point and shoots, DSLRs, or video, these devices help you to capture your adventures.
When choosing your devices, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
1) Can you pack items that serve multiple purposes? Instead of a video camera, a phone and a iPod, can you just take an iPhone get all the features in one device.
2) Will you use the item to its full potential? Packing a video camera to be used once or twice probably isn’t going to be worth it. In the same sense, packing a laptop when traveling to remote destinations without Internet or maybe even proper electricity is unnecessary.
For Your Smartphone, Tablet and E-Reader
Smartphone cases – Pack a case for your iPhone or smartphone that will keep it protected from bumps, drops and scratches. Trust us – those iPhone screens were made to crack! If you’re going to be active or near water, try a case from Lifeproof or Otterbox.
Backup battery– In addition to your phone charger, you can pack an extra battery pack that plugs into your phone and recharges. Other versions are solar powered.
Screen protectors– Whatever product you bring, it should have some sort of plastic cover to protect the screen from getting dirty or broken.
For Your Laptops and Netbooks
Whether you’re packing a full sized laptop or a travel-friendly netbook, bring a padded case that will survive the bumps of trains, plans and automobiles. Back up your documents and photos with a USB drive or external hard drive.
For Your Camera
Whether you’re packing a DSLR or a simple point and shoot, your camera is an important item to protect while traveling. Bring a lens cloth to clean of dirt and grime. Camera bags should firstly protect your camera while also being versatile enough to carry other items in it. Tripods are another item to pack for stable photos.
Chargers and Universal Adapters
Don’t forget to pack all the chargers that go with your electronics, along with a universal adapter for your chosen destination. Make sure that the voltage lines up because an adapter is not the same as a converter. You can try one plug that changes for different countries or buy a set of multiple adapters. A surge protector is also good to bring so you can charge many things at once.
Organizational Tools and Other Essentials
Grid It– Keep your cords and chargers organized with a Grid It’s bands and zippered pocket.
PacSafe bag– The SlingSafe is a great bag for electronics as if has a sleeve for a small laptop or tablet and is lined with mesh to keep it from getting slashed.
Insurance– Any time you bring electronics, and every time you travel anywhere, you should have some sort of insurance coverage to protect you against theft, injury, baggage delay, flight cancellations and every other form of mishap.
Waterproof pouches– You can purchase waterproof cases for your camera, phone and tablet so that you can take underwater photos.
Lock– If you’re storing your valuable electronics in a locker at your hostel, it’s better to bring your own lock, either combination or key, rather than counting on having them provided.
How to Pack Your Electronics
Priority number one for packing your electronics is to make sure you have them cushioned, dry and temperate. How you place these items in your luggage will depend on your luggage style. Our biggest tip, however, is to keep anything important and expensive on you at all times. That means placing your big cameras and laptops in your carry-on luggage if at all possible. Not only does this ensure your items will not get jostled around, it also means they won’t get lost if the Bermuda Triangle should swallow your suitcase.
Have a separate pouch for your cords and cables to keep them organized. When flying, have your laptop in a case that is easy to get out for security screening.
Take Action: Protect Your Electronics
Think about the different situations your electronics might be exposed to on your travels (rain, cold, getting tossed around) and get the gear necessary to protect it.
* Big thanks to Tom Bihn for supplying products for these comparison shots.