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Laptop Travel Tips

Friday, August 4th, 2006 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized
 
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Q:
I own a laptop and I’m going to be taking it with me on vacation in a couple weeks. I’m traveling on an airplane and I was just wondering if you knew of any laptop travel tips.

A:
What an interesting question! Over the course of the summer, I’m sure many of you have traveled to your destinations via airplane. Am I right? I know I did, because some places are just too far to drive to, aren’t they? Maybe some of you are still awaiting your vacation and will be going in the next few weeks or so. When you do, will you take your laptop with you or will you leave it at home because you’re just not sure how things would go with it at the airport? Well, if you’re worried about that, don’t be! Traveling on a plane with your laptop isn’t as scary as you may think! Follow the following tips to ensure laptop safety while you’re in the air!

1.) Should you carry your laptop or pack it with your other belongings? This one is simple. You should always keep your laptop with you at all times. It will definitely be one of your carry-on pieces, so always plan for that. You don’t want to leave your laptop in the hands of baggage claim, because you never know what could happen to it. (Your clothes just aren’t as important as your laptop, are they?! :) Also, while you’re on the plane, don’t store your laptop in the overhead stow away area. Always keep it with you on your lap or by your feet. It’s the best way to make sure it stays safe during the flight.

2.) How will security check-in go? I know you may be worried about going through security at the airport. When going through the line, you may be required to take your laptop out of its carrying case. You may also be asked to turn it on to allow security to ensure that it is an actual working computer and nothing else. You may want to go ahead and have it turned on while you’re waiting in line as to save you some time. The security officials will do some “hand checking” and that will be that.

3.) What about the x-ray part of security? It may be a common perception that laptops shouldn’t go through the x-ray equipment, but it all truth, it will not harm your laptop. The magnetic field it uses is not strong enough to damage your hard drive or any of your stored data. Do keep in mind that metal detectors can cause some problems with laptops, so make sure you kindly ask the security officials to hand check your computer instead of sending it through the detector.

4.) I’m going out of the country, do I need to do anything special? If you’re leaving the country on your trip, you can definitely still take your laptop with you, but you need to make sure to keep any documents you are given during customs and any original receipts. All of this is just common safety so the airline knows you came back with the exact same laptop that you left the country with. If you can’t provide proof of ownership, you may run into some problems.

5.) What should I do with the laptop while waiting for my flight to leave? While sitting in the waiting area, you should try to distance yourself and give yourself a little privacy, especially if you’re going to use your laptop while you’re waiting. If you’re going to leave it in its carrying case, it’s not as big of a deal, but always be cautious of the people around you. You don’t want anyone looking over your shoulder while you use it or asking you questions about it. You can never be too careful with a precious piece of equipment such as a laptop.

6.) Another common knowledge tip is to never let the laptop out of your sight. Even if you leave it for just a second, it could be gone by the time you turn back around. If you’re with someone you know and trust, you can obviously leave the laptop with them, but otherwise, keep it with you all the time. Also, if you’re asked to set the laptop down for any reason during the security check-in, keep your eye on it at all times, just to be safe.

7.) Have there been any reports of laptop theft in airports? There haven’t really been any reported incidents like this, but you never know what could happen. It’s a good idea to keep this type of thing in mind, because a scam could always occur. Just be cautious.

8.) One last thing that you should practice when traveling with your laptop is to keep your carrying case locked. If you’re able to lock up the case, do so. This prevents anyone from getting into the case if you happen to not be looking. If you keep the case by your feet, someone could easily access it from below, so always keep an eye open for that as well.

I know that some of these tips may sound a little scary and they may make you wary of taking your laptop with you on trips, but it’s really not so bad. If you are cautious of your laptop at all times and you keep it safe under your own standards, you will have no problems. You will return home with the same great laptop you left with!

Have a great trip!

~ Erin

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