November 10 2008 by Mike Mason
Laptops are to business travel as popcorn to movies....today most business travelers have them and frequently negotiate the ups and downs of traveling with them. There are a few tips to keep in mind if you are new to the laptop traveling business or maybe just need a refresher. When you get too comfortable, that's when things can happen. True confession time...I checked a laptop in my luggage on a transatlantic flight. I knew this was not recommended, but I had some unusual circumstances that made this necessary. I took some extra precautions in the packing (layers of bubble wrap and duck tape) but I have never talked to anyone or read anything that would recommend this practice. It worked out okay for me, but I was very nervous. And probably got lucky. Our luggage was new and when it arrived at the destination it looked like it had been dragged behind a car. I had a sick feeling that my laptop was going to be in multiple pieces inside. Luckily it had survived. But, I wouldn't take the chance again. Here are some other items to consider when traveling with your laptop.
- Keep the laptop with you always. With the growing problem of identity theft, there is a good chance there are things in your computer that are as valuable as things in your wallet or purse.
- To be extra safe, while on an airplane, place the laptop under the seat in front of you. Do not place it in the overhead storage area as it could easily get bumped and damaged there. (I will do this on crowded flights, but usually put it in the storage bin if there is extra room...hey, I don't fit in airlines seats really well...so, I live on the edge a bit.)
- Do not pack a laptop in your checked baggage. (Yes, I know, I know, I know....never again.)
- Make sure the laptop battery is charged before you go to the airport. In some airports, finding an outlet to plug in your computer is like participating in a snipe hunt. You are sure they must exist, but you never see one. In addition, you may be required to power on your laptop during the security screening to demonstrate that the laptop is a working computer.
- Plan on removing a laptop from its carrying case during the screening and placing it in a separate bin. Don't stress about the x-ray; it will not harm it.
- If the hotel has a safe option, lock up the laptop while you are not in your room. If there is no safe available, bring your laptop with you.
- We mentioned identify theft before. It is a good practice to keep your laptop free of unnecessary sensitive information, like your social security number, or other confidential info that may be linked to other people. This may be required for your job. If so, just make sure to carefully follow the other laptop security guidelines.