Few business travelers dare to venture on a trip to another city, another state or another country without their trusty laptops. Since it’s a useful tool to help with both your professional and personal life, utilize these tips to get the most out of traveling with your laptop.
For starters, make sure that you have a really good case for your laptop. Choose one that’s not a designated “laptop” case to defer theft, especially if you have to leave it in an overhead bin or in your hotel room while you’re at meetings. Since you want one that’s not designated for a laptop, you still need to have the special features, such as padding and extra pockets for your plug, that typical laptop bags would have.
Take only the necessary accessories for your laptop. Leave extra storage drives and USB plugs back home. Bring along an extra battery, the laptop plug, and any peripherals that will be essential to the business you need to conduct during your trip. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, but you’ll regret weighing yourself down with too many extras.
If you are traveling internationally, adapters will more than likely be necessary. The size of the plugs and power requirements vary depending on your destination country so check on these factors and buy the adapters ahead of time. You can easily purchase them online if your local electronics store doesn’t carry them.
If you have insurance or warranty papers for your laptop, be sure to pack them with your other important papers. Leave copies back home, too. The same should be true of any important paperwork that you are taking on a trip.
Before you pack your laptop, be sure to back up the entire hard drive on your computer, or at least back up all important documents. You never know what can happen on your trip, and you don’t want to risk losing important business documents or personal treasures that are stored on your laptop if it gets lost, missing or damaged. Prepare for the worst and expect the best for your business trip.
Also, be sure that your laptop battery is fully charged and in your laptop before packing it to go. This is important just in case that you need to boot it up during the airport check-in or security check points.
Know your rights. If you have a very expensive device and are worried about breakage, politely request a manual inspection when it comes time to go through security lines. Not all airport security personnel will comply, but many of them will. This has the added bonus of letting you avoid the risk of theft as the laptop travels through the X-ray machine. Some laptops are stolen in this process if people get distracted or lose track of their correct bags.
A metal detector can erase vital data on your computer, but an X-ray machine cannot, so be sure to choose your battles carefully. Being polite and professional will serve you well. Remember that you are a representative of your business, and losing your cool over a small matter can reflect very badly on you. Be kind and polite. Always explain your position and be willing to compromise. Protect your laptop while also being considerate.
Try to keep the laptop in clear sight for the duration of your flight to deter theft as well. Never put it in a larger suitcase that you plan to check, and try to keep it out of overhead bins whenever possible.