Traveling with Electronics

Summer is coming and it’s the time for travel.  Whether long distance or just quick trips, chances are, you’re toting along at least a Smartphone with a charger or a full-on smorgasbord of electronics if it’s a business or family trip adventure.  No matter the distance, are you prepared??  Sometimes just the thought of lugging around these valuables on a trip can be a daunting black cloud if you aren’t sure how to pack appropriately.  If any of this sounds familiar, then read on, and rest assured, where there’s a will there’s a way to keep everything safe, organized, and running in tip top order to make your trip stress-free!

How to Pack                                     

Probably the most important and first thing to note, is to invest in a good bag.  If you’re carrying a laptop, or larger electronic devices in it, make sure it’s well padded to absorb bumps and juggling during transit.  A bag, such as this Everki Titan Laptop Bag, that provides sufficient room and multiple compartments for all accessories will eliminate the need for a second bag and will keep everything together, properly secured, and easily accessible during the trip.  Something to consider is finding a laptop bag that doesn’t look like the typical carrying case so that thieves can’t easily identify how valuable its contents are!  Messenger bags are a good investment since they cross over the body and discourage someone from trying to steal it while you’re wearing it as well.

Take organization to the next level with this BUM Waterproof Handbag, which serves as a cord organizer & accessory carry case!  Speaking of cords, if you run into a situation where you need an extra outlet to keep everyone’s devices charged don’t forget about the USB outlet on the back of the TV in your hotel room!  Plug in your phone or tablet while everyone is getting around in the morning to top off your charge if all other outlets are occupied.

Good Practices

Preparing for travel doesn’t have to be limited to tangible items to make the best of your trip, however, some other things to consider involve some extra steps you might want to take before you even leave for your trip.  For instance, a good habit to get into is to email yourself all the critical information you might need on your trip.  Travel info, phone numbers to places you know you’ll be visiting or staying at, check-in times or reservation information can all be outlined in this email in case you can’t find a physical copy of something in a pinch.

Another good practice is to take the time to back up all important data on your devices.  Make a second copy of documents or photos and save them on a flash drive that you’ll leave at home in case (knock on wood) something happens to your device during your travels.  It’s an extra step, but you’ll thank yourself later if things go awry!

Don’t forget you can also access Google Maps offline too.  If you know you’re going to be traveling to a location where you may lose service, plan your maps out ahead of time.  While you’re connected to Wi-Fi, pull up the map area that you’ll be needing and type “OK Maps” in the search bar.  You can drag and zoom to the area you’ll be needing access to and save it for offline use later.  Just go to “Offline maps” in your profile to pull it back up.

Space Savers

If you’ve been reading along here and you’re finding yourself thinking you need to invest in some new gadgets for that upcoming trip, there ARE some great finds out there that can enhance your travels without being just another distraction!

One thing to consider is how versatile the device is.  A laptop is great for its portability and convenience, but consider one that also breaks down into a tablet for the kids to quickly grab on the go without it being too large or clunky.  This Lenovo Convertible Ultrabook does just this! It serves as a regular laptop with a full functioning keyboard, and then flips around to act as a tablet!  This would eliminate the need for both a laptop and a tablet if you need to get some work done, but then still have a lite version for easier handling and entertainment.  Then you can decide if that extra tablet in the bag is really worth the worry!

Another way to save space is simply to use the cloud.  Before you leave, plan ahead what you’ll be needing or accessing during your trip and save anything you can to the cloud.  Use Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud for Mac to upload documents or photos.  While USBs and most hard drives aren’t overly large, this would be one less thing you have to worry about!

Portable chargers are a great addition to the gadget bag.  You never know when a wrong turn might take you off course, or a wait time at a restaurant might take longer than expected.  You won’t have to worry about running out of battery if you keep a portable charger on back up!

Now, if you’re really in the market for a fun new device, consider the Apple Watch Series 3!  This version has cellular connectivity so you can make and accept calls, right from your watch!  If you’re going to be out and about and don’t want to risk losing your cell phone, this would be a great safety net so you can stay connected without the risk of losing anything!

Tech-FREE Travel with Kids

I COULD end this here…but what about those vacations where you just want to get AWAY from technology?  It’s hard enough to stay entertained as adults and it’s even harder as a kid these days.  Technology is ingrained in our children at such a young age to the point that they’re now required to know how to type their name on a keyboard before entering Kindergarten in some schools!  If your entire family is in need of some serious screen-free time but you’re nervous about the hours of travel or long lines at a restaurant, here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing that do NOT involve electronic devices!

Now, this first one takes some advanced planning, but if you have children at least 5 years old and up set up a store in the car.  Gather items from the dollar store or fun, quick snacks and set up a pricing structure.  For every half hour or hour that the kids are good, including regular good behavior as well as not asking “are we there yet” every 10 minutes, then they get play money as a reward.  They can either use their money right then to “buy” something for new entertainment or keep their money to combine it with the next half hour’s reward for an even better item to buy.  You’ll make the trip go faster by giving them something to look forward to in smaller increments during the drive, teach or reinforce adding and subtracting skills, as well as teach them the value of money and saving!

As I said, that’s a little more involved and requires a lot of prep, so if you want something a little less intensive head to the library or look on Amazon for books about the location you’re going to.  Let the kids do some research of their own before they even get there.  They might find something new that they want to explore or during their adventures!

For the smaller humans, it can be more challenging to keep their interests up.  Activity books with pen and paper may be too advanced or not keep their attention long, but interactive books like the Small Kids Big Day Book are great tools that are also educational and promote fine motor skills while keeping them busy!

Of course, there’s always the good ‘ole tried and true games that have been around since we were children too.  Hand them a pad and paper and have them make a list of all the different states they see on the license plates that drive by on the highway.  Hangman is a good way to pass some time too, and here’s a fun Magnetic Hangman version to boot!  I Spy can be a good filler, but sometimes it’s a quick run if you’re only spying things in the vehicle since outside items will be flying by too quickly.  Whether you’re all-in on the electronics or going screen-free, the overall goal is stress-free, care-free, and enjoy the ride!