Have an upcoming trip but need your laptop for a few businesses or personal related matters? Not to worry, we have you covered here as this article covers how to pack a laptop for travel.
When it comes to how to pack a laptop for travel, you have to think of the following:
- Whether you want it in a carry on bag or as part of your check-in luggage.
- Getting through the Security Checkpoint
- The onboarding process
- In-flight use
If you have other electronics you want to take aboard the plane but are not sure if they are allowed, read below:
Electronic Devices Allowed On a Plane
According to the FAA, most consumer electronic devices with batteries are allowable on a plane. This includes but is not limited to:
- Camcorders etc.
The batteries within the devices can be:
- Dry celled
- Lithium metal
It is recommended that devices with lithium-ion or lithium metal batteries be used as carry-on luggage. However, if they must be checked in, ensure they are:
- Totally turned off
- Well packaged to prevent accidental activation
- Protected from damage
Making a Decision on Transportation Mode
Once you make the decision that your laptop is essential on your trip, the first thing to do is decide how to transport it. You have the following options:
- Travel with it on the plane
- Make use of a delivery service/courier
Both options have their processes. This is discussed below:
Traveling With a Laptop
When traveling with a laptop, there are certain steps involved from how to carry it on a plane to packing it.
How to Carry it On a Plane
..However, we feel it is important to point out that checking in your laptop with your baggage is not the best option…
Note that when you travel with your laptop, you have two options either check it in with your baggage or use it as a carryon. However, we feel it is important to point out that checking in your laptop with your baggage is not the best option. This is because there are a lot of risks involved.
Firstly, check-in luggage is not handled with care by airport officials. More often than not, they get tossed on top one another before being placed in airport cargo. When they arrive at their destination, they are tossed to conveyor belts for passengers to identify.
At the end of the day, the laptop is greatly exposed and the risk of damage is high.
On the other hand, using your laptop as a carry on is relatively safe. The care of your laptop is up to you and it does not end up getting jostled by unsuspecting airport workers.
How to Pack a Laptop for Travel
If you have decided to travel with your laptop using either of the two methods, we suggest the following packing methods:
Packing a Laptop as a Check-in Luggage
Although it is not advisable to place your laptop within the cargo hold of a plane, it might be unavoidable.
So, in such a case, what should you do? Read below:
- Ensure you place a screen protector on the laptop to prevent scratches
- Place the laptop within a sleeve to protect the casing.
- Place softly padded clothing in your luggage.
- Fix your laptop in the middle of the padded clothing.
- Cover all sides from top to bottom with only soft items to ensure your system is cocooned.
However, note that at the security point, you may have to open your box. So, do not lock it until the checks are done to save you the hassle.
Packing a Laptop as a Carryon Luggage
The first thing to do is to purchase a laptop case or backpack. You may consider purchasing a laptop sleeve, however, practically, it is not travel-friendly.
Ensure the bag you buy is well padded and your laptop has a screen protector to prevent scratches over the course of your journey.
Arrival at the Airport
Whether your laptop is a carry on or check-in bag, you still need to undergo security procedures at the airport.
For your check-in bag, the process is relatively easy:
- Present your ticket at the counter
- They weigh your bag and confirm its contents
- Then it goes to the cargo hold.
However, for check-ins, apart from removing your shoes, you will need to bring out all electronic gadgets. Therefore, follow these steps:
- Ensure the laptop is turned off
- Get a tray and carefully place the laptop within it.
- Do not let the tray out of your site once it goes through the detector.
- Retrieve your laptop and place it back within its protective bag.
After boarding the plane, place your laptop bag under the seat in front of you. This way, it is within your sight and you can retrieve it if you need to use it on the flight.
Do not place laptops in overhead bins as they can fly open during turbulence.
Etiquette for In-Flight Use of Laptops
- Pay attention to the instructions given by the pilot
- Look out for the signal that says you can power on electronic gadgets
- Use your headphones if you require sound output for your work.
- If you are dealing with sensitive information, ensure you have a laptop privacy screen with you.
Making Use of a Delivery Service/Courier
..Companies like FedEx and UPS render such services and all you have to take care of is the packaging for shipment…
Apart from traveling with your laptop, you can choose another option and that is to have it shipped to you via courier. Companies like FedEx and UPS render such services and all you have to take care of is the packaging for shipment.
To prepare your laptop for courier delivery, you need the following:
- New Box
- Bag (Must be anti-static and airtight)
- Edge Protectors
- Bubble Wrap
- Packaging Peanuts
Step 1: First thing to do is to protect the edges of the box. Use packaging tape on the edges to prevent holes from forming.
Step 2: Within the box, place bubble wrap until it is about 2 inches deep. Then place peanuts to create a bed for your laptop.
Step 3: The next thing to do is to seal your laptop within an airtight bag. After that, use a bubble wrap around it. To secure the bubble wrap, use packaging tape. Then at the edges, place the corner protectors.
Step 4: Center your laptop within the box and cover it with packaging peanut and bubble wrap.
Step 5: After securing your laptop, wrap the other accessories such as the charger in bubble wrap. You can also use a mini box to store the accessories before placing them within the main box.
Step 6: Close the box and use packaging tape to seal it. Ensure the flap is well sealed with the tape.
After packing, head on to your preferred courier to discuss terms of shipping.
Is it Safe to Put My Laptop Through an Airport Scanner?
Generally, airport scanners are meant to be okay for laptops and technological devices. The hard drive of your laptop uses magnetic media to store your data. On the other hand, airport scanners make use of light wavelength to operate so your system is safe.
However, if a wand or metal detector is used on your gadget, it could lead to a malfunction.
This is due to the emission of magnetic pulses by the wands and detector. It in turn can lead to the wiping of data on your hard drive.
Can I Have More Than One Laptop On a Flight?
There is no restriction to the number of laptops you can have on a flight. However, the weight limit for each individual to use as a carry on might limit your ability to have it onboard with you.
As a result, you may have to check it in with your bag. If you also exceed the cargo limit per person, you will have to pay an additional cost to get it on board.
When thinking of how to pack a laptop for travel, ensure that you place the safety of your laptop as number one priority. Subsequently, you can think of the convenience each method avails you. Before making a final decision on the best method.