Packing is the necessary evil of traveling. It's essential to bring everything you need, but deciding what's necessary or not is a challenge. You also have to follow the different rules for each transportation method to pass through security smoothly. Most importantly, you'll need some games to pass those long hours at the plane terminal.
This guide will help you decide what you need to bring and how to pack it. We also provide helpful tips on safe transportation. Whether you're making a short hop across the country for work or traveling worldwide for fun, this guide is for you.
Check the rules for your method of traveling
If you're traveling via public transportation, look up its restrictions before you start packing. There's no point in carefully packing and securing your devices if you can't bring them through security. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restricts lithium-ion batteries, electronic cigarettes, and vaping devices in the plane's cargo hold. If you attempt to check a bag with a power bank, it will be refused.
If you're traveling internationally, double-check the travel restrictions in your destination country before you go. Many restrictions are universal, but it costs nothing to double-check and can save you time and money.
Only pack the essentials
Packing the essentials is easy in theory but complicated in practice. Think about your trip itinerary and what you will or won't need. If your devices share the same charging method, you only need to bring one or two charging cables. If you're not planning on working while you travel, you probably don't need your laptop. If you're planning on seeing the sights, you definitely don't want to leave your camera behind.
However, there are some essentials for any trip. One of the best portable power banks is a must-bring. You'll want to keep your phone topped up wherever you are, and a spare charging cable or two for your phone is handy. A universal adapter and a surge protector are good things to keep in your luggage when you travel to foreign countries.
Pack your electronics in your carry-on
Always pack electronics in your carry-on or personal item. The FAA prohibits lithium-ion batteries in the plane's cargo hold, so anything with one (which is most electronics) must be carried with you. If you don't have a carry-on, get as small a bag as possible. Choose bags that have plenty of internal pockets and compartments, so you can organize your devices for easy access.
Organizing your devices like this is also helpful when your bag is screened at security checks. This always happens at airport terminals, but you can expect it for any sort of public transportation. Pack your devices so that they're instantly visible upon opening your bag.
If you carry a lot of electronics, spend a few bucks for a foldable duffel bag (preferably in a bright color) that you can use until you get through TSA. Once you've made it to the gate, move your electronics to your carry-on bag, and hide the foldable duffel bag in a pocket. Make sure you roll up the cables neatly and tie them with a rubber band to avoid tangles.
Keeping your electronics in your carry-on helps prevent loss or theft. If you always have it on hand, or within sight, it's less likely to go missing.
Secure your devices before you go
Once you've decided what to bring, make sure your devices are secure. Packing them inside your carry-on for visibility is a good start, but there are additional steps you can take to keep them secure.
Password protect your devices
While your phone should already be secured, check your laptop, gaming devices, and anything that can store your personal information. It's a good idea to create a strong password for each device.
Track your electronics
This will come in handy in case of loss or theft. You can download tracking software or attach a physical locater like a Tile. It's easy to lose a bag or device while traveling, and these tracking tools can pinpoint its location for recovery.
Bring appropriate adapters
When traveling to a different country, you need to bring an appropriate adapter and factor in different voltages. If you bring an item with a higher or lower voltage requirement than your destination's standard, you can permanently damage the internal electronics. Most countries use a voltage that is twice that used in the U.S., so be aware of this if you're traveling to or from the U.S.
To check the voltage information of your device, read the label located near the power supply. If this information isn't provided, check the device's support website. Devices that don't support different voltages need a voltage converter. There are plenty of options, and most are designed specifically for travel.
Pack your electronics with care
Once you've decided on what you're bringing, make sure it doesn't get damaged during transit. Keeping it in your carry-on is a good start, as your devices won't run the risk of being damaged by baggage handlers. However, there are a few more steps you can take to prevent accidents.
Buying protective cases for your electronics is essential to prevent damage. There are plenty of options available, but we recommend going for hard shells, like these heavy-duty Galaxy S22 ultra cases. These can be bulky, but provide the best protection for your devices.
You can always cushion your devices with clothes for extra protection (but keep them easily accessible). Use pockets and compartments to store electronics. Don't let your devices rattle around in your bag.
Get ready for your next adventure
After a few years of sitting at home, travel seems more exciting than ever. If you're thinking about a holiday trip, create a plan. Google has all the tools you'll need for a perfect vacation.