Your Electronic Ban Survival Guide
The Electronic Ban for flights to and from the Middle East has been in place since early spring. Now, as the Trump administration pushes for another ban on electronics on flights to and from Europe, more passengers will be affected than ever before. I have compiled a list of things you will need to prepare for flights without your electronics.
Here is what you need to survive the electronic ban on airlines.
Bigger Phone & More Storage
I use the iPhone 7 Plus and the big screen and massive amounts of space may be the only saving grace on flights with no entertainment. Any smartphone that can store a couple of movies is great, but a bigger screen with a lot of storage will be the next best thing to get you through a flight with no in-seat entertainment system.
A Pelican Case
Guess what? Baggage handlers don’t care that your brand new camera and delicate laptop are in your luggage. They are going to throw it the same way they throw everything else. You are going to need a strong, reliable place to put your laptop, tablet, camera gear, hard drives, and whatever else they decide to take away.
Pelican has been trusted for years by industry professionals to protect expensive camera gear. Invest in one of these, so your stuff doesn’t break. I love how easy the "pick and pull" foam is to get a custom fit for each item in the case. They make many sizes, both large and small, and there is nothing more secure for your gear. I have tested several protective cases, and nothing beats Pelican.
I believe there are two kinds of luggage, carry-on and lost. I almost always carry-on, but with the new electronic ban, carrying-on will not always be an option.
LugLoc is a GPS tracking device for your luggage. You put the device in your luggage and track your luggage with your phone. The battery lasts up to 15 days, so if your bags really do get lost, you have the ability to find them. I recently tested this out on a trip to Estonia, and I can confirm that it works very well. You can even turn on text notifications to update you when your bag changes locations.
Unfortunately, even though a Pelican case can protect your items from abuse, it can’t promise they won’t get lost or stolen when they are checked in with the airline. Travel insurance is something you should already have, but now you will want to make sure that you have a plan to protect your gear. (If you buy a plan, you should be sure that it includes emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage). I’m a big fan of TravelGuard.
Airlines often offer a very small amount of money for lost bags, but rarely is it more than $1000 USD. Chances are your electronics are going to cost more than $1000 to replace, so get insured and don't forget to back-up any information that you cannot afford to lose!
A "Crap" Computer
This doesn’t have to actually be "crap", but it can be your travel computer. I own a nearly $3,000 MacBook Pro that is maxed out in all capacities for work. Although travel is my work, often times I am traveling with my “crap computer”, a $300 Macbook Air. It’s challenging to flip-flop between two computers, but knowing that my more important (and much more expensive) laptop isn’t being abused in transit or worse—stolen, gives me a peace of mind.
Keyboard for Phone
If you are a business traveler, you probably count on working from the plane. As someone who needs to write about my travels when I’m on my flights, this electronic ban is going to force me to lose some productivity. The best thing for this is to get a keyboard for your phone. You can find several on Amazon. With one of these you can keep working on the plane if you have a smartphone.
Cloud storage plans are going to be crucial incase you check your laptop and never see it again. Invest in a good plan. Google docs is great if you are just working on documents while away. Chances are if you are on vacation, you are taking a lot of photos. Be sure to back them up on a cloud storage program like Dropbox. Depending on how much storage you need these plans may even be free.
Back up Hard Drives
A backup hard drive is a great alternative to using cloud technology when traveling. My favorite choice is the Rugged Thunderbolt drive from LaCie. The thunderbolt connection makes transfers of large files (such as videos and photos) much quicker than a regular USB. Additionally, this drive is made for travelers and is made to take a little bit of a beating. I recommend anyone who takes a lot of video or photos to buy the 2TB. So far, I can only find in orange. I have several, so I keep them organized by labeling each of them.
A Good Attitude
This is miserable for everyone involved, including flight attendants and other passengers. Bring a positive attitude and everyone will be better off.