The following is a guest post from organizing expert, Donna Smallin Kuper at Unclutter.com.
Whether you’re traveling across town or to the other side of the world, you’re not going anywhere without your phone and other favorite electronic devices. What can you do to ensure that you pack everything you need and leave nothing behind? And how can you keep device accessories from becoming a jumbled mess?
The fewer devices you bring, the better—it leaves you more room to pack other things. For example, you really don’t need a separate camera or GPS unit if you’ve got your smartphone. And while you might prefer using your laptop to send and receive emails or surf the internet, you can do that with your smartphone too. In fact, what can’t you do with your smartphone? Not a whole lot!
Fewer devices means fewer chargers and cords. Keep cords from tangling with other cords by folding and securing with a twist-tie or large binder clip. The binder clip can also be used as an at-home storage solution; hang the loop end of the clip from a push pin or hook.
Or re-purpose a toilet paper roll to do the job! One toilet roll can hold several sets of cords.
The easiest solution for packing chargers and cords is to place them all in a clear plastic food storage bag—either gallon or quart sized depending on the number of items. Include a reminder of what you packed so you don’t forget to repack it. Or use the twist-ties or binder clips as a reminder—just leave them in the bag when you remove the item.
If you must take your laptop, carry it in your laptop bag or briefcase or pack it at the top of your carry-on bag so you can quickly and easily remove it as you go through airport security screening. Even better—stow your laptop in a laptop sleeve. You’ll still have to place it on the conveyor belt, but you won’t have to remove it from the sleeve.
One benefit of bringing your laptop is that you can use the USB ports to charge other digital gear and leave those chargers at home. You may also be able to reduce the digital gear you pack to one charger with a USB port and individual charging cables.
If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel room where all the outlets were in use or outlets were too far away, you know how frustrating that can be. If you have room to spare in your bag, consider packing an extension cord, especially if you prefer to work on your laptop from the comfort of your bed. A three-outlet adaptor can also come in handy (and it doesn’t take up much room).
You probably want to keep your earbuds handy. One way to do that is to fold them, secure with a tie and place in an empty medicine bottle that you can tuck into your purse or briefcase.
For safety and security, never check a bag with electronic devices. Checked luggage is subject to rough handling which could damage devices. Also, having them out of your personal control also increases the risk of theft. Pack chargers and cords in your carry-on bag so that you have them in the event that your luggage is lost or delayed or you encounter a long travel delay.
Label devices with your name and phone number or email address in case you accidentally leave one behind and it’s found by a good Samaritan. If you lose a device, track it right away as soon as you realize it’s missing. It could still be right where you left it.
If you haven’t already done so,set up the phone locating software that came with your smartphone,which might be Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager.Then you can use your computer to track your phone. If you don’t have a smartphone, download a GPS tracker app such as the one offered by AccuTracking. Just be sure to do this before your phone is lost or you’ll be out of luck.
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