Fears that computers bigger than a smartphone could conceal a bomb in their battery compartments have led to bans on devices bigger than a cell phone in the cabins of flights from a growing list of countries. This is particularly challenging for business travelers on long flights who need to maintain productivity. All is not lost. With a few substitutions, you can still stay connected, safe and working with these simple hacks.
1. QWERTY-Powered: Give your thumbs a break by using a folding Bluetooth keyboard (avoid the larger lithium-ion battery-powered ones to be fully TSA-compliant) that links to your phone. This will allow you to pound out those emails without cramping your fingers. It has all the two-handed convenience of a computer without the bulky size.
2. Picture Light: You may be forced to check your thousands of dollars of video, camera, lenses and tri-pods, but that doesn’t mean you can’t record your travel moments. Compact point-and-shoot cameras can still deliver video and photo clarity worthy of posting while speeding your way through security lines and lifting the burden on your shoulders.
3. Flash Driven: Some airlines are offering loaner computers for the duration of the flight. Bring your documents on a USB and you could be clicking away as you fly through the sky.
4. Pen and Paper: It might be time to take a break from electronics for the duration of the flight. Consider jotting notes in a journal, reading a magazine or diving into that book that has been on your nightstand for the last year. You might find it relaxing.
5. Ship it: Worried about your precious cargo reaching its destination safely and bug-free? Instead of abandoning it to the depths of your suitcase and the possibility of a lost luggage black hole, or possible tampering, consider shipping it. Most airlines charge for luggage now, anyway. A padded, sealed box handled by a logistics company can protect your devices from breakage and break-ins. It can make check-in and the trip to the hotel easier if you know your Mac will be waiting for you in your room when you arrive.
If you do abandon your laptop to your bags, consider doing a backup and deleting or encrypting locally-stored data, setting up a bio (fingerprint) passcode and powering it off completely.