Smartphones, tablets, GPS devices, eReaders… All of the gadgetry of modern travel certainly makes travel easier, but all of the accessories that go with them can be a nightmare! I have found the best way to tame a nightmare is to organize things and give them a home. An organized Gadget Bag can streamline your travels, whether you need to charge your phone, or the TSA needs to take a closer at those bricks and wires. And when travel gets streamlined, you can relax and enjoy the trip!
Typically, I travel with my SmartPhone and tablet, a point-and-shoot digital camera, and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device, so my Gadget Bag holds AC and DC chargers – the kind you’d use at home and in a car – and USB cables to go with them. Recycled twisty-ties keep all the cables neat and tidy. I make sure there is a plug and cable for every device I’ll need to charge during a trip, and that all of my devices use the same sort of chargers (USB and microUSB). Extra batteries, international plug adapters, headphones and other items come and go, depending on the trip. Which is what makes a gadget bag well-stocked: It’s not having one of everything, but rather having everything you’ll need and nothing (or at least very little) more.
It’s been said (even by me) that I cannot disconnect. I keep my phone and tablet with me almost all the time, and keep my Gadget Bag in my carry-on luggage while I’m rolling through the airport (as seen in this #Travel140 tip). Before getting on a plane or in a car, though, I’ll transfer it to my backpack or “personal item” to keep with me. This way, anything I might need is handy, and I don’t have to keep digging in the overhead bins, the backseat or, worse, the trunk. In between trips, everything I don’t need right away stays in the Gadget Bag, which stays in my carry-on, ready to go whenever I am.
Even though I believe it’s a good idea to keep my electronics within easy reach in case the TSA wants to examine them, it’s never actually happened. I haven’t had a customs agent, at home or abroad, ask to see them either. However, other travelers have shared horror stories about having their luggage gone through, and being pulled aside while agents dug through a bundle of wires and electronics in their checked bags. It can be something of a red flag, which is not something you want in your luggage.
Keeping things organized and in place is one key to simplifying and streamlining travel, and your Gadget Bag is a great place to start. Don’t worry too much about getting it “just right” because the contents will change with time. But trust me, whatever time you do spend getting everything together and organized will be saved when you’re on the road.
Your turn! What’s in your Gadget Bag? Any horror stories (or glorious tales of gadgetry gone well) to share? Let us know with a comment!