5 DIY Solutions to Organize Your Tech While Traveling
Taking your tech on vacation or traveling for work? Here’s everything you need to know to safely travel light with technology.
Technology is with you everywhere these days, whether you are traveling for business or taking a vacation. You can pack a laptop, phone, tablet, camera, and half a dozen charging cables just to meet common problems; threads falling out when you go through airport security; or forget to pack your phone charger altogether.
To learn how to become a pro tech traveler with just a few DIY tips, read the tips below.
1. Easy cable management
Organizing your cables and placing them in the right place will reduce your stress levels when traveling, especially when it comes to getting in and out of bags while passing airport security.
Follow this checklist to manage your cables:
Stick to what’s needed by taking only one of each type of cable (i.e. USB C or Mini USB). It might sound obvious, but one cable can often be used across multiple devices like your phone or tablet. Also, wherever possible, opt for a universal cable that contains several different cables in one.
Learn how to wind a cable properly so you don’t end up with knotted cords. Here’s a simple YouTube video that shows you exactly how to wind your cable properly. Note: This can be reduced and used on headphone cables, USB cables, laptop chargers, etc.
“Pouch” your cables, or in other words, place your cables in a small bag. Look around your house for an old bathroom bag or even a sunglasses case, you can use these items to keep your cables in one place so they don’t come loose in your suitcase where they can easily get tangled and be difficult to locate quickly. .
Place your cables in the right place by carrying essential items like your phone, tablet or laptop chargers in your backpack or purse. If your device’s charge is low, then you can use the charging ports on flights, trains, or waiting rooms. Getting into this habit will save you a lot of trouble in the future!
2. Improvised laptop stand
A laptop stand is an incredibly useful item that comes with a few key benefits. It supports good working posture over long term laptop use, and in the case of remote work calls via Zoom or Skype, will help you look more professional. You can save money and space for your luggage by making a laptop holder from everyday items.
The next time your boss calls you, instead of looking at your chin from a low angle, your makeshift laptop stand will help you position the camera correctly at eye level. Check out the photo above to see the variations we’ve come up with using common items, or check out some laptop stands you can craft over the weekend.
3. Forgotten charging cable
Instead of doing it yourself, this trick is more like asking for yourself! With a little DIY spirit, you can ask for a little help from anyone at the locations below. It could save you time when you desperately need to charge your phone but forgot your charger at home.
Ask hotel staff if they have a spare cable you can borrow. It is not uncommon for staff to charge their own phones at work, or for a spare charging cable to be left by a hotel guest.
Visit a local library and ask if anyone would mind if you plugged in their charger for a while. Libraries are great resources when you’re stuck for help.
Restaurants and cafes aren’t the first place you think of, but again, staff are likely to charge their own phones at work and might not hesitate to charge your device while you sit down and grab a coffee.
At an airport, you may be lucky if it has a charging station. Nowadays, they are more and more frequent, because more and more of us are traveling with our technology. If you really need to charge your phone before heading to your next destination, see if another passenger wouldn’t mind lending you their cable while you wait for your flight.
Likewise, USB ports on planes, trains, and buses are becoming a standard addition to transportation, and if you politely ask, another passenger might be kind enough to lend you their charging cable as you transit.
4. A television as a second monitor
In your hotel or Airbnb, there is one device that is likely to be present every time: a television. Take advantage of this fact by taking an HDMI cable with you so that you can turn the TV into a second monitor for your laptop. This tip is extremely useful for travelers who might be doing audio production or movie editing work and need a little extra screen.
If not for work, just use it to watch your own media or set up a bigger screen to play your video games. All in all, it pays to bring a second monitor in your luggage and makes working or entertaining a lot more fun.
5. DIY damage protection
The last thing to consider is how to protect all of your technologies. If you’re on a budget, this list has some really great DIY steps that you can easily do.
Start by leaving your expensive things behind. Can you get away with grabbing your tablet and leaving your laptop behind? Or if you’re worried about taking your smartwatch off while relaxing by the pool, why not leave it behind and grab an old watch instead?
Branded clothing attracts the attention of thieves, so an easy solution is to take some duct tape and place it over the logo. A good example of this is your Nikon or Canon camera bag.
Build your own laptop sleeve if you don’t already have one and don’t feel like buying an expensive sleeve. There are many DIY options out there, but the most basic, but the most doable, method is to simply use foam. Head to a hardware store and buy a piece of foam that is at least 1cm thick (buy a thicker size for extra protection). Measure the foam to the size of your laptop, cut and glue the sleeve together. About as simple as it gets.
Use your Dropbox account to locate a stolen or lost laptop. Your online account keeps track of the last location you logged in from, and because your Dropbox syncs frequently with the internet, it will contain updated location data. Knowing this, you can either hand this information over to authorities in the event of theft or determine where you may have left your device in a library or cafe. Watch this YouTube video for how to get the IP address of your missing device through Dropbox, then run the IP address through a website that has the feature called “Find the location of my IP address”.
Professional traveler in technology
These simple tips will ultimately help you become a more organized and savvy tech traveler. With a little creativity, you can now see how to acquire a second monitor while traveling or how to locate your missing device through Dropbox. Inexpensive and easy to do, even incorporating a few of these tips will prevent stressful situations from happening again in the future.
If you already have these tips under your belt, building your own Raspberry Pi cloud server might be the next project to try. This is especially useful for accessing your files when traveling in a DIY cloud system that you create yourself.
Configure your own cloud storage server to access your data anywhere with ownCloud and a Raspberry Pi.
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