Top 5 Alternatives if the Laptop Ban Goes Into Effect

July 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re attached to your laptop with an emotional umbilical cord, you may need to plan how you’re going to survive the separation that may be forced upon us all if the Department of Homeland Security’s current laptop ban is broadened to include more U.S. bound flights from more Middle East and European countries.

In March, the U.S. banned laptops on flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey to prevent bombs from being taken aboard flights inside laptop computers. They nearly expanded it to all U.S.-bound flights, but have instead created some additional security screen protocols instead.

But if you’re still coming from one of the check-your-laptop countries, you’re going to be without your laptop for a long stretch of time. So here are some ways to survive those laptop-less flights, especially with your mobile phone. (Because tablets are included in the laptop  ban too.)

You could just carry a couple books with you if there's ever a laptop ban.

  • Read offline. There are multiple apps that can be used to allow you to read all kinds of books and articles on your phone, no laptop necessary. Consider the Kindle app for those books you would’ve accessed on your e-reader. Try Pocket or Flipboard to save articles and read them later, or use Evernote to save almost anything or review notes you created at a meeting and need to digest. And there’s always a physical book, magazine, or newspaper you could bring with you. When was the last time you actually read something on real paper?
  • Speaking of paper, invest in a notebook. Thinking through an issue by jotting notes about it might actually turn out to be as productive as typing. It will force your brain to slow down, and who knows what genius moments might come of that? You can also use the notebook to make a list of things you need to do. Or you might write the beginning scene of the next great American novel. Remember doodling? It’s still a thing.
  • Update your security. Yes, you’re loathe to check your laptop because you don’t want to lose it. So do what you can to protect your device: change your passwords, encrypt your hard drive, and backup your data. Take a hard look at whether or not you can travel without your laptop altogether. You might be able to borrow a company laptop and upload pertinent files to it using a flash drive. You might choose to purchase a “burner laptop” of sorts, a very inexpensive model that would only have data specific to the trip on it. That way if it’s lost, you don’t lose everything.
  • Think through the work that needs to be done that you can’t do on your laptop. You know, that list you’ve made somewhere that you never get to because you’re tied to your screen? Now’s your chance to catch up on that. Print out reports to read, manuscripts to edit, or data to analyze, and work from paper during your trip.
  • Get a few items to convert your phone into a temporary laptop if you just can’t endure all those hours without it. Purchase a portable keyboard so you can respond to those important emails, assuming you can read what you’re typing on that tiny screen. You’ll also need something to refresh your battery since you’ll be burning through it being productive. Ventev has one that’s both a charger and a stand. And if you want to make sure your seat mate doesn’t snoop while you work, buy a screen protector.

Or you could just take a nap and catch up on your sleep.

How would you cope with a laptop ban? Would you be completely lost, or would you have options available to you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Pexels (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)

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Matt Sill

Matt Sill is the Marketing Product Manager for Travelpro Products, creators of the original Rollaboard luggage, carry-on luggage, and suitcases.

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