These days, it’s virtually impossible to travel without multiple electronics. Phones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras—it’s a wonder we have room in our suitcases for anything else. Our gadgets help us work, play, plan, and enjoy our lives to an immeasurable degree, so leaving them home is not sensible nor desirable the vast majority of the time. But there’s a drawback: They take up space and they’re nearly impossible to keep organized when you’ve got a bunch to carry. There are a few simple things you can do to keep your devices and cords neat and orderly on the go, though.
Bundle Your Cables
Is there anything worse than a backpack full of loose cables tangled up in all your other stuff? Honestly, no. Implementing an on-the-go cable management system is one of the simplest ways to address this universally annoying issue. But how? All it takes is a bit of craftiness and advice from the cable experts, who generally rely on affordable options like VELCRO® Brand tape for the job. VELCRO® Brand ONE-WRAP® fasteners are especially useful in these instances because they allows you to bundle cables into a small, travel-friendly unit or to attach them to your backpack or luggage easily and securely.
Pack Your Adapters
Another simple way to fix your cable woes is to downsize. Who wants to pack five different cables for five different electronics? If possible, invest in some adapters to make a single cable versatile enough for multiple different applications. For example, if you have the iPhone with the (decidedly annoying) Lightning connector instead of a regular headphone jack, but your laptop or tablet still uses the good, old-fashioned 3.5-millimeter jack, it’s probably worth your while to spend a few dollars for the adapter so you only need a single pair for all your devices. Or, if you’ve got some extra cash, switch to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, but make sure they can be charged by a cable you already need.
Use Multi-Purpose Cases
While traveling, space comes at a premium, so you don’t want to miss out on any opportunity to maximize your suitcase space. You already know that you have to keep your gadgets protected by a case, so why not make it do double-duty with a multi-function case that helps you downsize your cargo? There are smart cases on the market that do double-duty as all sorts of helpful extras, such as mirrors (because we could all use an occasional mid-flight touch-up), ID holders, selfie lights, full keyboards, and even cable organizers. You’d be surprised how easy it is to downsize with the right gear.
Know the Rules
If you’re traveling by plane, you need to be aware of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s rules regarding what you can and cannot bring on board. For example, it may surprise you to know that you can’t store some types of batteries in your checked luggage. Lithium-ion batteries should be packed in your carry-on bags whenever possible because, according to the TSA, it’s easier to address fires in the cabin of the plane than the area where your checked baggage is stored. You must pack any spare lithium-ion batteries, external battery chargers, and power banks in your carry-on as well.
Invest in a Travel Organizer
Travel organizers: worth the money or destined for the “never used” pile? It all depends, but if you’re the kind of traveler or person who’s diligent about putting things back in their right place after you’re done with them, then definitely consider investing in one of these handy little tools. They feature pouches, compartments, and straps that allow you to neatly organize all of your accessories, including cables, adapters, and sometimes even your devices. Don’t be tempted by the expensive organizers sold in the newsstand at the airport—you can turn almost any pouch or bag into a travel organizer with the right organization accessories.
Be Picky About What You Bring
You probably know by now that pre-planning is crucial to a successful packing plan. You simply can’t overthink it. One of the best ways to keep all your cargo well-organized is to limit what you pack. Ask yourself: Do I really need two backup batteries? Is there anything my tablet can do that my smartphone can’t? At the same time, remember that your gadgets can help you downsize, too. If you can eliminate packing your beach reads simply by downloading the Kindle app, go for it! You’ll be glad you offloaded those extra pounds when you’re on hour eight of lugging your stuff!
Put Things Back Where They Belong
Finally, an old adage: Put things back where you found them, and you’ll always be able to find them, even in the dark. Whether it’s your phone, your headphones, or your passport, try your hardest to give everything its own special place and return it to that place as soon as you’re done with it. This will prevent you from having to rifle through your stuff every five minutes.
Think Like a Minimalist
We all wish we could occasionally go off-grid, but the truth is that it’s usually not possible to go on vacation or a business trip without our gadgets. At the end of the day, staying organized tech-wise requires you to think like a minimalist. Pack only what you need and be methodical about how you store it, and you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free vacay with no extra cargo weighing you down.