Traveling Internationally With (or Without) a Laptop

Q. We leave in July for two months in Europe. I can live with only an iPad, but my husband works as a consultant even when we’re overseas. He is a bit uneasy about taking his computer, but also uneasy about not taking it because of a potential laptop ban. Should we be concerned?

A. The Department of Homeland Security has been mulling an expansion of its current ban on laptops (and other large electronic devices) inside carry-on luggage aboard certain international flights. Such a ban would be disruptive for travelers and has not been enacted at the moment, but planning ahead and preparing for such restrictions is a good idea in uncertain times.


A Bluetooth keyboard can make a tablet (or a large smartphone) feel more like a laptop if you prefer to leave the computer at home when traveling overseas.

The New York Times

Before you leave for your trip, be sure to check with the State Department’s website for any travel alerts or warnings concerning Europe and the specific countries you plan to visit. The agency also has a Facebook page and Twitter feed. The United States Customs and Border Protection site has a Know Before You Go section, and you should check with your airline about items that are specifically restricted from the cabin on your flight. The Transportation Security Administration has its own online list of items approved for air travel in carry-on and checked luggage.

If you think you may be in a position where you have to check any electronics larger than a smartphone, try to make your laptop, tablet or other device as theft-proof and secure as possible. Wrapping and sealing your device in padded plastic before packing it helps protect it from potentially rough handling and can also provide a clue as to whether the device was opened when it was out of your sight. When the cost is not too intimidating, shipping your gear separately to…

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