Most of us make our gadgets and tech a priority when packing for a trip. From iPads and iPhones to cameras and chargers, there's a lot to keep track of. With the holiday season upon us, we figured there's no better time to share our favorite products and tips for traveling with gadgets. We've got all the info you need you need to figure out exactly what you should be bringing, what's best left at home, and what you should carry it all in to keep them safe!
Be realistic about what you need to bring
The first thing you should do before packing a single thing: be realistic. Do you really need to bring three different charging packs or a cable for each device? Probably not. Overpacking is your worst enemy and 99% of people do it, especially when it comes to gadgets and the accessories and cables that go with them.
Overpacking is easy to avoid if you plan accordingly. First things first, lay out everything you intend on bringing. Then ask yourself if you really need it. If you find yourself debating over an item, leave it at home.
How to pick the right bag for all your gear
Choosing a bag for all your gear is one of the most important decisions you'll make. Not only should it protect your gadgetry, it's also extremely important that it's comfortable for you to carry. That being said, only you know yourself and your needs. If you have neck problems, for instance, avoid a messenger-type bag that's going to cause you heartache — even if your gear fits perfectly in it. There are so many bags out in the world that you have literally thousands of options.
My current favorite when it comes to light travel is the Lowepro Passport Sling iii. It costs less than $50 and is a great lightweight bag for photographers along with anyone who needs space for a few gadgets to tote around. The camera compartment is removable and there's even a zipper you can unzip to expand the storage space by 30 percent. There's also a dedicated tablet compartment that fits a full-sized iPad just fine. You can't, however, fit something like a MacBook Air.
When I need something a little more heavy-duty to carry my camera lenses, computer, and a few clothes items, I turn to my Incase DSLR Pro Pack. It does a great job carrying almost anything you can throw at it, and it does it all comfortably on your back.
While these two bags suit my needs, they may not suit everyone's. So if those two don't suit your fancy, here are some of my other favorite travel bags, made by Tenba and Tamrac. Both these companies make a wide array of bags, varying from roller packs to messenger bags to traditional style backpacks. Best of all, you can find something to fit almost any budget.
Once you've found one or two bags that suit your use case, all that's left to do is fill them. Just remember, if you're questioning whether you need to bring something, leave it at home. When carrying your gear bag for long periods at a time, you'll be glad you did.
Cords, chargers, and accessories
If you're traveling with multiple devices, the first thing you want to do is figure out how many cables and chargers are actually necessary. For example, if all your devices take Lightning cables, do you really need to bring a cable for each? Probably not. Instead, bring one or two cables and keep the amount of charging bricks you take to a minimum.
I've actually settled on a ZAGGSparq 6000 in favor of the traditional charging brick that came with my iPhone and iPad. It charges two devices at once and only takes up one outlet. Not only that, it's a high capacity battery pack you can fish out of the bottom of your bag whenever you need to top off your device while out and about. These kinds of items not only serve multiple purposes, they minimize what you have to keep track of while on the road.
In general, keep battery packs and other accessories to a minimum: The more you add, the heavier your bag will get. I've also found it helpful to designate one section of my bag to cables and cords. This way I know where they are and they don't get tangled up with other items. To help with this, you can pick up cord wrappers which make it an easy job to organize cables on the go.
A few more things to remember
Every trip I take, I get a better idea of I need to bring with me and what I can leave at home. I've also yet to find one bag that is a perfect gear bag for all my travel needs. A combination of two bags, however, should be sufficient for almost anyone for any kind of trip, no matter what you plan to carry. One of my bags serves me well at conferences and events where I need all my gear and camera equipment; my other bag is a lighter bag that not only works as a carry-on, but as a great day bag for my camera and a few other necessities. I just pick the one that suits that particular trip the best and leave the other at home.
Your tips for traveling with gadgets?
If you frequently travel and have found an awesome gear bag or something else that you think is invaluable while on the road or in the sky, be sure to let me know what it is and why you like it so much.
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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.