What not to bring

Pelican CaseI was a little bit freaked out about not being able to bring my computer on the trip to Australia next month. It’s a lot of time to spend in the air with very little to do, so I had planned on finishing off a couple of books and still doing some writing.

Luckily, according to the TSA, laptops are still allowed on board for flights originating in the US, and US-bound flights are generally under the same requirements. As the date approaches, I’ll need to keep checking to see what the security arrangements are. And look at ways of defending the poor laptop in checked luggage.

The first choice, of course, is to bring a more disposable laptop–one that won’t hurt as much if it gets thrashed. Namely, an old Sony Vaio. I think the batteries are fried, but I can probably find non-Sony batteries to replace them. The alternative is to bring the Mac Book Pro, which–besides being bigger–I would be a bit more unhappy if it got thrashed. It’s not really “mine” anyway, since it’s a university machine, but still I think I need to keep it in running order for a while.

Thomas Wailbum has posted some hints on how to keep your computer safe and secure if it has to be checked (via Aaron). I’m thinking a Pelican case might be a good idea. Then, if we crash and are “lost” on a South Pacific island, I’ll be the only one with a working laptop. Or perhaps a cheapo version of the same, since the authentic Pelican version costs almost more than the computer is worth (though they are often for sale on eBay). The Container Store had some basic plastic commercial cases that should fit the bill, if it comes to that. (I suspect they can be found elsewhere for even less.)

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4 Comments

  1. Posted 8/14/2006 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    It seems alright to bring laptops as a carry-on through customs from the US side, as well as Australia. On the other hand, there might be a problem about checking in laptops… wasn’t one of our faculty’s laptop confiscated from her luggage?

    Apparently she said something about a security rule related to this, so I’m searching the TSA web site about this but I can’t seem to find anything about it. Either way, bringing my MacBook Pro now makes me worry bucketloads of sweat, especially since checking it in might break it, or have it taken away.

  2. Posted 8/14/2006 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    UPDATE: It seems fine… according to the TSA prohibited list, laptops are allowed to be carried-on or checked-in.

  3. Posted 8/14/2006 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I remember being advised to take receipts or invoices for any expensive items I was taking into Oz (like my laptop). Supposedly, customs can demand to see that your laptop has been owned by you for at least 12 months, or it can be subject to an import duty. I got through (in 2003) without having to flash any paperwork, but they might be stricter now…

  4. Posted 8/15/2006 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Pelican’s rule. And since it is a form fit, you can get new foamies when you get a new puter. I don’t have one for my puter, but I have one for my digital camera and video camera… since they have a good lock and I can keep them safely at school. But they’re so great… and they come in orange! And orange is always the new black, ex officio.

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