Consumer Report: Protecting Gadgets on Vacation

Vacation coming up? Chances are you’ll be packing a lot of electronics like smart phones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, GPS devices, cameras, iPod and speakers. They practically need their own suitcase. But if you are thinking of checking them as baggage think again.

Nearly 10 percent of people in a Consumer Reports’ survey reported damage to a laptop, tablet, or digital camera that was in a checked bag. Consumer Reports recommends carrying on your electronics instead and if possible use a padded bag. If you must check your devices, wrap them in soft clothing.

Also about 10 percent of survey respondents said their device got wet on vacation and 19 percent said sand or dirt was a problem. It’s so easy to let a device slip from your grip. If you’re looking for a simple and cheap way to protect your electronics from sea and sand, use a zippered food storage bag. They’re just as effective as pricey waterproof cases. And you can even use your touch screen through them.

Another common complaint from about half of those in the Consumer Reports survey are batteries dying. Conserve power by lowering the screen brightness on your phone or tablet and reduce text and email updates to once every half hour. And if there are no bars, just turn everything off or set to airplane mode. No sense in burning through battery life trying to connect to non-existent service.

The ultimate protection is to leave some electronics at home. In fact, nearly a third in the Consumer Reports survey said they’d prefer their kids didn’t bring along any gadgets on vacation. Keeping kids off electronics is not so easy though. The survey found that half of those parents who preferred a no-electronics policy on vacation caved to placate cranky or bored children.


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