7 Tips for Traveling Lighter with Electronics

Tips for Traveling Lighter with Electronics

It’s no secret that we struggle with packing light.

With two kids, two adults, and a business to run on the road, we often end up carrying way too much stuff, especially in terms of electronics.

I think packing light is a struggle for most of us, whether you’re a digital nomad like us, or you just need to stay connected.

I’d love to just take a single tablet, throw our stuff in a small backpack, and be off without a worry in the world.

Wedding Luggage

Ah, the days of just one backpack… way before two kids and working online.

But that’s not the reality.

When we travel, we need to work, and a standard tablet just doesn’t have the power to do what we need.

On a typical trip we end up taking a laptop, a tablet (or two), plus our smart phones, an iPod for games as well as chargers and cords.  Our electronics bag ends up being bulky and heavy and even then we’re not including all the devices we wish we had with us.

Tips for traveling lighter with electronics

Hire a porter and/or drink wine

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished a personal porter was a possibility. As I was slogging through the airport carrying two backpacks, a plastic bag of snacks and toys, encouraging one kid in the middle of a jet-lag induced meltdown, and pulling a suitcase that weighed half as much as I do, I was ready to just leave it all on the floor and cancel the whole trip.

A porter might not be a reality, but a girl can dream.

The good news is that wine helps. A lot.

Be ruthless, and decide what you can leave at home

This can be hard, but it really helps to just ditch some stuff and leave it at home.

To be completely honest, we often get a little overzealous, and leave things we really end up needing at home.

For shorter trips, sometimes we just end up taking a tablet. It’s lightweight, but then we struggle to get any real work done and end up using our phones just as much as the tablet.

This is especially a problem if we have a technical problem with one of our websites. Our choice at that point is to just let our website be broken until we get back to our home base, search for a computer we can use, or piece together enough apps on our tablet to get the job done.

None are really acceptable.

Get a device that has multiple uses

Using a device with multiple uses has been a lifesaver for us.

We’re now using an Intel 2in1 Lenovo Yoga 2 our main short term travel laptop. UPDATE: The Yoga 2 has been replaced with the more powerful Lenovo Yoga 3.

I’m not sure why we haven’t picked up something like this before.

It’s lightweight and small, and – get this – it converts from a regular laptop to a tablet and back again. We can use it as a tablet for games and for the kids to use. We can also flip it over to become a great family entertainment device, and we can flip open it to become a full laptop, and get some real work done.

Here’s a little peek at how it flips between a laptop and tablet.

We’ve updated it to Windows 10, which lets us easily switch between tablet and laptop mode. I also love that the familiar Start menu is back again in Windows 10.

There’s also a Lenovo Yoga 3 out on the market now – it has a little more processing power thanks to the new Intel Core M processor and higher resolution than the Yoga 2.

Go lightweight and small in the first place

Honestly, getting lightweight gear is one the most useful things we’ve ever done to reduce the weight of the electronics we carry.

Usually, quality lightweight electronics come with a bit of a sticker shock, but we’ve honestly never regretted paying a little extra for a lightweight laptop and loved ditching all our chargers for one good multi charger.

Get a good bag

Whether you carry your electronics in a backpack or a wheeled suitcase, get one that’s solid and easy to cart around.

Your electronics may not be lighter, but it’ll feel like it if your backpack is solid, has plenty of padding to keep you and your gear protected and has wide, comfortable straps.

If you’re using a wheeled suitcase, make sure your case wheels effortlessly with long life, quality wheels and a decent telescoping handle.

Clean out your electronics bag

If you’re like us, we leave our electronics bag partly packed at all times.

This means that we often forget the extra HDMI cables , or the portable router, or extra camera battery chargers in the bottom. This all adds extra weight, so we’re trying to remember to take these out between trips.

Be especially vigilant with travel power adapters. We have a bunch for different countries, and when we know we’re only going to need a particular one for a small trip we make sure to pull the others out before leaving.

Save it to the cloud

If you’re going to be somewhere with good WiFi access, ask yourself if you really need to bring along that external hard drive or all those extra USB sticks.

There are a lot of great, reliable cloud backup services out there, and the weight of a hard drive and its cables can add up pretty fast. We use Google Drive and Dropbox the most but Microsoft’s OneDrive is a great alternative, and if you’re a Mac user then iCloud is another solid option.

This post is sponsored by Intel. #spon:

Lenovo Yoga Front
Backpacking photo credit.

12 Responses

  1. Mark

    Hey Micki,
    Thanks for this post. I’m always struggling with this one. Clothes and other things are quite easy but the bulk of my weight comes from electronics. I don’t have a phone which might help me loss weight. Usually carry a laptop, a mini iPad, a mirrorless Sony camera, and a Kindle. The laptop could be smaller as it’s a 15 inch. The chargers most def add weight. I suppose were already bringing the minimum needs for blogging but there has to be a way to go lighter. Currently not in the market for a new laptop (no budget/end of the trip). This was a nice reminder of packing though haha.
    Thanks again,

  2. Shelly Rivoli

    I love your porter/wine comment (lol)! Good tips. I am happier now knowing that my laptop in its case (with small camera inside + chargers) and backpack with big camera/notebook fit together under the seats of Southwest flights at least. That takes a bit of the crazy out of planning how to pack for air travel now (and the kids bring their own backpacks–yay!).

  3. Heidi Wagoner

    Excellent tips, as usual! 🙂 You always provide so much useful and practical info for us. I think the electronics are the one area where we could use more trimming. We have figured out how to travel light with clothing. Baby steps.

  4. Laurie

    When I travel I generally have my phone, laptop, camera and the appropriate charging cables. It can end up seeming like a lot, so any tips to make travel easier are appreciated. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Tamil

    It’s very useful information for me. You have made good points there about electronics tips to make travel easier are understood . Your information helpful and practical. Thank’s your excellent tips.

  6. Raymond

    We travel as light as possible but use Smartphone for electronics, must weigh less than 10 kgs.

  7. Ivy Baker

    This is some really good information about how to travel with fewer electronics. I liked that you talked about how it would be a good idea to travel with a good bag for electronics. Also, it would be smart to see if the hotel you stay at provides chargers for certain electronics.

  8. Hardtac

    One way to save weight for people carrying laptops is to purchase a compact charger (such as Finsix or others). One can easily save more than 12 ounces. These compact devices will also take the place of one phone or tablet charger thus saving a little more weight. They are relatively expensive but when they work they work well.

  9. Garry Vincent

    Traveling without electronics is boring to me. So i think that traveling with electronics makes travel more interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Garry Vincent

    This is some really good information about how to travel with fewer electronics. I liked that you talked about how it would be a good idea to travel with a good bag for electronics.Thank’s for sharing this.


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