Upcoming travel plans with electronics

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Ged
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Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by Ged » Wed May 17, 2017 4:42 pm

I have a long planned Baltic cruise coming up in a couple of weeks.

I generally travel with a lot of electronics - Kindle, semi-pro camera, laptop etc. However the recent news about potential cabin bans of larger-than-cellphone electronics has me concerned. I don't want to have to put this stuff through a checked baggage process because of personal experiences with breakage and theft at the hands of the TSA.

If the ban is in place before I leave I'll just take a few items that I can afford to lose. However this sort of crimps my style and I'd still prefer not to lose anything.

I'm wondering about contingency plans for the return - for example on return going to a shipping company like DHL or FedEx at departure and having them ship the stuff home, insured.

Any ideas on alternatives for getting the stuff home safely?

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed May 17, 2017 4:55 pm

I would have thought to just use Fedex. But the cost.... Picking Berlin out of the hat for originating destination, and a 4KG package to Tennessee, the "international economy" (aka 5-6 day) rate comes to $222.86.
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mhalley
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by mhalley » Wed May 17, 2017 11:37 pm

How about buying a used chromebook, and if worse comes to worse and you can't bring it home just leave it? I see some sub 100 dollar ones on Amazon. Used paperwhites for 50, cheaper ones if you can live without the light. Or a used fire to fulfill both roles.

jebmke
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by jebmke » Thu May 18, 2017 12:08 am

mhalley wrote:How about buying a used chromebook, and if worse comes to worse and you can't bring it home just leave it? I see some sub 100 dollar ones on Amazon. Used paperwhites for 50, cheaper ones if you can live without the light. Or a used fire to fulfill both roles.
That's sort of what I'd do - used/low-end tablet with Kindle app. Do factory reset prior to return. Camera is the issue. Could ship that back, sans chip or just verify insurance coverage by the airline.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

AddingUp
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by AddingUp » Thu May 18, 2017 5:03 am

I think you might be safe in the short term regarding your upcoming trip, as I doubt they'll make changes that quickly. However, it's a grave concern. People are talking about planes exploding due to the high number of lithium batteries in the cargo hold, but I'm more concerned about the TSA theft issue as you brought up. I've never had anything stolen from my luggage, but if the TSA knows laptops (and other valuable equipment) will be in most checked bags, it'll be a field day for them.

I'm currently living overseas but not in Europe. I'm quite interested to see how this potential ban plays out.

ResearchMed
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by ResearchMed » Thu May 18, 2017 6:02 am

Ged wrote:I have a long planned Baltic cruise coming up in a couple of weeks.

I generally travel with a lot of electronics - Kindle, semi-pro camera, laptop etc. However the recent news about potential cabin bans of larger-than-cellphone electronics has me concerned. I don't want to have to put this stuff through a checked baggage process because of personal experiences with breakage and theft at the hands of the TSA.

If the ban is in place before I leave I'll just take a few items that I can afford to lose. However this sort of crimps my style and I'd still prefer not to lose anything.

I'm wondering about contingency plans for the return - for example on return going to a shipping company like DHL or FedEx at departure and having them ship the stuff home, insured.

Any ideas on alternatives for getting the stuff home safely?
There is a similar discussion over at CruiseCritic.com

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2498873

The above link is to one specific recent thread in the "Cruise Air" sub-forum, but there might be others.
I don't know that they've found a successful "solution", but at least there is some additional brainstorming there.

http://www.FlyerTalk.com may have a section on this (?).

We haven't faced this *yet*, but sort of assume it will happen...

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fundseeker
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by fundseeker » Thu May 18, 2017 6:41 am

Not really related to your question, but I just learned that we could by insurance for $24/year to cover our $750 camera, even for dropping and damaging it, and we can cancel after the camera returns from an overseas trip. As for the computer, we have a rider that is very cheap but with a deductible. Having the insurance might ease your mind if things get stolen.

jebmke
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by jebmke » Thu May 18, 2017 6:59 am

Whatever you chose regarding the laptop make sure it has full disk encryption enabled.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by lazydavid » Thu May 18, 2017 8:29 am

If there turn out to be restrictions when you get to the airport, have a bag available (preferably one that can be locked) that you can gate-check. Not an ideal situation, but far better than checking it at security hours before your board. I also regularly travel with a prosumer DSLR kit in a Pelican case. It does not fit into the overhead on smaller planes, so frequently has to be gate checked. Have not had an issue with it in the ~15 years I've been doing so.

The recommendation for full-disk encryption is a good one in general, and especially when travelling.

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by protagonist » Thu May 18, 2017 8:40 am

JDCarpenter wrote:I would have thought to just use Fedex. But the cost.... Picking Berlin out of the hat for originating destination, and a 4KG package to Tennessee, the "international economy" (aka 5-6 day) rate comes to $222.86.
Which is more than buying a Chromebook in Berlin and throwing it away before leaving.

But note....there is no ban flying to Berlin. There is only a ban regarding certain Middle East destinations, and the ban is only in effect when flying TO (not FROM) the US. http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la- ... story.html The Baltic states are unaffected. This could change (Trump was discussing extending the ban to Europe), but as of now, there is nothing to worry about.

ResearchMed
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by ResearchMed » Thu May 18, 2017 8:44 am

protagonist wrote:
JDCarpenter wrote:I would have thought to just use Fedex. But the cost.... Picking Berlin out of the hat for originating destination, and a 4KG package to Tennessee, the "international economy" (aka 5-6 day) rate comes to $222.86.
Which is more than buying a Chromebook in Berlin and throwing it away before leaving.

But note....there is no ban flying to Berlin. There is only a ban regarding certain Middle East destinations, and the ban is only in effect when flying TO (not FROM) the US. http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la- ... story.html The Baltic states are unaffected.
That article is from March.

Since then, the idea has been floated about the same/similar restriction from Europe (not sure about other locales).
My understanding from this morning (per another forum, not personal knowledge) is that this was just put on "hold".

But many are worried about the "sooner or later" factor anyway.

The times, they are a'changing...
Flying gets more and more unpleasant, especially compared to several decades ago, when even economy was actually *pleasant*!

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TravelGeek
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 18, 2017 9:09 am

ResearchMed wrote:

http://www.FlyerTalk.com may have a section on this (?).
Yes, here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/checkpoi ... ds-54.html

The proposal appears to be off the table for now because the EU and airlines/pilots balked at the thought of flying with hundreds of batteries in the checked luggage.

Diogenes
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by Diogenes » Thu May 18, 2017 10:00 am

TravelGeek wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:

http://www.FlyerTalk.com may have a section on this (?).
Yes, here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/checkpoi ... ds-54.html

The proposal appears to be off the table for now because the EU and airlines/pilots balked at the thought of flying with hundreds of batteries in the checked luggage.
Didn't see anything in the link about it being 'off the table.' There are already many electronic items in checked luggage now with batteries, so I doubt that would matter in the decision process. If it's a serious threat, I don't think it will be a major problem to check the items, given the inconveniences already associated with travel. Checked luggage is far easier to screen, for many reasons. Most would rather lean toward caution and safety in this crazy world of terrorism.
The important thing is to get there.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by JDCarpenter » Thu May 18, 2017 10:11 am

Diogenes wrote:...
Didn't see anything in the link about it being 'off the table.' There are already many electronic items in checked luggage now with batteries, so I doubt that would matter in the decision process. If it's a serious threat, I don't think it will be a major problem to check the items, given the major inconveniences already associated with travel. Checked luggage is far easier to screen, for many reasons. Most would rather lean toward caution and safety in this crazy world of terrorism.
The important thing is to get there.
Trade offs. It would be safer still to bar all luggage, require everyone to be naked and fully prepped for a colonoscopy, then sedated at their seats. It would prevent terrorism (at least while on the plane) and optimize the chances of safe arrival. (and think of the children!)

How big is the threat? What alternatives are there? What is the cost of the security proposal--not just to TSA etc, but to travelers? How do we determine what "most" travelers would want--to my knowledge, that effort has never been made. Rather, all incentives are in favor of ever increasing security [theater] with no real consideration of the tradeoffs. The important thing is to not make travel so expensive and inconvenient that no one will want to go there.
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TravelGeek
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 18, 2017 10:28 am

Diogenes wrote: Didn't see anything in the link about it being 'off the table.'
Did you read the entire thread? E.g.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28327675-post801.html
There are already many electronic items in checked luggage now with batteries, so I doubt that would matter in the decision process.
There are FAA restrictions today on putting batteries in checked baggage.

And check out https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/he ... _chart.pdf

"While en route from Honolulu, HI to Atlanta, GA a fire was discovered in an overhead bin near seat 3J. The crew extinguished the flames, which were coming from a laptop. Three halon type fire extinguishers and two water type fire extinguishers were used. The laptop then was placed in a containment bag in a cooler with ice and monitored for the remainder of the flight. The flight continued to Atlanta and landed without further incident. The aircraft was inspected where minor damage to the overhead bin was found. Airline maintenance replaced the overhead bin."

That was on Delta on 12/3/2016. Imagine that laptop had been in a checked bag in the inaccessible cargo hold.

But this thread is about planning for upcoming travel. It basically sucks. Depending on where I go, I might travel with one or two cameras (mirrorless and P/S backup) + 2-3 lenses, spare batteries for the cameras, IPad, Kindle, cellphone, battery pack to charge devices on the go, noise canceling headset, and a MacBook Pro. Not always everything, but easily $2-5k worth of gear. And of course I bring the Kindle or iPad to use during long flights.

For the time being I am holding back on booking expensive travel that basically would be pointless without my gear. Who wants to arrive in Ushuaia for an Antarctic cruise to find that their camera gear is missing or broken?

Sending gear via FedEx or UPS might be a solution when caught in the middle of the trip by restrictions, but I don't think it is a viable long term solution. Unfortunately, other than changing or delaying some of my travel plans I don't see good options. Might be time for more road trips. It will be interesting to see what this does to the travel and airline industries.

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Ged
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by Ged » Thu May 18, 2017 4:18 pm

fundseeker wrote:Not really related to your question, but I just learned that we could by insurance for $24/year to cover our $750 camera, even for dropping and damaging it, and we can cancel after the camera returns from an overseas trip. As for the computer, we have a rider that is very cheap but with a deductible. Having the insurance might ease your mind if things get stolen.
I've would be careful about exclusions for checked baggage. The policies I've seen usually have limits on the order of $500 and of course make you jump through hoops to get it.

They wouldn't suit me because the value of what I'd like to carry is more than $5000.

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by ResearchMed » Thu May 18, 2017 4:22 pm

Ged wrote:
fundseeker wrote:Not really related to your question, but I just learned that we could by insurance for $24/year to cover our $750 camera, even for dropping and damaging it, and we can cancel after the camera returns from an overseas trip. As for the computer, we have a rider that is very cheap but with a deductible. Having the insurance might ease your mind if things get stolen.
I've would be careful about exclusions for checked baggage. The policies I've seen usually have limits on the order of $500 and of course make you jump through hoops to get it.
And some policies might exclude "mysterious disappearance" or theft, unless a police report is filed and you submit a record of that.

Policies can vary a lot. What matters is precisely what *your* policies says (or - doesn't say!).

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by lazydavid » Thu May 18, 2017 9:34 pm

Ged wrote:I've would be careful about exclusions for checked baggage. The policies I've seen usually have limits on the order of $500 and of course make you jump through hoops to get it.

They wouldn't suit me because the value of what I'd like to carry is more than $5000.
I just have a specific rider on my homeowner's insurance, which has no such exclusion. Decided the policy was necessary when I got my first (and so far, only) $2,000 lens. :shock:

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Ged
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by Ged » Fri May 19, 2017 9:15 am

lazydavid wrote:
Ged wrote:I've would be careful about exclusions for checked baggage. The policies I've seen usually have limits on the order of $500 and of course make you jump through hoops to get it.

They wouldn't suit me because the value of what I'd like to carry is more than $5000.
I just have a specific rider on my homeowner's insurance, which has no such exclusion. Decided the policy was necessary when I got my first (and so far, only) $2,000 lens. :shock:
I think for an amateur that is likely the best route. However I wouldn't want to make more than one or two claims because you could find your policy cancelled.

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midareff
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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by midareff » Fri May 19, 2017 9:20 am

We are getting ready to leave for Alaska and have been following the issues too. I don't trust Pro cameras in checked bags and wife doesn't trust her tablet there.

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 19, 2017 11:49 am

midareff wrote:We are getting ready to leave for Alaska and have been following the issues too. I don't trust Pro cameras in checked bags and wife doesn't trust her tablet there.
Worst case, take the ferry back to Bellingham, which has an Amtrak station:)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Marine_Highway

Jokes aside, you are probably going to be fine for domestic travel for the near future. It would be extremely disruptive if they imposed this ban on all domestic flights overnight.

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 19, 2017 11:50 am

Ged wrote: I think for an amateur that is likely the best route. However I wouldn't want to make more than one or two claims because you could find your policy cancelled.
Agreed. There is some discussion in the Flyertalk thread I linked above about dedicated insurance for camera gear. I'll see if I can find the specific post(s) later and update this post with more details.

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Re: Upcoming travel plans with electronics

Post by midareff » Fri May 19, 2017 3:31 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
midareff wrote:We are getting ready to leave for Alaska and have been following the issues too. I don't trust Pro cameras in checked bags and wife doesn't trust her tablet there.
Worst case, take the ferry back to Bellingham, which has an Amtrak station:)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Marine_Highway

Jokes aside, you are probably going to be fine for domestic travel for the near future. It would be extremely disruptive if they imposed this ban on all domestic flights overnight.
I hear you but no ferry on the schedule. It's a three week trip so suitcase space is at a premium anyway. I'll just have to figure what shoulder bag gets the camera and lenses.

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