With summer approaching, most of us will plan to take a weekend away in the next few months, or head on vacation to a beach, pool, or waterpark.  Sadly, since most of us can never disconnect (myself included!), we probably won’t be leaving the technology at home, and will bring it with us.  But, before you pack your bags and plan for that trip, make sure you have the proper protection for the gear you plan to take with.  I’ve seen it all too often….phone gets buried in sand or dunked in the water and needs to be replaced, or laptop was not protected in a good bag and was banged on a corner or took a drop it couldn’t recover from.  These small misfortunes could cost you a significant chunk of change to recover from, not to mention the headache of being without your device for a while.

So, there are two things I would like everyone to check that they have now BEFORE their vacation or trip so they don’t have to scramble at the last minute to make sure they have what they need:

  1.  A Waterproof Cell Phone Pouch.  I always recommended that my customers get durable cases on their cell phones like an Otterbox or Lifeproof case for everyday use that makes the devices able to withstand the daily drops and splashes that life can bring.  However, when you go on vacation, you need something a little more if you plan to be outside in the elements.  If you’re planning to take that iPhone to the beach, your daily case might be water resistant, but I wouldn’t recommend taking that case in the water- especially when a replacement is $500+?.  Amazon sells these awesome waterproof cell phone pouches for less than $10 (http://amzn.to/2qDf8Wq) and they’re a great “insurance policy”.  The theory is that you put the whole cell phone- existing case and all- in this bag, lock the top, and it adds another level of protection to the device, keeping sand and water out.  Best part is that you can use the phone through the plastic case and take calls and pictures, and hang it from a lanyard around your neck should you decide to kayak or paddleboard.  Look for ones that have an external audio jack (so you can listen to your headphones), a case that is float-able if you plan to be on a boat, and one that is IPX8 certified to withstand water up to 100 feet.  Best of all…they’re universal and can fit most any cell phone brand or size.
  2. A Padded Laptop/Tablet Case.  If you have a laptop, chances are that you already have a case or bag for it.  The problem is that very few of the laptop bags I have seen actually offer adequate padding to protect in drops or bangs.  Check your current bag to make sure there is not just coverage, but ample padding around ALL edges and sides of the laptop or tablet.  If you love your current case, but notice it isn’t as protective as you would like, consider getting a thick padded case to fit inside your current bag.  I’ve been a fan of STM bags for a while because of their thick padding, and love this minimal yet cost effective model (http://amzn.to/2q2X4bd), but if cost is a factor, consider something like this (http://amzn.to/2p1x2VM).  How do you know if your case is good enough?  Remove the laptop from the case and make sure the case is hardy enough that it doesn’t “flop” over, meaning the foam padding is substantial.  If you don’t like a big bag, these are great slim compact cases on their own, but if you like to take more things with you, they can easily be put into another backpack or briefcase and still be well protected.  Next time you bang the laptop on the granite counter or shove it under the seat on an airplane, you’ll be thankful you had a more protective case.