[TRAVEL] How I’ll deal with the on and off #electronicsban on an upcoming Europe trip 

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After not traveling anywhere and with two cancelled trips – including one to India -during May my June and July are looking tremendously busy with travel within the USA and also to Europe. Here’s a look on a map:

For the last few weeks there’s been an ongoing discussion over a so called electronics been from Europe to the United States. Basically what has been discussed is that you can’t have any electronics in the cabin with you that are larger than a phone. So laptops, iPads and anything else would have to be checked into your checked luggage. Family trips ➡️ In other words, really anything that can keep the kids occupied during a long flight (except a phone). Pack books ? I guess! 

Here’s the latest from The Points Guy on the issue. (June 2017)

Airplane time is work time for me unless it’s an overnight flight-for example to Europe or South America. But of course return flights to the United States from Europe are usually during the day and are great times to catch up on work.

So losing the ability to not have your laptop could be a problem. The other problem with having to check it into your checked luggage is that I hardly ever check any luggage. In fact on my upcoming trip to Germany in June 2017 I have no intention of checking any bags. So if I want to take a laptop and then on the way back the electronics ban starts I would now have to first of all check a bag and then second of all check my laptop into that bag.

So I started wondering: do I even need to bring a laptop? I used to use an iPad but given that I can virtually do everything on my phone that I would do on an iPad I haven’t used one in years.

Of course, the biggest concern on the potential electronic span has come from business travelers. I’m heading to Germany to speak at the Content Marketing Forum in Berlin and then also to see my family in Düsseldorf. Life integration! ?

But given that I’m not going to check a bag I’ve decided that I will just leave the laptop at home. Completely. I have my iPhone and will do any tasks I need to do on there. Some things are obviously much easier on a laptop but let’s take a look at what else I might need to do and whether or not I can do it on the iPhone.

Email – Can be done on the phone. And even my Apple Watch ⌚️.

PowerPoint – Can be done on the phone using the Google Slides app. Not quite as easy as on a laptop but it’s doable. I’m not actually planning on doing much PowerPointing work on the trip anyways and I’m not using a PowerPoint deck for my interactive workshop. Sneak peek: I am bringing some pillow emojis. ?????

Props for my #contentmarketing talk in Berlin this month!

Editing – Most of my editing of stories happens in Google Docs. And of course Google has an app to access, update and review Google documents. It’s quite user-friendly actually.

Box – I use the file sharing service Box and their app on mobile is also relatively user-friendly.

Slack – The messaging service works great on mobile as well.

Blogging – I already file most of my blog posts on here from mobile anyways and I’m currently voice dictating this article. So very little adjustment there.

Social media participation – All networks work on mobile! 

Billing – As mentioned in an earlier post I use a mobile app to invoice clients. So even invoicing still can be done from mobile.

Entertainment – Like YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Video. They all work on mobile so good to go there as well.

Microsoft Office – There are apps that allow you to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint on your phone. 

So for the most part I’m not too worried about going without a laptop for a few days. Of course there’re some tasks that are much  harder to do from a phone thsn a laptop or a desktop computer. Some things that come to mind are designs, video editing and audio editing. Now, those are not the tasks I would really perform anyways but whether a laptop can be left behind  does depend on somebody’s job and related tasks.

One of the biggest concerns I probably have is the battery life of the iPhone. Because the more I use it the quicker it’s going to run out of juice obviously. On planes there usually are outlets but some older American Airlines planes have those older cigarette outlet chargers. So that something to keep in mind to have in my carry-on.

I also like to bring extra converters for the European outlets. That came in really handy when I was in Spain in 2016 and I actually forgot one converter at a conference location and didn’t realize it until way later. Since I still had extras in the hotel room I was fine.

Finally, many of the tools mentioned above only work when you’re connected to the internet. Given that many planes now have Wi-Fi even on international  routes and  many locations internationally have Wi-Fi available that shouldn’t be a huge problem but it’s something to plan for. Make sure to budget for fees. 

So we’ll see how it goes to travel without a laptop but I’m thinking it will be just fine.