Today I made the trip to Tampa, Florida to visit family and take some photographs.  While packing my luggage, I realized that my technology addiction has increased the weight of my luggage ten-fold!  In order to fit all of my “stuff” in to two carry-ons and still make it through security.  Here are some tips that I use.

Find Cables That Work With Multiple Devices
It seems that every portable electronic device I own has its own power or USB cable.  This means that I would need a separate cable for my iPod Nano, iPad, T-Mobile G1, Canon Digital Rebel XT, Plantronics headset, USB Hard Drive, and any other device I happen to have along.  By looking at the cables that come with your devices, you may find that one cable will work for multiple devices.  For example, the cable for the Canon Digital Rebel XT will work with the USB Hard Drive, the T-Mobile G1, and the Plantronics headset.  The same cable that works with the iPad will also work with the iPod Nano.  You can also use this strategy for the power plugs for these devices.  If your device has a USB cable that allows you to charge it while plugged in to your computer, you may very well be able to utilize a USB power adapter that came with another device.  My iPad power adapter will also charge my T-Mobile G1, iPod Nano, and even my Blackberry Storm 2.  It also works for my wife’s iPhone.

Organize Your Luggage
Airlines are becoming more aggressive at limiting the size and weight of luggage, so it is important for you to organize the items you pack.  You can use a simple system of zip-close bags, a luggage packing aid, smaller bags put into your luggage, or compression/space bags.  When packing for a three trip to Africa in 2007, I used Space Bags to pack my clothing.  I used one bag for each type of clothing.  Since there was room left in the luggage and the bag was well under the maximum weight requirement, I was able to pack other items for the trip, which were used by our team while in Africa.  Even though my bag was delayed by almost a week, the clothing arrived as fresh and dry as the day I had packed them.  By organizing your luggage, the TSA agents or baggage screener will not have to dig through all of your “stuff” to do an inspection.

Be Prepared
It goes without saying that travelers need to arrive early at the airport, and that is a good start.  There are a couple of things you can do to speed up your trek through security.  Rather than checking in at the airport, do it online, that way you can skip the long lines.  Once you get to the airport, take a few minutes to put your phone, keys, change, and any other items in your pockets either in your purse, briefcase, backpack, or jacket.  Be sure to keep your boarding pass and identification handy for the TSA agent.  As you approach the scanner, pull out your laptop.  Finally, when placing things on the belt, put your shoes/jacket in one bin and send it through.  Your computer should go in another bin and should be sent in second, followed by your purse/briefcase/backpack, then your rolling luggage.  This will allow you to collect your items quickly and in the order you’ll need them at the other end – you can put on your shoes, stuff your laptop in the bag, and grab both pieces of luggage with minimal delay.

I hope these tips help the next time you have to travel.  What tips do you have? Feel free to chime in!