On our flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu last year, the bottom cover of my HP laptop, which had already been acting up, popped out of one of its base screws. A few minutes later, the same thing happened to the other side so it looked like my computer had a mouth. I was working on it when my wife walked by and said, “OMG – what are you going to do?!” I said, “I’ll just duct tape it,” and reached for my bag. RELATED: The Small and Inexpensive Gadget Travelers Don’t Realize They Need Until It’s Too LateThis post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.

As I was bending down, Natalie said, “Wait, you keep DUCT TAPE in your bag?” I said, “Of course, I do!” But really, it’s gaffers tape since it’s residue-free, non-reflective and easy to tear. Every seasoned traveler knows to carry some sort of tape since it can fix almost anything from luggage to covering up those pesky AC or TV lights in your hotel room. If you need total darkness when you sleep, check out this hotel room curtain hack. And of course, invest in a good quality, comfortable sleep mask like this one, which I never travel without.
Usually duct tape or gaffers tape come in huge rolls so to make it more travel-friendly, I used to just wind some of it around an old lip balm to make it easy to pack. But now, gaffers tape can be bought in small travel sizes, which I always pack now. Anyhow, I quickly tore off a couple pieces and my laptop was good as new … or so I thought.

It turns out my battery was in dire shape and could have caused a fire. I only learned that when I told Leo Laporte and Mikah Sargent on The Tech Guy show, during an interview. They put the scare in me, which is the point of this article. If your laptop battery has inflated in size, then it’s time to get it replaced immediately. And definitely don’t fly with it.

There are plenty of examples of why airlines don’t allow Lithium batteries in the cargo hold, including the video below. Always bring Lithium batteries in your carry-on just in case they ever catch on fire they can be easily put out.

This is also why you hear flight attendants say that if you drop your phone in a business class seat, to tell them before you recline or put the seat back into its upright position because you don’t want to start a fire. You can read more about that here. And if you have more questions about Lithium-ion batteries, check out this post: Can You Travel with Lithium Ion Batteries in Chargers, Phones and Tablets?


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1 Comment On "What Every Savvy Traveler Packs When They Travel and Why It’s Not Great to Check Lithium-ion Batteries"
  1. Paul Matsuda|

    For those who don’t know, gaffer’s tape is primarily used in film / photography by lighting “gaffers”. The advantage over duct tape is that while sticky, it’s also made to be pulled off surfaces without leaving the large amount of residue that duct tape would leave. It’s also fireproof and has more of a fabric feel, than duct tape which of course was primarily made for taping heating ducts together.

    While more expensive, it is worth the extra cost. I wrap it around whatever I’m already packing if I don’t want to carry a roll around…pens, prescription bottles (also good for rubber bands), any bottles of liquid). I also do the same with blue painter’s tape for those instances when gaffer tape is overkill.

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