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Sir, Please Remove All Electronics….



IMG_0562 I’m sitting in the Domestic terminal at Chhatrapati Shivaii International in Bombay waiting for my flight to Kerala.  There are dozens of guards armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and the security screening  is much more thorough than back home in the U.S. Each passenger has to go through a metal detector and stand still for a pat down.When I slid my backpack into the x-ray machine the security guard manning the monitor reversed the conveyor belt and said “Sir, Please Remove All Electronics.” I asked him if it was ok if I just removed my notebooks. “No sir ALL electronics,” he said. Needless to say, I had quite a few gadgets in my Timbuk2 backpack and the process took a couple of minutes. The line was backed up and a small crowd of travelers started gawking at my gear. 

I put my MacBook Pro and HP Envy 13 in one tray and all of my gadgets in another.  Amongst the gadgets I’m carrying is my Sanyo Xacti  HD1010 camcorder, a pair of Seagate portable drives, a Gorilla Pod, a Blackberry Pearl, a pair of iPhones, a Monster travel surge protector, a portable speaker from Radio Shack, a Reliance 3G modem, a Call Pod Duo and a couple of SanDisk CF card readers.

My wife was carrying my camera bag through the women’s’ security line and the guards didn’t ask her to unpack it. That bag is packed with my Canon S90, Nikon D700 and an assortment of lenses and accessories.

I’m not one to pack lightly  when it comes to electronics, but seeing all this gear spread out made me think about which items I have and haven’t been using here in India. I’ve been using the Envy 13 exclusively since I’ve been here because of its portability and long battery life. My Macbook Pro’s been a five-pound brick that I’ve had to tote around. I haven’t touched my Sanyo Xacti either. Instead, I’ve been using the video feature on my Canon S90. It only records at 640×480, but trying to upload HD videos over my 3G modem is impossible. We’d planned on using our iPhones for entertainment, but we have barely touched them.

I’ve shot about 5,000 images so far with my Nikon D700 so far. The DSLR and all of its accessories is a pain to carry everywhere, but the sacrifice is well worth the images I’m capturing.

I’ll probably pare down the amount of gear I bring on my next big trip, but I’d rather be prepared than not.



  1. Friendly advice

    12/11/2009 at 3:51 am

    Can we stick to gear news and review. There are more entertaining personal blogs out there.

  2. GoodThings2Life

    12/11/2009 at 5:30 am


    Sounds like my trips… I always feel like I’m moving when I go somewhere for a visit because of all the stuff I take with me. It’s a wonder I haven’t been checked more thoroughly.

    You’re also right about having gadgets along that you just don’t use. I have a lot of things that I bought thinking I’d use them a lot and just don’t.

    @Friendly advice,

    I’m pretty sure he mentioned tech gear extensively in the post. I mean, unless those products are all imaginary, it sure seemed like he was. (Wonders aloud… anyone else ever notice that friendly advice usually isn’t very friendly?)

  3. Ben

    12/11/2009 at 6:07 am

    “gottabemobile” … How mobile can you be when you need a whole bag just to carry all your gadgets?

  4. Xavier

    12/11/2009 at 7:48 am

    I’ve actually been pretty mobile with my Envy 13 and Reliance modem as my primary work tools. As I mentioned, I haven’t used half the stuff. It’s been stowed at a relative’s home until today, when we finally left Mumbai.
    I view a lot of the gear as absolutely necessary. For example, I bring two hard drives with me when I travel and I know I’ll be taking a lot of photos. I dump all my images onto the drives and keep them in separate bags in case my computer gets lost or stolen.

  5. sbtablet

    12/11/2009 at 7:57 am

    Wow, Xavier! I’m impressed that you can CARRY all that stuff! And ignore poster one, who is obviously having a bad day. GBM has always included personal tales and experiences of the team. It’s one of my favorite parts!

  6. BBusyB

    12/11/2009 at 8:37 am

    My Sympathies. I run into similar requests pretty regularly as I usually have nearly as much stuff in My backpack when travelling. At least they didn’t ask you to switch on your laptops as I’ve been asked to a few times (Usually in the Middle East)

    One Method I’ve found useful is to pack all the stuff like chargers, small electronics, etc in small transparent pouches which I can easily take out and repack quickly.

    I’ve seen the same issue with camera bags, and I think part of the reason is because they are usually not as jam packed, so give a clear view in the x-ray machine.

  7. Todd G.

    12/11/2009 at 9:21 am

    @Friendly Advice: Here’s some friendly advice for you, if you don’t like it, find another blog to visit. As a fan of GottaBeMobile, I find trolls like yourself obnoxious at best.

    Here’s the deal: This is a gadget and tech blog, this post directly references gadgets and tech. I personally love entries where people show the contents of their bags… I will cite a very popular gadget blog that has a series called Unbagging, where they take the contents of a prominent player in the tech industry and document what they carry with them on a daily basis. These types of columns expose people to little tech gems that they might not have ever known existed.

    I found this post interesting, topical, and fascinating.

  8. Stuart

    12/11/2009 at 11:02 am

    Listening to your tale reminds me of my travels and how I wish everything had standard adapters and longer battery life. A gadget that you can’t use is nothing but dead weight. And getting replacement batteries or replacement power cords and such can be a real headache when traveling.

  9. Mickey Segal

    12/11/2009 at 11:33 am

    This story reminds me of my experience in Tel Aviv shortly after TabletPCs came out. I was walking with a friend and we took a shortcut through the main court building. This involved going through security, but I had a then exotic piece of hardware with me. Fortunately for me, security in Israel is very people-based, so they asked that I turn it on and show them the features of Tablet PCs.

    I suppose one should not expect any less in the country that developed some of the main components of the hardware.

    Back in the days of the HP67 programmable calculator, I didn’t get hassled at all for taking onto an El Al flight a homemade circuit box with a connector that one stuck into the charging port of the calculator to throw it into an undocumented state in which it could display some letters. Although El Al was security conscious decades before other countries were, they focused on checking me as a person more than on what I was carrying.

  10. SAM

    12/11/2009 at 12:55 pm

    Wow, A walking electronics store…

    It’s been fun following your trip overseas and travelling with all those gadgets.

    Reminds me of my brother, he was constantly shooting videos, when we went to Hong Kong. He said, “I’m taking all these movies so we can watch our vacation when we get home…” LOL

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