Can You Pack Your Laptop In Your Checked Luggage? Should You?

Is It Okay To Pack My Laptop In My Checked Luggage?

Figuring out the different luggage rules for checked and carry-on luggage is not always an easy job, carry-on bags tend to have more limited space, which might tempt you to pack electronics such as your personal laptop in your checked luggage. 

You can indeed pack your solid laptop in your checked luggage, but we would recommend against it, this is because not only do laptops contain lithium batteries which are not allowed in checked bags, but it is also unsafe to do so, the laptop can easily get stolen or broken during transit.

We have put together a guide below that will cover why packing electronics in your carry-on is the better choice and what you can't pack in your checked luggage so as you can be prepared for your trip. 

Why You Should Always Pack Your Laptop In Your Carry On 

Important electronic items should always be packed as carry-on items, this is because these are fragile items that could get broken on bumpy flights and are at risk of getting lost/stolen when packed into your checked luggage. 

Laptops, cameras and an iPad all contain lithium-ion batteries too which are preferred by airlines to be packed in your hand luggage along with the laptop charger. 

When carrying electronics like airplane laptops you also need to make sure these devices are charged beforehand so as if security asks you to switch it on to show function you can, if not you might not be able to bring your laptop on carry.

What Happens If I Have To Pack My Laptop In My Checked Bag?

If there is no way out and you have to pack your laptop in your checked bag then you need to ensure you remove the charger and take it in your carry on and wrap the laptop as well as you can in soft clothes to try and cushion it, a puffy laptop sleeve is also useful to help protect the device during the flight.

We have listed some other safety tips below to help keep your laptop safe during your travels. 

  • Encrypt your files - Encrypting your files is a good idea to keep you and your data safe, this can be done easily with software before you travel.
  • Back it up - Before you travel it is a good idea to back most of your data upon a hard drive, you never know if your device could get stolen so this can help to protect you.
  • Makes sure it's password-protected - Having password protection on your device acts as a barrier in case anyone gets hold of your laptop.

What To Avoid Packing In Your Checked Luggage 

As well as electronics, there are other items to avoid packing in your checked bags on flights, we have listed the common items to consider packing in your carry-on baggage rather than your suitcase down below.

  • Jewellery - Expensive jewellery should always be packed in your carry-on, this avoids it being at the mercy of baggage handlers and ensures when you arrive at your destination your favourite necklace will not be missing!
  • Medication - You never known if you might need important medication in-flight or if your medication might get lost with your checked bag, always pack it in your carry-on just in case, for medication over 100ml you might need a doctor to note to pass through security smoothly. 
  • Baby items - All baby essentials such as diapers and wipes should be packed into your carry-on which should last you the duration of your flight. 
  • All your clothes - It is always a safe bet to pack some of your clothes into your carry-on in case you arrive at your destination only to see your bag is not on the luggage carousel, this leaves you with a fresh change of clothes until your baggage is located and arrives. 
  • Uninstalled lithium batteries - There is a prohibition on lithium batteries to be packed in checked luggage and should always be carried with you instead due to the small chance of them exploding in the hold.
  • Flammables - Avoid packing flammables in your checked bags as they will likely pull your bag for extra screening and remove the items, plus it is very dangerous.
  • Personal items - This goes without saying, passports, personal documents, wallets, visas and cards should all be carried with you on the plane, not in the hold.
  • Fragile items - Breakable items should not be put into your suitcase as they are at risk of breaking during transit, if you have to pack them in your checked then try and bubble wrap them then wrap them again in a soft item.

Frequently Asked Questions About Packing a Laptop In Checked Luggage

Do you have to remove your laptop from your bag when passing through security? 

Yes, you might be asked to take your laptop out of the sleeve and put it on a separate tray so as the x-ray can scan it properly when passing through security, if needed for additional screening security might ask you to switch the device on to which is why it's always important to charge your electronics before a flight.

Can I put an iPad in my checked luggage?

Just like a laptop, we would suggest not packing your iPad in check baggage due to the high chances of it getting broken or stolen. If you do decide to pack your iPad in your baggage then you would need to wrap it with soft items to lower the chances of damage.

How do I pack my laptop safely in checked baggage? 

We would recommend placing it in the centre of your bag in a cushioned laptop case surrounded by soft items such as clothes. Make sure to separate your liquids far from the device in case of a leak.

Will my laptop get stolen from my suitcase? 

There is a chance your laptop could get lost with your checked luggage or stolen so you should always pack it in your carry-on when possible.

Are lithium-ion batteries in laptops dangerous to travel with? 

Inside of laptops lithium batteries tend to be fine, the issue is with chargers or spare batteries which should be taken in carry-on instead.

Final Words 

Overall, we would not recommend packing a laptop in checked luggage as these electronics are fragile and are at risk of getting lost or stolen if you do not have them with you. We would recommend packing all valuables in your carry on to avoid this. 

If you do have to pack your laptop in checked luggage then make sure it is well-cushioned and wrapped beforehand.

About this Guide

Written By Kirsten
Last Updated On September 7, 2021
Reading Time 
6 minutes
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