Before you set off for your dream destination with your laptop securely stowed inside your backpack, there are a few things you need to know. Since the security scares induced by the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 airport regulations have become much tighter and getting your laptop through customs is not as straightforward as it once was.
You can now expect your laptop to be examined carefully and x-rayed separately so you should make sure that it can be removed from your carry-on luggage quickly and easily. You might be asked to turn on your laptop when you go through airport security so you should leave it in ‘stand by’ mode (Windows users) or ‘sleep’ mode (Mac users) to make sure your laptop starts up quickly and doesn’t use battery power.
Don’t worry about the airport x-ray machine as it won’t harm your laptop’s hard-drive. But make sure you keep a close eye on your laptop as it passes along the conveyor belt as it is exposed to theft at this time. There is a chance that the airport metal detector could cause damage and you should ask that a customs officer does a hand check rather than scanning it with the metal detector.
To avoid problems, make sure you carry the original receipts for your laptop or special customs documents. These days it is your responsibility to prove that you owned the equipment before your travels as you will have to pay duty and taxes on any items that you purchase while traveling. If you can’t prove that the laptop was purchased in your own country you will be liable for these taxes and duty.
Remember that your laptop is one of the items most likely to be targeted by thieves as it is expensive and clearly visible. Make sure you keep your laptop with you at all times and don’t be tempted to store it in the overhead compartment during your flight. It is a good idea to try to disguise you laptop by keeping it in a strong bag or backpack rather than an easily recognizable laptop case.