Protecting your devices while on vacation

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- If you have a vacation coming up, chances are you'll be packing a lot of electronics.

A Consumer Reports survey found 94 percent of us don't leave home without at least one device, and vacationers take along three on average.

So what's the best way to protect those pricey possessions?

Between smart phones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, GPS devices, cameras, iPods, and speakers - they practically need their own suitcase. But if you are thinking of checking them as baggage, think again.

"Nearly 10 percent of people in our survey reported damage to a laptop tablet, or digital camera that was in a checked bag," said Consumer Reports Glenn Derene.

Consumer Reports recommends carrying on your electronics instead. If possible, they suggest using a padded bag.

If you must check your devices, wrap them in soft clothing.

It's easy to let an electronic slip from your grip, and it has created problems for several vacationers. About 10 percent of survey respondents said their device got wet on vacation. And 19 percent said sand or dirt was a problem.

"Obviously, be careful. But if you're looking for a simple and cheap way to protect your electronics from sea and sand, use a zippered food storage bag. They're just as effective as pricey waterproof cases. And you can even use your touch screen through them," Derene said.

Another common complaint from about half of those in the Consumer Reports survey is the battery life.

"Conserve power by lowering the screen brightness on your phone or tablet and reduce text and email updates to once every half hour," Derene said.

If there are no bars, just turn everything off or set to airplane mode. There's no sense in burning through battery life trying to connect to non-existent service.

The ultimate protection is to leave some electronics at home. In fact, nearly a third in the Consumer Reports survey said they'd prefer their kids didn't bring along any gadgets on vacation.

Keeping kids off electronics is not so easy though. In Consumer Reports' survey, half of those parents who preferred a no-electronics policy on vacation caved to placate cranky or bored children.

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