10 Things to Throw in Your Laptop Bag - dummies

10 Things to Throw in Your Laptop Bag

By Dan Gookin

Hopefully, you have purchased your laptop a handsome bag. And after you have the bag, and all that room, what are you going to put in it? Well, yes, of course: The laptop goes into the case. Duh. What else? Anything you truly need? Anything you might forget? Here’s a list of ten items you should consider throwing (or gently tossing) into your laptop’s case.

Power cord and brick

This item is one that most people forget. Always take your power cord and its adapter, or “brick,” in your laptop bag. You just never know when a wall socket will appear. Take advantage of it!

Spare battery

If the laptop is blessed with the capability to use a spare battery, put it in the bag!

  • Don’t forget to charge the spare battery before you leave.

  • Don’t forget other batteries, such as an AAA battery for the wireless mouse, batteries for the digital pen and portable printer, and so on.

Mouse or digital pen

You should always keep the mouse in your laptop bag.

  • Although you could get a wired mouse for your laptop, go wireless instead.

  • Don’t forget your laptop’s digital pen, if it uses one. Keep the pen in its dock or otherwise attached to the laptop for convenient digital writing activities.

Screen wipes and cleaner

Go to the office supply store and buy some screen wipes. Ensure that they’re safe for a laptop screen, and for tablet PCs ensure that they work properly on a touchscreen. Toss ‘em in your laptop bag and keep them there.

Laptop lock

Don’t forget your laptop’s antitheft device. Whether it’s a cable you can connect to something solid or one of those loud, loud audio alarms, you probably want to pack it in your laptop bag.

Removable media

Saving your stuff to the laptop’s primary storage system often isn’t enough. It helps to have an assortment of alternatives to get that information out of the computer, especially when your laptop isn’t connected to a network for easy file transfer.

  • Label the media cards and thumb drives. That way, you can keep them straight.

  • Keep MicroSD cards in their tiny, plastic cases. They’re more difficult to lose that way.

  • If your laptop sports an optical drive, toss some optical discs (CDs or DVDs) into the bag.

Headphones

Consider two types of headphones for your laptop bag. First are the common earbud-style headphones, which you probably use on your cell phone. Those are fine for a laptop and, if they have a microphone, you can use them to Skype or for other voice input.

A second type of headphone is the more complex, full-size model. Also known as a headset, this headphone includes full-size ear cans and a separate microphone. This headphone also goes well into a laptop bag, especially if you plan to Skype somewhere noisy or just need a better way to listen to things.

Office supplies

Yeah, this is supposed to be the “paperless” age. Whatever. You still need a pad of paper and a writing implement, despite the redundancy and its overall anti-21st-century nature.

  • Another must-have item: business cards.

  • Also consider copies of your presentation (if you’re making one) and perhaps some magazines or reading material.

Cables, cables, cables

Cables are good. When you can, bring spare Ethernet, phone, USB, and any other type of spare cables you can muster. You might never use them, but then again, you never know.

  • You never know where the Internet lurks! Taking along a goodly length of Ethernet cable with your laptop is always a good idea. Then you can instantly connect to any available Ethernet network without having to wait for or (worse) rent a cable.

  • A goodly length is about 6 feet.

  • A phone charging cable is also a good thing to keep in the laptop bag.

Not the end of the list

You can pack your laptop bag full of so much stuff that the bag will eventually weigh more than you do. There’s only so much you can take: portable printers, USB hubs, external disk drives — and the list goes on.

These items are good to always have in your laptop bag. Add the other stuff as you need it. Or, when you’re traveling, consider putting those things in your checked luggage so that you’re not toting their extra weight.