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Let's Travel Safe out there

My name is Leif and I'm a serial battery killer. When I travel for work, I carry the following battery-powered items:

• Laptop
Blackberry Curve
• Palm Pilot Tungsten T5
• Digital camera
Wireless laser keyboard
• MP3 player
• Mobile alarms (2)
• Shaver

Over the years, I have reached a zen-like state with my battery-powered items. Indeed, I'm a battery whisperer. I can coax out the full reliability and power capacity of all batteries that I come into contact with. Sadly, not everyone can be one with their gadgets. The US Department of Transportation knows this all too well, so when they started an awareness campaign about traveling safely with batteries and other potentially hazardous materials, they came to yours truly to help spread the word.

In addition to several prudent tips about traveling with loose batteries and battery-powered gadgets, the Safe Travel web site provides rules and recommendations about traveling with other potentially hazardous items such as aerosols, ammunition, lighters/matches/lighter fluid and fireworks (I'll save you some reading time, no fireworks allowed on airplanes, ever).

Admittedly, many of these good-intentioned tips sound like they were compiled by Dr. Obvious MD. Some of the less earth-shattering kernels of knowledge they have to offer include "avoid dropping laptop computers or other devices", and "NEVER attempt to recharge a battery unless you know it is rechargeable."

Yes, but what if I drop my laptop while I'm recharging a non-rechargeable battery? Is that coo?

As you read some of these items resist the urge to click away, thinking that only the recently lobotomized are going to attain battery enlightenment with these no-brainer guidelines. What's obvious to a battery whisperer isn't necessarily going to occur to people with lesser battery-driven lifestyles, like your mamma and your mamma's mamma, to name a few. And you can never know too much about safely transporting things that go 'boom' as far as I'm concerned.

The fact is that people still try to bring hazardous material onto flights each day and are genuinely surprised to learn that their prized machete collection can't be stored in carry-on luggage. Take a minute to run down the list. If you learn nothing, then you're already an expert traveler and you should treat yourself to some brand new, properly packaged, carefully stored rechargeable batteries.

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