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What to Know About Traveling with an External Hard Drive

Traveling with an external hard drive requires extra protection from dirt, dust, heat, or other mechanical damage. Most international and domestic airlines will allow you to travel with an external hard drive without problems. 

The best way to ensure your external hard drive is safe during your journey is to put it in a carry-on or personal bag. Although you can also put your hard drive in check-in luggage, it might not be safe.

Here’s what you should know about traveling with your external hard drive.

Carry External Drives In A Hand Luggage

The best place to carry your external drive is in your hand luggage. Transporting sensitive electronics like DAS (Direct Attached Storage) in hand luggage minimizes damages. 

Hand luggage is safer than a check-in suitcase that can sometimes be thrown around, causing damage like breakage. 

If you don’t have hand luggage, you can securely pack your external hand drive in a check-in suitcase. Wrap it with a clean, dry towel or cloth to reduce the risk of breakage.

The Best External Storage Drives For Traveling

External hard drives help you carry large work files or photos anywhere. The best way to carry such important information is to ensure you back them up and then carry them in a high-quality drive. 

An HDD or Hard Disk Drive is an affordable solution, but it’s a bulky drive. Another option is an SSD or a Solid State Drive. It’s the best external hard drive for traveling. An SSD is less bulky, making it easy to carry. It also provides high performance to users. 

Most international and domestic flights do not have restrictions on carrying any hard drive. The airport security agents may want to scan your hard drive,  you’ll be allowed to take it on board if there’s no threat.

External Drives Go Through Security Checkpoints

TSA (Transport Security Administration) officers allow you to bring external hard drives through security. The security check may involve removing your hard drive and placing it in a bin with other electronic gadgets. 

A TSA agent will inspect the gadgets and pass them over to you. The officers will scan your devices, but in most cases, they will not check the contents like saved files or information. 

Security agents also decide whether to allow you to carry your hard drive on board. If there’s no reason for a ban, you’ll be allowed to take your DAS and other electronics on board. 

Checking External Hard Drives for International Flights

Most domestic flights will allow you to travel with an external hard drive, but international flights might be strict. Depending on the country you are traveling to, there may be strict rules on traveling with electronics. 

The security scanning of your external hard drive may also be different. A security agent may ask you to disclose the contents of your hard disk. Tell them what your hard disk contains. 

The agents also have the right to inspect and check the contents of your hard drive. The security checks ensure no illegal materials are carried to the destination country.


Anyone can travel with their important files and pictures on an external hard drive without problems. If you comply with their security requirements, international and domestic flights will not have a problem with your external hard drive. 

It’s also essential to ensure your hard drive remains in good condition while traveling. Make sure you carry your fragile items like external hard drives in a personal bag and not a check-in suitcase. Putting hard drives in check-in luggage has more risk than carrying them in a personal bag.

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