Heading to the Beach? Don't Forget to Protect Your Tech!

You put sunblock before heading out to the beach to keep yourself from getting burned. You should also be protecting your tech if you plan to spend a lot of time at the beach this summer. Nothing will ruin electronics faster than sand wedged in a keyboard. Here are five things to do to keep your tech safe this summer.

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1. Ziploc bags are your new best friend. It's a horrifying moment when you watch your new phone fall slowly into water and sink to its death. If you plan to get near the water or will be riding on a boat, a simple Ziploc can be the difference between a disastrous outing and a great day.

2. Keep it cool. Tech can overheat more easily than you realize. Most small devices, such as MP3 players and smartphones, operate best at room temperature. If your player is sitting in the beating sun, it can quickly heat up and stop working. If this happens, don't keep trying to use it. Bring it inside if you can. If that's not an option, J.D. Biersdorfer of the PopTechJam podcast recommends putting it in a cooler that is free of any ice or liquid. Before using it again, be sure it's room temperature.

3. Tape it up. Whether it's an eReader, smartphone or tablet, be sure to cover all ports with painters or electrical tape before hitting the sand. Better yet, if you really want to read at the beach, bring an old fashioned paperback. Wet, sandy or covered in sunscreen, it still works.

4. Leave the laptop at home. As a writer, I like to write in a lot of different locations. One place to skip? The beach. Salt water in the air and can have corrosive effects on the inner components of a computer.

5. Sunscreen regularly, but keep it off your gear. After applying sunscreen, be sure to wipe your hands before touching any screens or buttons. The ingredients in sunscreen can melt plastic and make your screen slimy.

(Images: 1. Gregory Han, 2. Elizabeth Giorgi)

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Liz is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen, a documentary short about the physics in the comic book movie. She’s a tech obsessive, verified nerd and total Anglophile.