I am moving overseas for a few months and will be working remotely, which will require me to take my desktop computer.

What are the best methods to take a desktop computer overseas? What potential issues are involved?

  • Should I stuff the entire desktop into a hard-case samsonite luggage (and bubble-wrap/cushion it)?
  • Should I remove sensitive parts and take those sensitive parts separately?
  • Will the TSA say anything if I remove the GPU and CPU and take that with me as carry-on luggage?

Also, I hear that the TSA may open your checked-in luggage, and for desktops that they may remove the heatsink on the CPU. I do not want my CPU to get damaged, so in that case should I remove the heatsink, and CPU so that no one else has to do it?

Anything else to consider?


1 Answer 1


I did transport a desktop computer over an international flight last year. I did not travel throught the United States however (through Canada), so I'm not sure about what the TSA may or may not do. I ended up bubble wrapping it and putting it in my suitcase that I checked in. The cushioning is important. As long as it is cushioned, it should be fine.

Just as an extra tip, you can ask the person at the checkin counter to mark the suitcase as fragile. Don't depend on soft handling though. Pack for rough handling.

If you end up taking components out, you will have to make sure you wrap them in anti-static bags and handle them carefully all throughout your travel since I'm assuming you'll take it as carry on.

EDIT: Might be wise to take out the hard drive if you are using a HDD instead of an SSD.

  • "Fragile" — meaning "Don't just throw it, laugh while you throw it."
    – WGroleau
    Dec 30, 2015 at 2:37

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