By Joseph O'Leary
NEW YORK (Reuters) - American travelers don't want to leave home without their laptops and smartphones, fear the devices will be stolen, and suffer outlet outrage if they can't find somewhere to recharge them, according to a new survey released on Wednesday.
In an Intel poll that revealed Americans' attachment to their devices, almost one-half of the 2,500 people questioned said they feel anxious without the technology and nearly three-quarters of younger travelers admitted to suffering outlet outrage.
More than three-quarters of people questioned thought losing their device would be more stressful than misplacing their wedding ring, and 64 percent said they would sacrifice things such as toiletries to make room in luggage for their laptops or tablets.
In the survey, 46 percent said they had compromised personal comfort or hygiene to keep the devices charged, and 15 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they would search public bathrooms for an outlet if they had no choice.
"The survey revealed how deep the emotional bond has become between travelers and their devices and how far they are willing to go to feed their always-on craving and stay connected," Mike Fard, a marketing strategist with chipmaker Intel Corp, said in an interview.
He added that travelers like to stay in control and were more likely to go out of their way to keep in touch with friends and family.
Nearly 90 percent of young travelers feel happier when they have their devices with them, showing how technology has become pervasive in everyday life.
In the survey, 21 percent said they experienced device envy, thinking someone else's laptop, smartphone or tablet looked better than their own.
Despite the attachment to technology, not everyone is pleased about lugging laptops and tablets on planes and trains.
Fifty two percent of travelers get annoyed carrying power cords and battery packs with them and being forced to remove the devices from luggage during security checks.
People are also peeved by restrictions during flights.
Thirty percent said they don't think they should turn off devices when they fly -- which Fard said has led the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its electronics policies.
Peeping techs, who look over other people's shoulders to view screens, was among the top peeves cited by travelers. About 30 percent of people said they have caught people doing it.
But 33 percent of travelers admitted being a peeping tech.
Even though people fear their devices will be stolen, one-quarter of travelers fail to take basic precautions to protect themselves and use insecure Wi-Fi networks or leave devices unattended.
Fard recommended users create secure passwords and use tools to protect their information.
(Reporting By Joseph O'Leary; editing by Patricia Reaney and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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