Should I travel with a Laptop
Laptops have only been around for about ten years, yet the matter of whether or not to travel with one already feels like an age-old dilemma. I’m guessing that up until five years ago, only the most demented of globetrotters would have even considered towing one around the world with them. Now, it’s fast becoming one of the most fretted over issues when planning a trip.
Of course there are equally valid points for consideration on either side of the argument- but do the pros outweigh the cons or vice-versa? Well fret not intrepid traveler! For we have broken it all down for you in order to help you with your strenuous decision-making. Read on.
First off, if you’re planning on documenting your wild escapades via an all-singing all-dancing super-duper blog, or if you are a freelance travel writer with deadlines, then it just makes sense to bring one with you. Though there are now internet cafés in virtually every corner of the globe, you can never be certain of what potential problems you’re going to be faced with; poor connections; slow loading time; outdated software; ill-equipped, overpriced and stone-age era pay-per-minute computers, or, heaven forbid, a PC! No, nobody wants that. Having everything you need at your fingertips, safe in the knowledge that none of the above snags will interfere with your work is a much more viable option.
Secondly, laptops are tremendously convenient for keeping one step ahead. Lots of travel planning and internet-banking etc inevitably goes on at home before the trip but it doesn’t end there. With your own laptop, you’re able to organize your finances in confidence, bookmark useful pages and save personal data on sites like hostelworld and couchsurfing when on the road. Just make sure you’re using secure wi-fi.
Keeping in touch is made substantially easier too. The ability to make phone calls from a computer is immeasurable. Skype, tweet, email or instant message your friends and family at the drop of a hat, and unlike in internet cafés, you needn’t worry about clandestine earwiggers listening in. Making free international calls is now a easy too, yet another reason to carry your laptop around.
Your laptop is also a valuable resource for editing and backing up those irreplaceable photos, which can in turn be backed up with an online storage program. They’re great deterrent from going out and getting smashed every night too- load it up with movies before you go and refuel from time to time. It’ll do you the world of good, and save you money.
The cons are simple: risk of loss/theft/damage, extra, unwanted weight, cutting yourself off, and worst of all, relentless anxiety.
Travel insurance is relatively inexpensive but if you want to get your laptop covered then prepare to be gob-smacked. The rates are extortionate, and most likely outside of your budget, whether generous or shoestring. So in order to keep your laptop out of harm’s way, you really just need to use simple common sense. Don’t take any chances- wrap it up, lock it away, and don’t show it off in front of strangers. If you want to be really clever, try making your laptop look shit. I can only presume that thieves decide on a target based on quick glances- and if you’re laptop is screaming ‘Brand new, super expensive Macbook Pro’ then you’re the perfect prey. A friend of mine sprayed is macbook case with removable paint and then keyed in a load of scratches. Genius!
Carrying the damn thing around will get annoying but laptops don’t need to be heavy. Netbooks are the perfect solution for this and they don’t cost much. iPads are also ideal though they are a lot more expensive.
So whether you should lug your laptop along for the ride or not really depends on your personal circumstances, i.e. whether or not you intend to write about your trip, or if you’ll need to regularly access internet bank accounts or other high-security sites. I’m ashamed to admit that my laptop is pretty much my life support machine- not that I allow myself to be sucked in and miss out on great opportunities, but I simply couldn’t function without it. But hey, that’s just me.