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LAPTOP - Do I or dont I take it??

Travel Forums Travel Gear LAPTOP - Do I or dont I take it??

1. Posted by jadeverell (Respected Member 255 posts) 8y

Hi All,

I know this has been asked numerous times before in the past, so I apologise now. But i am really struggling with making the decision on whether to take my laptop on my RTW trip.

I know that there are many advantages to taking it, but i think that i will be worrying about the security of it all the time.
Basically I just want to hear from all the people that have taken laptops travelling with them what they do with it when they dont want to carry it around all day or go on day trips for example.

Also, any other security tips/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Is it just going to be an added burden for me to worry about, or do the pro's out weigh the con's??

Thanks.

JD

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

I don't have the slightest idea what you use your LT for? I assume for communication? Are you using a backpack? I communicated very well in Vietnam recently using cyber cafes and in-hotel computers, and most units in that country are aging Win98 computers. I had no trouble plugging my memory card reader in and uploading photos, emailing friends, etc. Perhaps if you're a writer and need the LT for word processing, but just for communication, I would say why risk it?

3. Posted by dajaga (Budding Member 27 posts) 8y

look at buying the asus eeepc. they have a 7inch screen out now but new mdels are coming out with 9inch screens, i have a deuter 55=10 back pack and i can eisly fit a jacket the eeepc and a nion d80 with one lens inside the 10litter bag and still hae a little room for another shirt or smoething smalle

eeepc goes for about 400 the ew models with 9inch have no prices yet

4. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 8y

I would say don't bother. As Daawgon said, unless you have a specific reason for having your own computer with you, then it's just extra weight. Maybe if all you are doing is train travel around Europe or Japan or something than it may not be too much of a burden (though I've traveled around Japan a couple times with a laptop and hated it). But when you start having to navigate your way around Asian train stations, or packing yourself into an Indian bus or things like that, you want to be carrying as little as possible. There is also always a concern about theft. It seems to me that the daily burden of always having to find a safe place for a laptop is just an extra headache. I always travel with with a rather expensive camera, and while 90% of the time I have it on me during the day, the few times that I've had to leave it behind in the hotel or wherever, it was a constant worry and more stress than I like to have on holiday. Also, on night buses/trains, I never sleep quite as well as I should, for fear that my camera will be snatched in my sleep.
I also find it a joy traveling without a laptop. For me traveling is about a similar life, where in the evenings I read a book for entertainment, or just wander aimlessly around a new town, or even better, go out to meet new people. The few times that I've traveled with a laptop I found myself in the evenings in my hotel room watching movies or editing pictures. I've noticed this often with other travels too, when you walk into a dorm and it's a few people in their bunks , not talking, doing their thing on their laptop. That just defeats the whole concept of hostel life.

But if you are worried about not being able to store pictures, write home, etc... then don't worry. There are few places left now adays that don't have readily available internet access for travelers. Most internet cafes will let you burn pictures to CD (always do two and mail one home), and many are decked out with Skype so you can even phone home on a public computer. And in most places now adays it's pretty cheap too. In most of Asia and the bits of South America I've been to, you pay maybe a dollar or two for an hour of computer time. I've seen it as low as 30cents an hour in some countries. Western countries are a bit more, but it's still pretty cheap. Something else too, if you are planning on doing lots of writing on blogs or whatever, an idea is to take a cheap USB memory stick. They take up no space, can be used on any computer, and you can save work that you are doing until you get to the next computer.

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 8y

Quoting jadeverell

I know that there are many advantages to taking it, but i think that i will be worrying about the security of it all the time.
Basically I just want to hear from all the people that have taken laptops travelling with them what they do with it when they dont want to carry it around all day or go on day trips for example.

Carry it around with me all day anyway. That's the price you pay for the combination of staying in hostels and bringing a laptop. There's just no way I'm going to risk leaving it behind. (I did make a point of it this time around to get an ultra portable weighing a sweet 1kg. That's making a massive difference compared to my previous long trip, where my laptop weighed nearly 3kg.)
Yes, it's a bother sometimes - but it's totally worth it. On a short trip you don't really need a laptop, but any trip longer than a month, and the thing is (IMO) indispensable. There's just no way anyone should ever risk doing internet banking on a public computer at an internet cafe (viruses and keyloggers are running rampant), and if you don't do photo editing during the RTW trip, you'll probably never catch up again.

6. Posted by jadeverell (Respected Member 255 posts) 8y

Oh god, i am completely torn now!!!

Granted my laptop isn't as light as 1KG (think it is 2.1KG), but i like the idea of having immediate access to internet banking, emails and also booking accommodation (in case's where you cant just turn up at a location a book a room at reception).

I think that it might be a last min decision when packing my gear......Can you believe this is the biggest decision i have at the moment with regards to my travel plans.

JD

7. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

JD,

Everyone above has a valid point. Let me tell you my story in brief, it might help.

I have carried a laptop with me from Portugal to West Africa and then from Portugal to Turkey overland. It weighed 2.5kg.

1. It's number one priority was for internet banking. And it was a godsend for piece of mind there.

2. I used it for photo storage, not a priority as I have a portable HD and take huge files so uploading is an issue. When alone it was great for recapping and deleting stuff.

3. I used it for journal making before uploading. Not a fanstatic tool as one would be locked away in hostel for hours rather than out seeing the world.

I gave up keeping it in my daypack very soon. Too heavy, along with big camera, guide book, and bottle of water to be carrying around all day. I kept it in my big back back out of sight. Never made a point in showing people I had one. If they ask, I would say I used to. In a hostel dorm room I would only ever use it on my last day out in public.

It was much easier to carry in the big backpack. But, it did suffer from key imprints on the screen. Due to pressure on the lid. A peice of thin foam or light material across the keyboard usually helps prevent this.

I sold my laptop in Turkey, I figured there would be no more wireless points from there on (iran Pakistan India, nepal) and that internet would be crap and I wanted the extra weight to buy stuff.

I was right. Internet was crap, good connections in some places, poor options to plug in in others. I used a few cafes for internet banking and a few with a credit card for flights. But was paranoid afterwards.

I missed the security aspect of internet banking, and uploading on the spot journalistic photos like March 14th in Tibet the most. I would have paid twice for a laptop on the latter occasion to upload photos and video. But without a laptop it was not possible.

I now own a sub 1kg Sony Vaio and would not part with it for the world, at least for my kind of travel.

So I guess JD it all boils down to the type of travellign you are doing. I would suggest if you are going for one year and have support from home, i.e. a family member who can check all is well with your banking then don't bother.

If you are photo/ writer type person then it may well be worth it.

If you are a party seeker and prefer to be out all the time when travelling, then it may not be worth taking one.

If you are going to on the road for well over a year, and need a support network, take it.

Whether you take it or not, there will be times you wished you either did, or did not have it.

If they had a well costed PDA with Ethernet and wireless then I might trade.

These are just some of the things I can contribute, hope it helps and good luck

OC

Ah yes one other thing. I always think that the laptop will be stolen, so I never keep anything too important on it. It also helps me sleep better at night, knowing that if it was gone tomorrow, then I can continue on without being devastated. Post DVD's of photo's home. Get a nice cussion type cover for it for those rough SEA buses and let fate take its course with the rough and tumble aspect.

[ Edit: Edited on May 9, 2008, at 8:28 AM by outcast ]