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Notebook/Laptop for security? or internet cafes?

Travel Forums Travel Gear Notebook/Laptop for security? or internet cafes?

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1. Posted by chrisuki (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Dear all

Me and my partner are travelling to SEA for 4/5 months and are wondering if it is necessary to take a small notebook with us. We are planning to just take a large backpack and some small luggage bags.

We are starting in Malaysia first then off to Thailand. We have already booked our tickets to Malaysia but not Thailand and the other countries we are planning to travel to.

My question is how do we buy tickets online to Thailand? Do we take our own notebook to use or use the hotel PC/internet cafe? My concern is with security, because in the past, i have had huge amounts of money taken from my internet banking when i was at home in the UK. Is it safe to pay online in a foreign country?

We have not bought tickets in advance because we do not want to be limited to time. We want to visit a country to enjoy and when we had enough, we will buy tickets for the next country.

Can any fellow travellers suggest?

2. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Opinions vary 50% -50% across all the Forums on this one. 1/2 will say take one - and the remainder will say don't. I'm with not taking one. Buying tickets on-line can be done at any web-shack, as long as they've got printers hooked up that actually work. I've booked tickets on-line before and in one outlet in BG, I booked and paid for a single from Varna to Sofia with Wizzair. I asked them print off my confirmation, only to be told that the printer was knackered. After a 5 minute bout of panic, I emailed Wizzair and had a reply within the hour - telling me not to worry. The surname on my passport would be sufficient enough.
The moral??.... Check that the outlet's got a printer.... That works!!!!
Others will recommend taking a notebook. It's all a matter of opinion, rather than practicality.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4892 posts) 7y

There is no meaningful level of "security" on computers in internet cafes or any other public location (such as ho(s)tels). Sometimes computers at individual internet cafes might be trustable, but you as an outsider have no way to make that determination, and so using one for anything you care about is effectively gambling, with the odds getting worse every day. (I'm a professional web application developer with a computer science education, with security one of the areas I specialize in, so I'm not just calling this based on feeling, but based on actual (related) knowledge.) Here's an old thread where I dig a bit deeper into the subject.

Personally I wouldn't travel long-term without a laptop, finding their convenience to far outweigh the hassle, but there's other alternatives to the two you have mentioned: you could just not buy tickets online (use actual travel agencies instead, buy tickets directly at the airport, or pre-book everything with fully flexible dates, so you only need to call the airline to change the date), or ask folks back home to book things for you (when I first went travelling, I authorized my mother to have full access to my bank account), with the e-tickets delivered to you by email so you only have to print them out. (Note that email can be something you "care about", and thus shouldn't expose it in internet cafes; but you could set up a temporary email address only to be used while travelling.)

4. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Post#3#.... Very good point raised about the level of security (or possible lack of!!) you have when using an overseas computer. It'd be interesting (and very useful) to hear of anyone's experiences of on-line fraud while using one.

5. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 7y

Malaysia is off the hook for internet. Most guest houses are offering it free to use on their machines and they all have blazing fast wifi, definitely a plus if you have your own laptop. the pluses and minus have been hashed out time and time again here, do a few searches and you'll come up with the threads.

Once in Malaysia, Air Asia is your friend. They are having ridiculously cheap flights at the moment. The further forward you can buy the cheaper they are, so try to nail down a rough plan and get your tickets as soon as you can.

I dont bother with printing itinerary anymore, all they ever ask for is your passport. If you buy the e-ticket, definitely write down your reference number and your good to go.

6. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Post #5# has a very good point. The flight ref. numbers are pretty much not needed nowadays, referring to the absence of an e-ticket. In GB, Easyjet, Jet2, Wizzair and Ryanair just want to see your passport. You can check in on-line too, so there's no need to even show your passport until you get to the departure security gates. I'm sure it's pretty much the same with many other airlines in other countries.
As for the comment about about internet speed - I saw in a PC magazine recently that some of the Far East countries have speeds 40 times faster than the quickest available in GB.

7. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1997 posts) 7y

In reference to paying online, never enter an account number without checking the lock icon at the bottom of the screen. If you're using a credit card that does not protect you from fraud, you need to get a better card. Citibank (USA) offers a card with virtual account numbers that change with every transaction - at no time do you enter your actual account number. I'm sure this service has now spread to other parts of the world. If you're only traveling in Malaysia and Thailand, you have little to worry about in the first place - these are highly developed countries.

In Malaysia, Air Asia lets it's customers buy travel at ATM's. I've copied the following from their website:

Pay Via ATM

After booking your flights with through our Call Centre, you can now make payment at the nearest ATM!

Public Bank ATM

* Book your AirAsia seat via AirAsia's Nationwide Call Centre
* Walk in to the Public Bank ATM nearest to you
* Insert your ATM card and key in your pin number
* Select your account type (eg: SAVINGS ACCOUNT)
* Select "Other Services"
* Select transaction type: AirAsia Inquiry / Payment
* Key in your PO number and press "Enter"
* Your booking details will be displayed on the screen. If all information is correct, proceed by pressing "Pay" on the bottom right of the screen.

8. Posted by chrisuki (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Thanks very much for your advice guys. ;)

9. Posted by Peter (Admin 5845 posts) 7y

Quoting Daawgon

In reference to paying online, never enter an account number without checking the lock icon at the bottom of the screen.

OK, just to be clear here - this is not the issue with public computers. The problem there is more likely keystroke loggers, which will record the account details you are using for someone else's benefit. Practically impossible to guard against on a public computer. Whether the site itself has secured its transactions won't protect you against that.

If you're using a credit card that does not protect you from fraud, you need to get a better card. Citibank (USA) offers a card with virtual account numbers that change with every transaction - at no time do you enter your actual account number.

This does sound pretty good though! I've never even heard of that being offered here. How do you know which account number to use when you're making a purchase?

10. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

As long as your card has got good security measures on it - you should be OK in a webshack.
Nowadays, if you've good proof that it wasn't you that did 'That' transaction, it'll cost you nowt.
Good luck.