Should I Take a Laptop Backpacking
Vacation packing - as you've never thought of it before.
Should I take my laptop backpacking
One of the common questions beginner questions on the travel forums is whether to take a laptop when travelling. I've done both and my advice is to definitely think carefully and be aware of your options. Why do you want the laptop? If its just because everyone else has one or you think it might be a good idea but don't know why - think about it some more.
The number one question which you need to think about is the same as when considering any bit of travel gear - what do I want to use it for. If the answer is because everyone else has one or I think it might be a good idea - think of a better answer!Its not just a laptop you need to carry
Accessories for your Laptop
Along with your laptop you are going to need some or all of the following:
- plug converter, fortunately most laptops will run on dual voltage - check to see if the power box is stamped 110/220V. You will need the right shaped plug for countries that you go to.
- external hard-drive. Until flash or USB drives get as fast and as cheap an external 5.25" hard drive still probably the best backup option. It would be bad enough losing the laptop - you don't want to loose your data as well
- most laptops come with inbuilt wireless networking but is a good idea to bring a short length of Ethernet cable too - sometimes you have the option to plug in but not wireless - or the wired option is just so much faster
- good battery life, which may involve an external "travel" battery that some laptops have extending battery life up to 7 or 8 hours.
- cables lots of them: power cable, cable for the external drive, firewire for the video camera, mini-USB for the camera, cable for the external DVD
- a well padded skin or wallet to protect it from dust and knocks
- a discrete bag to carry it all in that does not scream - I'm a laptop steal me!
- external speakers if you are going to use the laptop for watching movies or playing CD's.
Good Reasons to Take a Laptop Traveling
- being able to manage and edit digital photos as you take them. Instead of using the camera to review shots, we downloaded everything every few days and culled and edited on the laptop. So by the end of the trip we had a catalogued, captioned set of photos.
- being able to write a diary on a keyboard rather by hand (I am so addicted to the cut and paste function!) - no PDA has yet come close to providing as good a form of data input as a proper keyboard, particularly if you are a touch typist
- being able to write notes for blogs and website during the days couldn't get any Internet access.
- being able to run spreadsheets to manage expenses here and at home * having your own customised browser with your bookmarks and other settings.
- sometimes you will have access to wireless Internet in useful locations such as airports and Starbucks Cafes.
Not so good reasons to take a Laptop traveling
- notice how I didn't mention using your own laptop in Internet cafes in the advantages list? Often you're not allowed to or you have to pay more. You'll still need a USB stick to upload photos, and some places won't allow those either.
- weight - we were travelling by car but it was still I pain to carry around
- security - making sure it didn't get left lying around in the open and protecting it from dust and heat
Want to buy a laptop for traveling
If you are determined to buy a laptop to travel with look for these features:
- light is good, lighter is better, try to get something less than 1.8kg
- small is good 14" or less
- buy a commercial rather than a retail computer, it wont be as pretty but it will have a mat screen, much easier to see in sunlight, and will be repairable
- don't buy new, look for refurnished deals, its unlikely that you need a high spec machine
Best laptop computers vary depending on what you, the consumer really wants.
About the Author
Thanks for reading - this is Lis from Lis's Travel Tips an eBook series that I decided to write after being less than impressed by travel tips available in "real" published books.
I have travel writing all over the web - but I decided to start publishing some of it in a different format - hence my new eBook available at Amazon (see below) and elsewhere. Check out my Vacation Packing Tips website
Packing for vacation - it can be a pain - until you read this book and find out the real way to save your back, time and wallet!