we are travelling for 4 weeks and incredibly or not! we are reliant on my laptop for internet banking, emailing, addresses etc. any advice on travelling with the thing, should they be carried in your hand baggage?
any tips are welcome as we have never "needed" to take one before.
#1 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
But isn't that what travel is all about - getting away from everyday chores and taking a breather from all those things? If you need certain files, why don't you take a thumbnail disk drive. I do very nicely without all that hardware, and I manage to keep up to date with everything/body. Just one more worry to take with you.
#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
I couldn't agree more with daawgon.
I suspect Somtam (moderator / host of Travelfish) will support you taking a laptop - he wants to sell electronic pdf guide's as an alternate to the paper version.
A laptop in SE Asia may get wet, it will surely travel on bumpy journey's, and is prone to theft.
Yep, leave it at home, have a holiday and if you must electronically communicate, there are a host of internet cafe's at reasonable prices.
To me, a laptop is like a TV - it's an electronic dummy (pacifier, to yanks).
I will respectfully disagree with the above couple of posts. My wife and I are currently in the midst of a 6 month trip around SE Asia and I love having a laptop.
We actually bought an Asus Netbook just before we left specifically for this trip. It's small and light and with probably 75% of our hotels having Wifi has been great for planning our trip ahead, using Skype to keep in touch with family and friends back home, blogging of our trip and uploading photos.
We also have a portable HD that we backup all of our photos on and before we left I burned a bunch of dvds to the HD so when we are on a long boat/bus ride or just chilling at the hotel we can watch a movie or tv show.
As for theft, I also have an Ipod and a Digital SLR and I never considered not bringing them. You just have to use common sense in securing your belongings. The advantage of the netbook is it is cheap enough that you aren't going to be devastated if it does get stolen/damaged.
There are internet cafes everywhere but if I've been out all day sightseeing I don't really want to go to an internet cafe for an hour or two. It is nice to just relax in our room and do all of the above.
If you don't use a computer/laptop/internet at home much you probably won't miss not having it while you travel. To each his own.
Well, I have to weigh in with # 4 above. Actually...funny...like Smkuchta, we also bought an Acer netbook specifically for our recent trip to Lao and Viet Nam. We also took 2 Maxtor hard drives. However, photography was the paramount concern for us, rather than e-mail access --- though that was a nice piece too.
I've traveled & gone to internet cafes. What we did this last time, with the Acer, was much more convenient. Out all day, do I really want to find and hang out at some internet spot, if I have the alternative to do it on my own schedule? No so much. Of course, IF wherever I'm staying has wifi. But you get the idea.
OK...that's the long answer. Short answer? Yes. Take the laptop. If it will make your travel easier or more convenient in some way. If you have better things to do than hang out in internet spots while on the road. Etc.
Brucemoon: "I suspect Somtam (moderator / host of Travelfish) will support you taking a laptop - he wants to sell electronic pdf guide's as an alternate to the paper version." You are not seriously suggesting Somtam is some sort of tout --- are you?
well... the idea of the guides is you print them before you go -- so that you don't need to take a laptop!
Unfortunately, most of the time I travel nowadays I do take a laptop, because I need it for "work" (that's Travelfish), but believe you me, if I could avoid it I most certainly would!
smkuchta does raise some good points why they can be handy... but, in no particular order, here is why I would love to not take one:
3) Concerns of theft
4) Concerns of breakage
6) My back isn't great and hunching over the laptop in the type of "ergonomic" furniture you get in a $10 room tends to leave me crippled -- or in dire need of Beerlao ... hmmm maybe that's an advantage.
7) Patchy internet
8) Dealing with badly placed power outlets that mean you can only use the laptop on top of the fridge, with the fan turned off
9) Power surges
10) So I'd stop working and go just lay on the beach a bit more!
And if you wanna spend loads of dosh on Travelfish Guides to justify taking your laptop, you can buy them all here ;-)
Great for checking out DVDs etc.
#9 ronrat has been a member since 1/6/2009. Posts: 1
I'm kind of glad this topic has come up as it's been something that I've been thinking about a lot the last few times I've been on my travels...
My first adventure was my year out after finishing my PhD in 2004/5 and at the time hardly anyone was travelling with laptops. The trip included SE Asia, Australia, NZ, Fiji and North America. My personal experience was that people who were congregating in the communal areas of guesthouses/hostels etc might have one eye in a book, but in main were looking for people to talk to, have a drink with, do something with etc etc.
However, on the last few trips I've taken the numbe of laptop travellers has dramatically increased... and with that so has the number of people who are sitting in the communal areas because that is where the wi-fi is located, often plugged into headphones whilst watching something... not really interested in talking to anyone as they perfectly happy talking to people back home.
As you may have guessed, I don't take a laptop on my travels - mainly due to almost all the reasons somtam lists above...
I'm not meaning to be unfair to laptop travellers as these are just my experiences - maybe others have different one... but am I the only one that thinks free wi-fi and cheap laptops are making travelling a less sociable experience...
I often find it difficult to strike up a conversation at the best of times... I'm that person in Bangkok (or insert other place) where there is a restaurant with a number of people sat on there own, obviously on there own and I keep thinking shall I see if they want some company, then wimp out and go and get another table on my own... Occasionally I manage to not to wimp out, find they were after some company and have a great evening... but with the arrival of the laptop and people watching dvd's on them with headphone in, it makes striking up that conversation even more tricky...
Plus, it's not like SE Asia isn't full of internet cafes... ;)
I like this one...
"8) Dealing with badly placed power outlets that mean you can only use the laptop on top of the fridge, with the fan turned off"
I recently stayed at one guesthouse off Khao San Road (My Home Guesthouse) that has no outlets in the room whatsoever. They wanted us to pay 20 baht/hour for charging any electronics. To avoid that I snuck into the shared bathroom downstairs and plugged in my camera, pretending I was brushing my teeth whenever staff walked by! I mean, come on, the rooms felt more like human containment units than real accommodation (that's Khao San for you I guess).
In response to the lap top question... Last time I travelled in Thailand 2 years ago I brought my Macbook, which is a relativelly heavy and large thing compared to some of the little ones I see out there now. While it was nice to have it at times, overall it was more trouble than it was worth. Perhaps some of the smaller/lighter ones mentioned in other posts would be fine, but during my current travels I've had no problem using the computers at guesthouses and internet cafes. I've been to dozens of places throughout Thailand and Vietnam in the last 4 months and have never had a problem finding decent internet connection.
But, there's no right or wrong answer to this one. All depends on your travel style.
We each do as we wish, of course.
I think the thought of travelling around with a laptop a few years ago would have brought me out in a rash. I really couldn't see the point of all this technology. Why couldn't people go away for a while and NOT be constantly in touch. For me, that was partly the point, to not be in touch, to not get emails or phone calls, to be free from all that. (Even worse, reading newspapers from home. What is that about ? Can't people go away without knowing what's on telly at home ?).
In South Africa last year I stayed in guesthouse where the owner was most concerned by 2 guys in the room next to us. They hardly ever went out, but played on their laptops all day, or talked on their mobiles to people back home in Germany. Crazy.
However, I confess to having had something of a change of heart. We are to travel for 4 months from this November and after some thought decided to buy an Asus eee pc netbook. Its nice and small and knock-proof (apparently) and not too expensive. Pragmatism got the better of us; I have to be in contact for business reasons (my business will continue in my absence); we have elderly parents; we can email ahead for reservations or whatever; we can access Travelfish (surely better than carrying loads of different guidebooks; we can, I guess, watch a film.
However, be assured, you will not see me with earphones on in a communal area of a guesthouse. That thought can still bring me out in a rash.
As I noted earlier, for me the laptop is really about digital photography. It allows me to see what I've taken photos of, and store them. The portable HD's are back-up for that. The Acer netbook I bought weighs just about one KG and is 19cm x 25cm x 3.5cm, so it's quite compact. Using it on wifi for e-mail, etc., is secondary.
I totally understand the desire to shed the accoutrements of everyday life. So it just comes down to what will make your travels better/easier/etc. Traveling with it is no big deal (particularly this little thing). Treat it as you would any other valuable item on the road. Oh, and don't forget an adapter plug (if needed) for the recharger. Voltage converters are almost unneeded nowadays. The charger for the Acer, for example, can take up to 240 volts. As SE Asia pretty much runs on 220v, the plug adapter is all that's needed. (See this website for voltage and plug configuration information).
Have fun out there!
I guess I'd define "tout" as someone trying to sell you something, pushing something on you. Huckster, salesman, etc. One of my dictionaries has it as "to solicit, peddle, or persuade importunately"; but also, "to make much of : promote, talk up". Generally, on sites such as this, it's safe to say that "tout" has a negative connotation.
But, let me make clear (since nuance is often lost in internet/e-mail communications): I was not being serious, just as I assumed you were not being serious. Were you?
thanks everyone for your comments and advice, i have decided to hump my laptop with us, fortunately we are staying in "reasonable" hotels with wi-fi so the occasional surfing on the net will be easy and at our convenience rather than having to use internet cafes or waiting to use hotel pc,s.
it will be easier to access the wonders of travelfish too!
#18 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
I hate being withour internet access but usually manage with the local internet cafes wherever I find myself in the world. I would never take my laptop abroad; too scared of breaking it or something!
Good luck to you Lee.
#19 daisymay has been a member since 2/6/2009. Posts: 6
This is a great post as mostly the views expressed are based on solid points.
I suppose another aspect to the take/leave proposition is how much baggage one seeks to take on the journey.
I like minimal - go see:
So, if one is a minimal baggage devotee, I suspect a laptop is irrelevant.
Alternatively, if one likes carting half the house with them on hols, then a laptop won't be much more burdensome.
hi, strangely enough i think we manage to do both at the same time. we have one bag each with all the essentials which we "live with" and we have another big bag with "luxuries" in that we usually shove under beds or hide in wardrobes. this bag tends to be filled with trousers, shoes, my wifes "bits n pieces" which we could do without but at the same time might come in handy! its never unpacked and opened when you think "good job we bought that with us!"
whenever we are transiting the big bags are often out of sight and even when we lost one for 3 days it wasnt a problem. carrying them around has never been a problem as trolleys, taxis, buses etc are never too far away and even when we have had our 2 children with us we have managed.
im getting a bit older now so i admit to occasionally accepting the help of a porter!
#21 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
I agree with Brucemoon that the weight issue is important. We usually manage to travel with total weight in our main bags (hybrid backpack, trolley thing) of about 12kg. Also carry a small day pack with a few items in (including now the netbook and phone). I'm not sure how this compares with others, but we find that this is about right for us. ie it includes all the things we want, without carrying too much.
In practice most places we can wheel the big bag; but if we can't (like getting on and off boats or walking along beaches) we can change to a backpack.
The netbook weighs 1kg, so not too bad, especially compared to my normal laptop which weighs about 4kg I think. I have not fully decided what to do with guidebooks for our trip later this year. We are to visit a total of 6 or 7 countries, so not keen on humping around 6 or 7 guidebooks. Being able to access Travelfish may be all we need, hence actually saving weight.
Just on this point, what do others do when travelling to a number of countries regarding guidebooks ? Take with ? Leave at home ? Buy along the way ?
Being a minimal baggage person, I have the same hassle.
Last trip I went from Chiang Mai to HaNoi - so used LP's 'Mekong' book (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) with photocopied pages from the more comprehensive books for those places we knew we'd need the details.
I've also taken a couple (on previous journey's) and sent home when completed.
But, generally, I try and restrict where I go to one nation as the primary focus. That way, I can better grasp the language & customs (quickly) and minimise border hassles.
Nokka, we also are doing ~6 countries in 6 months and had the same guidebook dilemma. Since we started in Vietnam we brought that book from home. The others we have just picked up along the way in used bookstores. I.e. In Phnom Penh we traded in our Vietnam book for a cambodia book, then later traded that for a laos. You can find copies of LP all over SE Asia but the maps are usually terrible and that is usually the thing we use the most in the LP guides.
So I would say just pick up the book for your first destination before you leave and then pick up the others along the way.
I posted this topic on Twitter looking for other's opinions. I said:
"Laptops, do many people travel with them? Some opinions from Travelfish readers:" and linked back to this post.
Here's some of the responses that have come in. (note in Twitter, people can't send a message of longer than 140 characters -- hence the short text and acronyms -- the @XYZ is a particular person's "tag" -- so for example, I am @travelfish):
@MichaelBkk Used to avoid taking the LT, until I got the Eee. Weighs nothing and seems to be indestructible. Won't leave home without it.
@richardescobar Laptops & travel are inevitable. To think it's not is absurd. I remember the days when people used to bitch about travel guides!
To which I asked why inevitable?
@richardescobar Inevitable because a new generation of tech-savy travelers are trekking the globe. What have at home, we want on the road.
@richardescobar people can backpack and live w/out TV. But they can't live without internet. Even just send an email home to say I'm ok.
@richardescobar Mom, dad, wife, husband, or kids don't want to wait for a postcard just to know you're safe, happy, and healthy.
@richardescobar Not long ago, people used to bitch about Lonely Planet & Rough guides. Now, guides are the norm. Smart phones will be, too.
@richardescobar We're in a transition phase of written & virtual guides. Connectivity just has to catch up. But it will.
@richardescobar So make that Travelfish iPhone app now. You'll be a millionaire! ;D
@richardescobar My wife & I b/pack'd through Asia for 2-years w/ MacBook Pro. Web, blog, video/photo editing. No regrets! Always have it now.
@ubudroi never leave home without it.
To which I asked, sure, but would you prefer to be able to leave home without it?
@ubudroi probably but impossible. its my admin office, image processing, and com center. Joys of freelance life
Re guidebooks -- I agree with smkuchta -- if you're using guidebooks -- buy them along the way -- there's always the opportunity of swapping, buying second hand, pirated ones etc etc.
Very interesting thread this. Conjures up all thoughts.Personally I can see the time in my travelling life that a lightweight lap top could be the way to go. Especially if like photography and me enjoying diving I can see that working in well with a small hd.Plus having the advantage of wifi in a lot of flashpacker accommodations means enjoying a beer at the end of the day chasing up a reservation, online research emails etc.Having said that my wife is totally opposed to the idea for some very good reasons which have all been mentioned.I also have this vivid memory of a young german guy at mutmee gh in nong khai spending all day on the internet with no interaction with anyone.Seemed kinda sad to me.Got back from 3 days in Vientiane and it seemed like he hadn't moved.So all in all I think this is going to become the norm rather than the exception
I travel with one of those super light/thin unibody 13" MacBooks. Love having it and don't really worry about it too much - i've got a permanent hard case for it and it sleeps inside a neoprene sleeve when not in use. Hopefully will upgrade it to the new 13" MacBook Pro before the next trip.
#28 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
I bought one of the eeePcs when they first came out and I've lugged it round South America and now asia. Def the most handy thing you can bring. They are cheap as (the budget ones are $300US) and so it's not the end of the world if it gets stolen (plus you prob have travel insurance anyway). What I like about them are as follows:
1) Weight less than 1 kg so hardly notice it (my partner often carries it in her shoulder\handbag!)
2) You can back up photos anywhere. I bring 16GB thumb\flash drives and back up every week or so, rename and sort the photos and upload them for friends and family. Other mates wait till they get back (often months later) and have thousands of photos to sort through. Doing it bit by bit is great and it enables you to share photos in almost real time plus not so worried about losing camera and photos (which has happenened to us on other trips where we lost HEAPS of photos). In south america people we met and travelled with were often getting us to back up their photos for them too.
3) the eeePc caters for both voltages 110-240 range and has different socket adapters too
4) i now have electronic guides instead of the books (so cancels out weight gain of eeepc given on this trip I'm going through 8 countries)
5) Most hostels and hotels I stayed in South America and Asia had wifi so you save a bit on internet costs. Some charge for using pcs but most don't for wifi.
6) you can do your internet banking more securely
in summary it makes things more convieniant. Personally it's one of the best accessories I reckon I've every bought with me (other than the
usual essentials like camera and watch of course ;-) )
#29 kiwibc has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 18
I have the intention of taking the laptop on my trip as well. Hopefully it won't get wet with tropical rains.
#30 lexkssnbrg has been a member since 5/5/2009. Posts: 53
just get a samsung netbook, nice and neat, small and light. im not the most technical minded person on the planet but it should be good for the usual travel related things and has a 7 hour battery life.
#31 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
Yes one can take laptop but should be very careful and never leave it in hotel or give it to some other person.
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#32 Roddick has been a member since 9/7/2009. Posts: 2
Yes one can take laptop but should be very careful and never leave it in hotel or give it to some other person.
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#33 Roddick has been a member since 9/7/2009. Posts: 2
It looks like everything that could possibly be said on this topic has already been said here, but let me add my 2 cents:
Trips < 2 weeks: Forget the laptop, it's more trouble than it's worth
Trips > 2 weeks: Bring it. Back up your photos, keep a travel journal, watch a movie when it's raining, and save money on Internet cafes.
Laallee think you returned from your trip by now?
Interested in how you got on with the samsung? Was it worth taking it?
I'm thinking of taking a similar notebook on my next trip. Any comments appeciated,
#35 daisymay has been a member since 2/6/2009. Posts: 6
hello daisymay, yes weve returned from a fantastic trip. the samsung was definitely worth taking. very handy for checking my bank details, easy access to emails etc and researching our hotels, trips, flights etc. well worth taking.
i wonder how we ever managed in the "old days" !!!!
#36 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
I think you just persuaded me to take one rather than mess around in internet cafes like I usually do. We leave in 4 weeks. Are you allowed to tell me what model you used on this forum or would that be classed as advertising?
So glad you had a great time!
#37 daisymay has been a member since 2/6/2009. Posts: 6
hi daisy, samsung nc10, great bit of kit.
hope you enjoy your travels as much as we did!
#38 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
Yes, am really looking forward to it thanks!
Can you do trip reports on here? Would love to hear in more detail how it went, as you visited quite a few places I think?
Is it possible to email the details?
#39 daisymay has been a member since 2/6/2009. Posts: 6
I wouldn't even remotely consider it - I just hit an internet cafe when necessary.
#40 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
i wouldnt evenly remotely consider using an internet cafe-
unreliable, grotty machines! not to even remotely consider any security issues!
#41 laallee has been a member since 27/4/2009. Posts: 46
I tend to agree with you Lee. Last trip I had to keep reminding myself to log out of the various sites I visited, risky security wise and I feel sure I even forgot a few times!
Seeing as the new notebooks are so light and portable I for one have no qualms about taking one. Think I will look at that samsung!
#42 daisymay has been a member since 2/6/2009. Posts: 6
I don't do anything on the net that requires security...
I'd hate the idea of lugging that thing around everywhere. I suppose it might be usefl for gaming while on the bus though.
#43 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I was thinking more of log in details. Ive often logged on to a site to see the previous user in an internet cafe hasn't logged off. Depending on the site you can see their private details like email address and other details I wouldnt like anyone to have access to. So to me security can be a problem with internet cafes.
I'm not talking about online banking here either...
#44 daisymay has been a member since 2/6/2009. Posts: 6
Back at #34
"It looks like everything that could possibly be said on this topic has already been said here"
Forty four replies and no mention of the obvious. Many many places don't have an internet connection at all! No wireless, no cafes, nada, nothing, baw mee. I'd even suggest these are exactly the places worth going. I'll put it more succinctly. I like to be in places that have people who can do without an internet connection.
Most of the reason I travel is to interact with locals, not update my facebook page.
Sometimes customers don't get a reply for a week or more, so what, I tell them I've been in places that don't have internet. My family already knows as do my freinds. Vacation is the time to take a break from the news.
I take a lot of photos, got plenty of memory cards, if I lost them all would it be such a big deal? Are my photos that all fired important that the world would come to an end? Hardly.
When I am in towns with internet, so what if the computers are a little old. Qick check of email and I'm off. Bank online all the time, never been a problem. I always log off and I don't take candy from strangers.
"I'd even suggest these are exactly the places worth going. I'll put it more succinctly. I like to be in places that have people who can do without an internet connection."
My concern would be if they don't have internet, what else don't they have? I spent years (many actually) roughing it when soldiering, so I don't feel a need to get close to nature anymore. But I don't need internet every day, so if I am somehwere where the beer is cold, the food is good, and there are plenty of good looking women around who can dance... then life is good.
#46 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
With all due respect, Somsai doesn't live in SE ASia - he visits occasionally and (appears to) want to immerse himself in the more traditional aspects of SE Asian culture.
- - -
Personally, on this topic, I consider Somsai's point is valid. And, I'd like to expand a little.
Essentially, Somsai is placing a cultural relevance perspective to the use of modern technology on one's travel.
I 'read' Somsai as saying that those seeking to 'relate' to the world via an instantaneous 'connection' are missing the point about SE Asia. Yes, technologically, the cities are fast catching up with the west. But, by being part of the global village, the laptop traveller is removing themselves from much of the traditional culture that 'makes' SE Asia.
Putting this in a different way, (but from the same perspective, for me), it's really hard to relate with the goings on in Australia and the wider world - the news, the finances, the governmental decisions, etc., etc., and then make my mind try and think like a local in order to try and understand their perspective on life.
There's a saying attributed to American Indians that goes something like to understand him, go walk in his moccasin's.
To me, a constant reminder of my home culture via pc technology really limits my capacity to 'see' the others' culture.
So, taking a laptop to SE Asia is like looking at the SE Asian streetscape through the cultural filters of downtown Sydney (or New York, or similar).
I suggest Somsai is not advocating a Luddite position. Rather, he says, make the occasional internet connection... if and when. Save pix etc. to memory cards. And, essentially, go lightly, and experience much.
To be honest my wife usually brings the laptop and we have it at the house we rent. Time in Vientiane or in other large towns I often do spend too long on the net doing things that I could well do from the other side of the world. But when I actually travel, I go light.
Being in places without the net is hardly roughing it or getting "back to nature". Even many kilometers off the road in SEAsia is much less remote than in my own country, there are people and villages everywhere.
But what I was talking about are those places without the net. Last winter I traveled through three whole provinces in a row that had no internet at all, lines were down. Each provincial capital had maybe one public connection when times were good open during business hours and very slow, and you had to know how to find out about where it was. Usually a computer gaming place for kids. Just thought of a fourth province where I found the same.
Drinking and dancing also occurs sans internet. I learned to like morlam in a town that had a 3 day wedding party. It was a muang and every day around noon the music and drinking would start again and wouldn't end until midninght or later. Lots of beer and dancing and pretty girls there. Took over the whole central portion of the town. Amplifiers powered by generators, no juice.
I did the Morlam thing too in Laos... it's a bit boring though... like the electric slide. I think I've figured out a way around the visa problem, though, and if so I plan on teaching Salsa in Savankhet!!! Mekong Mambo baby!
Of course we managed to get off topic. In principal I agree with the guys who say forget about bringing a laptop, forget about the internet, turn on your out of office and get out of the office. Perhaps for some that just isn't possible. Real life does have to come first.
Somsai, my wife's village isn't even off road, and there are people everywhere, but staying there now definitely defines "roughing it". Cold showers, lousy food... and the damn neighbors drink my beer whenever I buy it!!! The place is so loud at night I don't know how anyone sleeps. Dogs barking so much it's like a dog symphony. Just as you begin to nod off, the cocks start crowing. The mayor decides at seven each morning that I need to be informed of the latest current events and then the kids start ripping around on their crappy little motorcycles, all of which seem to need a new muffler. After two or three days, I need to return to the city to get some peace!
#49 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Sorry I confused Morlam with Basalo.
#50 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
a little off-topic:
against crappy/malicious/absent software installations in internet cafes, carry a usb stick with PortableApps.
Basically, you can install all sort of programs (firefox, mailclient, office,im, etc) onto usb sticks. Being a bit paranoid, this is especially good for online-banking and the like.
#51 hokasch has been a member since 24/12/2008. Posts: 45
Good point! This is especially possible with lot of the larger capacity flash/thumb drives. Carry your protection with you.
Much has been written here about taking a laptop/netbook on the road, pro & con. Much has also been written about what, for lack of a better term, I guess I would call the "ethics" of taking one. That is, some travelers allow themselves to get sucked into internet-world, while far away from their homes.....to the detriment of their traveling experiences.
To borrow (and twist) a rather well-known phrase: laptops don't waste people's time; people let their time get wasted. Well, anyway, I think you get the idea. You can take a netbook and use it from time to time (check up on friends, bank balances, etc.) and still engage with people and experiences you encounter on the road.
On the other hand, you can take one (or not take one), and become fixated with internet interactions (just like back home?). As a result, one misses out on all the wonderful, common-place & non-everyday things that are unfolding all around.
For me, personally, I took one (Acer Aspire One w/ 120gb HD) because: it's handy to check in with friends & family from time to time as I go along; I download photos (and can see what I have, and what I might want to go back and re-shoot); I own a (one-person) business, and need to check in on biz issues occasionally.
But hey, if you want to haul around a laptop so you can be just as plugged in to an electronic alernate existance, be my guest. But I think you'll be missing out on a great deal, that you may never be able to experience again. We only pass this way once, after all.
Cheers, and bon voyages!
I always travel with a notepad.... if you are doing internet banking using a public computer is a very bad thing to do. The notepad weighs just over 1 kg, fits into my rucksack. I can keep my travelfish PDF guides on it (sorry had to get that dig in) - plus upload photo's, book flights.
If it is a small notebook take it - a full sized laptop leave it.
#53 deepstar has been a member since 18/5/2011. Posts: 2
It's convenient for longer trips but I would avoid bringing one if at all possible (if you know there will be Internet cafes in the places you're visiting. Firstly you have to think of the risk of it being damaged or stolen. When I'm travelling I keep my important stuff and camera on me and then I don't have to worry much about leaving my bag somewhere.
The second is there is a temptation to over rely on it. I've had a few negative experiences in hostels where everyone seemed to be on their laptops the whole time it created such an anti social atmosphere.
#54 Rita00 has been a member since 11/5/2011. Posts: 5
I would bring a netbook and the like. Anything bigger and it tends to get in the way. If you use public computers never do internet banking etc on them. You'd be surprised what can be on it monitoring your inputs. USB sticks are fine but make sure they are set to read only, that way no nasties (viruses etc) get written to it. A fair number of Vietnam computers are infested by malware etc.
#55 69bertie has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 90
When things go wrong, as they will, a laptop can be your safety net. A couple of personal examples:
-- In Hanoi, I checked my e-mail (WiFi in room, thanks) and found my ongoing flight to Shanghai had been cancelled. Instead of arriving at the airport only to find no flight, I could make alternate arrangements.
-- In France, an e-mail from home announced that a friend was in hospital. She was my ride home from my return flight. I made alternate arrangements over the internet and could e-mail her within the hour saying forget about me, just get well.
-- Many times I have spotted a restaurant or museum while strolling the streets and could instantly research them on-line rather than wandering around blind.
Yes, hotel lobby computers and internet cafes can be helpful, but they're also inconvenient and time-consuming. My little notepad computer is no fun to use compared to full-sized machines, but experience has taught me this: Don't leave home without it.
#56 Southam has been a member since 27/7/2011. Posts: 2
I carry an EeePC901, with an upgraded Runcore SSD, and a couple of 32GB sdhc cards; as someone mentioned before, it is light and fairly rugged (no spinning platters to damage).
It also offers 8 hours battery life with no wifi, or about 5-6 hours with wifi enabled, so you are not so reliant on finding a power outlet.
It can also SAVE weight, I use the usb ports to charge my phone, my camera, my mp3 player etc; only one power lead and adapter being carried.
Getting stranded after missing the first of 4 connections last Christmas, it was a life-saver; I managed to re-arrange my 4th connection and replace the 2nd and 3rd with a single direct flight. Instead of being days late, I was only 12 hours late arriving at my destination.
#57 GentleGiant has been a member since 1/8/2011. Posts: 3