To laptop or not to laptop huh?! A tricky question indeed. This is an issue close to my heart, one that thought long and hard about before first hitting the road. Lets look at some of the pros and cons involved with bringing your laptop:
HASSLE -. Generally you have to carry it in your hand luggage to avoid some underpaid and overzealous local transport employee hurling your backpack and smashing your laptop into a million pieces.
WEIGHT – Laptops can be pretty hefty and are normally a couple of kgs additional weight to lug around with you
FEAR – For me this is the worst hassle. The constant mental task of trying to keep your laptop safe from theft and damage, it’s got to always be on your mind. Also, the fear of losing all your photos and videos for your epic trip is awful so make sure you keep backing up!
ONLINE – With the prevalence of wifi in coffee shops, malls, airports and hostels growing every day – if you have your laptop you’re online in a heartbeat, and you avoid the often extortionate per minute fees some tourist hotspots love to charge
MOVIES – With movie piracy rampant around the world (SE Asia in particular) you can pick up the new releases for under $1 and what better way to avoid hitting the booze for yet another night than settling down with your mate for a bridget jones session The Godfather trilogy 😛
PICTURES – With your own laptop you can edit and upload you pics the same day as taking them, no need to mess around with finding internet cafes to burn DVDs etc. Just find a power socket and way you go
BOREDOM – Believe it or not, traveling isn’t all bungee jumps and foreign beers and many evenings you’re left at a loose end. With your laptop though you’re rarely bored – you can blog, play games, read books – anything to keep your sanity so far from home!
So with that in mind I hope you’re further on in your decision whether to bring a laptop or not. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dream of bringing a laptop on their travels, and they relish the lack of contact with their normal life. Equally, I know many people who wouldn’t consider leaving home without their beloved laptop. A common solution these days is a netbook– small, light, cheap (can find them for less than $300) although unfortunately I’m an apple convert so that’s not an option for me! I love having my laptop with me when I travel, all the cons still exisit, but personally I think the pros outweigh them. Happy decision making!