Heading off on vacation soon?
Then perhaps you're tempted to take your trusty laptop along for the trip.
After all, you bought it for its mobility, and it's nice to stay in touch via email with your family and friends back home.
However, just before you start packing, its pays to consider the downside of traveling with a laptop, particularly if you're planning to go abroad:
A laptop (plus accessories) starts to feel heavy very quickly. And who really needs MORE luggage to carry around?
2. Security risk
To you, it's a laptop computer. To a thief, it's a bag of easy money. (About $1000). And that bag is something you have to guard every second of your vacation.
3. Power supply problems
You'll need a different power adaptor plug for each country you visit. And depending on your laptop power supply cable, you may also need a step-up / step-down voltage transformer.
4. Connection complications
You'll need to find a way of connecting to the Internet. If your laptop is suitably equipped and you can find a local hotspot, you can take advantage of wireless Internet access.
Otherwise you're stuck with dial-up modem access, which means a choice between:
- using your existing ISP's local call number in the country you're visiting (provided your ISP has a local number! AOL and Compuserve generally do.)
- making a long-distance telephone call to your regular dial-up number back home
- signing up with a local ISP (rarely practical in the short-term)
5. Telephone socket trouble
Different countries have different types of telephone socket. If you're planning on connecting via dial-up access, you'll have to bring a suitable telephone adaptor plug.
You'll also need a digital signal tester to test for higher- voltage digital telephones lines. Otherwise you could end up frying your modem and possibly the motherboard too.
6. Extra insurance cover
It's highly unlikely your travel insurance policy extends to laptop computers. You'll therefore need to arrange separate specialist insurance cover, which isn't cheap.
7. You're on holiday!
Do you really want your office with you on vacation? Aren't you supposed to be getting away from it all?
If you're beginning to think that traveling with a laptop computer is a major logistical exercise, then you're right. (Just ask any "road warrior"!)
However, there IS an alternative:
An Internet Cafe.
Almost every city and large town now has several Internet cafes. To locate one when you're abroad, just ask your hotel receptionist or a friendly taxi driver.
You'll also find Internet cafes in airports, railway stations, major hotels, business centers, public libraries, and even onboard cruise ships.
Before you leave on your travels, simply ensure you can access your email via a web browser. (This is known as "webmail". Most ISPs offer this option automatically - just ask them if you're unsure.)
Alternatively, set up a free webmail address (at hotmail.com or yahoo.com) for the duration of your trip and give it to anyone who might need to contact you.
With webmail set up, all you have to worry about is remembering your email login and password. Everything else - hardware, connectivity, security - is somebody else's problem.
Unless you have a very good reason for taking your laptop on holiday, you'd be wise to leave the darn thing at home and use an Internet cafe instead.
And who knows - maybe your laptop could use a vacation from you!
Steve Robson is a successful technical author and contributor to http://HowToBuyALaptop.com - For advice on how to buy a cheap laptop, visit: http://howtobuyalaptop.com/cheap-laptops.htm