Before anything else, you should know that a laptop is not a good travel companion. Unless you are going on a business trip that requires the the use of your laptop, it is best left at home if you do not want to risk losing or damaging it while you are on the road.
It will also significantly slow you down and will ultimately prove to be much more of a nuisance than helpful in the long run. However, if you really must travel with a laptop, here are some helpful tips to make traveling with it as pleasant as possible.
Your laptop should always be in your carry on bag. Do not even attempt checking it in with the rest of your luggage if you still want to see it in good working condition after your flight. Make sure to protect your device with a laptop sleeve before putting it in a bag or a case of your choice. The laptop sleeves will protect it from bumps and knocks that are unavoidable when traveling. Also, do not forget to put your name, contact number and address inside your laptop bag or better yet, stick it on the device – just in case you lose it and someone gracious gets to find it and attempt to find the owner. It is also good practice to have a copy of your computer’s serial number, just so you can make a good case in the event you find it resting on someone else’s lap.
Laptops are thieves favorite item. These gadgets are not just easy to steal but also command good selling value. So, you need to be extra cautious when traveling with one because all it takes is less than a second of inattention for it to go unnoticed to an unsuspecting person. To avoid this, it is best to hide your laptop (with its sleeve) inside a large tote for women or in a backpack for men instead of a laptop bag that advertises the contents and serves only to entice thieves to run with it.
Also, make sure to always keep your eye on your device at all times. There is no excuse leaving your laptop in a public place no matter how short the duration may be. Even when you are only going to the restroom, bring your laptop with you because you cannot make anyone accountable when you return to an empty table. It is not also advisable to leave your computer in your hotel room unless it is placed inside a safe.
Don’t forget to backup all hard drive files before you leave home. Of course, you need to backup files at all times but even more so when you are lugging your laptop with you to a foreign land. This will ensure that you have your valuable files in a safe place even if you do lose your device. In the same vein, make sure to erase all incriminating photos and sensitive files from your gadget to avoid seeing them going viral online when the unfortunate happens.
It is also good practice to change passwords frequently because you don’t know when hackers are tailing you – this is especially true for those using wireless internet connections while on the go in hotels or internet cafes.
You may want to consider bringing a tablet computer, such as an iPad instead because it’s size and weight allows for easy transport. You may also want to learn about “cloud” computing which allows you to have your important files away from the device, safely stored but accessible when you need to work on them. Once done, you simply send them back to the “cloud” with nothing kept on your tablet. If you do get a tablet or iPad to travel with investigate DropBox or Apple’s iDisk as alternatives to carrying data with you.
Finally, as much as possible, avoid banking online while you are traveling especially when you are unsure of the security of the connections you use to the internet. When traveling with laptops or tablets make sure you are not being watched by anyone no matter how innocent they look.
Do you travel with a laptop or tablet? Let us know in the comments below.