Many backpackers scoot about with nary more than will fit on their back. Their ethos is to let go of material “things” and dive headfirst into new sensations only found abroad. So you can expect a few befuddled glances at hostels as to why there’s a laptop on your lap.
Sadly(or not), some us don’t have the privilege(or maybe we’re the privileged ones?) to leave work behind. No, our career is packed into miniature computers we can whip out at any wi-fi hotspot. We love to travel, but for one reason or another, we can’t or won’t quit meeting our client’s deadlines just because we’re basking in Puerto Vallarta’s wistful ocean tableau.
But responsibilities abound when your travel companion is a highly advanced bundle of electronics. They just happen to pawn off for fetching prices, so you’ve prying hands to worry about. They can break down due to inadequate care and protection from the elements. Plus, there’s several accessories you won’t want to be without. So keep reading and learn the fundamentals of traveling with a laptop.
Keeping It Secure
Your laptop will likely be the most valuable item you’ll bring with you while traveling just short of bank cards and passports. You can’t just splay it across your dorm bed like last night’s sweater as you dilly about your day. Unlike with dirty clothes, sticky fingers abound, citing laptops as their prime targets.
So first, master preemptive measures for when you’re not using it. For hostels, it’s recommended to stash it away in security lockers if they’re big enough. With that said, cable locks—that can be wrapped about your bed posts—are a nice alternative.
A cable lock is useful even with a security locker. Say you’re bouncing to use the bathroom, or take a shower, it’s much quicker to secure your laptop via the cable lock than stuffing it in a security locker. Travelers have had their laptops snatched away by street thieves on motor bikes, so it’s also great for peace of mind when working in outdoor patio areas.
The anti-theft backpack is your best defense against slashers when cruising the streets. The backpack can also secured to posts like the cable lock. The superior aspect of the backpack is that nobody will even know the laptop is hidden within, thus it will draw less attention.
Besides having your laptop and all its contents hacked by daredevil bandits or greedy travelers, there’s also the issue of maintenance. Nothing bites harder than your hard drive flunking out two months into a trip, costing you a mother load of valuable files and programs.
The bare minimum to extend your laptop’s lifetime is to prevent overheating. Check for your computer’s exhaust vents. If they’re on the top or sides, you won’t have to worry about them. But if they’re on the bottom, you’ll need to prop your laptop up to prevent the air circulation from being blocked.
Your fans and intake grills also enjoy dressing up in a coat of dust, so a periodic cleaning is recommended to, once again, prevent overheating. Removing the panel which covers your fans will differ depending on your make and model. It’s best to remove dust with a vacuum and gently wipe everything down with a damp cloth.
Cleaning the other components of your laptop—monitor, keyboard, touchpad, mouse—should also be done with a damp cloth. The cleaner you use should be alcohol based since it dries quicker. And as a general rule, never clean electronics when they are switched on!
Accessories To Make Life Easier
There are several accessories which will aid you in keeping your laptop safe and secure, as well as adding extra functions. While optional, they’re convenient and will help keep the focus on your work.
Laptop Case: These are fragile devices we’re talking about. Simply stuffing it in your backpack opens it up to a world of bumps and scratches. And that’s not even mentioning potential abuse from overhead compartments on planes or self-produced turbulence during late flight sprints. A padded carrying case makes the difference between invoking that lifetime warranty and scot-free living.
Electronic Adapters And Converters: Power outlets differ by region and country around the world. Luckily, you can buy all-purpose adapters in most airports with plug-ins to match any outlets. You should also consider a converter so that the correct voltage is used on your laptop. For example, U.S. Electronics use 110-volts while most countries use 220-volts. Most laptops nowadays can run both, but it’s best to check just in case.
Backups: Flash-drives to fit into your USB port are always handy for backing up documents. Though a backup hard drive is preferable if there’s large programs or video footage to save. If your laptop has a CD drive and burner, then you can save those programs on CDs instead as they’re much cheaper than backup hard drives.