With the value of hindsight, I wish I had taken one piece of technology with me when I travelled around the world: a netbook or laptop.
I did seriously think of taking one with me but decided against it because I thought it would be too much hassle; I was concerned about losing it or having it stolen. Without a laptop, I didn’t have to worry about any of that. However, having travelled without any portable electronic device, I realised the value of having one and bought a netbook as soon as I returned home.
Nowadays, I always take a netbook with me when I travel. Here are some of the reasons why I think it’s worth taking a laptop or some sort of portable electronic device travelling:
1. Searching for information
Well, we are in the ‘information age’. So, searching for information via the internet has become an integral part of our lives. Having your own netbook/tablet means you can search for any information you require, whether it is about a place, the weather, transportation or accommodation, providing you have internet access, of course.
2. Making bookings or reservations
You can easily and quickly book accommodation or bus, train or plane tickets using your netbook or other portable device when you have an internet connection. I found that really useful when I was in Spain recently. There was WiFi where I was staying so I was able to book bus tickets and a plane ticket with ease.
3. Staying and getting in touch
It’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends via email, Skype and any of the social media channels you use. It’s also a handy way to get in touch with people you are going to be staying with so they know when you are going to arrive etc.
4. Managing your money
If you are away for a period of time, you will probably need to use internet banking at some point. I had to use public computers in internet cafes when I travelled the world. I had no choice because I needed to keep an eye on the balance of each of my accounts and transfer money as and when required. It was very risky but I didn’t have a choice. Even with your own device it isn’t completely safe but if you need to access your bank account details while you are away, read this useful article about the safety of banking on public WiFi.
5. Recording information.
Since starting my blog, I use my netbook to write blog posts or make notes when I travel. As I mentioned in a previous post, I gave up on the idea of keeping an online travel diary when I spent a year travelling the world because I had to find an internet cafe to write and upload my photos. Internet cafes weren’t particularly difficult to find but, if I had my own laptop, I could have done most of the work offline and then just got online to upload everything. It would have saved me time and money. It would also have been at my own convenience as I could have done the majority of work pretty much anywhere I wanted. I wouldn’t have been confined to an internet cafe for the whole time. Free WiFi is available in so many places these days: accommodation, eateries, some buses to name but a few.
6. Storing, editing and posting your photographs and videos
You can easily upload and store all your photographs and videos on your computer offline. Depending on which software you have, you can even edit your images offline until you have interent access and can upload them to your blog or social media sites.
7. Reduce the risk of losing data
There is always a risk of losing information, whether it is stored on paper or digitally. When I travelled around the world, I accumulated so many paper notebooks that I had to post some home. It was too much to carry around with me. That is an option for you, if you decide to keep a paper record of your travels. However, there is a risk of losing all the things you have written. There is also the risk of losing them as you move from place to place. If you accidentally leave something behind and you may not be able to go back and you might not be able to make contact with the place you left your things behind. I have stayed in places where there was no possibility of contacting them unless I physically returned. Obviously, you won’t want to be parted with your laptop, if you take one with you, but providing all your information is back up and stored on a cloud-based service or external server then you won’t lose all your information with your laptop. This is something I need to do more of now I travel with a netbook.
What should you do?
That decision is up to you. I’m not saying you need to bring a laptop or any type of portable electronic device with you when you travel. It is worth taking the time to consider by weighing up the pros and cons. If you decide that you would like to take one with you, you then have to decide on which type of device would be most suitable for you: a laptop, netbook or tablet. That will depend on what you want to use it for.
I take this netbook when I travel anywhere in the UK and abroad. I bought it in 2012 before I left for a trip to Portugal and Spain and have used it a lot. I like it because it’s small and light, which means it’s very portable and easy to use in cramped spaces (on buses and trains etc).