Way back on October 9, 2008 I published an article – Should I Take My Laptop Traveling.
I got a quite a few comments in favour of my view that you should leave your laptop at home when traveling, but there were a few readers that disagreed quite strongly.
I thought it was important to revisit the issue and to outline a few points. The original article was aimed at those people who intended to go backpacking, hopping on buses, trains, planes and crossing borders in far away countries.
A few readers got the impression that I meant that you should never ever take your laptop traveling, that was not the case.
Since I wrote the original article, technology has rapidly changed and in many cases it has become much cheaper and therefore much more prevalent.
From ipods to iphones whether some of us like the idea or not, people are increasingly likely to take these gadgets with them.
For me it’s a shame, I believe people should be traveling to experience, to see new things, to develop, to take in new sights, sounds, tastes and culture. To have a sense of freedom, not to be constantly checking your email or uploading photos. Isn’t that part of the reason why we wanted to get away in the first place?
I thought it was important to highlight that I’m not totally against taking technology on certain trips and travel. Here are a few circumstances where I believe there is a valid reason to take them:
1. You Are Staying In Hotels
If you are staying in hotels you are more likely to require a laptop as not all hotels have good Internet facilities. You’re also much more likely to have a safe and secure place to store the laptop whilst you go off sightseeing. If you are staying in hostels for example, you can not always guarantee that there will be a safe place for it. In such circumstances you’ll be wishing you’d left the lump of metal at home.
2. You Are Traveling On Business
Obviously if you are traveling for work reasons you are going to need it for your work. The laptop will be a source of all information and a easy way to get those last minute details nailed down.
3. You Are Traveling To Developed Countries
Where you are traveling to should have a bearing on your decision to take your laptop with you. For example if you took it to London, New York or Hong Kong you wouldn’t look out of place. Try taking one to parts of South America, India or South East Asia and you be much more likely to draw a lot of attention from potential theives.
4. You Are A Serious Photographer
If you are a really serious or pro-photographer you’ll need a laptop for dealing with the amount of shots you’ll be taking. In this situation you are likely to be taking quite a lot of photographic equipment with so you should already be prepared with where you’ll be safely storing the device.
5. You Are A Travel Writer/Web Developer/Accountant/etc
If you are going to need a laptop to work, or to make money whilst traveling then you’ll be taking one more out of necessity more than anything. It will be a tool to help you carry out your work and a source of funds as you travel.
There are many circumstance where you may require to take a laptop with you on the road, it’s likely to be a combination of the reasons above. However, there are many people who take them along when they really don’t need to.
In such situations you have to wonder whether these people are traveling for the right reasons?