Having a laptop while traveling can be such a great asset – you can connect with your friends, upload pictures, save money by booking flights and hostels online etc.
But when traveling around the world, by nature you are forced to put your laptop through so many challenges that it can be really hard to keep it in a good working condition, especially if you don’t know the best ways to look after it.
On my first big trip, I took a small laptop which broke down half-way through and I was forced to purchase a new one – I had no idea how much pressure I put on my little 8 inch laptop, and that cost me a big portion of my travel budget.
Here are some lessons I learned:
- Use a good protective laptop case: This is probably the most important issue when traveling. You move around a lot, and it will get bumped into things no matter how hard you try to avoid it. If you have it in a big backpack/suitcase it can get hit when someone throws your luggage in the bag storage on the bus, or handles it badly.
- Never leave your laptop in a cold environment: If you do, and then bring it into a warm environment, condensation on the circuitry will build up and cause the laptop to short itself out.
- Never keep your paperwork between the screen and keypad: Paper is pretty sharp and will eventually cut into the screen or scratch it.
- Use good virus software: When traveling you never know how safe the internet connection you’re using is, so always make sure to keep your laptop safe with a good firewall. And make sure you update it and clean your data every few weeks.
- Avoid placing your laptop on soft surfaces: This will block the air vents and overheat your system. Doing this too often isn’t good for the laptop.
- Don’t pick the laptop up by the screen: I did this way too many times, and eventually the screen cracked…
I followed none of this advice, and as you can imagine every single consequence mentioned – happened…
One Last Tip:
Make sure that you have saved your photos (and other important documents) somewhere else too, like on a USB memory or an external hard drive.
If you have an iPod with a lot of memory which you don’t use, you can even save them there.
Since both laptops and hard drives run high risks of breaking, I recommend you to store your photos online as well.
This way you have at least three places for your photos. I’ve learned this from past experiences. Our hard drive was full and we hadn’t uploaded our photos from parts of our trip online. Of course the laptop broke and the photos were gone.
(photo credits: stuartpilbrow – ed yourdon)