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Do you take your laptop when you go to Europe?

Do you take your laptop when you go to Europe?

Sep 10th, 2008, 04:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 29
Do you take your laptop when you go to Europe?

I am trying to decide if I should take my laptop when I go to Spain.

--Can watch movies on the plane
--Can use Skype to call back home (assuming the hotel has internet)
--Can check hours, phone numbers, etc

--Could be stolen
--Another thing to keep up with
--Could be a distraction from actually getting out and doing things if I spend too long surfing what to do ;-)


roadwarrior2008 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 04:40 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
We never take a computer on vacation.

I like to sleep on a plane, we don't call anyone when we're away, and I do so much pre-trip research that I have as much information as I can manage before we get there.
abram is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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This question comes up from time to time here on Fodors and the replies are usually split 50:50.

I'm in the group that says yes. I take good precaution with data and laptop security and I can live without the laptop should anything happen to it.

I like to have internet access for emails, finding travel info, keeping up with news, and yes, even checking in on Fodors. I like to download pictures from my camera every day or 2, catalog them, send some to friends & relatives as I travel, etc.

J62 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 04:57 PM
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Posts: 454
No. I am on vacation.
denice7 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:04 PM
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Yes. I am always working and need to keep in touch with clients and family.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Only when on business.

If it's all vacation you couldn't pay me to take it. I turn my phone off most of the time too.

On vacation I want to avoid contact with home - not encourage it.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Always. It's our contact with the family and then I never have to worry about something going wrong and no one able to get ahold of us.

We also empty our cameras into the computer every evening.
Timlin is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Yes. Since I rarely use a computer at work, I don't associate my laptop with working / "not being on vacation" at all. I have a tiny laptop just for travel-- it's about 6 by 8 inches and fits in a handbag.

The main reason I bring it is so I can get all of my travel companions' photos right away. And to back up the photos from my own camera.
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:25 PM
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Mdm Fifi, which brand of mini-laptop, ultraportable or whatever term you use do you own for travel? I've been looking online at several brands the past two days... (ex. Acer Aspire One, ASUS eeepc...)
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:26 PM
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I love loading in my photos at the end of the day. I thought I was the only who did that ;-)

I'm a writer so I wouldn't dream of being without it. But I also love being able to check info about places I'm considering visiting.
Songdoc is online now  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:29 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,425
Mme Fifi, I'll second Travelnut. I am interested in getting just that small a laptop for photos, internet and writing extensive notes on my travels. I'd especially like to get one that can run my usual Windows-based programs - does yours?
artsnletters is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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Yes, it isn't work, it's fun. I have an old one that we got for my daughter when she went to college seven years ago, and it is falling apart, literally, so I don't worry about having it stolen. It fits easily into my carry-on luggage.

I e-mail my friends and family when I want to, and my e-mails can form the basis of a trip report.

More and more hotels and apartments offer free wi-fi, my new favorite amenity.

It's great for looking up the phone numbers for calling a taxi, checking the schedules for movies and theater and other events that I can then choose on the fly.

I really can't see any downside. Well, maybe the thing about getting distracted from getting out and doing things, but I haven't really found this to be the case. Even on vacation, maybe especially on vacation, I like my down time.
Nikki is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:36 PM
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Funny this comes up now. I've never taken mine, even though I'm self-employed. Internet cafes, my Blackberry and the occasional laptop in apartments have been sufficient.

However, I just today came to the conclusion that I probably have no choice on my upcoming trip the end of October. I have multiple projects going on that I didn't anticipate when I picked this timeframe to take off.

I am totally bummed about lugging it around (even though my DH will do the lugging. Of all trips to have this problem, we are taking four--count 'em--four flights to get over, two trains, two countries and four cities. Oh, and four flights again. We carry-on only so this means I have to do away with my second piece. UGH
MelJ is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes to a small laptop. It helps a lot -- movies, downloading from camera, checking places to go, writing Fodors trip reports (!), etc.

NO, however, to my husband's latest "want" which is some gismo that will allow him to watch (via the laptop) our home cable t.v. and beloved Dodgers (lose!!!!). The husband's ultimate remote -- no way, no how, he's bad enough at home or even with the local t.v. in a hotel room. We don't usually get into fights (heated discussions), but I said he might as well not go on vacation at all with that kind of distraction.
Surfergirl is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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Travelnut and artsnletters,

Mine is an old Toshiba Libretto, but now you can get the Asus at a much better price.
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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I take it when I travel to just one place, not if we're traveling around. I just don't want to lug it around. I have a smart phone for getting emails, texts and phone calls when need be, though. I watch the news on local TV. Once in awhile (for ex., once on a 16-day trip to Egypt, Madrid and London), I might catch up on internet stuff (Fodor's included) at an internet cafe, but usually that's only because one of my kids wants to do that.
Sep 10th, 2008, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
My laptop goes with me everytime I travel. I like being able to do email in my hotel room, downloading photos, keeping in touch with family owned business at home, and checking the bank accounts. I never turn it on while on the plane. It stays in the overhead bin in my bag. I prefer to try to sleep on the flight.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I have always taken a "laptop" (6 trips since 2000). It's a valuable tool. When I start to plan a trip I create an Excel workbook - worksheets for my itinerary as well as one for every day of travel with train or bus schedules, and worksheets with every town I am going to visit, complete with hotel info, maps. When I am finished with my planning everything I need to know is in that file.

I set up a worksheetfor my expenses, including a detailed log, record of my expenses by category, and one with my projected expenses, so the last time I go to the ATM, I know what to get.

Every morning at breakfast I download my pictures from the day before, sorting them into folders so I will remember where I took them. Lastly, I keep my journal, in Word format.

For my first trip I took a Compaq LTE - too heavy. Then I got a handheld MobilePro, and used it for four trips, but software was limited. Last trip I used a Toshiba Protege I got used from Ebay. Now I have just purchased an Acer Aspire One (just 2.2# with built in Wifi). If you don't get anything big, heavy, or expensive, you don't have too much to lug around or too much to worry about theft- in it's carrying case it's so small thieves probably think it's just a guide book.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I take a small laptop with me. It is separate from my home computer. I keep all my personal data on a SD memory card. If the hotel has a large in room safe, I keep the laptop inside while I go out. If the room safe is not big enough, I keep my SD card in the safe. When I am in transit, the memory card is kept separate from the computer. Even if the laptop is lost, I do not lose my data.

I download my pictures onto the same memory card, so even if I lose my camera, I only lose one day worth of pictures.

By far, the most used application on my travel laptop is Skype followed by Firefox.
greg is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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Larry, you are a perfect candidate for the software program WorldMate Live. Check it out:


I thought it was interesting that you record every expense. Once I decide to go, and since air and hotels are generally paid in advance, I couldn't care less what I spend. I keep track the same way I keep track at home, which is not at all

The only reason I can see that makes sense (for me) is to download pictures, but I just take enough cards not to have to do that, or having access to Fodor's and other research on the city/place I'm in.

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