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Do you take your laptop when you go to Europe?

Do you take your laptop when you go to Europe?

Nov 3rd, 2008, 03:23 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,855
fieldtripcoordinator - I have the same PC, and I love it - works fine in Europe.

When "Laptops" were still big and heavy, then no, i did not take one - but the little webbooks are great. I use them when away on business/study to keep in touch via Skype, download my photographs, play the odd game, and occassionally write up something in office. As it weighs so little, I do not find it a burden at all.
willit is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 03:27 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,124
Has anyone lost their laptop or had it stolen?

I have never had my laptop stolen from a hotel room, even when I forgot/didn't bother to lock it. Nor have I ever personally heard of anyone having theirs stolen from a hotel room. I do know several people that have had laptops stolen out of rental cars, however.

I would think that the hotel room is the best place to leave the laptop because the hotel management have a stake in making sure that stuff doesn't get pilfered from hotel rooms. With laptop prices as low as they are, even the staff has little incentive to steal it. I mean, why risk being fired for something that likely won't fetch $500 on the open market? Laptops just aren't that valuable anymore.
travelgourmet is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 03:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Bookmarking, and...
We've done it both ways, this last time we didn't and I could have really used it. I had camera failure, couldn't get it working, and would have loved to be able to talk to Nikon, but with the limited access had I couldn't do that.
A small laptop like MmeFifi mentions would be just perfect for that sort of thing. Seriously looking into that.
So, thanks!
Challiman is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 638
I've been taking my laptop on the past several European adventures, I too use Skype to stay in touch with family, very important to my elderly mother. Also I find it helpful to go online for directions, phone numbers, etc. I used to take my Toshiba laptop but earlier this year bought an ASUS eepc, very small, light weight, and does the trick. It's so small Best Buy didn't have a computer bag for it so I bought a padded bag that would hold a portable DVD player, works great.
Suspaul is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 686
I take a total weight of 13# on my trips. So it would come down to either the lap top or shorts and socks. Besides, a trip away is just that, why take "home" with you?
rogeruktm is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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It's not taking "home" with me. I travel incredibly lightly, so it's not a choice between the laptop and socks or something.

If I didn't have my laptop, I wouldn't be able to write the trip reports I do, for one thing. Not that they're so important, or anything, but for me, as a writer, if I can't chronicle things as they happen, I feel deprived. If you're addicted to writing, as I am, a laptop is indispensable no matter where you are.

Not to mention that without a laptop, I'd also be deprived of my income, which enables me to travel and pay the bills. I don't have a salaried existence the way many of you do - I run a business and have to be working no matter where I am.
StCirq is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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No, but we do take a 'memorystick' w/relevant data & info on it.
SAnParis2 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,174
Much as people hate to rail about technology like cellphones and Blackberries and laptops, it makes absence from the office possible for many people. Often it's not a choice between traveling with or without technological items, but a matter of taking them or not traveling at all.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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First, I do understand the need for some people to have to have a laptop, but most don't IMHO. Being retired I guess I am on vacation all the time, but when I travel I want to be totally unencumbered. Even when I worked I made sure that I wasn't
expected to maintain contact. To me that what time off meant!

What I see more of are people on holiday spending vast amounts of time with their laptops going, cell phone in use, text messages being spent and/or games being played. And that's just the adults. .
rogeruktm is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I have to because I take online classes and unfortunately my school schedule does not usually align itself with my vacation schedule. The beauty of online courses is that I do what I can ahead of time (papers, etc), but much of the course involves participating in online discussions from week to week. I get on in the morning or late in the evening, post a few lines and I'm done. With the exception of school work, it's not used.

tcreath is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 888
I'm in a business that requires that I be constantly accessible, so computers and the internet have actually made it possible for me to travel without guilt and to efficiently manage my business while I'm away. I'm not sure that I would take a computer with me if my business did not require me to, however. It is a small hassle to get through airports and to secure them. It's one more thing to carry.

Since I have to have one anyway, though, it's been a great help on the road. I've gotten emergency answers from this board (in record time, I might add!). I can keep a journal and unload photos from my camera each day.

So if you can benefit from any of these things, it's worth taking your laptop along.
Leburta is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Too much weight. It's not just the computer but the recharger, software, case all add to your weight and bulk. More to carry, more to keep track of.

When I pack, I focus on eliminating everything I can do without. People talk about doing research or emailing home. My time on the road is valuable. I do my research and email before I go and after I return (respectively).

With cheap memory available for my camera. I can take a few memory chips for next to no weight.

I can see bringing a cell phone with an address book and calendar built in.

Watching movies only works for a couple of hours before your battery runs out. You should sleep on the plane rather than watching movies and showing up tired.

Using Skype to call home isn't a bad option. You can call home cheaply with a PIN card and it fits in your wallet.

If I were doing a semester in Europe, I'd bring it. For a vacation, no way. Leave it home and travel light is the best advice I can give.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I take a Dell D430 notebook computer (there are others much lighter, smaller and probably less expensive) for access to local events, news, email, uploading photos, etc...

Almost all of the hotels I stay in have free internet access/wi-fi in the room and/or lobby.

The laptop is small enough to put in the safe but I rarely do and have never had one stolen.

It's come in handy, especially when I need current information or have a problem with travel plans so it's definitely worth it to me!
Lia is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 01:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi, y'all... in Paris this week... bought an Acer Aspire One on sale at CompUSA prior to leaving - it's SWEET !

Downloaded a couple of Blockbuster movies for use this week, checked photos, email, weather (since it rained the first 4 days we were here), and so on.

This hotel and the two Texas hotels we use have free wifi, as do many others in our travels. Today we took it to the little square down from the Paris hotel and used some free wifi provided by the city of Paris. The thing fits in my pocketbook but is easy enough to type on and read the type on the screen. We use a security locking cable when we leave the laptop in the room.

I trolled eBay endlessly for Acer or Dell but they go at full retail or more so no benefit there. Lenovo is coming out with one also. The Acer had some frequent comments on reviews about the cooling fan noise, but I'm not experiencing that at all. It boots up quickly, runs fairly quickly, and is perfect for travel and occasional use (I wouldn't use one for full-time work,though).
Travelnut is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:21 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 539
If you are tech savvy, yes I would take a small laptop on any trip outside the U.S. We took 2 last month, uses include:
1. Booking Train tickets while there
2. Booking airfare while there
3. Searching for restaurants, their tel numbers, addresses,and menus online.
4. Downloading pixs from digital cameras
5. Keep in touch with kids and business contacts (this was a vacation, but try to leave work for 2.5 months without one)
6. Research cities and sites to visit at next destination
7. Watch movies online, when CNN is the only thing in English on your TV
8. Check pricing on items you may want to buy (even antiques, etc)
9. Use PC as GPS
10. Get in touch with landlord via email.

This is just a short list, the laptop is not indispensible, actually nothing is, but it does make us MUCH more effective / efficient travelers.
Next time try finding CyberCafes in Europe, as the price of PC's decrease more people are buying their own, and more Cafes are closing down.
Intex is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,175
Like Travelnut, we recently bought an Acer Aspire One. We'd been looking for something to backup and view the hundreds of photographs we take on holiday. Dedicated photo backup devices seemed expensive and inflexible but when we saw this little laptop, it fitted the bill completely. At 1kg it's small and light enough to take with you but big enough to have a useful sized screen. We got the fully functioning XP version, with 1Gb memory and 100gb hard drive - more than enough for all our pictures. We found it really useful on our recent trip to Greece.
Maria_H is offline  
Nov 4th, 2008, 02:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Of course not. I wouldn't take my laptop anywhere. What a hassle having to lug it around. Especially if you have to CARRY it (maybe you won't).

Look, I love the net (else I wouldn't be here) but do you really need to have instant access to everything when you are on HOLIDAY?

As for watching movies on the plane - come on!! read a book.

And yes, sounds like it could be a distraction from getting out and about. Leave the beast at home.
afterall is offline  
Nov 4th, 2008, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
What a hassle having to lug it around.

You must be thinking of 20th-century luggables. Almost every manufacturer now markets small (7-10" screen) and light (2-4#) machines. This one is about the size and weight of your book. Looky here: preview.tinyurl.com/63panx
Robespierre is offline  
Nov 4th, 2008, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Internet access while abroad is awfully important to me.

Not just to keep in touch with friends and send them "Don't you wish you were me?" emails.

I plan while I'm on site. Check the weather. Find the phone number for a restaurant. Check the hours of a museum.

Yes, I could do that from an Internet cafe -- if I could find one. I'd have to deal, of course, with their lousy hardware, slow connections, different keyboards (try finding @ on a French keyboard -- each one is different).

True story:

One January week, some years ago, we were in Bratislava. My spouse had business meetings but I was getting cabin fever. I said, "Where can I go for 24-36 hours? How about Budapest?"

Never been there. Got on the laptop and found a train schedule, booked a cheap hotel, found a city map and the week's events -- forwarded the latter to the hotel's front desk, where they printed them for me. In short, I planned a trip to a totally unknown city from my hotel room.

It went off like clockwork (except for the theft of my train ticket from my knapsack in Bratislava train station).

I will never forget that short trip -- the start of my love affair with Budapest -- and it would never have been possible without easy and ample Internet access.
tedgale is offline  
Nov 4th, 2008, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 447
I guess it depends where you're going and how long you're going to be away. Our trip to France and Italy last year, I dragged my old Toshiba laptop with me to download digital pix (and backup to a USB key for good measure), keep trip notes (for a trip report still to be written) and track our expenses in Quicken so if there were any 'surprise' bank withdrawls or credit card charges, I'd be all over it. I wasn't too worried about the computer getting stolen as it was an old model and I'm pretty religious about backing data up to the USB key so even if it did get stolen or otherwise become inoperative, I still had the most important stuff.

Aside from that, I used it to check email and stay in touch back home as needed; pretty much the same way as has been already detailed here by others
knickerbocker is offline  

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