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Recommendation re Laptop / Chromebook / etc. for long term travel to Eastern Europe

Recommendation re Laptop / Chromebook / etc. for long term travel to Eastern Europe

Old Feb 16th, 2021, 06:55 AM
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Recommendation re Laptop / Chromebook / etc. for long term travel to Eastern Europe

Depending on travel conditions in Eastern Europe this fall or spring 2022, we are planning about 3 months in Europe, concentrating on Eastern Europe. If you have experience with long term travel, what laptop / Chromebook / Tablet / Pixelbook / etc. did you take? Pros and cons?

Background: This will be my retirement trip i.e. husband and I are mid 60s. Traveled to over 40 countries. Airbnb or hotels; most likely not hostels. Train, air and perhaps car as travel vessels.

Requirements: Light as possible, reasonable. Small to medium screen size. Keyboard (or keyboard attachment).

Use: Upload photographs from cell. Keep in touch via social media. Journal. News. Possibly occasional videos.

Thanks for all information!
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 07:02 AM
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I'd just use a phone, but not an expensive one, try to go a bit more downmarket to limit attracting attention. Charging try for a multi-pronged charge unit so as to keep the weight down.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 08:33 AM
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I've done a lot of long term travel, starting far enough back that initially I relied on internet cafes (remember those?). Then I moved up to a tiny Nokia N800 plus keyboard, followed by an ASUS netbook, but for a long time now I've used an iPad, principally because of the weight. I thought that typing on glass would be a problem, but I adjusted quickly. I use it both for uploading photos and for my blog. You can get a keyboard, but I would practice without first to see if you really need one. I carry a smart phone as well, but while I was surprised to find it works well for ebooks I can't handle much typing on it. No way I would use a phone for the blog or a journal (actually, I still use pen and an actual physical notebook for my daily journal!).
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 09:03 AM
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I love my Chromebook, suggested by a Fodorite friend who was visiting. I like having a keyboard so don't enjoy using a tablet. I have a smartphone with me all the time (actually 2, work and personal) but prefer the laptop. I also travel for work with a work MacBook Air so I'm back and forth on both all of the time. The Chromebook is very inexpensive in comparison and I love it. The drawback is limited memory storage, but I store my photos in the Cloud. I've used both Amazon Photos and Shutterfly for photo storage and prefer the ease of Amazon photos but do enjoy making gifts, etc. with Shutterfly.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 09:09 AM
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I find a phone screen too small to use for my only device so my most recent travel option has been an iPad Mini. Nice & light and big enough. I'm sure there are keyboards available though I don't write enough on the road to make it a necessity.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 10:10 AM
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Thanks everybody! Great recommendations!!
Yes, I remember the internet cafes, too! One in Peru had dirt floors but you could do your laundry at the same time!

Last edited by kwood1955; Feb 16th, 2021 at 10:44 AM.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 11:38 AM
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I have used an I-pad for several years now and love it. It does everything you mentioned easily, no extra keyboard necessary. I download all sorts of things, connect with social media, do photos, etc. As a matter of fact, that is all I use at home too. I like the size screen. A phone just does not work for me for a lot of use or writing, keeping a journal, etc. I like seeing maps on a larger screen too. I like pulling up all kinds of travel information and having it large enough to read easily.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 12:48 PM
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My spouse has a new iPad with keyboard, extra charge for keyboard. Part of cover.

Last edited by HappyTrvlr; Feb 16th, 2021 at 01:06 PM.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 12:54 PM
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I use and travel with my MacBook Pro and we also usually have an iPad with us. However, if you are going to be travelling long-term, I would think twice about bringing a Mac in case you need to get it repaired. It is not like the US where there is an Apple Store on every corner; I base my experience on Germany and Luxembourg (not eastern Europe) where there are fewer Apple repairers and dealers than you might be used to and it can be a royal pain getting help if you aren't in the biggest city. Germany nowadays because of the iPhone has 15 stores in 12 cities for the whole country and is only in really populous urban areas (in a country of over 80 million). Ordinary PCs are just fine, people in eastern Europe need computers as much as anyone does.

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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 12:56 PM
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Chromebook is light and works perfect for fitting in my med tote.
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 02:45 AM
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I reckon that the longer I travel, the lighter my luggage should be. For that reason, in recent times I have travelled with just a smart phone. But if I decide to take something more, I'd take an iPad because it's compatible with my iPhone and I'm used to the Apple operating system (and I already have one at home). If typing becomes a pain, I just use the mic and talk. The last time I took my Kindle, I didn't use it once in 2 months - just read books on my iPhone.

I remember travelling before guidebooks were commonplace and I wrote home once a week (on paper) so I'm probably less wedded to technology than younger people. The most important thing in having a phone is so that my husband and children can contact me. But I do use it for lots of other things.
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 04:52 AM
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Thanks to all for the informative responses! Much appreciated!
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by kwood1955 View Post

Requirements: Light as possible, reasonable. Small to medium screen size. Keyboard (or keyboard attachment).

Use: Upload photographs from cell. Keep in touch via social media. Journal. News. Possibly occasional videos.

!
If you're just using it basically for surfing the web almost anything will be more than adequate. I assume you mean watching videos and not editing them.

Can't your phone upload it's own photos?

Caveat some of the options mentioned above are really intended to be net connected. That's great if you always have a wifi connection but if you want to use it also in an apartment without a net connection you might want something with more storage.

Look for something that charges via USB . Hopefully USB C. That will allow you to get a multi port USB charger to handle everything. That saves weight on carrying a collection of chargers. Plus if you lose/break one you will find it easier to find an USB charger than a brand specific one.
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 09:23 AM
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My chromebook is USB charged but carry a three prong plug with me for it. I carry a 20 inch suitcase and med tote for purse, meds, and laptop.
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 09:49 AM
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These are great points about connectivity and this is an interesting thread. I've travelled regularly in Europe on vacation using just an IPhone and an IPad. As I look to take longer trips in the the future, it would be nice to have a laptop PC for writing travel blog posts and Internet. Most of the laptops I have used work have a standard three prong charging cable which might be an issue internationally. I also carry a small Canon digital camera and require a USB port to upload photos. Although I take a lot of pictures w my IPhone, it's still nice to have the Canon. Are there any good lightweight 15" PC laptops or brands to recommend?
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 10:02 AM
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interesting point!
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Old Feb 18th, 2021, 04:58 AM
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>> Are there any good lightweight 15" PC laptops or brands to recommend? <<
I love my Microsoft Surface Laptop2. Light weight, well-made, keyboard has backlight that lights up while in the dark. Its screen is 13.3 inches, but Microsoft Surface has other models with a larger screen.
I bought mine in 2019 when Microsoft had physical stores in the malls, and they matched prices with Best Buy and Amazon.
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Old Feb 18th, 2021, 08:31 AM
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I also love my surface laptop. Even though its screen is only 13.3 inches its resolution is far superior to other laptops of its size IMO. We did look at some pretty good 15 inch HP laptops that were pretty lightweight but ultimately the Surface's resolution won us over. I think if you aren't wedded to Apple it is one of the best PC/windows choices. I have thought about a chrome book type of machine but with today's increased emphasis on video calling due to covid, I like the extra horsepower that I feel a "real" laptop brings. Granted, I haven't checked in on chrome book type machines in awhile so maybe they are a bit more robust than they used to be.
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