Avoid placing anything valuable in your checked luggage; you never know for sure how your bag will be handled or who may look in it. Fodor’s member ShelliDawn recommends the following:
“I would never put my laptop in my checked baggage. Electronics, especially items like laptops, have a habit of disappearing from checked bags. If the main purpose of the laptop is for travel, consider getting a netbook. If you don’t want Windows, you can also get them with Linux/Ubuntu.”
From the Forums: Best Laptop for Travel?