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Should I bring my laptop???

This question has been getting asked a lot, so I figured I would write a tip on this.

I took both my laptop and my iPhone with me when I went to Europe, because I wanted to research what kind of connectivity was available to budget travelers. Here are my recommendations…

In general I do not recommend bringing your laptop. Here are the reasons why:

  • It adds about 6 pounds to your bag.
  • It is something that you don’t want to get stolen.
  • If you are backpacking you probably don’t need to be connected all the time.
  • Hostels usually have computers with internet access you can use.

The only situations where I think it may be realistic to bring a laptop are:

  • If you are going to be writing more than 30 minutes a day and you are not used to European keyboards.
  • If you are going to be taking a LOT of pictures and you need to get them off your camera (there are other better options for this situations, but they do cost money).
  • If you do not have a WiFi enabled cell phone.

I would recommend:

  • A WiFi enabled phone or device (iPhone, iTouch or the like).

Notes:
There is one major draw back to the iPhone in Europe for travelers coming from North America. The iPhone is locked to your North American carriers SIM card, so you will NOT be able to buy pre paid SIM cards while in Europe and use them in your iPhone.

Most places that offer internet make you use their machines, so your laptop is useless.

This link can help you find WiFi hotspots in Europe.

I know other people have very good advice in regards to the best option for phones in Europe, so hopefully I will be able to add that to this tip later…

HiDawl
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I’m going to be taking lots of pictures, so I will probably bring my mini external hard drive (very small) to connect to their computers. Do most hotels/hostels allow people to connect their USB drive into their computer?

swill
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To be quite honest, I can’t remember. Maybe someone can check into this while on the road. Most of the machines they will have will be older an probably wont have the USB ports on the front of the machine. If that is the case then it may be very difficult to attach your USB devices because most of the time the computers are in cases or something of the sort.

cdnhockeygirl
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I am not taking my laptop however I decided to buy a netbook and take it. The one I am going to purchase weighs just over 2 pounds and it is small enough that it will be in my payback and go where ever I go. Many of my friends, family and co-workers have said they want me to write a travel blog while I am away otherwise I would not take it with me. Of course I plan to upload my pics as well.

With regards to phones, I have a pay as you go and am purchasing 70 minutes for a month in Europe at $1.23 per minutes and if I go over then it is the same rate. These minutes can be used for me calling within Europe, getting calls from home (my mother) and calling her to tell her I am still alive. Also, I made sure to purchase a phone that had GSM for the countries I will be visiting hence no need to purchase SIM cards.

TenaciousTraveler
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Quick note about the iPhones; if you jailbreak it and know how to replace the SIM card, then yes, you can use it internationally. I’ll be doing this when I move to Costa Rica.

swill
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I probably should not be publicly condoning the jailbreaking of phones, but there are a lot of services that Apple has locked down that you can get back if you jailbreak it. Most notably, the ability to buy regional or local SIM cards when traveling…

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I am traveling to Italy for a month abroad and them am backpacking for about 16 days. Do you think I should send me laptop home, or do you think I should just carry it? In a perfect world I would send it back, but I don’t know how well that would work out, costs and damages and all.

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I would just buy a larger memory card for your camera. This way you don’t have to worry about your external hd, and all your pictures are in the same place. Just do a google search for a larger memory card and you will find that they are not that expensive anymore.

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Quote:
I am traveling to Italy for a month abroad and them am backpacking for about 16 days. Do you think I should send me laptop home, or do you think I should just carry it? In a perfect world I would send it back, but I don’t know how well that would work out, costs and damages and all.

If you already have the laptop with you, I would take it with you backpacking. I don’t put all that much faith in the postal system to not break my computer honestly.

Are you shipping stuff back when you go backpacking anyway? Or are you taking everything with you when you backpack?

Nagleess
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Regurading the iPhone comment I have jailbroken my iPhone already and know how to get to the SIM card. What I was wondering is when I get there and put in a new SIM card does it just work right away or do I have to do anything else?

mstein84
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i am backpacking to western and some of eastern europe for 3 months i am going to bring my tablet which is just like a Ipad, also when it comes to phones there are international phone you can rent/buy and you just pay i think around $1.00/minute anywhere you go it just hooks into the local carrier and charges the phone comapny which charges you. i used it in the caribbeans and south america it was great just do a search for it. its nice because you can call your hostel on the train or you can call a pub/bar to see if its open and what not i recommend that to anyone it can get a little pricey but you just gotta watch the minutes and you can log on to the internet to see how many minutes you have used and what not they arent smartphones but its a good cellphone.