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Old 06-11-2007, 08:49 AM   #1
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Default Should I bring my laptop?

hey there! I'm going to Europe with a friend for a month starting July 1st. we just graduated high school and want to have an awesome vacation before university starts. I've been to Europe before but my friend hasn't. she's travelled outside the country but never without her parents. Her parents are rather--make that extremely-- worried about our well-being. They've made me promise to e-mail everyday with updates and information. This was no problem because I had planned on bringing my laptop along. But my mom is insisting that I will be beaten and robbed and therefore should not bring my computer. I know that the more I bring the more can be stolen but I think that if I am careful my laptop and I will both return home safe.

Anyone have an opinion? Should I bring my laptop? or should I suck it up and pay for internet cafes?

And if I do bring it, what kind of bag should I carry it in? I'm only allowing myself two bags, my backpack full of clothes/toiletries and another smaller bag for carrying around when I lock up the beast of a backpack.
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:05 AM   #2
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I would totally not bother taking the laptop. I can understand that your friend's parents might be worried, but in reality, I reckon you're going to find it hard to email every single day. What about when you can't find somewhere to hook up to wireless connection, or something?

I would advise your friend to take the time to explain to her parents that it's simply not possible to promise to email every day, but that she'll email every time she gets a chance. Maybe in between times, she can call them using a phonecard.

The internet isn't that expensive usually, so it's not going to cost whopping amounts.
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:07 AM   #3
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i took mine, it was nice to be able to update my website one the road, but honestly it weighs 7 pounds once i include the charger and what not. I dont think I would take it again if given the choice.
just lots of memory cards and maybe some sort of wifi communicator
like a skype phone or a sony mylo
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:58 AM   #4
 
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I personally wouldn't take a laptop. It's too cumbersome to be carrying around for a month. Besides you said Europe, right? There are internet cafes, etc. all over. And anyway, if there isn't internet around at the time, it's good to have a day or two out of communication from parents. They need to learn to let go, too. It's good for them. If you really have to be in communication with them daily, then buy a phone card or a cell phone that will work over there (I got mine from Telestial.com). What I would do is just sit down with them and go over all of your plans (and give them a copy)--itinerary, budget, hostels/campgrounds/hotels where you might be staying, etc.--to show them how well you've planned this trip out and that you are actually thinking about their mental well-being rather than fleeing their nest as quickly as possible! That should give them some peace of mind! And then let them know that you can't promise a call/e-mail everyday (because you can't really unless you are always in big cities), but you will contact them whenever you can.
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:48 AM   #5
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I think I would be stressed out about bringing a laptop traveling. That said, I am going to do exactly that in 6 months but I am going to have a permanent (more or less) place I am staying.

I am not sure where you are going in Europe but my guess is that you will be in fairly big cities if you are traveling with a friend who has never been. If you end up in rural towns your connectivity can vary. Btw, lots of hostels have web access

That said, I would recommend that you buy a phone so they have the peace of mind of being able to contact you whenever you go a while without contacting them (this happened to me once).

You and your friend should consider a blog as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends. It worked well for me

Good luck and have fun

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Old 06-11-2007, 11:32 AM   #6
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I prefer the peace of mind of not having to worry about it. Also, anything to make the pack lighter is good!
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:55 PM   #7
 
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Nope!

Every half decent hostel will have a computer with internet, and if not, there will definitely be a cafe down the street. Laptops usually take up a lot of room, not to mention power cable, and all the other gadgets that come with it. Also, as they said above, it's nice to have the peace of mind that your laptop's not gonna get stolen when you're gone. And if it got stolen.. that would put a downer on your trip. What would be worse? Spending a little bit of money for cafe fees or hundreds, if not thousands for a new laptop?

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Old 06-11-2007, 06:41 PM   #8
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I love leaving the electronic world behind when I travel! It's very zen...plus there are internet cafes EVERYWHERE. It's one of those "how much do I want to risk losing?" battles, and also, at least for me, I feel I don't get the full experience if I do everything I do when I'm not "on vacation" i.e. be attached to my email and blocking out the noise around me with mp3s.

You'll be able to email parents regularly. Nearly everywhere. The US is honestly one of the only places where keeping in contact while traveling would be rough...you just have to look for libraries.
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:41 AM   #9
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this is for any 18 year old recent high school graduates who have irrational parents, i am the same age as you, here are some parental mistakes i have made:

-emailling parents everyday...ok so you begin travelling and are on the internet daily to email the 'rents, this is good because it reassures worried parents, but soon you will grow bored of the internet cafe, giving out 1 to 2 euros everyday when you could be out experiencing a new city, so you skip an email for a day or three, 'rents have become accustomed to 1 email a day, so they flip out and hack your email to see if there has been any account activity

-letting parents see your finances...so before i left my mom convinced me to set up a 2nd bank account, this second account would contain the bulk of my money, and i would bring the debit card of my first account, which would always contain roughly 300 dollars (transferred periodically from the 2nd account), the idea being that if my debit card got lost or stolen the theif would not be able to take all my money, however letting your parents see how much money you have is just not a good idea
so i was considering buying a laptop for my future travels but after reading this thread and reflecting on my experiences with this post i dont think i will anymore</p>

Last edited by Elizabeth; 06-12-2007 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:07 AM   #10
 
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I did the exact same thing when I graduated and we didnt take a laptop. It was no problem as every hostel we stayed in had computers, plus we went to Pamplona which is a big no-no for bringing anything valuable. I blogged 4 or 5 days a week which is great for your parents, friends, etc and it is really easy to do from any computer. (I brought a laptop on my last trip and wireless is usually more expensive than just finding internet cafes) The only bonus to bringing your computer is that its much easier to post pictures to a blog.

try blogger.com
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:48 PM   #11
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Default my laptop goes everywhere

So when i travel anywhere, my laptop is always with me. however my situation sounds a little different as i go to each place for atleast 1 month plus i was 16 when i started travelling and the parents become more then a little irate when msn communincation is not available. Plus I jsut found a laptop very convenent so that i was not always searching for an internet cafe, wifi can be found almost anywhere in the world.
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Old 06-13-2007, 01:35 PM   #12
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Thanks to everyone who offered advice! It really helped and you've all convinced me that my mom was right--she will not be told-- and that the laptop stays at home. This takes 7 pounds off of my pack, that in itself is all the convincing I need!
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:57 PM   #13
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I got a laptop, and one of the main reasons, was to take it on my next big trip. I didnt take it on my first 3 month trip and I jumped on the internet about every other day. Sometimes every day to update my blog and whatnot if it was cheap.

I'd say I spent around 100 euros on my entire trip paying for net. Had I had a laptop, that woulda been 100 euros in my pocket.

Also, I brought a 1 GB flash drive with me to transfer my pictures into, I filled that up, and had to ask my bro back here to make a FTP that I could upload too because I was filling up all my memory in my digi cam and was not going to be able to take anymore pictures! Had I had my laptop, that would not have been a problem.

Plus, when you really need internet, say you missed your train, and since you were late your hostel cancelled your reservation, well you got the net at your palm, and can find another hostel lickity split!

Just my opinion though.
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Old 06-25-2007, 06:32 PM   #14
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I don't think it's worth the worry. I'm of the opinion that the less stuff on your person the better. I would lock up my bags and belongings as much as possible so that i was just walking around with a wallet, and key (camera sometimes)

I have a bad habit of randomly leaving stuff, or misplacing items, so when I carry something valuable it really worries me (constantly patting my back pocket to check if my wallet is still there for example ;p) I don't even want to think what I would be like walking around with a laptop
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Old 06-26-2007, 04:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dug View Post
(constantly patting my back pocket to check if my wallet is still there for example ;p)
Hehe, I would recommend NOT keeping your wallet in your back pocket while traveling. And even in your front pocket you got to be aware. I met an Irish guy who had 500 Euros stolen from from his front pocket in Barcelona.

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Old 06-26-2007, 07:18 AM   #16
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It's hard to protect yourself too much though - I carry so much shit in my money belt, I look like a Mama Kangaroo. If somebody mugs me, they will know EXACTLY where to look. I'm a big fan of keeping my wallet in my cargo pocket... I'm a little bit oblivious, but I hope if somebody's reaching around in there, I'll feel it.
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:21 PM   #17
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I have never used a money belt on a trip... and never had any trouble. i don't carry around huge amounts of money cause I just get out what I need for a day or two from the atm and use my visa debit card where i can... i know i could probably save a ton of bank fees but i just dont like carrying around huge wads of cash.
as for keeping in contact with parents, i would send them text messages just to let them know i was still alive and if they wanted trip updates, they could read my blog. i wasnt going to waste time emailing everyone seperately.
i will however take my laptop when i go to london next year because for most of the trip we'll have our own room and be settled in the one place for about a month so i want to take it with me.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC_Jessica View Post
It's hard to protect yourself too much though - I carry so much shit in my money belt, I look like a Mama Kangaroo. If somebody mugs me, they will know EXACTLY where to look. I'm a big fan of keeping my wallet in my cargo pocket... I'm a little bit oblivious, but I hope if somebody's reaching around in there, I'll feel it.
Yeah, I did the cargo pocket thing once, and learned my lesson. I'm a huge fan of those bookbags with a big main pocket and single strap that you toss over your shoulder. You can shift the bag around to your front in a tight spot (like a metro or crowded street), and those bags are pretty common in Europe without screaming 'Yo, I'm a tourist and in desprite need of a pickpocket.'
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Old 07-08-2007, 07:26 AM   #19
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Heya!
I wouldn't bother with the laptop. I've been in the same situation, being young and all. I did a big trip last year [Spain/Morocco] and I didn't even bother about the laptop. Europe's really good with internet cafes so no need to worry.
Not related to laptops:
But, I didn't call home for almost the whole trip. Things happen and one can't always determine that open connection to call back. I had trouble with the time differences and I moved around too much to keep in contact with home. I guess my parents did worry being parents but I email whenever I could.
Hope this is helpful!
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Old 07-08-2007, 07:29 AM   #20
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Oops and if you feel the need to bring a laptop along make sure it's insured and you could have a protective cover for it and carry it in a backpack sorta bag.

ciao!
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