A Travellerspoint blog

December 2010

A Mocha Latte, A Muffin and Some WiFi, Please.

Travel Unravelled Q&A Series 3: Computer Yes - Computer No?

Notre cyber cafe/our internet cafe Photo by Gearoid and Claire

Notre cyber cafe/our internet cafe Photo by Gearoid and Claire

Welcome to installment three of the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series. This particular TU question deals with computers as questions about traveling with or without them come up frequently. So:

The Question

Do you recommend traveling with a computer or leaving it at home?

Criteria: Travel time is 3 months and visiting any 3 countries of your own choice.

Heather Robb (Purdy)

Computer - NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

I'm on holiday to visit new countries, have new experiences, taste new foods, meet new people - not sit on a computer.

l go to work Monday to Friday and sit in front of a computer. l come home, log on and check the sites l want to check. l log on at weekends too - so, why would l want to go on holiday, which l do to relax and enjoy myself and sit on a computer? I'm on holiday to visit new countries, have new experiences, taste new foods, meet new people - not sit on a computer.

If l need to check email or contact home, hotels and hostels have internet access. l can do what l need to do on my mobile, if needed. A computer is an additional worry and weight to carry with you - in my opinion. So what if l'm on a 12 hour flight - plug in the MP3 player, read a real book, or sleep! Ok, l want to write a blog or keep a journal - might not be in real time but l take a journal note book with me and keep a daily diary. Through security, lap tops are a pain having to be checked out, additional insurance, and what if it gets nicked?

So in my opinion - computer says NO!!

Email in Gopane Photo by Lilibellil

Email in Gopane Photo by Lilibellil

Sam Daams (Sam I Am)

Personally, I can't imagine not travelling with a computer, but I also make my living by running a website, and that requires a certain amount of 'always online' mentality. I have, on shorter trips, decided to leave my computer at home just to not have any kind of distractions; fantastic!! But I guess more and more the question is "what is a computer?". More and more phones have all the same features you'd require from a computer for travelling purposes and I think most people would take their phones with them on trips.

Gretchen Wilson-Kalav (Isadora)

At one point in time, I didn't have a computer with which I could travel. A big Mac G4 tower and monitors were way over the weight limit without including my 2,000 pounds of luggage at airport check-ins. So, no to taking a computer anywhere. Since that time, I started out slow with our first laptop and only taking it when we'd visit our friend in Florida. We could 'hack' into his broadband to check TP and upload photos. We now have 2 laptops - PC and Mac - and for the most part they both follow us around.

All in all - short trips - no computer but long trips, worth the consideration.

Given the 3-month, 3-country criteria, I believe we would bring both computers so we wouldn't have to share. (I'm PC illiterate while Beerman is lacking in Mac skills.) Sort of like Sam, I make my living by working for a website - the computer would be a necessity. I do not own a cell phone that would work as a replacement device which makes the computer that much more important. All in all - short trips - no computer but long trips, worth the consideration. Though, internet cafe computers and online data/photo storage capabilities do negate the need for your own. Just be vigilant about your passwords and personal information in those situations.

Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire


Kris Kalav (beerman)

Well, lugging along a 20 kg desktop, 10 kg monitor, keyboard, and mouse.... Hmm.... I'll say no. Now, if you're talking laptop or smartphone, sure, why not. They take up far less space, and are much lighter, and you can do virtually all the same things as you would on your desktop. Call me crazy, but I tend to travel heavy. But I would happily bring along a laptop (no smartphone yet) on any three-month holiday I would plan. It wouldn't matter if I had internet access, I could still document what I wanted, upload pics of my trip, etc., and then update my blog when I had a good connection. Even in third world countries, they would marvel at my antique Dell laptop, no doubt asking how I manage to even play solitaire on it. Laugh I would, while beating a game of 4-deck Spider Solitaire and bragging to the village elders. I could at least show the locals pics of my other adventures as a way to strike up a good conversation. As long as I had an electrical outlet, I could do what I wanted on my laptop. And if all else fails, a trusty #2 pencil and pad of paper would suffice.

Nikki Leigh (Rraven)

For me travelling with a computer is a no unless it is necessary for work, many countries have decent internet access & cafes when it is needed. The extra bulk/weight in the back pack is not worth it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For more information about the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series see: Travel Unravelled Q&A Sessions Unleashed. Please join in on the discussions!

Posted by Isadora 13:31 Comments (27)

Underwear? Check. Passport? Check. Hair Straighteners? No!

Travel Unravelled's Q&A Series #2 - Travel Stuff

A Swiss Army Knife with an altimeter Photo by bryceb

A Swiss Army Knife with an altimeter Photo by bryceb

Welcome to the second installment of the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series. We have increased our number of respondents - which is a good thing! So, we're up to five but, everyone has great advise and worthy of taking note! I (well, Beerman really) especially likes the coffee pot as not every hotel room supplies one and coffee is important - as is rope. That is handy to tie down the caffeine-deficient traveler until the coffee is brewed. Just sayin'...

The Question

What one or two items do you take along that most travelers would not necessarily consider when organizing their pack? Please include why.

boating ropes Photo by Leah Acason

boating ropes Photo by Leah Acason


Nikki Leigh (Rraven)

...handy as a belt, shoe laces and looping around doors as a make shift lock.

The item I always find handy is rope/string........ mainly for the obvious of tying things together, making washing lines when needed, when knotted in various ways you can make a bag. Also handy as a belt, shoe laces and looping around doors as a make shift lock. (We stayed somewhere that was a bit dodgy before but had run out of options. The door could not be locked so we tied rope from the door handle to the leg of the bed. When someone tried to enter the room the bed was jolted, made a noise and we woke up. And, it scared away whomever it was.)

african hair straightener...wooden handle and metal comb heated in coals Photo by BCholewa

african hair straightener...wooden handle and metal comb heated in coals Photo by BCholewa


Heather Robb (Purdy)

When l first read the question l was tempted to go all girly and put hair straighteners. But, l've travelled without them previously and survived!!

  • Copies of paperwork - correspondence, visa information, passport docs etc. - l've had occasion to have to produce them at borders and passport control previously. I was told by the agents that without them l would likely have been politely asked to about turn and head on home.
  • Baby wipes or hand sanitizer - so useful when there is no running water. You can at least have a bit of a freshen up or, if you are in surroundings which are, let's say, not as hygienic as you are normally used to - they can be invaluable to say the least!

coffee Photo by Vanessa Stashinski

coffee Photo by Vanessa Stashinski


Peter Daams (Peter)

We pretty much always take our own coffee plunger (French Press) with us. We have a stainless steel one, so there's no glass breakage. Having the ability to make our own coffee while travelling is golden. Particularly when travelling in areas where the coffee is just too weak or generally badly brewed.

Gertrude at Breakfast Photo by Gretchen Wilson-Kalav

Gertrude at Breakfast Photo by Gretchen Wilson-Kalav


Kris Kalav (beerman)

And in a real pinch - such as being stuck in the desert with no water...

The two items I rarely travel without are Ziploc bags, in assorted sizes, and stick matches. Stick matches, because you never know when you'll need to light something on fire - whether it's to keep warm, smoke, or cook a meal in the wilderness. Ziploc bags, in assorted sizes, because they are extraordinarily handy at keeping something isolated from the rest of your stuff. It could be a wet item of clothing, a leftover from a restaurant (or something you cooked in the wilderness). In my case, seashells, which tend to get a bit aromatic. If not kept separate from the clothing in my bags... Eeewww - stinky clothes! (See above photo - wet bag on the chair.) They also work nicely to keeping items dry, like a camera, matches, mobile phone, or maps. They keep lotions and such from leaking all over your luggage/backpack contents!!! And in a real pinch - such as being stuck in the desert with no water - you can dig a small, deep hole in the sand, place an open bag in the bottom of the hole face up, cover the hole with the bag, secure it around the edges with more sand, place a small pebble or rock on it, and by morning the condensation should provide enough water to keep you alive for that day, assuming you haven't used the bag for leftover wilderness-cooked foodstuffs.

battle wound Photo by Kerryn O'Connor

battle wound Photo by Kerryn O'Connor


Gretchen Wilson-Kalav (Isadora)

Beerman stole my Ziploc bag recommendation... But, since we travel together everywhere we go (most of the time), he can have that one. And, he's the one who remembers to pack the matches. Matches good! (We both collect shells to satisfy my seashell obsession. I'm glad he remembers to bring extra Ziploc bags since I've been known to bring 16kg of them - seashells - back in a carry-on. Freaked out the TSA guy when the bag went through the x-ray machine. He couldn't figure out what was in there. Gee, open it and find out!)

I never travel without rubber bands (known as elastics in some countries). They are great for tying back your hair, keeping your chargers and other other miscellaneous cables tidy and securing those non-Ziploc bags should the occasion arise. (Never know when you'll be cooking a meal in the wilderness and have leftovers...)

I also take along a small package of band-aids in assorted sizes. I'm a klutz. I have scraped myself on coral encrusted piers, tripped over my own feet scraping my knees and cut myself with my airline boarding pass. Band-aids are a good thing. I keep one small packet in my purse (for those boarding pass incidences), one in our carry-on (in case I cut myself a lot with my boarding pass and run out of the purse stockpile) and in our checked luggage for those sea coral encounters.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For more information about the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series, please see: Travel Unravelled Q&A Sessions Unleashed. Please join in on the discussions!

Posted by Isadora 12:14 Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]