A lot of travelers I know travel with their laptops, or at least netbooks. It is convenient and once at the airport, the Wifi is acessible almost everywhere, same in the big cities and sometimes it really surprised me to find some hot spot in the smallest village in Cambodia. Finding real internet-cafe can be much more difficult in some parts of the world, unless you´re in big hotel or some bigger city.
I´ m not telling you that you surely need one – maybe you don´t and that´s great for you – since they tend not to be the lightest peace of the gear you take along. But if you want to write on the road, maybe work, or simply uploade photos not only from your phone, or do light photo editing as well, maybe taking a laptop with you is not such a bad idea.
Although I know some people who deliberately travel with their MacBook Pro (or PC for that matter), I as good as never took my Mac on the road with me. First of all, I have small netbook which is much smaller, lighter and much much more portable to pack. Second – there is certain freedom of mind to use your “second” laptop, knowing that if anything, it´s not your precious one with or your data inside. (Remember that magic word Backup? Yeah, you should do that. Or take your external drive with you.) I remember a friend of mine who took his Mac all the way with him, just to never use it, because he was so afraid of getting it stolen, or damaged, or… you get the point. What´s the use of it if you´re not gonna use it for whatever the reason?
The second thing about the netbooks is, that although they´re slower (but unless you´re doing a lot of pohto editing on the road, that´s not an issue), it can take ages for the battery to need recharge. Great thing sitting on the beach far away from eny charging spot. And for the speed issue – are you really gonna do so much more than browsing internet, writing emails and uploading photos? Isn´t all the other stuff gonna be done once at home?
One other thing about the portability is, that you can take so much more on board of the plane as with the usual notebook. (And no, putting it into your checked-in luggage isn´t great idea – remember those rumours about airport stuff tossing the bags on the belt? Yeah, there is something to it, isn´t it?) Besides, can you imagine using 15 inch.laptop on board of RyanAir flight with small seats? Or in crowded bus…?
Take look at the display as well. Would you see good enough even when the sun shines while sitting under that lovely sakura tree? Sure? You´re probably gonna be much more writing and using your laptop outside when traveling than inside, so consider this too.
Obvious, but I don´t wanna skip this one – ports. USB is a must, but are you gonna watch DVDs or use CDs while traveling? You can spare space if opting for device without some slots and ports, but rethink if you realle do or don´t need them.
So my advice is to take with you the one you aren´t gonna be afraid to leave in your hotel room and use in public, but that isn´t gonna take forever to load/start. It has to be small enough to fit in your handbag, and be easy to use everywhere, yet large enough for you to be comfortable to use. Once again – battery life!!! Find the balance.
Of course there are much many things you need to consider, but this is just a hint, for choosing notebook for travel can be quite different for what I would buy for home.
More on this subject later, but feel free to post any ideas!