When you’re limited for space or weight when backpacking, it’s often hard to decide exactly what you need, and one of the hardest things to decide whether or not to bring is a laptop.
Laptops are so important in the twenty-first century, but can your smartphone do the same job?
Let’s talk about it…
Laptops can be heavy or large. When you’re travelling with a backpack (or maybe two backpacks like I did), it can take up key space and weight which you could dedicate to other things.
You also have to bring a charger (which takes up more space) and remove your laptop from your bag every time you go through an airport which, while it’s just a little thing, can be irritating if your bag is perfectly packed like a game of Tetris!
If you’re travelling a particularly dangerous or risky city or country, then it might not be worth taking more valuable items than necessary and a smartphone would be fine. This is due to the risk of theft. Of course, always check if your accommodation has a safe or lockers.
If your trip is completely pre-booked, then my recommendation would be that you probably don’t need a laptop.
However, if you’re planning on booking your trip as you go, I would definitely try to fit it in if you think you’ll have space. I find that laptops are way more useful than smart phones. Obviously, it is possible to book flights from your smartphone, but it’s so much easier being able to quickly and easily switch between tabs on a laptop to compare prices.
Not only do laptops make life easier for booking, but they also provide entertainment on long buses, trains or flights. It’s always good to be able to chuck on a movie or TV show on a reasonably sized screen.
Finally, if you’re travelling with a camera, it’s great to have a laptop with you to back up photos. It’s surprisingly difficult to find an internet cafe these days since most travellers do travel with some kind of communications technology, so it’s easy to carry a cardreader and portable harddrive/USB to backup your photos with your laptop as you travel. Take it from someone who knows…losing photos is the worst!
To finish, obviously it’s your choice on whether or not you want to travel with a laptop. I loved being able to settle down at the end of a long day and chuck on a movie on my laptop while my phone was charging. It was so easy to book things as I went and do research on the cities I was visiting on my laptop.
Let me know your thoughts! Did you take a laptop travelling? I packpacked for two months with one which I kept in my 22L backpack, whilst my 38L backpack was just for clothes and boring stuff.