Travelling online: the real thing

If you’re a dedicated laptop computer user, you know the value of having your machine with you. But unless you need your laptop for business purposes, you might be inclined to leave it at home while you’re vacation: too much trouble, not worth the bother, what if it gets stolen… there are a lot of good reasons to travel “offline”.

A traveller’s tipsheet published this week by phone giant AT&T could change your mind, however. The tipsheet’s suggestions for safe and effective computer travel also show the many advantages of taking your machine on the road. The trouble of taking along a laptop can be outweighed by the benefits shown here.

1. Compose your e-mails before you go online to minimize the amount of time you’ll spend online handling your mail.

2. Be sure to take along your travel agent’s e-mail address, along with any others you might want to contact during the trip in case of problems.

3. Bookmark websites that have changing information such as weather forecasts, but download things like guidebook information and maps before you go. This way, you can limit your connect time on the road.

4. Bookmark a site that will keep you updated on curren exchange (, so you can take advantage of the best conversion rates.

5. Download the most important words and phrases you may need while travelling.

6. Record the numbers of your travellers’ checks, airline tickets, passport and other important travel documents onto your laptop.

7. Disguise your laptop by carrying it in something other than a laptop bag.

8. Remember that some thieves work in pairs, one to divert your attention while the other snatches the laptop off the airport security belt or even the seat next to you. If you’re travelling with a companion, the two of you can thwart would-be thieves by keeping an eye on each other’s valuables. If you’re travelling alone, always keep hold of the strap of your laptop carry-on.

9. It is always best to lock your laptop in the hotel safe when you’re not in your room.

10. Be sure your laptop is password protected. Remember, if it gets stolen, you not only lose your laptop, but personal information along with it.

11. If you want to stay on budget, use your laptop to track your expenses.

12. For those with digital cameras, the laptop can be ideal for your travel photos and let you send up-to-the-minute e-mail “postcards”.

13. You can also make great use of your laptop for keeping a travel log.