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bring my laptop?

This is very possibly a silly question . . . . I am going on the Rick Steves tour of Venice, Florence and Rome at the beginning of November. I was thinking of bringing my laptop - would love to have it at the hotel at night. But I don't want to carry it around all day. Does anyone have experience with this? Is leaving the laptop in the hotel during the day a safe thing to do? Foolish, asking for trouble? Thanks in advance.

Marty

Posted by
20718 posts

What are you going to use it for? There is always some risk but it would be very min to leave it tucked in a bag in your room. Put a lock on the bag. For our purposes an ipad works just fine. Store pictures and email.

Posted by
4 posts

We've done two things, my husband brought his Mac, but carried it in a shoulder bag all day. When he doesn't bring his Mac, we use a mini laptop that we would leave in the hotel. Not all hotel rooms have safes so we would just hide it in the room. But if you wanted to carry a mini laptop with you, they aren't heavy at all. We use the mini to upload photos each day so if we lost the camera, we would have the pictures saved in the cloud.

Posted by
1728 posts

For our 17-day trip a year ago February/March to Paris, Lucerne, Florence and Salerno, we left the laptop at home and just brought our smartphones. Yes, it's pretty small to communicate in any volume of messages, but in the vein of Rick's 'Pack Light, Pack Right', this was the thing to do and we're glad we did. And it was much easier to send pics home right from the phone.

Make sure you do your research with your cellular provider as far as buying data packages abroad. If not, you can really get rammed on data charges.

Posted by
11981 posts

I bring my lap top to Europe only for work reasons (and not every year I have to work while I'm traveling). If you don't have work commitments, then bringing a laptop is silly. A tablet (iPad or other) or even just a smart phone (with a local SIM card and plan) will do the trick.

Posted by
2487 posts

I don't see any problem. I've got a small notebook (for similar reasons as Lynn) and leave it in the room, mostly on the desk. It's still in my possession.

Posted by
1708 posts

I must still work as I travel and I don't like to carry my entire laptop so I use an Ipad with a keyboard attached to it. It works perfectly. And I just leave it out in my rooms....I've stopped even locking it in the safe...maybe others will think this is a bad plan, but it's still with me 4 years later.

Posted by
15621 posts

I always bring a small netbook with to get my emails and occasionally write a journal and do on-the-road research. You can do all that with a smart phone these days, but then I am a dinosaur.

Posted by
1700 posts

While there are some things I can see you would need a laptop for (downloading for backup large RAW files off a camera for example where a phone or tablet would lack the storage capacity) ; I think overall the risk of theft and even more so then theft damage to the laptop just from being packed up and moved around so frequently would have me recommend to leave the laptop at home and try to figure out an alternative solution with a small tablet or your smart phone.

Posted by
9450 posts

We both travel with laptops all the time (and we travel in Europe monthly) and I would not go without it except for a 2 or 3 night trip. I use it to download our pictures, research sites, schedules, routes, and restaurants. I do not care to do these things on anything small than my Surface Pro. We leave them in the room, in plain sight. I was scared about this 6 years ago when we first traveled to Italy, but I am over it. I do keep it close to me on the train. I also take a Kindle Fire and my Android phone, and I still travel lighter than 90% of the 30-somethings I see with steamer trunks and only a smartphone.

Posted by
5164 posts

Most European hotels are no less trustworthy than most US hotels. What would you do here?

Posted by
2353 posts

We always have laptops or netbooks and Kindles. Leave them in or out - never a problem. But I don't have half the worries that many travelers do. I pretty much function/carry how I would anywhere.

Posted by
3436 posts

First couple of RS trips I took I had my laptop with me. I worried about what might happen to it, but just left it in my suitcase in the hotel room. Never had any issues.

Now, however, I have found that my smart phone is all I need. I leave it set in airplane mode most of the time so I don't get roaming charges and use only WiFi provided by the hotels and on the tour bus. I can check and respond to email and upload pictures to the cloud. That is all I need to do while on vacation.

Posted by
16788 posts

I have only traveled with a smaller device. As you consider every item, remember the light-packing goal. They are not mutually exclusive, but there's usually something that has to give. You'll probably navigate your luggage over bridges and cobblestones to and from the Venice hotel, as well as some hotel elevators in Rome, for instance, are very temperamental.

Posted by
5718 posts

We travel with two laptops -- we each have one. I love hotel rooms with big safes and increasingly safes hold the laptops. If they don't have that, I lock it in the suitcase or 'hide it' so it isn't just lying out in the room. So far, so good.

When my MacAir croaks I will probably get a notebook and I do have the comfort of knowing that our laptops are both very old and basically of little value, so their loss would not be tragic. We do download our pictures every day to them but we have the cards as well and would hope not to lose both the camera cards and the computer at the same time.

Posted by
7756 posts

While I have not done this particular tour of Rick's, I will say that you may be surprised at how pooped you are at the end of the day and may just wind up falling in to bed...knowing tomorrow will be another big day! A couple of years I made myself do quick journaling each night on my tours (handwritten, 1 page in a Moleskine journal) and last year I did not. I really regretted not having the notes to look back on so no matter how tired I am I will make myself write a little each night this year!

Depending on your hotel you may or may not have strong internet in your room.

Posted by
3696 posts

I have traveled dozens of times with cameras, laptops, ipads and never had any issues. Always leave them in my room, same as I would in the US. If you think it is something you will really use, then bring it, but you don't have to carry it around all day. If you are seriously worried about theft, then back up your files and lock it up in the day. I look at that as overkill, but do what makes you feel comfortable.

Posted by
31055 posts

Marty,

I've travelled with a small Netbook PC for many years, and have never had any problems with that. I don't see any need to carry it around all day, so when I'm out touring it's inside my luggage.

I typically use it for E-mail, diarizing my trips, storing or posting photos, etc. In recent years I've also been travelling with a smart phone, but I don't find that as useful for the purposes mentioned. At my age it's difficult working from a 4" screen and I also need a "proper" keyboard. I suppose I could also use a Tablet, but the Netbook works fine so no reason to spend any more money.

Posted by
6087 posts

Ditto what Ken said - for the bigger screen (eyes aren't what they used to be) and 'real' keyboard (no good with my thumbs). I love my little 10" netbook and it doesn't weigh but a few ounces more than a tablet. Every night in my hotel room I would upload my photos from the camera cards and do some journaling so I didn't forget where the pictures were taken. Also used it to email home, post photos on fb, and contact hotels, etc.. Probably would never go without it. A full sized laptop like my home computer I wouldn't take on a trip, takes up too much room and weighs too much.

Posted by
1406 posts

Travel as light as you can comfortably. This means not only clothes but gadgets. If you don't need a laptop don't bring it, use a tablet or smartphone.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you all for your replies. I think I am going to go with a new tablet. It's much lighter than a laptop and easier to carry in my knapsack.

Marty

Posted by
104 posts

Marty. I travel to Itally each year. I always bring my laptop (transfer camera files), an IPad, my cell, and 3 camera. I've never had a problem. I lock my laptop in the room safe and put my iPad in the suitcase. I think it's unwise to carry a tablet in your backpack, as you probably are at greater risk to lose the backpack or have someone lift it when you are out and about. Personally, I think you are safer to keep items like that in your hotel room.

Posted by
17088 posts

I bought my first tablet last year right before departing for Italy. It's a rather large one (8.4 inches), but it was wonderful to have something so much lighter than my dinosaur of a laptop. I would never have considered carting that laptop around Europe, but the tablet was OK.

Most days I left the tablet in my hotel room, locked in my suitcase. Occasionally I carried it around with me in my purse, because I thought I'd need to access Wi-Fi during the day. (I stayed in 3 hotels where the promised Wi-Fi wasn't working in my room.)

Only in dire direction-seeking emergencies did I pull the tablet out on the street. That seems like not a great thing to do, though I saw many other travelers doing so. In my case, the risk of dropping the thing is greater than the risk that someone will try to grab it. It's not an iPad mini, after all.

Posted by
11981 posts

Yes Sam, Rick Steves takes his laptop to Europe but when he travels he's working.
If you need a laptop for work is one thing, but for Internet surfing, or even photos, a tablet suffices. It's more convenient and easier to carry (or store in a small hotel safe).

Posted by
14014 posts

It's possible that one or more of your hotels will not have a safe or it will not be large enough. You can put it in your suitcase (locked or not) for the day. I've never had an instance where hotel staff went into my bags, though they have sometimes rearranged my things in a cupboard! (note - rearranged purposefully, not rifled through them)

I have long considered the merits of a tablet, but I prefer my notepad (mini? computer). I like the keyboard, the storage space (back-up photos) and the programs.

Posted by
1737 posts

I bring my ipad. never my computer. I like the convenience of being able to check email for work, and download my photos, then post to facebook, or send to friends in email. Can't imagine traveling with a heavy computer.

FYI, a friend of mine had her laptop stolen right under her eyes, the case with the computer just disappeared right in front of the hotel with 10-15 people standing around from her group.

Also, most hotels will have a public computer if you just want to check email or surf the web, you just can't do it from your room. my husband uses the hotel computer all the time. Remember to LOG OUT.

Posted by
3696 posts

I should clarify... I have a small ASUS that I bring with me... weighs less than 3 lbs, has a mouse and I bring an external hard drive (passport) so I can back up my images. I would not lug around a full size laptop unless I had to. I also bring my ipad-mini for any entertainment or quick check of emails, etc.

Posted by
1406 posts

as you can see, there are many options. Sift through them and see what works for you. Another combo option is a tablet with a small Bluetooth keyboard that you leave in the room during the day.

and as noted, Rick HAS to travel with a laptop since he's writing and working on scripts and is probably in constant email communication with the mothership in Washington.