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bringing laptop?

I am doing a typed travel journal and photo gallery for a class while on RST 8 day trip and am tempted to bring my laptop. I hate to add the extra weight and volume but hate squinting at my phone and don't have a tablet. Thoughts?

Posted by
15703 posts

I bought a cheap Amazon Fire tablet (8") and while very basic, it should do what you need. I also added a folding bluetooth keyboard. Combined, the weight is much less than a laptop.

I did it because I got tired of trying to see everything on my phone as well.

I got mine on sale for $65. If you are not in a hurry, you could wait until a sale.

Posted by
8654 posts

Frank makes good point. I would not want to take my main laptop with all my other personal and business information and documents on it. I would go minimal. Get a cheap tablet.

Posted by
4305 posts

What size is your laptop? I've never not brought one, but nowadays I have a Microsoft Surface which is barely larger than an iPad and I don't find it a big deal to carry around. If you're meaning though that you’ll be hauling it around all day as you tour, then, no, I'd say typing on a phone is more convenient.

As for security, is it password protected and backed up to the cloud?

Posted by
471 posts

I'd find something small and cheap especially for the trip. Basically, all you want is a word processor. A tablet with a keyboard might do it. I find words flow more easily with a keyboard that but that's me.

Posted by
1265 posts

I can do all emails and even some light work on a tablet or phone. The main reason that I bring a laptop is so that I can download, organize and label all the photos that I take each day. I can snap 200 - 300 photos in a day. I organize them and put a simple description in the more important photos. If I don't do this everyday, it becomes a daunting and almost impossible task at the end of a long trip to remember what I shot.

I have a 12 year old lightweight plastic netbook which I usually use for this task. I used to pull the SD memory card from my camera and quickly upload the photos onto the netbook. However, I plan to switch over to my smartphone for all my photography. I have to use a USB cable with the phone and it takes unbearably long to transfer photos on the slow netbook. I'm going to have to use my newer and much faster laptop, which is slightly heavier, on our upcoming trip to Spain.

Posted by
19170 posts

I would not want to take my main laptop with all my other personal and
business information and documents on it.

All that information is on my main computer, a desktop with 32" monitor and real keyboard, on my office desk at home. I take a small cell phone, but it stays in my carryon bag the entire trip. It's only purpose on the trip is to coordinate my ride home from the airport.

I bought an ASUS Transformer (2½# with removable keypad) to take with me to Europe. All my travel information is on a big spreadsheet; I keep track of my expenses on another. Spreadsheets don't display very well (terribly) on a phone.

The pad itself only weighs 21 oz. and has a big enough 10" display. It's touch screen, so I don't really need the keyboard, but I found the real tactile keyboard so handy, I bring it ( 19 oz) along).

Posted by
27 posts

Hi. I am only familiar with IPhone. But IPhone will let you add a caption on your photos using the “i” at the bottom of the photo. The caption can really be a paragraph. You can dictate instead of type. There is also a field to add the location. You can also copy and paste the photo and caption out of the photos app. Also your text is searchable in the photos app. Have a fun trip!

Posted by
109 posts

Have you thought about using a light, inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard with your iPhone? While I just travel with my iPad for those types of things, you can snag a cheap, portable keyboard from Amazon that would be good for this. Yes, you still have to look at the screen, but if it is a typing issue, that might take care of it.

Posted by
739 posts

Even though I hate the extra weight, I always bring my laptop for several reasons:

  • About every other trip something work-related pops up that I need to deal with. Even though the issues don't take much time, I need access to files and scripts on my computer.
  • I like to catalog and backup my new photos every evening.
  • I like to write in my journal every evening, and I hate to do that with the keyboard on my phone.
  • My 12" iPad weighs the same as my laptop.

Even though I am in the minority with my choice, it's what works for me. I will cut down on clothes, toiletries and anything else, but not my laptop.

Posted by
1259 posts

Your report is going to be five pages and include a dozen photos? Or 200 pages with a thousand photos? Are you shooting with a camera or your phone?

For a hundred years, folks have traveled all over the world with a pocket notebook, a pencil, and a camera that used ye olde film. Their photos were not available for several weeks. And yet, upon their returns, they recounted their fascinating stories to wrapt audiences. You can do it, too.

Only my opinions, of course: a computer is the last piece of kit I'd ever consider taking on a vacation. The last. Too heavy, big, fragile, and the internet is a relentless sucker of time and energy. I'm on vacation. My phone is my most crucial item; I'd be screwed if I dropped my phone in a river or it was stolen or damaged. So I use a little camera instead of waving my phone around all day.

Posted by
32268 posts


I normally travel with a small Netbook which I use for E-mail and for diarizing my trips, and posting Blog entries including photos. It's very light and small, and doesn't really add much to the weight of my travel gear. Although the keyboard is slightly smaller than a "normal" laptop, I usually adapt to it fairly quickly and the screen is much easier on my eyes than using a phone. One of the main advantages of using the Netbook is that it wasn't very expensive so it wouldn't be a major financial burden if it was lost, stolen or damaged. There's no way I will be taking my MacBook Air on trips.

Posted by
2252 posts

I have never brought my laptop along on any trip. I just use my phone. I have to travel this week with my laptop and am absolutely dreading lugging it along. If I could leave it behind, I would, but we are dealing with moving mom into a care facility and all the emails flying back and forth and needing to sign documents etc, the phone is not practical.

On your phone, you can enlarge the text. That might help so you don't nave to squint as much and then you can leave the laptop at home.

Posted by
19170 posts

I don't use a full sized laptop, just a 10" screen tablet. I know the screen on a phone would not be big enough for the things I do on my laptop. My Asus Transformer is definitely well worth the 2# (more than a phone) extra weight.

I originally acquired my Asus Transformer because I thought I would disconnect the keyboard (and save a pound in weight ) and take the touch screen tablet while I was out during the day. I found it to be such a pain trying to use the non-tactile phoney keyboard on the pad, that I now keep the keyboard attached.

A few years ago, we went to visit my partner's relatives in Maine at the house they had just moved into. They were getting directions into town from Siri. It seemed to me that we were going a long way around, but when I tried to check the route on my phone, if I could read the names of the streets, I couldn't see the entire route, and it I zoomed back to see the entire route, street names were not displayed, so I didn't know which streets they were taking. I got my laptop out when we got home, and then I could both see the entire route and read the street names. Sure enough, we were going the long way around. Seems a connection street on the shortest route was not recognized by Siri, so she wasn't using the shortest route. I could never have discovered that on just a phone.

Posted by
18827 posts

Allan, I have a Microsoft Surface which is barely larger than an iPad and I don't find it a big deal to carry around either.

I work a bit on the road and even for social media and emails and texts I prefer a real keyboard as opposed to pecking a cell phone.

Not worried about the data on it as it is password protected and it works mostly off the cloud and I can break that link at any time.
Besides work, I watch US TV and Netflix in the evening. If you use a US phone (TMobile for instance) as your data source both my US home cable supplier (which lets me watch on line) and NetFlix think I am in the US and all works fine.