Lap top on the road in SE Asia.
I am going to Asia later this year. I am debating whether or whether not I should take my lap top computer with me. I would like some input from other travellers what their experiences were having a lap top with them on their travels.
I haven't traveled with my laptop in Asia (except to my house in Japan) but I don't think I would recommend it. There are millions of computer shops that you can get online at all over the area and most laptops won't fit in the room safes, so if you didn't want it with you, it would be hard to secure. Unless you have a very durable one that can take a beating, you would probably want to leave it in your room when you were out and about for the most part. I think the only country out of the ones I have been to in Asia, that I didn't get online was Vietnam and I am sure I could have gotten online there if I had looked for it (we were only there for a short time so I didn't worry about it). Even Cambodia had tons of internet shops, and places to transfer and offload pictures as well.
I've been travelling with a laptop for a year (I write books), but could get by without it very easily. It's rare to be more than five minutes from an internet cafe in any town or city.
In vietnam almost hotel has internet, with the small hotels they have CPU and free internet. Big Hotel internet in room but no CPU in room, but you can use it in business centre...
Many cafe internet shops on the street.
another question is....
How available is wireless internet going to be when traveling s.e asia in budget accomadations??
I'm thinking of buying an asus, as they are only 7'' and very light weight. At $250, it isnt a huge investment and i probably wouldnt worry about it too much.
Is there enough free wi-fi around to make it worth it?
With current time, almost hotel from budget have wifi(free) in their hotel , in coffee, bar and some public area but in the big city. With the small cities, has coffee with free Wifi
If you want a budget trip and take a laptop as well. You may have to pay for non-budget drinks to get wifi
The standard rate for an internet cafe ranges from about $1-2 an hour, or about 2 cents a minute. Every budget accommodation has internet inside or just out the door. You'll have to spend about four hours a day for forty days on your laptop with free wireless to save $250 on internet connections. In my experience, unless you are trekking in the remote Himalayas or travelling in the jungle and writing about it every day, a laptop isn't really worth it.
Actually I didn't take my laptop as I felt it would be too bulky. I used an iPod to store my photos. But the advent of smaller lap tops like the Acer 8.3" is making re-access whether I would take a lap top in the future. Partly to act as a second store for photographs and partly so I can do my blogging in the privacy of a hotel room and manipulate my photographs using my own software.
Unless you need a laptop for actual work I would still leave it home - although the smaller laptops are tempting.
In Asia there are just so many internet shops that it still is not necessary to have your own computer.
I do see more McDonalds going free wifi - or at least nurse a cup of coffee for an hour or so and it is almost free.
Around 3 years ago I started using a Flash Drive when I travel. I have several free programs on that flash drive that almost matches what I have on my home computers. I have Firefox and Opera, ClamWin Anti-virus and Notepad. The Firefox home page has the same layout as my Mac and Toshiba, it has the same Toolbar saves, the same "look" that I have on my home computer. Best of all a flash drive fits in my pocket or in any safe deposit box that many hotels have - unlike a laptop!
I plug that flash drive into an internet computer and it is (almost) like sitting at my home computer. I can access my favorite forums and email accounts and I can save links to my favorites choice. Working with the Opera browser on I can look up data on that and cut and paste to the Firefox browser. I use Notepad when I am accessing my bank accounts. I copy or cut and paste my passwords and bank address instead of typing directly on to the computer. My opinion, I think that cutting and pasting passwords and account numbers from the Notepad to access my bank account websites is a little safer than using an internet shop computer directly.
The FD is also password protected. I do worry about leaving it in an internet shop and attached a long lace to that I keep in view. I use the ClamWin anti-virus to run a scan on the FD before I leave for home. I don't want to move a virus from the FD to my home computer. I do run another scan with my home computer before I open anything on the FD at home.
Often when I am in an internet shop overseas I access my hometown radio station on the Opera browser while working off the Firefox browser. I prefer Firefox and work off that browser about 80%!o(MISSING)f the time.
Flash drives are so cheap now that you can pick up one and use it to store many hundreds of photos.
To be honest, I have run across a few safety boxes that were barely large enough for something 7 inches but not too many! Most of the safety boxes I have used have been kind of narrow. It is tempting to bring a real small laptop - but I would probably drop it or some tourist will swipe it from me.
After you are done using an internet shop computer don't forget to clear your data trail, links and any passwords that you accidentally stored.