How To Prepare Your Laptop For Travelling

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Get a heavily padded carrying case or pack that fits your laptop computer, your peripherals and any accessories you need to carry. It’s wise to select a case that isn’t obviously for a laptop, to deter theft. Backpacks with laptop compartments work great. My Lululemon Cruiser Pack works very well for me.

Leave your external DVD-ROM drive or other components you won’t really need at home, but rememember your charger adapter. If you’re going to be gone for more than a week, and you store more data than it’s practical to backup with an online service, you will want to bring along a compact backup hard drive. I’ve discovered that the padded water bottle ‘parkas’ they sell to winter backpackers at camping stores work great for protecting external hard drives. If you’re going to use your laptop on the plane, bring an extra charged battery or two.

Remember to take out your removable disks from drives and any memory cards before your trip.

If you’re traveling internationally, bring power and telephone-jack adapters. Find out the power requirements and plug shapes for your destination before you leave. Do not plug your laptop directly into a foreign outlet, even if you have something that changes the plug shape, or you may melt your computer. Always use a quality adapter for your computer that claims it can handle the voltage at your destination. You’ll want to confirm that the adapter can handle your computer’s current draw as well.

Do some checking online and through your travel agent. Is wi-fi Internet available where you’re going, or will you be connnecting with a telephone cord? Learn how you can connect to your ISP if necessary and obtain the required telephone numbers. If you will be purchasing Internet access cards where you are travelling, remember to allow for them in your trip budget.

Scan and back up all important documents before you leave. Check your insurance and warranty coverage.

Be sure your battery is fully charged before you leave, so you can boot your latpop if required by customs or security personnel.

Avoid leaving your computer unattended in the airport or coffee shop. If you have to leave for the washroom, don’t leave your computer and luggage in the care of another trustworthy looking traveller. Airport theives usually pose as travellers with their own luggage in tow. Bring your laptop bag along with you to the washroom. If you can’t fit your luggage into the stall with you, use your cable lock to secure it to a pipe or stall leg. When using a cable lock, always attach the cable directly to the computer. Do not loop a cable through the handle of your luggage. Airport theives are professionals and they carry knives to cut luggage handles.

Deter theft and damage by monitoring your laptop closely as it travels through the x-ray machine. An X-ray machine will not erase your data, but a metal detector can. I ask for a manual inspection. Keep your laptop out of overhead bins and in plain sight when flying.

When you land, change the date and time settings and the modem settings, if necessary.

Happy travelling!

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