Will Your Laptop Allow You To Leave It At Home?

We keep hearing about how we are shifting into the post-PC era. An era where mobile devices, cloud storage and apps that do everything will take the place of the traditional desktop, and even possibly the laptop.

Not so fast.

If the self-identified Indie-traveling backpackers over on the BootsNAll forums are struggling with the idea of giving up their laptops on their upcoming trips then we aren’t quite post-PC yet.

DaveHz begins the conversation with a sort of free flowing word association post in which he questions the balance between the usefulness and weight of a laptop:

I’m going to Europe for 3 months-ish … is there any obvious reason that i’m missing for taking my laptop too? … are there major advantages of having a computer available that i should consider?

I basically need you guys to sway me either way, so on the flip side: Are there major disadvantages of taking a laptop if it won’t be that useful?

A high percentage of DaveHz’s fellow BootsNAllers recommend leaving the laptop at home, but there are a few who still can’t imagine taking a long trip without one:

…on my long travels, I always take my laptop. I use it for work, entertainment (i.e. downloading movies), keeping in touch, and backing up my pictures in case something happens to the camera. ~Wanderled

I ended up buying a netbook purely for use when travelling. I don’t take it with me on every trip; if I’m going for only a week or less I just rely on my phone for internetting etc. However for anything longer, I love having the computer; being able to research destinations/accom in advance, being able write decent length emails without a world of autocorrect pain, backing up photos and watching movies on long bus/train trips… all things that are possible but not easy/fun to do on a phone. ~Lucky Luke

For most ThreadTripping/BoardingArea readers I would expect taking a laptop on your trips isn’t just a no-brainer, it’s practically a requirement – possibly even an actual requirement for your job, even if taking vacation time. But this discussion got me to wondering if that is true.

If you don’t have to, do you travel with a laptop? Or do you find a smartphone or tablet to be sufficient nowadays?

And a somewhat unrelated question – are there any backpackers who are reading this? Or, more to the point, is there any overlap at all between frequent business travelers/miles and points collectors and hostel-staying backpackers? Do any of you fit into both categories?

Lots of questions and not many answers in this post. If answers are what you are after, I encourage you to read the thread in its entirety: laptop or no laptop, that is the question

And maybe, just maybe, we won’t be the ones to answer the question as to when the laptop can be turned off and left behind 😉

Image: “guatemala_65” by Jocelyn Saurini. CC BY 2.0.


  1. Most of the obstacles of not having a laptop these days (as oppose to just having an iPad), is the access to files. In that case, you can just buy yourself a NAS box like Synology, and have your files sit on the server to be retrieve at anytime.

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