« on: March 17, 2008, 02:34:18 am »
I am wondering what experiences others have had with taking a laptop on a tour. This past summer, I rode from Chicago to New York via a route slightly to the south of the ACA route. I stayed in corporate hotel/motel chains most nights when I was not at a friend or relative's home.
One of the biggest problems I had was communications. Internet cafes are very hard to find in the USA, although there is a lot of wireless. Most motels seemed to have a "business center" with some kind of PC, open until 10 pm or so.
This summer, I am going to be in eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria). My experience in Latin America was always that there are lots of small Internet cafes, usually for around $1.00 to $2.00 per hour. By contrast, they are almost non-existent in the USA. Even large Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver seem to have enough Internet cafes. Part of the problem in the USA is that most people have Internet for free at home, and if they don't, it is free at public libraries. Well, you can imagine how hard it was to do all your communicating at the free public library computer, with libraries now offering short hours, on your allotted 20 minutes.
Now that there are laptops under 3 lbs, I am thinking of taking one. Which one do you recommend. While I prefer Macintosh, it makes no difference to me for browsing and e-mail. Are there any small laptops that are sturdy enough for a long bike trip. How do you deal with preventing theft?
How easy is it to find wireless for free or at reasonable cost on a USA tour? How do you deal with keeping your batteries charge.
Now, as to eastern Europe, my impression is that Internet cafes are much more common in Europe, since there are more travelers, and people live in denser urban areas. But it has been several years since I have been in Europe, so I am not sure how things have changed.
I have some notion that maybe I should just get away from it all and leave computers at home.