Author Topic: Laptops while touring?  (Read 5521 times)

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Offline metzenberg

Laptops while touring?
« on: March 17, 2008, 05:34:18 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.

Howard Metzenberg

Offline MrBent

Laptops while touring?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 02:05:28 pm »
Hey, Howard:

This model, the EeePC , seems to be the one for bike touring.  I'm hoping to get one myself.  Rumor has it that the company is coming out with a 9" screen model, which would be my preference.



Offline bogiesan

Laptops while touring?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2008, 12:33:42 am »
> I have some notion that maybe I should just get away from it all and
leave computers at home.

Well, that's my suggestion. I'd never want to take a $1-3K toy along on
a tour. Easy to have it ripped off. And it's three to five pounds of
absolutely dead weight (include the charger, universal power adapters,
cables, protective case, some blank DVDs, some movies, maybe a
system restore disk, oh, and thyat bluetooth headset, that's cool, and,
hey, why not the wireless mouse, and that groovy USB LED thingy for
typing in the tent in the dark, oh, an maybe that solar charger.  

How did we ever get along with cell phones, computers, Internet, and
GPS back in the olden days?
We hit the road and we made a few collect telephone calls and we
wrote postcards.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline DaveB

Laptops while touring?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2008, 10:00:01 pm »
I'm not really up on these gadgets but don't many cell phones and PDAs have internet and e-mail capabilities?  These would be a lot cheaper and lighter than any laptop, if less convenient to use.

WiFi is available in many chain coffee shops and restaurants like Starbucks and Panaras as well as most chain motels.  

Offline scott.laughlin

Laptops while touring?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2008, 10:46:03 pm »
I would rely on a cell phone with international service and send text messages.  In addition, I would take along a spiral notebook, ballpoint and a digital camera.

Offline driftlessregion

Laptops while touring?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2008, 11:26:58 pm »
Nothing beats a colorful postcard.