We all travel with laptops these days (at least, those of us who haven't succumbed to BlackBerry envy yet). But are we doing so wisely? Here are some laptop travel tips I received via e-mail today from Michael Miller, author of the new book, Your First Notebook PC:
Don’t be tempted to place your notebook PC in a plane’s overhead storage area; it can easily get knocked around or even stolen by your fellow travelers. Instead, store it under the seat in front of you, where it’s always in sight.
Some long-haul flights provide power ports that supply 15V direct current to power your notebook and other devices. Your best bet for finding such power ports are on cross-country and international flights on American, Delta, United, and US Airways. To use a power port, you’ll need a compatible DC auto/air power adapter. Keep in mind that power adapters are device and model specific – although you can always go with the iGo Juice power cord, an all-in-one power adapter that connects your device to any AC or DC power source.
If you’re a mobile professional who likes to check in during driving breaks, consider investing in a mobile notebook desk that provides a good resting surface for your notebook. Some of these mounts attach to the passenger seat, some mount permanently
to the front floor of the car, and others just sit on your lap.
If you travel by car, use a cellular data card for roving Internet access. You’ll find lots of Wi-Fi hotspots when you stop your car at rest stops and hotel parking lots, but not on the highway. For connecting from anywhere you get cellular phone service, invest in a broadband cellular data card for your notebook, and the accompanying data service.
If you can get Internet service, there’s no reason not to use your notebook to help you navigate – and find gas stations, restaurants and hotels on the road. I like to use Google Maps for these tasks, although any general-purpose mapping site will do the trick.
If you’re traveling with kids, let them use your notebook PC for in-car entertainment. It can function as a mobile game player and a portable DVD player. For long trips, you might want to consider a rear seatback notebook mount.
For safety of your notebook PC, identify it before you take your trip. Try taping a business card to the bottom of your notebook; if it gets stolen and found, you can identify it as yours.
Take an extra battery – it doesn’t hurt to travel with a second fully-charged battery. When your main battery runs out, replace it with the auxiliary battery.
Want to keep your nosy seatmate or the guy at the next table from seeing what you’re typing? Use a privacy screen filter. It fits on your notebook screen and uses microlouver technology to reduce off-angle viewing. You can see what’s on screen, but people on your left and right can’t.