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V2-OMG!
24th Oct 2008, 05:00
Since PPRuNe is such an international site and many of you traverse the world, I need some advice please, about travelling with my laptop.

I am quite excited about going on a writing assignment to Vietnam, but am worried about the security of my laptop. As you can appreciate, my professional life is my computer. If it was stolen, it would be devastating!

Can you please tell me what you have gleaned from experience -
or any advice which would help me insure the security of my laptop when abroad?

Would you also know of any airlines which do not allow laptops as carry-on luggage, or do you have any other suggestions when flying with a laptop?

Thanking you in advance,
V2.

Jetex Jim
24th Oct 2008, 05:17
Well first thing would be to get one of those usb harddrive thingies, and back everything up to it, these are big enough now to keep everything imaginable in copy. Put it in a safe place, bob's your mothers brother.

Loose rivets
24th Oct 2008, 06:02
Its a tough call. I've given up on trying to commute with mine, I've left my old faithful behind and pick it up as soon as possible on return to the UK.

Okay, the UK is easy, the far east and no family there to leave kit with...difficult.

Back up is fine, but really, you need to be able to have a fall-back laptop to resort to. How about an oldie? Do you just need it for writing, or more demanding things like photos and even films? It would be nifty if it had the same hard-drive plug, but that would imply a more contemporary cost.

An external hard drive that would work on both would give a lot of insurance. The oldie might have to have drivers for Windows SE if it were of low value.

My spare is almost valueless in monetary terms, but I do more work on that than all the others put together. For a start, I can't get on the net on it, so I don't pprune anywhere near as much. :hmm:

Scooby Don't
24th Oct 2008, 06:36
Rivets is on to a good idea there - a used laptop for a hundred squids or so would be a good travelling companion. If backing up to a HDD is impractical in Vietnam, it's probably worth saving all your documents and photos to CD, and even the cheapest used laptop will likely have a CD drive.

In addition, instead of the usual laptop bag, how about getting a backback laptop bag? They have such things in PC World in the UK, Best Buy in North America and supermarkets in the Middle East! They look like regular small backpacks but have all the necessary padding, and they make good carry-on bags for flying with. When the trip is over, you can then use the bag as a cooler - I kid ye not! I put a few cans of cold stuff in mine and said cans are still cold after 7 or 8 hours. :ok:

Bushfiva
24th Oct 2008, 06:38
my professional life is my computer. If it was stolen, it would be devastating

Actually, the data on it is everything, the computer is just a tool. Assuming you already look after your data via backups, etc., and you just want to survive your computer being damaged or stolen, you need to have a very recent, or even the primary, set of your data in another location.

Consider using Google Docs, where Google gets to look after your data for you.

If you have a home computer which will be on all the time, there are applications that will keep your notebook and desktop computer synched automagically whenever the notebook has an internet connection. For a local solution, you might try real-time backup software (Comodo springs to mind) which will back up files to, say, a USB stick. Then you have two physical copies available locally: in the notebook, and on the USB stick. Keep the USB stick very separate from the computer when not in use, of course: never in the same bag, for example.

The main thing is to ensure your data is available to you when your computer vanishes.

Juud
24th Oct 2008, 08:35
Have a look here (http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&laptop_bag=1).
I have found that while pricey, their products give peace of mind.

... of course they donīt protect against thieving TSA staff going through your luggage ... :ugh:

ThreadBaron
24th Oct 2008, 09:50
I put a few cans of cold stuff in mine and said cans are still cold after 7 or 8 hours. http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/thumbs.gif

Forgive the creep but I could not not comment. '7 or 8 hours'! You're supposed to drink them, not keep them as museum exhibits.

mixture
24th Oct 2008, 10:29
V2-OMG!,

What is this thread doing in Jet Blast rather than Computers and Internet where it blatantly belongs ?

insure the security of my laptop when abroad?
Make a good backup before you leave. Two copies, one to leave at home, one to take with you.

Don't over rely on USB or flash drives, combine them with something like the LaCie Rugged Hard Disk.

Would you also know of any airlines which do not allow laptops as carry-on luggage

I've yet to find one.


Consider using Google Docs, where Google gets to look after your data for you.

Have you read the terms and conditions ?

I think you'll find there is no guarantee of your data being there when you need it.

Scooby Don't
24th Oct 2008, 11:37
For ThreadBaron's benefit, and amendment to my previous....

The first one out of the bag is cold. As is the second. The third is also cold. The fourth is cold too. You may have guessed this already, but the fifth one is cold. And, after 7 or 8 hours from the initial placement of pop cans in bag, the sixth one happens to at a pleasantly cool temperature. Happy TB?

Sallyann1234
24th Oct 2008, 13:48
Invest in a USB thumb drive attached to a strong cord. Set up all your applications to read and save files onto the USB drive, and when it's not actually in use keep it around your neck under your clothes.
If your laptop is lost or stolen you still have your data and you have kept it out of the clutches of the finder/thief.

mixture
24th Oct 2008, 17:40
Sallyann1234,

Or you just use Truecrypt or one of the many other hard drive encryption products ! :cool:

USB Flash should not be relied on as your sole or primary storage medium, it's not always as reliable as you may like to think. As a backup incase of thiefdom, fine ..... but as primary storage.... not for me, thanks !

Bushfiva
24th Oct 2008, 18:04
it's not always as reliable as you may like to thinkOne manufacturer quotes its SLC-NAND based products as having 6 to 36 times the MTBF of a 2.5" hard drive. Anyway, the original poster simply wants to preserve his work if his notebook gets nicked in the unimaginable hinterland of Vietnam, despite it being one of the world's most open economies with two-way trade being 170% of GDP, putting it far ahead of China, and with less poverty than, say, China, India and the Philippines. The notebook's probably going to be in a less risky environment than, say, much of the USA.

Sallyann1234
24th Oct 2008, 18:36
Or you just use Truecrypt or one of the many other hard drive encryption products !

That will only solve one problem - you still lose the data with the laptop.


USB Flash should not be relied on as your sole or primary storage medium, it's not always as reliable as you may like to think. As a backup incase of thiefdom, fine ..... but as primary storage.... not for me, thanks !
I've got any number of USB drives used for transporting data and delivering projects, and I have to say I've never had one fail - whereas I've had quite a few hard disk failures.
I wasn't actually referring to primary storage - the OP was talking about travelling with a laptop and I'm sure would have left secure backups at home. If any updates made while travelling are particularly critical, then a second thumb drive hidden in a case (with Truecrypt, natch) would be the way to go.

ChrisVJ
24th Oct 2008, 20:15
I have had a laptop stolen while travelling, (on Rome Termini, lovely cafe but a den of thieves!) It was a major disaster but luckily I had already backed some of the pictures up to CD. Still lost a bunch of lovely ones from Rome though.

Now I never travel abroad with my main laptop. When I updated because the old one failed I took the old one to Thailand and got it fixed. Now I keep it with a barebones set of software and use it for travelling and back up to thumbs drives or CD regularly.

Another, though not too frequent, hazard is customs on return. They have been known to take away computers to go through them and hold them sometimes for months.

The Flying Pram
25th Oct 2008, 15:47
What about one of the latest notebooks that use flash memory instead of conventional hard drives. They are small and light, and should stand up to rough treatment better. Prices seem to start at around Ģ150 - not much more than an old S/H laptop. As an extra form of back up would it be possible to Email your writings back home as a simple text document? Unless these are really large it should be straightforward even if you only have a dial up connection. Have somebody collect them from your mailbox regularly and store them for your return.

V2-OMG!
25th Oct 2008, 18:07
What is this thread doing in Jet Blast rather than Computers and Internet where it blatantly belongs ?

Pardon me for breeching your controlled airspace -
but my question was not tech-specific per se. I wanted to address the security aspects of leaving a laptop in a hotel room, what (if any) airlines do not allow them as carry-on etc.


Thanks to all who have responded. Much appreciated! I'm wading my way through your replies.

V2-OMG!
25th Oct 2008, 18:10
Another, though not too frequent, hazard is customs on return. They have been known to take away computers to go through them and hold them sometimes for months.

Chris, what customs are you referring to? Canada? U.S?.....or?

Ripline
25th Oct 2008, 19:09
Asus EEPC in either XP or Linux versions for around Ģ200 at PC World.

No hard drive, but 4Gb solid state memory. 3 x USB ports, built-in wireless, network and VGA port. Batteries last for several hours. Small, lightweight (about 970 grams. 23x16x2cm) with mailler, browser, utilities such as Open Office, even a webcam, with a few USB sticks you couldn't really do much better. Small enough to carry in a bag or camera case. Wouldn't take anything else abroad!

Ripline