The most expensive piece of kit and possibly one of the biggest decision to make is whether to bring a laptop or not. The majority of backpackers we met had laptops with them. There is a view that backpacking and travelling is a reason to get away from the normal life of work, being connected all the time, so why take a laptop with you?
We didn’t take a laptop with us for a few reasons. At home we both work in jobs which involve being on a computer all day, when we get home we then went onto a laptop. It was a good chance to get away from them and talk to each other! The majority of laptop owners we met were on their own. You’re not always going to find people to talk to so they are a good way to entertain yourself.
Some negatives and positives.
-ve – Extra weight to carry. A normal laptop can be 1kg, smaller ones are lighter like netbooks.
-ve – Can be expensive to buy if you haven’t got one.
-ve – Another item to lose, worry about or break.
-ve – You’re still connected (not sure if this is a positive or a negative).
-ve – You’ll tend to go on your laptop rather than talk to people.
+ve – You can back your photos up
+ve – Entertainment
+ve – Don’t have to wait for a computer or pay for one.
+ve – Easier to keep in touch
So points on both sides, however we found a great compromise – The iPod touch / Wireless smart phone.
The iPod touch is basically an iPhone without the phone functionality. So it can connect to wireless, email, internet, apps such as Skype etc. It’s very small so it’s easy to carry around. Any smart phone is the same, e.g. a Samsung Galaxy phone will be the same. When we were away all we used on computers was email, Internet and Skype, the only missing ability with a iPod touch / smart phone is being able to upload photos. However you just need to jump on a computer, not such a bad point considering you can fit it in your pocket.