16 Tips for the SMB Laptop Traveler

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

by John Beagle

If you are traveling and need computing power, you could lug your laptop computer to your final destination.

If you do decide to travel with your laptop, here are some laptop travel tips.

1. Make sure that you are familiar with your laptop before you depart on a trip.

2. Never check your laptop as checked baggage during commercial travel especially air travel.

3. Have contact telephone numbers for technical support: Bring phone numbers and bookmark websites for companies from which you may need technical support or downloads during your trip. As with passwords, it might be best to write these down and put in wallet.

4. Recovery boot disks: Have a recovery boot disk handy. Also any necessary disks and information for re-installs and downloads. Boot disks, recovery or start up disks, ghost images, contain all of the system files necessary to get your computer up and running again if it has problems.

5. Test Wireless Connection: Test your laptop wireless connection before you leave. The last place you'll want to deal with not being able to get on the 'net', is on the road. If you don't have wireless at work or home, go to a Starbucks or other wireless area to test your wireless connection. Here is a Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access Hot Spot List

6. Thumb Drive: It's a good idea to keep your important documents encrypted and on a thumb drive. You lose your laptop, you still have your data. Note: Do not store your thumb drive in your laptop case. Your entire laptop and case could easily be stolen in public places.

8. Firewall Virus Protection: A virus is a virus, no matter where you get it, Rome, London or at your office. Make sure your laptop is virus protected. While some wireless Internet access providers do incorporate a firewall program into their service you are still much safer with your own firewall program running.

9. Password protect your laptop and  encrypt documents on your laptop so if it is stolen, no one else can access your data.

10. Change Date and Time when you arrive at your destination. Make sure you change the date and time on your laptop. It sounds simple, but it is an important step to take while traveling. Knowing what the correct date and time is for where you are working will ensure that you don't miss meetings and stay organized.

11. When you go through airport security, you may be asked to turn your laptop on. Make sure your battery has enough power left to boot. You could use the "suspend" mode (Windows) for faster booting. It will restart quickly and consume almost no battery power, leaving the maximum battery charge if you want to work during the flight. (for Mac users, it is the "sleep" mode)

12. The x-ray machines at the airports will not damage your computer or your media. However, many people have had their computers stolen as it comes out of the conveyor belt. Be sure not to leave your computer unattended. Don't send your laptop through the airport X-ray conveyor belt until it's your turn to walk through the metal detector.

13. Take your laptop purchase receipt along if you're traveling to a foreign country. I have a photo copy in my laptop carry case. This way you can avoid paying import tax if a customs agent challenges you.

14. Take a spare battery and charge all your batteries before you leave on a trip. You never know when they'll get the next charge.

15. Limit confidential information transmission, such as any credit purchases and reservations or anything with a Social Security number. Wired or wireless, unfamiliar networks are always potentially dangerous.

16. Adaptor Plug Sets: If you are a