10 Smart Tips For Traveling With Your Laptop

I decided to create a list of my top tips for making traveling with a laptop easier and safer. Whether you use a laptop for business or personal use, most likely you take it with you as you travel. This can be short day to day trips such as office to home, or longer business trips. Whichever way your laptop tags along, you can use some or all of these tips to make your life easier.

The available options and accessories for laptops are endless. My selections incorporate not only some of the most needed accessories, but I also wanted to include security steps you should take to ensure your laptop remains protected.

1. BIOS Password
This is a must. Do not overlook securing your laptop in case it gets lost or stolen. It is simple enough to enter the BIOS on boot-up and enter a power-on password and also a hard drive password. The power-on password should be supervisor level which cannot be reset by clearing the CMOS. Also a hard drive password prevents someone from installing your drive in another machine to access your data.

2. Good Carry Case
This is a given and the selection of carry cases is such that you will be able to find the one that is best for you. I wanted to mention the backpack type carry bag. These are popular because they offer a lot of space for accessories in addition to your laptop. Backpacks also distribute the weight evenly and centered across your back which is much more comfortable than a shoulder bag that digs in after a few minutes. Again, the selection is wide for backpacks and you should find one appropriate to you.

3. Spare Battery/ AC adapter
I combined spare battery and AC adapter because I think both can be equally necessary. It makes sense to have a backup battery if you’re in a situation that you cannot connect an AC adapter. A nice AC adapter option for Thinkpads is the Lenovo 90W AC/DC Slim Combo Adapter, it is compact and made for portability.

4. USB Options
I’ve included various USB options for your laptop in this category. One such option is a USB flash/pen drive. You can store needed files to it for backup purposes or sensitive files you want to keep off the laptop. Another option is a full USB hard drive that lets you do complete backups of your system on the fly. Both USB devices come in various sizes to meet your file needs.

5. Software Firewall/ Antivirus Protection
This goes back to security. It’s always a good idea to install and run antivirus software on your machine for virus protection. Just as important is a software firewall, especially if you connect to wireless networks in your travels.

6. Wireless Mouse/ Ethernet Cable/ Cable Lock
Any additional accessory you deem necessary can be included but a few handy ones to have are a wireless mouse, ethernet cable and cable lock. These are pretty self explanatory as you never know when you might need them and the cable lock is another way to keep your laptop from walking off.

7. Screen Protector/ Privacy Filter
This is more for situations such as airplane travel where you find yourself sitting close to other people. A privacy filter goes over the LCD screen and blocks side viewing, but lets the person directly in front of the screen to see clearly.

8. Laptop Stand/ Lap Holder
Setting your laptop directly on your lap can get quite warm so a lap holder is just the answer. It simply goes in between and protects your lap from the heat of the laptop.

9. Backup Often Before Your Trip
A good policy to follow is backup often. A portable computer is more likely to have hard drive failures simply because of all the movement. So why not reduce the risk of losing your data by backing up at home or the office before you even start your trip? An easy backup software tool is built right into the Windows operating system. Backup to CD, DVD, or another drive.

10. LoJack For Laptops
This one I have not used but I think is very cool and worth considering. The description below is from the company who makes the product:

Computrace LoJack for Laptops by Absolute Software, Inc., is a computer tracking and loss control software service. It can help authorities to determine the location of a lost or stolen when the system is reconnected to the Internet. When the software is properly installed and working on your computer, the Absolute Software Monitoring Center acts as a sentinel, keeping track of Computrace-equipped PCs. Absolute Software’s Web-based reports give you unlimited access to your PC asset data, 24 hours a day.

So that’s it. These are my top 10 tips for making any trip easier, more secure and hopefully a complete success.
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