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Should I bring my laptop overseas?

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Should I bring my laptop overseas?

Yes, always
7
88%
Yes if it's a safe, first-world country, No if it's not.
1
13%
No, never
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 8

Should I bring my laptop overseas?

Postby YoucancallmeAl » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:56 pm

Should I bring my laptop with me or leave it and possibly buy a new one when I get to the country I plan on spending most of my time? (probably the Philippines but maybe continental Europe as well.)
My friend tells me laptops get stolen a lot, particularly in third-world countries. But I don't want to get stuck waiting in line to buy an hour a day at internet cafes.
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Postby Think Different » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:52 am

You might plan on encrypting and mailing your computer to your destination via FedEx. You can also avoid the snoopy and (lately) tyrannical TSA that way. Not that I'd recommend EVER putting anything illegal or sensitive on that computer or trying to cross the border with it. Invest in a 3 month membership with Carbonite and upload your data there, remove it from your computer and then download it again, once you've gotten to your (high-speed connected) destination.
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Postby E_Irizarry » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:00 pm

RedDog wrote:You might plan on encrypting and mailing your computer to your destination via FedEx. You can also avoid the snoopy and (lately) tyrannical TSA that way. Not that I'd recommend EVER putting anything illegal or sensitive on that computer or trying to cross the border with it. Invest in a 3 month membership with Carbonite and upload your data there, remove it from your computer and then download it again, once you've gotten to your (high-speed connected) destination.


Agreed. Even though I never had a TSA go through my computer. Even though one TSA reject tried to press on my fuckin' laptop screen really hard for friggin assumed contraband stashed there!
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Postby Jackal » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:32 pm

I would say bring your laptop, but be careful to use the right electricity converter for it so you don't fry it by accident.

RedDog wrote:You might plan on encrypting and mailing your computer to your destination via FedEx. You can also avoid the snoopy and (lately) tyrannical TSA that way.

I don't know the details of FedEx delivery abroad, but I generally wouldn't send anything valuable through the mail service of a less-developed country. Hungary's postal service is notorious for stealing things from international packages. I think it's much smarter to bring your laptop in your carry-on bag and not to let it leave your site.

Who gives a flying f**k if the TSA goes through your computer? Delete all your web history and temporary caches. Delete all your porn--it ain't hard to find more later. Having a TSA guy look at your computer in front of you is much better than receiving the package you sent with no laptop inside when you get to the foreign country. And the package might dropped or stuck under really heavy boxes along the way, so it might very well be broken if you are lucky enough not to have it stolen by the mail service there.

Either bring your laptop in your carry-on or sell it and buy one there--but don't mail it there!

Another smart thing would be to carry your laptop in a bag which is not a laptop carrying case. A laptop carrying case announces to every thief in the area, "Hey look! I'm carrying a laptop!" Put your laptop between clothes or pillows in a backpack or some other type of normal bag.

One important rule in less-developed countries is to hide your valuables so that you don't attract attention. Perhaps buy a cheap watch instead of one that looks fancy and shiny. Don't put a wallet which is full of change in your pants pocket because it creates an eye-catching bulge for thieves.

Wearing a money belt is also good. Try not to look confused even when you are confused or lost. Be aware of your surroundings. Look confident. If you are the same race as the locals, they might not be able to tell that you're a foreigner if you don't speak and if you dress plainly. Learn to say a few basic words in the local language, so that you can avoid attracting attention to yourself by not speaking English when you don't want to be noticed. For example, when the ticket inspector comes up to you and says, "Hello" in the local language, then you can just mumble, "Hello," in reply as you show him your ticket. This is in contrast to blurting out, "Gee, Hi. I'm American. I don't really speak your language well yet. What do you want?" And then the whole train will be staring at you. Although if you've broken some rule by accident and the conductor is trying to get money out of you, then it can be handy to put on the "Gee, I don't understand. I only speak English routine" because most conductors don't speak English well and won't want to go through the hassle with you.

Don't leave your bags unattended for a moment or they might be gone when you look at them again.

Not every place is so bad, and you'll eventually learn which places are safe and which are not, but in the beginning, it pays to be cautious. I've been to the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary over the past three or so years, and I have never been robbed once due to my caution.

Don't get into taxis which are waiting on the street. Avoid taxis in general. Call one if necessary.
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Postby zzzz » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:31 pm

Jackal wrote:I would say bring your laptop, but be careful to use the right electricity converter for it so you don't fry it by accident.


Very low chance of this, almost all laptops will work on any power grid world wide. Just check to make sure. For instance mine is fine on 100-240v.

I would say bring it, else what is the point of having a laptop? If you don't care to use them much don't worry about it but for me I like to spend a few hours online a day or play some games every once in a while. There is probably very little chance of it getting stolen if it remains locked up inside a hotel or apartment, etc.
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Postby E_Irizarry » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:03 pm

zzzz wrote:
Jackal wrote:I would say bring your laptop, but be careful to use the right electricity converter for it so you don't fry it by accident.


Very low chance of this, almost all laptops will work on any power grid world wide. Just check to make sure. For instance mine is fine on 100-240v.

I would say bring it, else what is the point of having a laptop? If you don't care to use them much don't worry about it but for me I like to spend a few hours online a day or play some games every once in a while. There is probably very little chance of it getting stolen if it remains locked up inside a hotel or apartment, etc.



The Philippines and Australia are high voltage and will fry a 110V because they are 220-240 over there.
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Postby Marcus Aurelius » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:49 pm

Yeah, bring it. I brought mine to Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia. No problems at all. But make sure you do have the right power converters like they said.
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Postby Winston » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:25 pm

It depends on what you need a laptop for. If just for email, there are many internet cafes nowadays, even in cheap third world countries. Just put all the files you need on a memory stick and carry it with you, and upload your essential files to a webspace somewhere, so that you can download them later.

No need to bring your laptop unless you have important business to do with it. It's stressful constantly worrying about your laptop getting stolen and becomes a burden after a while.

It's best to travel light anyway, so you can see as many places as possible.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:26 am

Winston is right. Unless you really use it everyday for business or something, don't bother. I hate having to constantly keep my eye and mind on it. I did bring mine and when I got to Philippines I barely touched it for the first couple of months. Later when I really needed to work, though, it was nice to have.

I worry about internet cafes. I have heard stories of them installing key loggers or stroke recorders on computers and getting your usernames and passwords. I would never log into my online banking or Paypal in an internet cafe. I keep all of my data backed up elsewhere. Online is best if you can get such a service. That way it is not too huge a loss if your laptop does get stolen.

Nothing has ever happened to my laptop in all my travels, though, but I am very careful and rarely take the bag of my shoulder. My bag is nondescript, not very new, and could be anything, so it doesn't necessarily scream "laptop". I knew one guy who carried his everywhere in a raggedy old shopping bag. He never had a problem.
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Postby Jackal » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:37 pm

zzzz wrote:There is probably very little chance of it getting stolen if it remains locked up inside a hotel or apartment, etc.

Hmm, having it locked in your apartment would be okay if you don't have a landlord who frequently lets himself in. I've read about many people in Eastern European countries who had this happen. Thankfully, I never lived in such a place and my apartment is quite secure and surrounded by nosy, old women.

Locked in a hotel room? I don't know... Most hotel safes are too small to put a laptop inside, and I wouldn't trust the cleaning staff not to steal it. Having the front desk "watch it" for you? Haha. I'd never do that.

Perhaps if you found some very unusual place in your hotel room to hide it...
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Postby Think Different » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:32 pm

I still think paying the $50/year for Carbonite service is a good idea, and then your data's safe on remote servers. Also, if you install LastPass on your computer (it's free), you can keep all your passwords on their servers and it will only pop up with ****** when you log into a secure website, and you don't have to type anything at all. That should keep away keyloggers and stroke recorders (sounds kinky) from seeing your passwords. I'm no expert in these matters, but it seems to cover most basic bases.
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Postby E_Irizarry » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:23 pm

Terrence wrote:Winston is right. Unless you really use it everyday for business or something, don't bother. I hate having to constantly keep my eye and mind on it. I did bring mine and when I got to Philippines I barely touched it for the first couple of months. Later when I really needed to work, though, it was nice to have.

I worry about internet cafes. I have heard stories of them installing key loggers or stroke recorders on computers and getting your usernames and passwords. I would never log into my online banking or Paypal in an internet cafe. I keep all of my data backed up elsewhere. Online is best if you can get such a service. That way it is not too huge a loss if your laptop does get stolen.

Nothing has ever happened to my laptop in all my travels, though, but I am very careful and rarely take the bag of my shoulder. My bag is nondescript, not very new, and could be anything, so it doesn't necessarily scream "laptop". I knew one guy who carried his everywhere in a raggedy old shopping bag. He never had a problem.


Great post, dude.
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Postby Contrarian Expatriate » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:37 am

Yes, bring it. I would caution you to have a couple of backup means like flash drive at home and in a separate place in case it gets stolen.

Also, ensure you have plenty of anti-malware software up to date like Norton, Ad-Aware, Malaware, and Spybot Search and Destroy. If you run these at least weekly, you will not have a problem with catching viruses.

Also be sure you have a good firewall like ZoneAlarm actitvated.

If it gets stolen, get a new one, but you will have all of your critical files in a separate hard drive or pen drive.
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Postby zzzz » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:18 pm

E_Irizarry wrote:The Philippines and Australia are high voltage and will fry a 110V because they are 220-240 over there.


No, this is incorrect, almost all laptops are fine with any power supply. They are designed to world wide specs and for travel, else what is the point of them? Even the oldest laptop I have which is from 2005 or something works on 100-240v. Just read the power adapter, on the back it will list what specs it has, and the laptop usually is exactly the same.

Jackal wrote:Hmm, having it locked in your apartment would be okay if you don't have a landlord who frequently lets himself in. I've read about many people in Eastern European countries who had this happen. Thankfully, I never lived in such a place and my apartment is quite secure and surrounded by nosy, old women.

Locked in a hotel room? I don't know... Most hotel safes are too small to put a laptop inside, and I wouldn't trust the cleaning staff not to steal it. Having the front desk "watch it" for you? Haha. I'd never do that.

Perhaps if you found some very unusual place in your hotel room to hide it...


Well if you can't find a secure apartment or hotel you are probably f***ed anyways. You'd get robbed of various things like your passport, cash, wallet, credit cards, and other important things then too. I still believe it is possible to find a secure apartment or hotel.

Laptops have another great feature, they have a Kensington lock slot. http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.45 I have some of these and they work great. I'd be willing to bet they'd deter 99% of laptop thieves. Just loop it around a sturdy table or chair or something else that isn't easily broken or moved. How many thieves do you think would break apart a sturdy chair or take a chair with them to steal the laptop attached to it? Doing so is going to take a lot more time and effort.

I find it funny on a forum advocating going abroad a lot of the members seem to think all the people abroad will rob you blind. :roll: The whole point of a laptop is for travel, isn't that why you bought one? I agree if you don't use a laptop much why bother but I like to use Facebook, email, surf the web a lot, watch videos, play games, etc so for me it's more important than TV (and can actually serve as my TV as well).

Also I'd agree internet cafes are full of key loggers you even hear about them in the Western countries.
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Postby Jackal » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:51 pm

zzzz wrote:Well if you can't find a secure apartment or hotel you are probably f***ed anyways. You'd get robbed of various things like your passport, cash, wallet, credit cards, and other important things then too.

No, if you keep your passport, extra cash, credit cards, etc. in a money belt which you always wear under your pants, you can get by even if you temporarily live in a place which is not secure.
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