When you're on the go, traveling with your laptop or notebook, whether it's for business or pleasure, there are a few simple things that you can do to make life easier. It's always a hassle for people to be uprooted, but if you prepare yourself in advance, you'll have much more time to enjoy yourself.
One of the most frustrating things that any frequent traveler will tell you is that access to the Internet isn't always easy to find. Most airports have a WiFi network, but in most cases, you'll have to pay in order to surf. Some airports will offer you 30 to 60 minutes free before they charge while others are start charging right away.
Most airports have a business center where you can access the Internet for free for a while, at least. Sure, you won't be surfing with your computer, but it's better than paying $5-20 an hour to surf. Alternatively, if you have enough reward points, you can have access to VIP lounges where WiFi service can be free, depending on the air carrier.
Remember that Starbucks is offering free Internet at all of their locations in the US, so you can always duck into one to get free surfing while enjoying a coffee. If you have time to waste, Starbucks or any other coffee shop offering free Internet is a boon to travelers. You can easily spend hours in there, working and surfing.
Another big problem is finding a power outlet for your power hungry laptop. Most laptops have a battery life of a few hours at the most, 5 if your laptop battery is new, but at the end, you'll need to juice up. In the bigger airports, it's easy to find power outlets. They are usually integrated in the waiting areas. However, sometimes you'll have to get creative. Power outlets can be found near any HDTV playing the news for travelers. Nothing stops you from plugging in your laptop for a while.
There is a power setting for low-powered surfing that you should always use when traveling. It usually lowers the brightness of your screen and switches off your Bluetooth. Another idea would be to use a LAN cable for wired access. That will allow you to switch off your WiFi, conserving even more power.
One of the best tips from that an air stewardess gave us while traveling abroad was to pack your heaviest items in your carry-on luggage in order to save on excess baggage fees. Most airlines won't really check the weight of your carry-on luggage. They'll usually just see if your carry-on is about the right size. It's easy to have a small roller, a backpack and a camera bag and be able to pass these on the plane. Most times, our carry-on luggage weighed more than our checked luggage, especially when traveling internationally.
Packing at home with a scale is a must in order to ensure that you are underneath the required weight limit. We've packed two laptops, an Xbox, two DSLR cameras, heavy hiking boots and all of our jeans in our carry-on luggage without any problems. Remember that jeans are extremely heavy and can get heavier when damp, so it's best to keep them in your carry-on luggage.
[head photo via TSA blog, photos by Grinthock, Slipperybrick, Smallbiztechnology]