You've got your bags packed, your laptop carry-on is ready to move, and your passport has been successfully located and rescued from the messy depths of your desk drawers. You're ready to head out for your European vacation, right? Maybe. Before you make your way overseas, check out PC World's tips for international travel—with a laptop...
You probably know to charge your laptop and pack the power adapter for your destination's unique outlets (If not, check out our guide to making sense of world outlets and sockets), but you might not know about these tips, courtesy of Lincoln Spector's PC World blog, Answer Line:
- Make sure your power cord and adapter can handle not only the shape of the new plugs, but also the voltage. "Examine the tiny print on the adapter for something like 'V100-240,' which means it can take handle everything from 100 volts to 240 ... every country on the planet has AC power in that range." You can also check the International Voltage Guide for the country you're visiting.
- Realize that customs officials can reasonably search anything that crosses their borders, including the data on your hard drive. "They may even insist that you decrypt anything that's encrypted. And different countries may have different definitions of espionage and pornography," PC World notes. Erase any unnecessary files from your computer and back up the necessary ones to an external hard drive. Take care especially to remove anything that might look fishy. If you need to access anything while abroad, upload it online so you can access it once you get where you're going: "It's all very silly, of course. You can't physically take some kinds of data into the country, but once there, you can retrieve it from cyberspace."
- Be careful to think about the trip home. If your laptop is new, you might have to prove to the customs agents here in the States that you didn't buy it overseas if you want to avoid a duty tax. If you've got it, bring along a copy of your receipt.