How to Protect Your Laptop on the Road

My laptop is my treasured possession, so if anything happened to it on the road, I’d be devastated.

Not everyone needs to travel with a laptop, but if you need a computer for work like me, then here are some tips for how to protect your laptop on the road:

Invest in a padded case

You don’t need a full laptop bag because those are way too bulky on the road, but you do need something to protect it.  I have a neoprene padded case with a strap- this shields my laptop from any knocks or scrapes when I’m traveling around. It also means I can carry it to the nearest coffee shop without fear of dropping it.

I also have a laptop backpack with a special pocket for my laptop- it’s rigid and keeps my laptop nice and secure.

Backup your data

Losing your laptop is bad enough, but the worst part is losing all your precious travel photos and videos. Don’t store everything in once place- spread it around so that if anything happens to your laptop, you still have your memories.

First, buy a decent portable hard drive and backup all your files, then leave it at home. Take another hard drive with you for storing all your new files. You can also upload everything to a cloud drive if you like, although this will cost you a set fee per month. Compare cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive and Skydrive or iCloud if you have Apple devices.

Make sure you don’t get Viruses (you Windows users!)

If you have a Mac then you shouldn’t have to worry about this too much, but Windows users should invest in an antivirus program such as Norton. The last thing you want to do is get viruses that slow your computer down and leave you vulnerable.

Don’t leave your laptop on show

This sounds like an obvious one, but keep an eye on your laptop and try not to walk away from it if you’re in a public place. Even if you’re dying to use the bathroom, pack up your laptop and take it with you. Keep it out of sight when you leave your accommodation so that it’s not readily available for thieves to snatch. If I leave a hotel room I always make sure it is packed away in my backpack, or in a safe. If I have to dash out of the house I usually tuck it under the bedcovers so it can’t be seen through the window.

Use Strong Passwords

Don’t make it easy for criminals to snoop on your laptop- make sure your screen is password protected. Use strong passwords, and don’t use the same password for all your accounts. If the thief manages to crack the password, they can access all your Internet accounts and access sensitive data.

Install Anti-Theft Software

You can install anti-theft software on your laptop that will help you find, lock and recover your laptop when it goes missing. I personally use Prey. If your laptop gets stolen, you can send a remote signal via the Internet or SMS, which allows you to gather information about its location and trigger actions on it. You can lock down your computer so that no-one can use it unless a specific password is entered, grab a screenshot of an active session and even take a picture of the thief using your laptops webcam!

Try a laptop lock

Most laptops come with a slot where you can attach a laptop lock that will able you to fix your laptop to another object. Kensington laptop locks are very popular. You can also invest in a Pacsafe, which is a wire mesh bag that fits around your backpack, protecting the contents inside. Obviously cables and locks can be broken, but they do act as a deterrent. You can see reviews of a number of laptop security accessories on cnet.

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3 Responses to How to Protect Your Laptop on the Road

  1. Angela January 30, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    Also: keep it ants free. Those f*ckers will make their little home in your keyboard and crawl out whenever they please.

  2. Kathy January 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    Ripped off laptops can be tracked and returned using anti-theft software like Devicetrack.net . All you do is turn on the tracer, locate your laptop on a map, tell the cops where it is and they can get it for you. It’s for windows laptops.

  3. Emily April 27, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Good tip about the anti-theft software. I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll have to look into getting that.

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