How to Keep Your Laptop Safe Traveling in Thailand or Anywhere Overseas
I work as a freelance writer so, even when I’m traveling around Thailand or elsewhere in Asia on vacation, I still always carry my laptop with me. What that means is, over the years, I’ve learned a number of useful tips that have not only helped me keep my laptop safe from theft while traveling around Thailand, but also prevented it from being damaged or destroyed.
If you plan on traveling around Thailand with your laptop, here are some of those tips. They’ll not only help make sure your laptop isn’t stolen, but also, prevent it from sustaining catastrophic damage. After all, nobody wants the expense of buying a new laptop when they’re enjoying a Thai vacation.
Bring a small laptop – One thing I learned soon after arriving in Thailand was that many hotel room safes are small. What that means is, if you go out in an evening and want to leave your laptop at home, if it won’t fit in your room safe your only other option is to hide it under the bed or leave it for safekeeping with the hotel reception desk, neither of which are ideal.
Bring a small laptop, meaning one with a 12 inch screen or smaller. That way it’s almost guaranteed to fit in your room safe and be able to be safely locked away when you don’t want to lug it around with you.
Buy a mini travel surge protector – Thailand’s electricity is notorious for power surges, which is why when I’m traveling I take a mini travel surge protector with me. That way, I can recharge my laptop without worrying a sudden massive zap of electricity will fry it.
For travelers who don’t want to carry a heavy surge protector from the US or worry about losing it, you can buy these mini travel surge protectors at any Thai IT mall. Or, if you want to make sure you have it from the minute you step off the plane, grab a mini one back home to bring with you. They weigh hardly anything.
Don’t contaminate your laptop with internet cafe viruses – If you’re out without your laptop and want to get online, don’t use the occasion to plug in your USB drive, send photographs from your camera SD card or download music to your iPod. That’s because computers in many internet cafes in Thailand are notorious for being infected with viruses, and you don’t want to pass any of those on to your computer. Save downloading and uploading for when you have your laptop with you.
Getting free internet access in Thailand – I love traveling with a laptop in Thailand as internet access is free just about everywhere. Most hotels offer it and, if the one you’re planning on staying at doesn’t, don’t book a room there as there are plenty more than do.
When you’re out and about during the day, you’ll also find thousands of restaurants and coffee shops offering free internet and, in Bangkok and other major cities, most of the shopping malls do as well. In fact, in trips that last a couple of weeks around Thailand, I’ve never had to pay for internet access once, which makes it incredibly easy keeping in touch with the folks back home.
Don’t leave your laptop unattended – Honestly, I don’t know anyone who has ever had a laptop stolen while at a cafe in Thailand but it does occasionally happen. That’s why, if you’re traveling with a laptop in Thailand, make sure you unplug it and take it with you if you go to the counter to order another coffee or to the bathroom.
Let’s face it, when on a fun vacation in Thailand, you don’t want to have to head to the nearest IT mall and spend a few hundred dollars on a new laptop after someone has walked off with yours.
Transfer your photos to storage – Many people travel around Thailand, take thousands of photographs and then upload them to their laptops for safe keeping. If you do this, make sure you also copy all of them to an external hard drive or USB drive and keep this in a place that is separate from your laptop.
That way, if you do lose your laptop or it ends up irrevocably damaged, at least your precious photographs of your travels around Thailand will still be intact.
Be sure, however, you don’t do what a friend of mine did — download all his photographs to a USB drive and then leave the USB drive in his laptop bag. When the laptop and the bag were stolen from his Bangkok hotel room later (he left his door unlocked while he ran to a local food stall to pick up lunch), his USB drive with all his photographs went with it.
Getting laptops repaired in Thailand – If you do have a calamity with your laptop while traveling in Thailand, don’t worry. Laptop repair is generally cheap all over Thailand and will be done in two to three hours in most cases.
Just find the nearest IT mall or ask at your hotel reception desk. In Bangkok, of course, drop it off at Fortune Town Mall as there are many IT specialists there who are excellent and affordable.
Laptop insurance – Finally, if you’ll be carrying a laptop with you in Thailand that’s worth a few hundred dollars, it might be worthwhile paying for laptop insurance. Several companies offer it in the US and Europe and it often protects your cameras as well.
The insurance is inexpensive as well, particularly when you consider it will pay to replace a lost or damaged laptop if the worst does happen.