It’s Not Always Easy to Travel Light

January 14, 2012

This week, in preparation for my trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, I pulled out my tiny ASUS eee PC, the laptop I carried while backpacking through Africa. (We didn’t have as many options for mini-laptops way back in 2008.)

Except now that my entire business revolves around a computer, I’m not sure I can survive with this sucker for three weeks. It is so freakin’ SMALL! I can barely see two Hootsuite columns at once.

Here’s the baby laptop on my desk, next to my normal work station. When I’m home, I use both the big monitor and my laptop at once.

So the question is: do I bring the mini laptop, have less to carry and take longer to do work because my screen is so small? Or bring the 14-inch laptop, have more to carry but spend less time working because I’m speedy on this machine?

(I know, I know, #firstworldproblems. But when you like to travel light, these are life’s big questions.)

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    17 Replies to “It’s Not Always Easy to Travel Light”

    • Go with your first instinct and take that dinky laptop!

    • Why not bring both? Check one and carry on the other?

    • Think you should take the Eee. Nothing worse than carrying something which seems to become “heavier” the more you carry it. You’ll get into a good rhythm of work with the smaller one.

    • Go with the baby. It will be easier to spend a few extra moments taking care of business than lugging the bulkier one around. That will leave room for a nice bottle of wine for the same weight. Just saying….

    • Bret Juliano says:

      Travel with the larger laptop, you’ll be more effective in a more timely manner even though the downside is the extra weight.

    • jan says:

      Take the big one and find someone to carry it for you, or take the little one!

    • Lee Cart says:

      Hi Alexis, My bet would be to take the 14 inch computer and leave the little ASUS eee at home. I have one of those that I take when I travel and now find it so small and slow, it’s almost easier not to have the darn thing at all. Since so much of your work is done via the computer, you’ll want, need and appreciate the bigger size and faster speed of the larger lap top. Have fun in Nicaragua and Costa Rica–two places on my list to go to someday. Best, Lee

    • Hey Alexis. Sounds like you will probably get frustrated with the tiny one given how much work you will do. It’s an extra expense but..I bought an 11 inch macbook air this year specifically for traveling. It is crazy-light but has a big enough screen that I don’t go cross-eyed when I am on it for long periods. Can’t recommend it enough. Your trip sounds amazing!

    • Dana Sitar says:

      I still do almost ALL of my work on an Eee PC from 2009 (agh!). I’m ready to upgrade and just waiting for the money, but it’s definitely possible to work on it. I highly recommend taking that for better portability, plus a couple of blank notebooks and your smartphone to help with multi-tasking. Plus, if you zoom out just a little, you can see more Hootsuite columns, etc, and you get used to size of the screen pretty quickly.

    • Emily says:

      I have an Eee that I pulled out recently when I realized I left my personal 13″ Macbook pro at the office (that’s what I get for trying to work on side hustles during lunch) and I got so frustrated at the speed and tiny screen that I drove back to work to retrieve my Macbook. Perhaps over the next week or so, just work on the Eee and see how it goes?

      • Alexis Grant says:

        Hey Emily — Yes, this is what I need to do! I’ve started little by little, just to see what problems I hit.

        Everyone has such great advice! Thanks, guys. I may be taking this trip alone, but I don’t feel like I am!

    • Shuni says:

      I never call myself a backpacker, because I always have to bring more than just a backpack when I travel. My 12″ laptop is sure to go with me. But that’s not what gives the most weight to my travel bug. It’s my camera gear. A few trips ago I’ve already decided to leave my flash. Then during my recent trip, I left another thing home: my tripod. So far, I have not found a blog or article about photographer-backpacker. I would like to know how they manage. Reading on how you contemplate on which computer to bring reflects my own contemplation but with camera gears.

      • Alexis Grant says:

        A tripod is a lot to carry! But surely there are folks who do… I can think of two: @driftingfocus and @benlcollins. Maybe check in with them!

        • Shuni says:

          Thanks, Lexis. I’m checking them out. Haven’t found the hint of how to travel light but with camera gears, though. I should read more.

          • Valerie Urso says:

            Hey Shuni! Karl Grobl details on his site exactly how much gear he travels with and how he packs it all up, definitely worth looking into. It’s in his menu under “Advice”. He has Gear and Travel as sub menus. 🙂

            • Shuni says:

              Hi, Valerie! Thanks a lot for taking the time to let me know about Karl Grobl’s site. I’ve read about his “tank system”. I’m going to take a look on the other topics. I’m into photojournalism a lot. So definitely I will find a lot of interesting things in Karl Grobl’s site. I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks again, Valerie!!

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