Backpacking and the Laptop Dilemma

For many, being away from your laptop for a month or more in another country might be a tough pill to swallow. Whether to take your laptop or a tablet when planning your backpacking adventure is a question worth taking time to consider.First, think about what you would use it for. For VoIP services like Skype, you can use internet cafes or your smartphone. Internet cafes can be found in pretty remote places, are generally inexpensive, and computers are almost always equipped with microphones and webcams. They can also be used for keeping up with news and any Buzzfeeding that you might need to do. If you plan on keeping a basic travel journal, you can e-mail yourself or do this using a cloud document manager (e.g. Google Drive) and paste to your blog if you have one.If you plan to do advanced photo editing or anything requiring software not hosted on a cloud, it’s time to consider taking your laptop. While internet cafe computers are suitable for Skype or emailing, they’re almost always several generations behind, lack software outside of Skype, internet explorer, Microsoft Paint and MSN messenger, and don’t allow you to install anything else you might need.If you take it, be prepared to lose it. Nobody wants to believe it’ll happen to them, but your laptop can be lost, stolen or broken abroad. While your traveler’s insurance may cover the cost of the loss, your information will be gone. Everything that can be backed up in the cloud should be backed up there, often. Also, check your insurance for coverage amounts; there is often a $1000 limit for stolen items, so you might want to keep your brand new Macbook at home, and invest in a $200 cheapy that you can sell when you come back.Consider investing in a memory card reader. If you’re taking a camera with a removable flash or SD card and want to back the photos up into the cloud or post them on Facebook via an internet cafe, remember that a lot of cafes don’t have SD readers, so you’ll need to take your own, if your camera doesn’t connect directly into a USB slot.If your bag’s stuffed, and you don’t need it, leave the laptop at home. You always want to keep some extra space for souvenirs, and you can justify tossing out some clothes to make room for those fancy new shawls, but it’s going to be hard justifying tossing your laptop.If you use internet cafes, be smart. Make sure when you log into your email, you have the “Remember this computer” box unchecked, and if possible, clear your browsing history at the end of your session.If you’re going to type in sensitive passwords, do not use an internet cafe. This goes for things like banking and if you plan on managing your website abroad. Most institutions have apps that you can install on your Smartphone and do basic banking in, but if you’ll need a larger screen and more options, take your laptop. Many internet cafes are secure, but all too many are not, and the risk of having your bank account hijacked because of a keystroke logger outweighs the convenience of internet cafes.Most people will not need a laptop abroad. It’s typically not necessary except in the above discussed situations, and when it’s easily accessible, it can be easy to stay in bed in your hostel when you should be out exploring instead. Whatever you end up doing, use the cloud. Accidents and theft can happen, and depending on where you are, that shiny laptop can put a target on your head. Keeping everything backed up in the cloud prevents losing your laptop or SD card from ruining your trip.

How to Get the Best Deal on Backpackers Travel Insurance

Young people frequently want to travel, but don’t have a lot of money. This tends to mean that they go on backpacking style vacations where they keep the budget as low as possible and travel light. Because of the difficulties that can occur if something should happen to you or your belongings on this type of trip it really is a good idea of you get some type of backpackers travel insurance.There are all sorts of options for backpackers travel insurance, so it is important to compare the different insurance policy options so that you get the one that will give you the most coverage for the least amount of money. You can purchase these policies direct from travel companies, or you can purchase them from insurance companies or online insurance brokers. There are policies that are valid where ever you might want to travel in the world. Fees will vary based on your age, where you are planning to travel, and the cost of the trip, among other things.Some ideas on the types of coverage that you should make sure to include in your backpackers travel insurance cover are emergency medical insurance, personal liability coverage, coverage for lost or stolen money or belongings, and coverage for delayed or cancelled trips. If you plan to do a lot of sports activities, you might also want to get coverage for these types of activities and the equipment you bring along. Make sure the insurance will cover the fees associated with replacing important travel documents such as your passport in case these get lost during your trip.Make sure you carefully read over any policy information so that you know exactly what is covered and what isn’t. Your goal is obviously to get a policy that will cover everything that you plan to do while you are on your backpacking trip. This way if something unfortunate should happen that causes you to lose money or get injured during your travels you will be covered and you won’t have to worry about how you are going to pay for your medical care, or how you are going to get home.

Backpacking in South America – Four Places You Don’t Want to Miss

South America is one of the most highly traveled continents on Earth with its vastly varied terrain and incredible natural wonders. From steep snow covered mountains to dense tropical rainforests, it’s easy to see why adventure seekers enjoy traveling to South America.Backpacking in South America is one of the best ways to experience all the sights, sounds, and culture of the country. With so many different regions, deciding where to take your backpacking trip can be a challenge. Below you will find a few of the most popular destinations for backpacking in South America:Machu Picchu – Peru
Located on a mountainside overlooking the Urubamba Valley of Peru, Machu Picchu is one of the most traveled tourist destinations on Earth. Built around 1450 AD this iconic Incan estate was left abandoned less than 100 years later upon the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors to the region. It was largely unknown to the rest of the world until being discovered in 1911. It has been a highly traveled tourist destination ever since.Backpacking to Machu Picchu will require a few different things, most importantly a permit if you plan to follow the Inca trail. Because of the sites popularity permits are limited to 500 per day for visits via the Inca trail. However, you may consider following the Lares Trek which doesn’t require permits and offers equally impressive sights along the way. No matter which path you plan to take, Machu Picchu is one place you don’t want to miss.Igauzu Falls – Argentina & Brazil
Located on the border of Argentina and Brazil lies one of the most spectacular sights you will ever get the opportunity lay eyes on: IgauzuFalls. Considered a wonder of the natural world, Igauzu Falls is found in a perfectly preserved ecosystem protected by both the Argentine and Brazilian governments.Backpacking through the surrounding jungle will allow you to catch many different viewpoints of the falls. Because the area around the falls is protected, it’s the perfect place to explore the unique landscape and wildlife of the region. Although pictures don’t do this place justice, bring your camera anyway as you’ll be sure to capture an array of spectacular photos.Torres Del Paine – Chile
Offering some of the most varied terrain in the world, Torres del Paine contains steep mountains, beautiful lakes, bright green forests, and ancient glaciers. Everywhere you go in the park, one central feature will stand out: the Paine Massif. These intimidating granite spires stand out overlooking the region and dominating the landscape of Torres del Paine.There are several different traditional routes for trekking and backpacking in the park with over 10 campsites located along the way. All of these routes will allow you to experience this awe-inspiring Chilean landscape. Choosing one just comes down to how long you’d like to stay in Torres del Paine. This is one of the most popular areas for backpacking in South America and it’s easy to see why.Tierra Del Fuego – Argentina
Located at the southwestern tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego National Park is Argentina’s only national park on the coast. The park is a paradise for outdoor sports like climbing, fishing, kayaking, and of course backpacking. With its amazing scenery, including forests, mountains, and glaciers the region is very similar to the Torres del Paine.The park is loaded with many unique adventures to choose from including the frightening ice caves of Alvear Glacier. A popular destination for people trekking in Argentina, the Ice Caves were carved by water flowing underneath the glacier. This is no doubt one of the most unique experiences you will ever find, and a trip into the caves will leave you with a story to tell for years to come. You definitely don’t want to miss this place while backpacking in South America.These are just a few of the exciting places to visit while backpacking in South America. It will be hard to see all of these places in just one trip. However, no matter which one you choose, you’ll be left with a lasting memory and a story to tell for years to come.