Spain / Italy trip next month... take MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by buffalo, May 24, 2007.

  1. buffalo macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    Next month I'll be going to Spain and Italy with my Spanish class. I was thinking about bringing my MacBook along with the purpose of uploading photos, emailing parents, and keeping up with the world. Is this an ok good idea, or would I be best to keep it at home? I will be in Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome. How accessible are internet hotspots? Do many cafes have wifi, or is that an American thing? Other than the travel adaptor set, is there anything else I might need?

    Thanks for your input!
  2. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Why would you travel without it? Just as well not take any pants* too.

    (* That's trousers to our English bretheren)
  3. CPPhoto macrumors member

    May 23, 2007
    Took the exact same trip last may, (well not as a student)

    i bought a 12" powerbook for the trip, and it was perfect. For that long plane ride, 2 batteries was good enough for movies, or itunes shows.

    when over there, there's wifi hotspots, starbucks, and internet cafes everywhere.

    another good thing is that instead of buying a cell phone to use, you can use skype to call home! (its MUCH cheaper)

    now im a photographer, so having the laptop to download images was essential. I recommend getting a bag from crumpler ( i have the sinking barge bag)

    its inconspicuous, holds tons of photo gear, a laptop, and a compartment for all your stuff u buy during your days out on the streets.

    heres another hint...

    when in madrid, do the following:
    do NOT wear sandals, or flip flops, (you'll stick out like a sore thumb)
    buy your mom and dad something nice from the huge store "el corte ingles" in the plaza del sol

    remember to eat lots of tapas, and dont be afraid to go in and start a conversation (if u know enough spanish) patatas bravas, are amazing.

    spend a late afternoon in the plaza de espana, have a glass of wine or an amstel, and watch the sun go down.

    dont be a a traveler (thanks anthony bourdain for that quote)
  4. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    You don't need the whole travel adapter set. You can get a continental europe adapter for $3.25 and it works on all your electronics, not just your mac.
  5. buffalo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    When I have it, would I be alright carrying it in an InCase sleeve in my backpack? Part of each day will be with the group, and the other part is free time to wander the cities. I think I would try to keep the MacBook in the hotel room unless I'm taking it to go use the internet. I don't know much about Skype, but after some investigating, it looks to be a good option. It looks to be $0.021 per minute. All I need is the MacBook's internet connection? Do I talk through the built-in microphone?

    Where would I find this? At a Best Buy or Radio Shack?
  6. sunsnewmac macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2007
    Wow--I was going to post the same thing (pretty much)

    I was also looking some input about traveling! I will be doing some traveling in Europe soon too and am toying with the idea of bringing my "precious" MB. I am usually a very light traveler who goes "backpacker" style so leaving it in el-cheapo rooms that I stay in is always a danger. Hence my concern.

    My boyfriend strongly advises against it, but I can't stand internet cafes.

    I would love to hear from other travelers who either brought their MBs and were glad (or mad) they did, or those who didn't bring it and were glad (or mad) they didn't.

    Bringing my "baby" would allow me to do practical things like book a room the day before to avoid having to wander around a town aimlessly for hours trying to find somewhere!

    Also, I manage my banking online and obviously don't like doing that in internet cafes. I did that a few times on my last trip and survived but still...

    Being able to do e-mail, write, and manage photos without sitting in a smelly internet cafe is another good reason to take it.

    The drawbacks to bringing it are strong however: possible theft, damage from being moved around so much, and the extra weight, lugging it around for a month. We do tend to move around a bit when we travel. I am totally torn about this.
  7. phungy macrumors 68020


    Dec 5, 2006
    Ah, I remember when we were all waiting for our Macbooks from Amazon :D . How's the MB treating ya?
  8. eyebeaz macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2006
    I'd be scared to leave my macbook in a hotel room, that's for sure.
  9. deadpixels macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2006
    it depend wich hotel i guess, anyway it's only a laptop, worse thing can happen :)
  10. buffalo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    Almost everything about the MacBook is what I used to dream about :D . I got the track-pad replaced, so the only bummer about it is the stuck pixel, but I have since adjusted.
  11. operator macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2006
    Yeah, I also have one stuck pixel - it's a pain in the butt, but not enough to make me return it.

    Last year, I traveled with my iBook to Toronto and Portugal. It was perfect - far better than using Internet cafes. I took a lot of photos, and had to empty my memory card four times - the laptop was extremely useful for this. When in Portugal, I stayed at a four star hotel, with a safe in the room, so that's where the laptop stayed when I went out. In Portugal, there were a few internet cafes (high-speed) where I brought my laptop to work. THey give you the wifi password, and you're all set.

    Cheap hotel rooms are another story. They rarely, if ever, have safes. (trust me - I've stayed in many $5/night Central American hotels). I've never had my laptop with me in cheap hotels, but when I did stay in those, I'd just pack my valuables towards the bottom of my backpack, leave the pack in my room (out of sight from any windows), and go out (shopping, clubing, surfing, etc.), and hope for the best. I was never robbed. However, you can't really trust hotel staff in cheap hotels, so never leave any signs that you have an expensive computer in your pack. Also, pack your valuables so they are as inaccessible as possible within the pack - it may deter any hotel staff who decide to take a quick look in your bag to see if they notice anything they like. Oh yeah, and there are also locks that you can get to lock you pack shut. These may be useful, but I think they are tell-tale signs of a valuable pack, and also if someone wants to get into your pack bad enough, a simple knife thru the fabric will render the pack lock useless.

    I plan to travel extensively in August thru South America with my new black Macbook. I'm somewhat nervous about taking it, but it doesn't matter for two reasons:
    1. I need it to work.
    2. I refuse to live life in fear.

    One tip: get an inconspicuous pack that doesn't look like it has a laptop in it. Those over-the-shoulder laptop bags are a definate NO.
  12. Cindynjgirl79 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    are u staying at hostels or hotels on this trip? if your staying in hostel with just people from school, i wouldn't worry about it. never been to spain, but i have been to italy. not the safest place in the world. keep an eye on it while your there.:eek:
  13. Jarcrew macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2007
    Cardiff, Wales
    Careful - us Europeans are notoriously untrustworthy. Hitler, for example.
  14. Gee macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2004
    London, UK
    It's an easy choice I think. Back up all your stuff to disk before you go, make sure your travel insurance covers you, and then take it with you. Worst happens, it gets nicked and then you can get a spanking new one on insurance.

    I've travelled a lot with mine, and it's suprising how many people you see nowadays with a laptop, even in some quite remote places.

    I agree with the previous posts on security though - not having a obvious laptop-style bag, not leaving the cables in view in your room, etc. If you are worried about leaving it in your room, there's often a safe in hotels. Or, hide it somewhere that a casual thief or the maid won't look (in the shower, if the maid's already been; underneath your suitcase). Not thief proof, but a lot of thefts from hotel rooms are opportunitistic - maid leaves door open, someone scoots in and grabs anything valuable they see.
  15. CPPhoto macrumors member

    May 23, 2007
    get the travel adapter that has a voltage will be better off safe than sorry.

    also, you would be fine taking your macbook in a sleeve, not a problem

    the "locutorios" as they are called, are easy to find and use, most speak english in them.

    id also recommend a kensington lock, or search for a net lock...(its literally steel netting with a lock, so u could wrap your bag in it, and lock it to something secure might have it?

    also, u can use the internal mic, or buy a cheap 5 dollar corded mic...skypes a great tool when overseas
  16. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Hi I live in Spain, and you should be able to find wifi spots quite easily. I've yet to find a building in Valencia without its wifi network.

    Have fun! Spanish girls are yummy! Just don't said you intend to vote Republican. Even among the rightists, he's very unpopular. Just avoid politics and you'll be fine, elections are just aroud the corner! :D
  17. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Yeah, Radio shack has them. Your Macbook automatically converts European voltage. Some other electronics will not -- just make sure your plug for your device says it can handle up to 220 volts, and you'll be fine. Otherwise, as CPPhoto suggests, you may need to get a voltage converter to convert from European 220 to US 115 volts.

    My phone, camera, and computer all handle 220 volts, so I won't be bringing a converter when I head to europe this summer.
  18. buffalo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    Thanks for all the replies everyone!

    Our group is using EF Tours, a reputable company from what I understand, so I'm pretty confident they're not sticking us in some Spanish shack at nights. When its in the room I will keep it hidden and hope for the best.
  19. Jarcrew macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2007
    Cardiff, Wales
    Unless they're reputable because nobody's lived to tell of the bad experiences.

    Seen that film Hostel? All of Europe's like that - we pay to torture American laptops. You have to sit and watch while we enduce a load of kernel panics, before filling your computer with pineapple juice so you can't get it fixed under Applecare. Then we stick one pixel and send you on your way - it'll be right in the middle too. You say it won't bother you, but it totally will. That's how we get our kicks.
  20. masse macrumors 6502a


    May 4, 2007

    If you have stuck pixels there are many applications which are supposed to fix this (seizures are a side effect though).
  21. maxp1 macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2005
    I'm in Italy right now with my PowerBook. Spent time in Rome a few days ago. There are less WiFi spots then I thought there would be. In fact very few as far as I've found. There are internet cafes, but they don't seem to have WiFi. Hotels also don't seem to have it. It's weird. Maybe I just missed them and they were right in front of my face.

    Don't worry about the voltage converter. The standard power box will handle 220V/50Hz. All you need is a plug adapter. Most electronics these days will handle dual voltages. It should be imprinted on the adapter somewhere. I've got 4 electonic devices an none of them need a voltage converter.

    Safety wise Italy/Rome seems fine. There's nowhere we've been that I wouldn't take my laptop. Some friends told me to keep my stuff safe from gangs of theiving children running around but I haven't seems anything like that. Of course we haven't been to any of the seedier parts of the country. Still, I think I would feel safe. Just back everything up before you go just in case.
  22. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    I take my laptop anywhere I travel. I have all my data with me, I have a connection to my friends, I can put the pics from my cam on it, I can write about the trip, I can find out easily about sights, etc. in the place I am at, etc.
    I wouldn't ever travel any place without my laptop.

    I bought the Apple travel set, which is really nice. I am currently thinking about getting the airline adapter. Just get a protective sleeve and a nice backpack and you'll be fine.
  23. heySparky macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2007
    You can use the built-in mic, but if you do, the person on the other end of the conversation will hear a tremendous echo as the sound from the (crappy) internal speakers will be picked up by the internal mic. I got much better results using headphones with a built in mic.

    Something like This or This would give you much higher sound quality.
  24. Sammis89 macrumors regular

    May 30, 2005

    The only place you need to really be careful is the subway. I was getting onto a train in rome at the spanish steps station, and 3 girls tried to rob me (I was carrying my Timbuk2 bag) Once I yelled theif, everyone there turned and looked at them, and they ran, but not before giving me the middle finger.

    The theifs in the subway try to look like tourists. If anyone looks too touristy, watch out. I was with a large group, and they loved that.

    Also, if you carry a shoulder bag, turn it so that the side taht opens faces in, and carry it to your side, not in front of you. It makes it harder to get at.
  25. buffalo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    Thanks for the replies everyone! It's been great reading everyone's advice and information.

    I am re-thinking bringing it though. A friend of mine that went to Italy last year advised against it because of hotel theft. I guess I should ask my teacher, but I'm afraid to because I don't want him to tell me not to bring it.

    It should be a great trip whether I take the MacBook or not.

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