The Traveling Mac, Advice & Tips to stay Safe

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Earendil, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    In a couple weeks I will depart from the US of A to the country of Costa Rica. I'm a 19 year old student who will become a Freshmen in college next fall. My plans for Costa Rica are to spend a few weeks at a spanish language school, as well as travel the country and see what there is to see. This will actually involve more rain forrest, birds, and volcanos than it will beaches, ocean, and woman ;)

    Aside from all my possessions going into a backpack (Back Packing style pack), I will also be taking my 15" PB down there. current value new $2600...
    Some people call my crazy for this, but no one at this point can convince me otherwise. My plan is to keep an updated journal on my website along with pictures. I'm a pretty avid amateur photographer, and will be purchasing a Fuji s5000 in a few weeks.

    That said, I'm not a complete idiot. I am going to do everything possible to keep me and my book safe, and I come looking to the community for tips and advice.

    Any words of caution? Any advice on what to do? what can be done? How about just practical thing, like battery power, available plugs, internet cafes use (guess this is country/location specific), all the things that would involve the heavy use of a computer while traveling.

    I don't even know if I need an adapter for any sort of different power plugs/current that they may use down there. I *think* it's the same, and Europe is the only ones with a problem there, but I should ask.

    So far my plans include not letting the general public know that I am carrying a computer. Never letting the computer out of my site (or the bag that it's in). I bought a kensington lock for the fun of it (ebay, $12, good deal), though I doubt prospective computer nappers would have as much of a problem with a kensington lock as kids in a dorm...

    How about just general stuff? It just occurred to me that I might take a plastic bag to put my computer in just in case. Rain and all that stuff you know.
    For those that have traveled, what were the "gee, I wish I had brought a..." ?

    Just want to bounce ideas around, it would make me feel better :)

  2. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world

    I intend to do someting similar. I will go on a trip round the world. I want to visit USA, Tonga, NewZealand, Australia and India. I want to have a travel homepage and therefore take my iBook with me.

    There are some sites that maybe a better place for your question like Travellerspoint or Lonely Planet and there the Thorn Tree.

    Another site that is quite useful is Telephone Equipment

    And here are some toughts:
    - the biggest risk to the computer is (beside that it got stolen) water. That means its very important to keep it dry. That means e.g. that as long its warm - don't put it back into your neopren backpack or something. Then even silica gel won't help. If you have a power plug in your room. Let it run all the time. The heat will prevent it from the water.
    - Another problem are ants or other bugs. Ants love the solder - maybe because it taste sweet - I have no idea. But you can see soon ants building roads to your computer.

    In a nutshell - biggest problems are thieves, water and ants.

    Hope that helps
  3. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    I would like to add a question, maybe somebody knows.

    I like to travel with my iBook and a I am looking for a possibility to charge it in the car using e.g. the cigarette lighter plug.

    Any thoughts how to charge the iBook in a car ?

  4. mvc macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2003
    when my wife and I travelled in Europe we used a thing called an Inverter which takes 12v car lighter socket power and turns it into 240 or 120 or whatever you use with a standard powersocket on it, then you just take your normal recharger for the Computer and plug it in.

    The plus side is that lots of other things can be recharged from it too, like digital cameras, cellphones, handicams etc.

    The minus side is that it costs about $60, weighs three of four pounds and is the size of a coupla thick paperbacks on top of each other.

    There is also a fancy air/car recharger gadget for Mac laptops from Kensington available at the Apple store for $80, a lot smaller and lighter but also a lot less useful for all your electical gadgets.
  5. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world

    that really sounds great. Do you remember the company or the product id ?

  6. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
  7. ephramz macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2004
    from a traveler

    I spent 5 months in Peru with an unscathed PB Pismo and here are my suggestions:
    - definitely get a wet bag (rubberized waterproof fabric bag that folds over to make a seal, available at most camping stores) to keep the PB dry and put it in this EVERY time you're not using it. This has the added benefit of hiding the computer from view from any quick scans by thieves.
    - turn on screen lock when you put it to sleep, make it not login automatically when it is booted up, turn on the Keychain password to hide all your important info, and make your password hint your home address, phone, and email. This will prevent any thief from using the computer if they take it, and after trying to log in 3 times, they'll get your address in the hint and might just leave it for the police. Some guy in the US at least got his PB back this way, I heard.
    - For power, most of the PB AC-adapters can handle 120-240 V. Look on the box and see what it says. If it can handle 240 V, you just have to worry about the shape of the plug and need an adapter for that, but not a voltage converter.
    - in a car, which has a 12 V DC battery and voltage in the cigarette lighter, it is very inefficient to convert this to 120 or 240 V AC, and then back down to the 20-24 V DC that the PB needs. There are many companies that sell travel adapters for PB's like These are small little DC-to-DC adapters, and often come with a plug that fits in the airplane power adapters as well.
    - bring an extra padlock or combo lock for the doors of your hotel. Sometimes the hotel staff can be the one who walks off with stuff from inside your room. If you can lock it this way, take it with you EVERYWHERE.

    Hope that helps.

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