In an age where we constantly need to be connected to the world, it's a tough toss-up to decide whether to bring your computer on your trip. At certain times it may seem like our life depends on it, but when you really get down to the nitty gritty of its purpose, you'll realize it's best left at home. Here's 5 reasons to travel without your computer:
1. Focus on the present
Whether you're traveling to a new city or going on a road trip, you're going to want to be present. Before you shove your computer into your carry-on, think - "what's the point of this trip?" Remind yourself of this simple question and consider whether your computer fits into the equation.
Chances are, all the things on your computer can wait. Vacation time is YOU time. Besides, will you even have internet where you're going? And even if you do, how much time will you be realistically spending on your computer? And why would you be spending that time on your computer in the first place?
Computers are usually distraction tools on vacations. You really don't need to be on social media or checking your email. Plus, checking the latest email from your co-worker only causes stress and work-related thoughts to circulate your brain during a time when you're supposed to remove yourself from that space.
Save yourself the distraction and choose to focus on the present: the awesome trip that you're on.
2. It takes up valuable space & weight
Let's face it - computers can be heavy. Even your new ultra-fancy-featherlite MacBook can get heavy when you're carting it through the streets of France. Those extra LBs make a huge difference when you're toting your own bag around the world. Plus, let's be real - you could totally be using that space for the awesome souvenir you're eyeing.
Our bags always end up with more stuff at the end of the trip whether we bought anything or not. Leave the computer at home and use the extra space when you need it most: at the end of your trip.
3. You don't need to edit or download your photos during the trip
Unless you're working for a client, chances are you don't need to be editing or downloading your photos during the trip. Bring a pile of memory cards to last you the entire time and save your editing for when you get home.
If you're not sure how many memory cards to bring, look at how many photos per day you've taken on previous trips. Take that in to consideration based on how long your upcoming trip will be and bring enough cards to cover that amount. If you need to borrow memory cards from friends or invest in new cards, then do it. Memory cards are tiny and light. Computers and harddrives are big and heavy.
4. It slows you down at the airport
You know it does. You have to get a separate security bin for it, pull it out of your bag and destroy your perfect art-of-tetris of packing. Need I say more?
5. Need to look things up? Use your phone instead.
If for some reason you're not living in the current times and you don't have a smartphone, drop what you're doing and go get one. It's basically a computer in your pocket - so utilize it as so!
If there's documents you will need on your trip, cover your bases: print them out, email them to yourself, take screen caps and save them on your phone, upload things to dropbox and get the dropbox app on your phone, etc do whatever you need to do.
Before going on a trip, I usually made an itinerary in Word that I turn into a PDF. Not only do I print the PDF out, but I also upload it to dropbox and download it ahead of time on my phone so that I can access it offline. I also do this with pretty much any document or image I may need on my trip.
You can also stop at a coffee shop or anywhere where there's internet if you need to send emails. I'm sure your parents might appreciate the occasional, "I've arrived here safe!" message.
I totally get that it can be annoying to do certain things on such a small screen, but a smartphone does the trick on the fly, especially when it comes to ditching the computer.