I travel a lot as many of you will know, both locally and internationally. When I travel my laptop is my right arm in terms of connectivity to the office, and to the world. If my laptop has problems then my ability to work while away is severely restricted. I have in the past had temporary issues with my laptop that have taken a day or two to resolve and during those times, I’ve not been able to function properly… this leads to lack of sleep and increased stress levels – all things that are really not needed particularly when you are travelling!
For the last 12 months however I’ve been a little smarter. I’ve carried with me now a HP Mininote Netbook which I’ve kept as a “spare” in case of emergency. Here’s two examples of how it’s saved my sanity…
When I was travelling with my family in Europe at Christmas 2008, I took TWO of them – both identical. IT was lucky I did as while in Paris for 4 days, the one I was using totally failed. We had 2 weeks left of the holiday, but I was able to continue pretty much un affected as I could switch over to the other laptop.
More recently though in December 2009, I was in the US on a business trip. The US flights are always very packed and my backpack and laptop was placed a few rows back in the overhead compartment. When we landed in Seattle, another gentleman got my bag out only to fumble it and it dropped onto the arm of the seat. Later when I got to my room I found it was very broken… in fact it was bent! Not good. Ok – I grabbed my HP Mininote out of my OTHER bag and powered it on and was in business in a matter of minutes. I had not done any work since last syncing my laptop so I lost no data at all as a copy of it was at our office. I was able to continue my business trip without having to worry about trying to get my laptop repaired in a foreign country or the potential data loss associated with it. The fact that I had a cheap netbook with me made my trip so much more positive than it would have been.
So… think about it for a moment… a netbook costs less than $1000… and while it might not be as full featured as a real laptop or notebook, it is certainly VERY cheap insurance for an exec who is always on the move.