It is hard to imagine a life without the trusty computer or laptop at hand. After all, they are used for communication, entertainment, shopping, research, and work. If you are planning on trekking around the world and you are wondering whether or not to take a laptop with you here are some things to consider.

First of all, many people who have traveled extensively often suggest that you may not need to take a laptop computer with you when you travel. In fact, laptop computers can end up being more of a burden than a help in certain situations. Think of it, you will have to be responsible for your laptop for your entire journey. There is a good chance it may be stolen or it may break down. You will always have to weigh up whether to leave it in your hotel room or whether to trek around town with it. Doubtless you will also be constantly worried as to its safety and concerned that it is not: Too hot, too cold, at too high an altitude, too visible, getting too bumped around, too much of a temptation to others, and so on. If you must have access to a computer realize that every country has internet cafes, many of which are infinitely cheaper than the standard Western internet café. You can get online for a few cents an hour in many countries.

There are some situations, however, when either life or work demand that you must take a laptop with you. If that is the case, how do you decide which laptop is best? There are no set guidelines as to what is the best laptop for traveling, although there are some considerations that are good to keep in mind when shopping for one.

Saving Information to CD, DVD or SD drive: You will most likely want to save photos, journal accounts and even contact information onto either a DVD, USB drive or SD drive so that you always have a backup. Many people like to actually mail their backups home rather than them with them as they travel. Saving to an SD drive is superior than backing up to a DVD, mainly because they are much cheaper and less noticeable to mail home. Your laptop will need to be able to back up data onto one of these devices.

Entertainment: There may come a time when you wish you could lay back and watch a movie. Make sure your laptop has a working DVD player, you never know when you will need it.

Wireless Networking Capabilities: These are essential if you are hoping to get online while traveling. You need a good on-board wireless network card that is easy to set up and problem free. You really do not want to hassle with networking or getting online while traveling.

Lightweight Laptop: Whether you are carrying your laptop in a backpack or through busy airports, crowded with people, weight will be important.

Not too Expensive and Easy to Repair: Your laptop may be stolen. It may end up falling out of your backpack onto the dirt floor. Anything could happen to it. Many seasoned travelers recommend that you do not spend too much money on the laptop you will take on your travels. It does not need to be that powerful if all it is doing is recording your journal, storing photos and being used as a mini entertainment center.

Also as I have learned from experience, you also should take a brand that has service outlets in most major cities around the world. I took a Dell with me to Malaysia a few years ago and had to send it back to the US for repairs. It was still under warranty so I did not want the local computer fix-it boy to open it up. There were no Dell services available anywhere in Malaysia at that time. Needless to say, the remainder of my journey was enjoyed without a laptop.

In summary, you will need to base your decision on what is the most important to you. The laptop world is constantly changing, so my suggestion is that you first of all decide what is important to you. Once you have decided, look for brands that will give you what you want. Common brands that often cropped up in discussion about laptops suitable for traveling include Lenovo or IBM Thinkpads, Apple Powerbooks and the Panasonic Toughbook. Base your decision on need and availability, only you know what you really expect from your laptop.